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.
Everyone is familiar with Ball blue jars and with the company’s clear jars. Many have seen green, amber, sun-colored amethyst, and swirled Ball jars. Very few people know, however, that there was once a white Ball jar and even fewer people have seen or own one.
W. Edwin Fager was born in 1897 near Fairview, a very small town in Randolph County, Indiana, but spent most of his life working in Chicago or spending time at his farm near Michigan City.
Many of you will remember the Vegematic, made by Ronco and heavily advertised on TV. The promise was that “It slices, dices, chops and peels, makes thousands of julienne fries in seconds!” Well, to show that there is nothing new under the sun, Muncie had its own version of a similar kitchen specialty back in the early 1920s.
How could such a great, happy photograph come from a morgue? It can when it’s part of a collection of eighty boxes of archival material donated to Minnetrista in 2004 from Ball Memorial Hospital—now IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.