It must have been a sight to see when local photographer Roger Pelham drove through the streets of Muncie taking pictures of houses in neighborhoods, from Westwood to Avondale to Normal City, for a special edition of McCall’s Magazine. This edition played on the notoriety of Muncie as the typical American community, as depicted by Robert and Helen Lynd in the Middletown books. “In order, therefore, to show these people of “Middletown” as PEOPLE, and not merely as statistics, we visited “McCall Street” in Muncie, photographed the home of everyone who subscribed to McCall’s in 1937, and talked with many of them to find just how McCall’s entered into their lives.”
How lonely and scary to be a child in the hospital at Christmas time. For seventy-five years, the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund has tried to make the stay a little bit better.
Recently, I heard an engaging and dynamic speaker, Joel Greenberg. The author of A Feathered River Across the Sky, Greenberg explored how a thriving bird became extinct so quickly and what we can learn from the choices humans made in the late 1800s and how it can influence the decisions we make today.
We all have that special photograph album that we treasure. Perhaps it includes images of birthdays, vacations, and snapshots of special events. Have you ever thought about how the snapshot came to be? Current digital cameras are easy to use, but photography wasn’t always such a breeze.
The small but nationally known American Playground company in Anderson, Indiana celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. At that time, an article in the Madison County Chamber newsletter noted that the company had recently “completed its biggest and finest structure at Tuhey Park in Muncie.” Tuhey Towers, located near Tuhey Pool, consists of towers, slides, climbing ropes, and more.
While I was looking through the Minnetrista Heritage Collection for artifacts to include in an upcoming exhibit about children, I came across a yellow ribbon awarded for “Fifth Premium” in the Better Baby Contest held at the Indiana State Fair in 1926. Really! How does one determine what makes a “Better Baby?” I did a little research. First, I found a photograph depicting “Better Babies Day” at the Delaware County Fair in 1924. Hmmm—that ribbon wasn’t an anomaly.
Lucius L. Ball, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Helen used the room to the left of the entrance to their home as a parlor. It is now used by Minnetrista as a classroom and meeting space. During the 1980s, though, the room had a much different function. It was a recording studio for WIPB, the local public broadcasting station, and starting in February 1984, Bob Ross of “happy little trees” fame produced The Joy of Painting in that room.
If you’ve lived in Muncie for a while, you’ve probably followed the trail of the Native American and his dog from atop the third Delaware County courthouse to the Stradling farm to Wysor Park and finally to the fourth Delaware County courthouse. Sometime during his travels, the dog was damaged and lost his face.
As anyone who has spent time with me in the Collections storage area knows, the Duplex Fireless Stove made by Durham Manufacturing of Muncie is one of my favorite artifacts. How could you not like this giant, early crockpot?
Mostly forgotten except by a small group of devoted fans, this artist was once well known in Muncie. He worked as a janitor, a sign painter, a piano player, and composer. He was even known to handcraft violins. Local citizens knew him best, however, as a wandering painter of landscapes.