Friday, April 30, 2010

York & Overton (1890s)

Those familiar with the over-century-old buildings on the west side of South Indiana Street, just south of the Main Street intersection in downtown Mooresville, Indiana, may be interested in these late 19th century (and early and middle 20th century) photographs of the businesses that occupied the premises. We begin with York and Overton in the 1890s.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Downtown Mooresville, Indiana

"Make every word tell," instructed Professor Strunk at turn-of-the-20th-century Cornell University, when E. B. White, the great American essayist who wrote for The New Yorker alongside James Thurber, was a student there. (Strunk would have blanched at that last sentence.) Sounder writing advice cannot be found at any price.

Still, as wonderful as words can be in describing historical conditions, a photograph brings those descriptions to life. Here are two handouts that present historical photos of downtown Mooresville, Indiana.

Mooresville Town Views

Mooresville Around Downtown

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Flash From Your Past (Historical Flashcard Series)


Here’s a “flash from your past,” if you’re a long-time Mooresville resident. We present our local history flashcard series, featuring old photographs in and around Mooresville and northern Morgan County, Indiana. Just click the links below to see each flashcard.

Lindley Block

The Lindley Block (1905-1925) stood on the southwest corner of the intersection of Main and Indiana Streets in downtown Mooresville. It resembled a modern "mini-mall" in that one walked inside through a common hallway to enter the businesses (although outside ingress was also available).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Frank Huston, Mooresville Composer

Earlier, I devoted a column of this blog to Frank Huston, the composer who wrote the song Mooresville, which is unofficially the "town song" of Mooresville, Indiana. The formatting of that blog presented some difficulties, so I thought readers might prefer the document in its original formatting. Click here to see it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Q & A from Newby 3rd Graders

Elementary school students ask direct, yet sophisticated, questions about history. They have the enormous advantage of not having decades of academic overlay restricting their inquisitiveness. At Newby Memorial Elementary School, in Mooresville, IN, third-grade students are first exposed to local and state history as part of their curricular requirements, although it is during fourth grade that state education requires Indiana history to be specifically taught. You have already, I hope, seen and enjoyed the original artwork from Newby third graders under the direction of Mrs. Nora Carroll, which was previously featured in an earlier blog and on our YouTube Channel. We have a digitized handout exploring typical local history questions from Newby third graders. You will learn as much from the questions as the answers. These are bright kids, interested in learning more about their hometowns and communities.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mooresville Sanitarium

We have prepared another "Treasure Trove" video recounting the history of Mooresville Sanitarium, which subsequently became Comer Sanitarium, Comer Hospital, and Kendrick Hospital.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MPL Indiana Room Treasure Trove Handouts Available Free Online

You can download free copies of the library's Indiana Room "Treasure Trove" handouts (in PDF format) by visiting our handouts website and searching, using the terms Mooresville Public Library Indiana. The documents will appear in a search summary list. Click the links to access each document. Save or print copies. Exchange them with family and friends. Make really cool paper airplanes . . . Wait, no, that's a bad idea. Enjoy them. That's the ticket.

Historical Mooresvile Houses & Other Sites

Here is a handout featuring several local historical sites in Mooresville, Indiana.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mooresville IN Historical Fun Facts

Click here to discover some historical fun facts about Mooresville, Indiana.

North Side of West Main Street

This handout discusses the history of the north side of West Main Street in downtown Mooresville, Indiana.

Since the time this handout was written (July, 2008), Charlie Nelson has, sadly, passed. He was a tremendous wealth of local historical knowledge, and he was a kind and considerate person. I will miss his stories.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

G.R. Scruggs Dry Goods Store (1891-1918)

Downtown Mooresville, Indiana has been home to many businesses during the past 186 years, beginning with Samuel Moore's trading post on the northeast corner of Main and Indiana Streets. Before there were huge discount marts, there were department store, but, before that, there were variety, or "five-and-dime" stores. Before that, there were "dry goods" stores and general stores. Learn more about G.R. Scruggs Dry Goods from our online handout.

