Mooresville Public Library

Mooresville Public Library
MPL Courtyard

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Still Your Source For Mooresville (Indiana) History

We're winding up this blog, as staff has been reassigned to different duties.  We will keep all previous postings available online, however, if you'd like to browse them. Thanks for reading!

Please visit the library's website for more local history and genealogy information about Mooresville and Morgan County, Indiana.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

History in "Plane" Sight

Yesterday evening, a patron visited the Library with a handful of undated, unidentified photographs.  He said they were taken by Elvin Carlisle, a former resident of Mooresville, Indiana, who had moved to California at some point.  Otherwise, the patron had no details.  Could I determine when and where the photos were taken?

B-24 Liberator
(Click Images to Enlarge)

 Boeing-Stearman Kaydet

The biplane photos are Boeing-Stearman Kaydets, commonly used by the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Navy as pilot trainers during the 1930s and 1940s.  Although it is impossible to definitively determine from these black-and-white photos, the lighter wing color against the darker body color (in two of the images) suggests that aircraft N610M (see number on tail and right upper wing) was Stearman model N2S (or model PT-17), commonly known as the "yellow peril," because of its bright yellow wings and tail.

Boeing-Stearman N2S (or PT-17)
("The Yellow Peril")

The presence of these biplanes in the Carlisle photos suggests World War II pilot training, which narrows the time period to, say, 1940-1945.  The B-24 photo, however, has details that enable us to more precisely date the pictures.

Early 1950s Automobiles

The automobiles in the background of the B-24 photo appear to be early 1950s models, so we may tentatively date the images circa 1950-1953.


Company Name

Our best clue is the company name on the building behind the B-24:  Skyways, Inc.  Preliminary Internet searches determined that Mary Zerbel Hooper Ford, a WWII RAF female pilot from Marquette, Michigan, and her second husband, WWII American flying ace Jack Ford (from Los Angeles, California), opened an aircraft ferrying business, Fleetway, Inc., in the Los Angeles area following war's end.  They later changed the company name to Skyways, Inc.  During the late 1940s and through the 1950s, the Fords and their staff (as many as 50 pilots) delivered hundreds of war surplus aircraft to various air forces and civilian aircraft enterprises worldwide.  Jack Ford was killed in a plane crash in August, 1959.  (Richardson, August 2012 online newsletter).

Having narrowed the probable location of the photos to the Los Angeles area, we should determine if other details from the pictures reinforce this conclusion.  We know from our patron that Elvin Carlisle (who took the photos) moved to California following WWII.  Skyways, Inc. operated in the Los Angeles area.  Are those mountains behind the automobiles in the B-24 picture?  It could be simply an airplane hanger.  Certainly, the grounds in the photos seem arid--what little grass is light-colored, and there are no shrubs or trees (of course, it is an airport, so the absence of trees can be readily explained on that basis)--so a southern California climate is slightly suggested.  Our best indication, of course, is Skyways, Inc., and the 1950s style cars, from which we may safely date Carlisle's photos to the early 1950s around Los Angeles.

 Elvin Carlisle lived in a house on the northeast corner of Indiana and South Streets in Mooresville.  From the late 1960s until around 2011, this was the location of a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant, as discussed in one of my colleague's blog posts.

Elvin Carlisle died on January 31, 1984, in Los Angeles, where he is buried.


"Boeing-Stearman Model 75," Wikipedia.  Available online at (retrieved Dec. 5, 2013).

"Elvin Carlisle Obituary," Mooresville Times, Feb. 15, 1984, p. 17a.

Richardson, Frank.  "Back Then: Two Extraordinary Marquette Women Flew in World War II," Marquette Monthly (August, 2012).  Available online at (retrieved Dec. 4, 2013).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Morgan County Cemeteries Database

Genealogy research just became easier for persons searching for burials in Morgan County cemeteries. Try the Morgan County online cemetery database, courtesy of Morgan County Public Library.  Click the logo below to access this valuable resource.

Click Logo to Access Database

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Brief Mooresville Historical Sketch From Half a Century Ago

On April 11, 1966, as part of Indiana's sesquicentennial celebration, The Messenger, a Plainfield, Indiana newspaper (1964-1984), published a special supplement entitled "Mooresville Week," in which some of the community's historical highlights were showcased.  The articles were written by Wanda Potts, late Indiana Room Librarian at Mooresville Public Library (1966-2002) and Town Historian.  Click the hyperlinks below to read this special four-page edition, which, due to their respective file sizes, we have digitized into parts.  Long-time residents will enjoy the advertisements from nearly 50 years ago.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Banned Books Week

The American Library Association (ALA) celebrates your right to choose what you want to read year-round but especially next week during Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2013).  Discover what you're missing at your favorite library. Read banned books (or listen to banned audiobooks or playaways or other formats).  Our promo trailers explain.