Local History

The Green Silk Dress

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 10:00:00 am

When I give tours of the Heritage Collection storage area, I show examples of everything from Ball jars to artwork to furniture to clothing. More often than not, the piece of clothing that gets the most oohs and aahs, sometimes even from the men, is an evening gown and matching coat from the Jackie Kennedy era. Both pieces are made of heavy silk dyed a bright spring green. They are heavily beaded and sequined. The ensemble was tailored by George Chen & Co., Ltd. of Peninsula Court Kowloon, Hong Kong.

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Phil and Esther Ball

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12:00:00 pm

When Phil Ball, of the “original” Ball family, passed away on February 4, 2016, Minnetrista lost another good friend. He and his wife Esther, who died in January 2015, donated money to the Annual Campaign and Endowment Fund, and artifacts to the Minnetrista Heritage Collection. More than that, though, they gave of themselves.

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Remembering Bill Mann

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 12:00:00 pm

Minnetrista lost a dear friend when Bill Mann passed away on New Year’s Day. Bill was a Minnetrista fixture from the time he became property manager to the most recent Farmers Market days. He greeted everyone with a wide smile, a firm handshake, and often, a big bear hug.

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Christmas Windows at McKinley Junior High School

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 1:30:00 pm

For many in Muncie, a wonderful tradition was viewing the Christmas windows at McKinley Junior High School. The school, located next to the Muncie Fieldhouse on North Walnut Street, was built in the late 1930s. It had a large arched window in the façade that faced North Walnut. Starting in 1939, that window was decorated by the students each Christmas.

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The Life and Times of Robert Patterson

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 2:30:00 pm

I’ve mentioned former curator of business and industry, Dick Cole, on several occasions in this blog. While at Minnetrista, he worked extensively with the Ball company and family collections, but he often ventured into other subjects. He wrote the following story about Robert Patterson, a little remembered but obviously accomplished Muncie citizen.

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Hall of Famer Ralph Teetor

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 9:30:00 am

Automotive Hall of Fame, that is. Several years ago, after visiting The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, my husband and I stopped by the Automotive Hall of Fame. Imagine my surprise when I rounded a corner and saw an entire display on Ralph Teetor. Wow, a display on a man from Hagerstown, Indiana. But, of course, it made sense. Teetor was a big deal in the automotive industry.

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Open Space: Art About the Land

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

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.

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Minnetrista Collects Maps

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

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?

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Diamond Heels Hattie Wows Muncie

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

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.

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Lebenswecker—The “Life Awakener,” Yikes!

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

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.

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