Monday, April 19, 2010

11 West Main Street & Old M.E. Church

Read about the businesses at 11 West Main Street, as well as the old Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church on West Washington Street, at the site of the Old M.E. Cemetery (est. 1829), in our online handout.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Marshall "Major" Taylor, World Bicycling Champion, 1899-1901

Marshall W. Taylor was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Nov. 26, 1878. His family moved to Indiana from Kentucky following the Civil War. As a teenager, Marshall worked for a bicycle shop, performing stunts while wearing a soldier's uniform as a costume. This earned him the nickname "Major." During the ensuing decade, he set multiple world records and won numerous cycling championships. He was a world champion cyclist and athlete, and he was, and continues to be, an inspiration to anyone seeking to overcome the oppressiveness of racial prejudice and bigotry. Indianapolis belatedly honored Taylor in 1982 when it opened the Major Taylor Velodrome near Marian University (formerly, Marian College).

Our book trailer gives a preview of one of Taylor's biographies, Marshall "Major" Taylor: World Champion Bicyclist, 1899-1901, by Marlene Targ Brill (21st Century Books, Trailblazer Biography Series, 2007; ISBN 9780822566106).

Anyone interested in further readings about Taylor should consult another of his biographies, Major Taylor: the Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World, by Andrew Ritchie (Van der Plas/Cycle Publishing, 2nd ed., 2009; ISBN 9781892495655). Ritchie took part of his book's title from Taylor's self-published 1928 autobiography, a copy of which is difficult to obtain today (e.g., facsimiles are listed on for over $100).

Indiana students interested in Indiana history should consider "Major" Taylor as a Hoosier biographical subject. He led a fascinating life and achieved greatness by overcoming enormous barriers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bass Drugs & Old Waverly Covered Bridge (Handout Formats)

Earlier I posted a couple of local history "treasure troves" that are also available on our website. Since the formats are different, perhaps the website versions might be easier to read.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

True Hoosier Ghost Stories: Haunting at Sycamore Lake and Shelf Doll, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

Ordinarily, I devote this blog to historical descriptions of Mooresville and the surrounding portions of Morgan County, Indiana, but, as today is a special family day, I would like to feature a book trailer discussing an eastern Indiana haunting.

Our YouTube book trailer video appears below:

2011 UPDATE:  Karl Muilliwey, the author of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, has written a second real-life paranormal book.  Watch our book trailer below for details.

If you like real-life ghost stories, you should enjoy these.  A digital edition, as well as a printed copy, of the serialized version of Haunting at Sycamore Lake is available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Farmers State Bank

Dr. Steve Nelson, an academic colleague at the University of Great Falls (Montana), was fond of positing, "Why reinvent the wheel?" whenever faced with repetitious tasks. Sound advice, this is. (Writing like Yoda in Star Wars, I am.)  So I link one of our website handouts.

Therein lies the tale of the Farmers State Bank, once a pivotal commercial landmark of Mooresville, Indiana, but, alas, this fine institution succumbed to the Great Depression. The building still stands, fortunately, at the heart of downtown--the Main and Indiana Street intersection. This is arguably the highest ground upon which the town is situated. Founder Samuel Moore, as noted Mooresville historian Wanda Potts said, had the supreme good sense to plat the town on high ground to avoid flooding from nearby White Lick Creek.

More from Wanda later. She was the Indiana Room librarian at Mooresville Public Library (1966-2002) and is the greatest living authority on our local history. She knows everything about this community's history, and what she doesn't know, never happened. (If it happened, she remembers. It's amazing, really.) You wouldn't be reading this blog right now (assuming, of course, that you're here, reading it) if it weren't for her dedication to preserving Mooresville's past.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bass Drug Store

Then... George W. Bass Drug Store (c. 1880)
(3 East Main Street, Mooresville, IN). This photograph (circa 1880) shows the first building to house the George W. Bass Drugstore, which operated for 35 years. [FN 1] George W. Bass (1842-1924) was a Civil War veteran who moved to Mooresville in 1878. This photo shows the original structure, which was "a one-story, Greek Revival, gable-front frame building with Doric columns supporting a portico over the sidewalk." [FN 2] (Photograph donated to the Library by Bonita Marley, 10/23/1968).

