Saturday, February 24, 2018

March is Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, so we are featuring relevant books (as well as audiobooks and movies) on our display "rounder" in the library's grand hall, across from the circulation and adult information desks.  Any of the items displayed may be checked-out using your Evergreen Indiana library card.

Click Photos to Enlarge

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Perce Building (Mooresville Moments #4)

Did you know that famous Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was a sign painter in Mooresville during the mid-1870s?  Here's where he worked.

The Perce Building (Mooresville Moments #4)
by Mooresville Public Library
(click video to play)

The building at 25 South Indiana Street in downtown Mooresville was built around 1865 by Dr. B. H. Perce.  It is the oldest business structure still standing.  Originally two stories, a third floor was added in 1869.

From the time of its construction until about 1900, the first floor of the Perce Building was used as a carriage and paint shop.  It was at this location that the famous Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, worked as a sign painter when he moved to Mooresville in the Spring of 1874 to live with his aunt and uncle, Jim & Ann Marine.  In addition to sign painting, Riley wrote articles and humorous quips for the local newspaper, the Mooresville Enterprise, as well as for other Morgan County newspapers.  When trade was slack, Riley would slip around the block to hang out with local photographer and Civil War veteran Jarvis P. Calvert at his art and photography studio on East Harrison Street.

The Mooresville Masonic Lodge was located on the second and third floors of the Perce Building beginning in 1869.  From around 1900 to 1920, the first floor and rear sections housed various businesses, including a harness shop, a tin maker, and a plumber.  It became medical doctors’ offices during the 1920s.

From the 1920s through the 1960s, the first and second floors of the Perce Building were used by the Mooresville telephone exchange.  Today, the building is a one-story structure.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February is Black History Month

February is Black History Month, so we are celebrating by featuring our many relevant items available to checkout from our Evergreen Indiana catalogClick here to see a partial listing of available materials.

Click Image to Enlarge

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Return of the Native (Founder Stone)

Mooresville's "Founder Stone" has returned downtown to Bicentennial Park, as reported in today's edition of the Mooresville-Decatur Times.

Mooresville Bicentennial Park & the
new location of the "Founder Stone"
(January 27, 2018 photos by the author)
(click photos to enlarge)

According to Times reporter Anthony Woodside, the "Founder Stone" has been placed at the back of the park closer to Citizens Bank's parking lot.  Originally, the stone (and affixed plaque) were situated on the northeast corner of Indiana and Main Streets closer to the intersection.

The "Founder Stone" at its original location
Northeast corner of Indiana & Main Streets
Downtown Mooresville
(October 29, 2007 photo by the author)

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the stone and plaque were removed last year during construction of Bicentennial Park and had been stored in the town's highway department garage.

The "Founder Stone" (and plaque) were originally placed downtown as part of Mooresville's centennial celebration (in 1924).  The project was directed by Samuel Moore's granddaughter, Mary Ida Fogleman, to celebrate the town's founding and her grandfather's first wood-frame business built on the site in 1824.

Samuel Moore's Plat of Mooresville
(1824, recorded February 21, 1825)

There has been some talk around town that the stone should have been placed closer to the front of the property, where it had originally sat for decades. That precise location, however, is not historically sacrosanct. Samuel Moore originally owned all of the land upon which Bicentennial Park (and Citizens Bank) stand--in fact, he owned all the land originally platted for the town in 1824--so having the stone anywhere in Bicentennial Park hits the mark from a historical standpoint. Originally, it was placed close to the intersection because pedestrian traffic would best see it at the front of the lot. With Bicentennial Park in place, however, people will now be encouraged to walk through the area, away from the street sidewalks, so having the stone toward the back will not impair anyone's opportunity to see it (and to reflect upon its historical significance).  In fact, placing it in the back of the park provides a better opportunity for people to leisurely read the plaque while enjoying a stroll through the park.  History is best absorbed at a strolls-pace.

We're pleased to see the "Founder Stone" return to its native turf.  Local historical markers are essential reminders of a community's past accomplishments.  That history offers current residents a common heritage, which has a unifying effect upon townspeople.  Regardless of our diversity (and that diversity should be honored, too), we share in common the town's past stories.  We should be proud of them, because we're living our own historical tales here right now, which future residents will look back upon with (hopefully) approval (or at least bemused curiosity).  We are a direct continuation of Mooresville's collective historical experience.  As the town's bicentennial approaches (2024), Bicentennial Park (and the "Founder Stone") remind us that our community's greatness is measured by what has been, what is now, and what will be.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mooresville's Bicentennial Park: A Historical Perspective

Folks driving through downtown Mooresville have likely noticed the new Bicentennial Park located on the northeast corner of Main and Indiana Streets.

Mooresville Bicentennial Park (complete with traffic noise)
(December 5, 2017 video by the author)
(click video to play--it's in focus, really)

I've been asked a few times to explain the meaning of the sculpture.  I'm no art critic, but I'll have a go at interpretation.

Mooresville Bicentennial Park Sculpture
(December 5, 2017 photo by the author)
(Click pictures to enlarge)

The sculpture represents the flames atop the torch on the Indiana State Flag.

Indiana State Flag
(designed by Paul Hadley in 1916; adopted in 1917)

The town's motto is "Home of the [Indiana] State Flag," because Paul Hadley designed the flag, and spent much of his life, here.  So the sculpture commemorates that event.

From a historical perspective, the torch flame sculpture represents more than just the flag.  It symbolizes the eternal flame of human hope and progress, as demonstrated through one's hometown.  Mooresville's pioneers laid down roots here because they saw the potential of a bright, shining future, filled with prosperity, community spirit, social diversity, and the pursuit of happiness.  That future has been transpiring since 1824, and it continues to blossom, as the torch is passed from generation to generation of Mooresvillians.  The sculpture is an invitation to everyone living and working here to keep building upon what our forebearers created and established.  After all, future generations will look back upon us as part of their history, and we want to shine on brightly to them, as our predecessors shone.  We may now be facing 21st century challenges, but our pioneering spirit is the same as those who came before.

Bicentennial Park incorporates other aspects of Mooresville history, as we discussed previously in this blog.

Historical commemorations like Bicentennial Park are important because we need a sense of continuity, of belonging to something bigger than ourselves.  Each person who calls Mooresville home, whether in a residential or a business sense, contributes another brick in our historical edifice, which grows progressively taller and more majestic.  Bicentennial Park honors all of us by showing that the light of Mooresville cannot be extinguished--not by hard times or environmental disasters--so long as we are willing to make a stand to support our community.