I’m going to veer off of the featured historical artifact path and talk about the upcoming Open Space: Art About the Land juried art exhibition opening September 19 at Minnetrista. Early in 2001, Muncie artist Brian Gordy asked, “Would you be interested in collaborating with Red-tail Land Conservancy on a juried art show?” Of course, the answer was a resounding “Yes!” And, thus, a lovely partnership began.
With a great map in hand, you can dream about exploring a different city, state, country, or continent. You can even go back in time and, in some cases, way, way back in time. One of more than 80 maps in the collection donated by Edmund F. Ball is titled America Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio. The black and white wood-engraved map from a 1588 – yes, that is the correct date – atlas shows a much different America than the one we know. The map locates the village of “Quivera” in what is now California and inland “kingdoms” with names like “Anian” and “Tolm” to the north and east. In the center of the continent are “Tiuguas rio,” “Marata,” and “Terlichiechi.” Makes you wonder what happened to all of these places. Do they still exist? What is the English name?
In the early 20th century, Harriett Mitchell Anthony, a.k.a. “Diamond Heels Hattie” and “Hattie Bell” made quite a splash in her hometown of Muncie for her extraordinary clothing and for her shoes set with diamonds in the heels.
Ouch! With its thirty sharp needles, the medical instrument known as the “life awakener” or Lebenswecker in German most likely caused more pain than it cured. The hollow ebony tube contained a handle with a coiled spring attached. When this spring was released, the needles punctured the patient’s skin, injecting oil known as Oleum, otherwise known as fuming sulphuric acid. Again, ouch.
The Jay County Historical Society in Portland, Indiana has a great collection of photographs and other memorabilia from the eight high schools that once existed in the county. The schools included the “Big Four”—Dunkirk, Pennville, Portland, and Redkey High Schools—and the “Little Four”—Bryant, Madison, Gray, and Poling High Schools. Currently, there is just one Jay County High School.
Recently, I told you about upcoming renovation work to be done on the Oakhurst house. It must be the season to refresh and re-do. Work has been going on in The Center Building’s lobby for the last several weeks, and now the Heritage Collection Gallery is getting new carpet.
This month marks the 102nd anniversary of the devastating flood of 1913. On March 24 and 25, rain inundated Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New York. With a late spring thaw, the ground was either saturated or still frozen. In Indiana, the Ohio, White, and Wabash Rivers and all of their tributaries rose rapidly; causing massive flooding.
Muncie’s neighbor to the southwest is also celebrating its sesquicentennial this year. Yes, Anderson is 150 years old in 2015. Muncie and Anderson have a lot in common, including names derived from a shared Native American heritage, glass and auto manufacturing, and, of course, basketball.
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.