Then... George W. Bass Drug Store (c. 1902-1920)

(3 East Main Street, Mooresville, IN). The original frame structure was replaced by the existing two-unit, two-story brick building sometime between 1890 and 1902. In 1902, this structure, which still stands, housed the G.W. Bass Drugstore in the west portion, while the Burch Grocery occupied the east part. A barbershop was in the basement. There was a dividing wall between the first floor rooms; the second floor was used as the town hall/opera house. By 1910, the opera house replaced the town hall with stage and scenery, while the first floor remained shared by G.W. Bass Drugstore and Burch Grocery. By 1920, First National Bank had replaced G.W. Bass Drugstore in the west room, but Burch Grocery, which later became George Allison's grocery, continued business in the east room. A "hall" was designated as the second floor user in 1920 instead of the opera house. [FN 3]

Now... (2007)

[FN 1] Marylou Smith, M.L.S., A Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Mooresville (Mooresville Public Library, April, 2007).
[FN 2] Joanne Raetz Stuttgen, Morgan County Historic Preservation Society, Nomination of Mooresville Commercial Historic District, Morgan Co., IN, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Section 8, Page 31 (Dec. 19, 2001) [hereinafter cited as National Registry Nomination].
[FN 3] National Registry Nomination, Section 8, at pp. 31-32.
© 2008 by the Mooresville Public Library. All Rights Reserved. Photographs reprinted by permission.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Old Waverly Road Covered Bridge ... Then ... and Now

Photos 1-5: Then... Old Red Covered Bridge Across East Fork of White Lick Creek on the Waverly Road.

First Photo: Around 1910 photographer J. P. Calvert captured a horse and buggy making its way across the old red covered bridge spanning the East Fork of White Lick Creek, heading northwest into Mooresville. The Mooresville cemetery appears in the background on the right.

Second Photo: In 1911 the M. L. Photo Company photographed the old red covered bridge looking east toward Day's Hill, which was named after Richard and Hannah Day, who homesteaded the land upon which the house in the background is situated. The bridge was located on the Waverly Road, which is now State Road 144.

Third Photo: J. P. Calvert captured the flooding resulting from heavy rains that fell on March 25, 1913. The Waverly Road is nearly impassable, and the water almost reaches the bottom of the old red covered bridge.

Fourth & Fifth Photos: “Old Red Bridge” across the East Fork of White Lick Creek (circa 1910-1920). The bridge was a popular "diving platform" for swimmers looking for relief from the summer heat.

Sixth & Seventh Photos: Now... Bridge Across East Fork of White Lick Creek on East High Street, Near State Road 67 and State Road 144 Intersection (October 2007)

East High Street Bridge spans the East Fork of White Lick Creek, entering Mooresville. The modern High Street bridge is northwest of the intersection of State Road 67 and State Road 144 on East High Street. The view in Photo #7 is toward the Mooresville cemetery, which is obscured by trees (slightly to the right of center in this picture). The creek meanders much as it did a century ago.

Looking east across the bridge in Photo #6, one sees a Wendy's restaurant close to where Day's Hill (and homestead) once stood. The hill was bulldozed, and the dirt was removed to fill the lowland adjacent to the East Fork of White Lick Creek, where the M & I Bank and Casey's General Store now stand, on the southwesterly side of State Road 144.


  • Stuttgen, Joanne Raetz, & Tomak, Curtis, Morgan County pp. 50-51 (Postcard History Series) (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007)(ISBN 0-7385-5120-1). All black and white photographs appearing on this page were used in this book and are reprinted by permission.
  • J. P. Calvert, Red Covered Bridge over East Fork of White Lick Creek, looking toward Day's Hill, outside Mooresville, 1911 (photo furnished courtesy of the Academy of Hoosier Heritage, Mooresville, IN).
  • J. P. Calvert, Red Covered Bridge over East Fork of White Lick Creek, looking toward Mooresville, circa 1910 (photo furnished courtesy of Dianna Atkins).
  • J. P. Calvert, Red Covered Bridge over East Fork of White Lick Creek, looking southwest, during 1913 flood (photo furnished courtesy of Joe Seiter).
  • "Now" color photographs of modern bridge across East Fork of White Lick Creek on High Street, Mooresville, taken by William R. Buckley, October, 2007.
Copyright © 2008 by the Mooresville Public Library. All Rights Reserved. Photographs reprinted by permission.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 Student Calendar Art Project Videos (MPL Virtual Art Gallery) (Remaining Installments)

Here are the remaining installments of the MPL 2010 Student Calendar Art Project/MPL Virtual Art Gallery. These videos showcase the original artwork of Ms. Holly Uselman's art students from North Madison Elementary School in Camby, Indiana; Mrs. Nora Carroll's 3rd grade students from Newby Elementary School, Mooresville, Indiana; and Rachel Ferguson, grade three, home school division.

We hope you enjoy these and the other two videos that comprise the 2010 Student Calendar Art Project/MPL Virtual Art Gallery.

