Thursday, October 19, 2017

Restoring Downtown History

The Mooresville Redevelopment Commission (RDC) has restored a vital aspect of Mooresville's history downtown and plans to restore further historical tributes to this consequential site.

In Mooresville's Bicentennial Park, currently under construction downtown on the northeast corner of Main and Indiana Streets, the RDC has incorporated into a side wall the capstone of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) buildings, which memorialized the organization's founding of local Morgan Lodge #211 on July 7, 1859.  The I.O.O.F. buildings stood on this site from 1869 to 1989.  The first, three-story structure (built in 1869) was destroyed by fire in 1881, but was replaced by a second building (1881) that was partially demolished in 1965-66, with the remnant of the first floor finally being removed in 1989.  (The capstone had been stored in the Mooresville Academy School on Monroe Street for many years.)  The I.O.O.F. buildings housed generations of local family businesses.

I.O.O.F. Buildings Capstone
(courtesy of the Mooresville-Decatur Times)
(click photos to enlarge)

Second I.O.O.F. Building (ca. 1885)
(Photo by J. P. Calvert)

Second I.O.O.F. Building (July 18, 1920)
(Photo by Manley Brown)

Remnant of the First Floor of the Second I.O.O.F.
Building, Demolished in April, 1989
(Photo by Jack Broyer)

Recently, the "Founder Stone," a historical commemorative plaque affixed to a boulder honoring Samuel Moore (1799-1889), founder of Mooresville, was removed during construction of the new park.  Before the I.O.O.F. buildings, this was the site of Samuel Moore's first wood-frame business building (the first of its kind in Mooresville, built in 1824).  In 1989 plans were made to convert the property into a small park commemorating Paul Hadley (1880-1971), designer of the Indiana State Flag.  That park is now becoming Bicentennial Park.

The "Founder Stone"
(Photo by Shawn Stewart, February, 1998)

Janet (Griffin) Buckley with the "Founder Stone"
(October 29, 2007)
(Photo by William R. Buckley)

In addition to the "Founder Stone" and the I.O.O.F. capstone, the northeast corner of Main and Indiana Streets was the site of an official state historical marker honoring the state flag and its designer.  This marker, too, has been removed during construction but will be relocated on-site when the project is completed.

Paul Hadley/Indiana State Flag Historical Marker
(Dedicated August 6, 2016)
(Photos by William R. Buckley)

The citizens of Mooresville placed the Samuel Moore stone and plaque downtown in 1924 as part of the town's centennial celebration.  Samuel and Eliza Moore's granddaughter, Mary Ida Fogleman, was instrumental in the creation and placement of this historical tribute.

Samuel & Eliza Moore with their daughter,
Margaret Fogleman, and their granddaughter,
(Mary) Ida Fogleman (from A Brief History of the
First Methodist Church in Mooresville, Indiana [1950])

According to reporter Lauren Carpenter, "the RDC [Mooresville Redevelopment Commission] also plans to place the Samuel Moore plaque at the corner of the park as well. [. . .]  As of right now, there are no plans on where to place the stone."  ("Odd Fellows Sign Restored," Mooresville-Decatur Times, Saturday, October 21, 2017, page A6.)

This is indeed good news.  Restoration of the "Founder plaque" to its original location preserves important historical information about the origins of the town and its early pioneer days.  It is fitting that the new bicentennial park, which is designed to commemorate Mooresville's 200th anniversary in 2024, should be situated in such a significant historical location.  As to the stone itself, that's not nearly as important--it's just a boulder left in the glacial moraine that was salvaged from a nearby field--but the plaque is historically critical.

Small communities such as Mooresville need to preserve a sense of history--of continuity--connecting current residents with their predecessors.  Those who live here now stand upon the shoulders of all those who came before, including the town's progenitor.  Without Samuel Moore, there would have been no Mooresville that so many of us now call home.

Saluting Samuel Moore at the site of his first wood-frame business, as the "Founder plaque" has done for nearly a century, emphasizes the significance of the place and what has stood there.  When Samuel Moore built that wood-frame structure for his general store among the handful of surrounding log cabins, he was saying that Mooresville would become an established town, lasting long into the future.  The wood-frame business was unlike other places where log cabins were temporary abodes later abandoned.  It was at the center--the very heart--of the community Moore had established, and he wanted everyone to see that this town would endure.  And so it has, for nearly 200 years.

Original Plat of Mooresville, Indiana (1824)
(Recorded February 21, 1825, Morgan County Recorder)

What better way to honor the pioneer who created our hometown, and all the pioneers and settlers who came thereafter, than by the "Founder plaque" placed at the core of our community?  The plaque belongs on the northeast corner of Indiana and Main Streets downtown, and I salute the Mooresville RDC in its plan to restore it to its central location so that it may continue its part in our town's historical narrative.

Having the I.O.O.F. capstone in the new bicentennial park is likewise crucial to preserving Mooresville's downtown heritage.  Once the State Flag/Paul Hadley marker is also restored, we will have strong reminders of the importance of Mooresville's past in the development of it present (and future). 

Monday, August 7, 2017

2017 Old Settlers Festival Library Booth

Visit the library's booth at the Old Settlers Festival (August 6-7-8, 2017) in Mooresville's Pioneer Park.  Pick-up lots of free goodies and sign-up for free tickets to the Indiana State Fair.

Click Photos to Enlarge

2017 Old Settlers Parade Library Float

In case you missed it on Sunday afternoon (August 6), here's the library's float in the 2017 Old Settlers Parade.  Click the photos to enlarge.

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017 Mooresville Old Settlers Festival

This year's Old Settlers Festival will be held August 6-8, 2017 at Pioneer Park, which is located at 1101 North Indianapolis Road in Mooresville, Indiana. Mooresville Public Library (MPL) will have a table in the non-profit organizations tent area.

As always, click the images to enlarge.

Old Settlers Festival
(Photo courtesy of Visit Morgan County Indiana)

The festival opens with the Old Settlers Parade through downtown Mooresville. The route begins at Mooresville High School and runs south along North Indiana Street, then turns east onto East Main Street to Samuel Moore Parkway.  MPL will have a float in the parade again this year (click here to see our previous floats).

2016 MPL Old Settlers Parade Float

Learn more about the history of the Old Settlers Picnic from our previous blog post and the following video.

History of Old Settlers Picnic (1870-Present),
by Mooresville Public Library
(MPL Treasure Trove Video #6)

Drop by our table, if you have a chance.

1919 Mooresville's "Ford Gals"
Heading to Old Settlers

Myrtle Keller (1895-1997), shown at the steering wheel in the 1919 photo above, served at various times as clerk, assistant librarian, and circulation director at Mooresville Public Library during the 1960s and 1970s, and she was on the library board of trustees during the 1980s. We've blogged about her many times before.

Watching the Old Settlers Parade (1970s)
(Allison's Amoco is in the background)
along South Indiana Street just north
of the High Street intersection

Mooresville High School Band performing in
the Old Settlers Parade (1970s)

Old Settlers rocking chair winners (for being
the oldest Mooresville residents) (1970)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Library's 2005 Addition Construction Project

In case you missed it 12 years ago, here's a video of construction of the library's 2005 addition, which was dedicated on January 27, 2006, exactly 90 years after the MPL's Carnegie building was dedicated.

MPL Dedication, January 27, 2006 Video,
by Mooresville Public Library
Thanks to Beth Hensley, MPL volunteer extraordinaire (whom we call "The Decorinator"), and her late husband, Maurice Hensley, for donating an original DVD released at the 2006 dedication ceremony, which is now part of our permanent Indiana Room reference collection.