Friday, April 9, 2010

2010 Student Calendar Art Project Videos (MPL Virtual Art Gallery) (2nd Installment)

Here is the second installment of the MPL 2010 Student Calendar Art Project/MPL Virtual Art Gallery. This video showcases the original artwork of Mr. Scott Freeman's fourth grade students from Waverly Elementary School in Waverly, Indiana.

2010 Student Calendar Art Project Videos (MPL Virtual Art Gallery) (1st Installment)

In November, 2009, Mooresville Public Library invited third- and fourth-grade students from the Mooresville, Indiana area (enrolled in Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation elementary schools, local private schools, or home-schoolers) to create original artwork to be used in a series of 2011 calendars. The theme was local history (i.e., the towns of Mooresville, Waverly, and Camby, Indiana, and the surrounding Northeastern Morgan County area).

Students from three elementary schools (Newby, Waverly, and North Madison), as well as one home-schooler, responded, and their artwork has been compiled into five calendars and five "local history" videos that we have entitled the MPL Virtual Art Gallery.

Here is the first of the five videos, this one showcasing Newby Elementary School's third graders' wonderful artwork (from Mrs. Nora Carroll's class). We hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rev. Dr. Frank Claude Huston--Famous Hoosier Composer, Mooresville Pastor

Rev. Dr. Frank Claude Huston

Pastor, Mooresville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


Born: September 12, 1871, Orange (Fayette County), Indiana

Died: November 14, 1959, Jacksonville, Florida; Buried in Glencove Cemetery, Knightstown, Indiana

Rev. Dr. Frank C. Huston was the son of Thomas M. & Mary E. (Harris) Huston. His sister, Eva, was born in 1870. Frank attended Fayette County schools and graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In 1899 he became an evangelistic singer for Charles Reign Scoville, a famous evangelist. From Florida to Nova Scotia Frank sang in 180 evangelistic campaigns over 19 years. In 1894 he married Bertha Martin. In 1915, he was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ in Indianapolis.

Frank was internationally known as a composer of hymns, gospel, ballads, popular songs, patriotic tunes, and dance songs (foxtrots, one-steps, and waltzes). His first “successful” hymn, We Shall Gather ‘Round the Throne, was published in 1898. In the early years of the 20th century, Frank founded his own music publishing company in Indianapolis and New York. He published hundreds of songs, many of which were his own compositions. His most famous hymn, It Pays to Serve Jesus (1909), is still performed today. He also wrote nostalgic songs about Indiana, including My Indiana Home (1917) and We’re From Indiana (1928). He collected his gospel works in Selected Sac­red Songs (Jack­son­ville, Fla.: Frank C. Hus­ton, 1937).

On Jan. 14, 1934, Frank Huston became pastor of Mooresville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a post he held through 1937. His salary was $11.75/week. “The ‘normal’ salary was $10/week, but because Bro. Huston lived in Knightstown and drove to Mooresville for choir practice on Thursday nights and again on Sundays for services, he was allowed an extra $1.75 per week.” [FN-1] In 1935 he wrote Mooresville, a nostalgic song praising its hometown values. [The lyrics of the song are appended]. Although no published version appears to exist, his sister copied his original handwritten musical score and donated it to the Library, a facsimile of which has faded with time. The Mooresville Times twice published Frank’s lyrics (June 11, 1936 & June 24, 1937), each time slightly altering the words from the original.


Music & Lyrics By

Rev. Dr. Frank C. Huston

Pastor, Mooresville Christian Church (1934-1937)

Nationally-renowned composer

(First Verse)

You may sing of your cities of great renown;

There are some that are wondrously fair,

But I’ll sing a song of my own little town,

With which there are none to compare.

My town may not boast of her millionaires,

Its buildings may not be so tall,

But if you are thoughtful you’re sure to agree,

Its folks make a town, after all.


Mooresville, Mooresville,

You are the theme of my song,

Mooresville, Mooresville,

You’re the place where I belong.

Oh, there are others much larger I know,

But, none so dear as old Mooresville, and so

I’ll sing your praises wherever I go,

You’re my home town.

(Second Verse)

It’s a beautiful city, is my home town,

With its welcoming streets everywhere,

The charm of her homes, is a proverb well known,

For culture and beauty are there.

Where each takes a pride in his own home town,

There’s little but good may befall,

But still I insist when you’re judging a town,

Its folks make a town, after all.

(Repeat Refrain)

Copyright © 1935 by Frank C. Huston. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.

[FN-1] First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mooresville, Indiana. Mooresville, Ind. : First Christian Church, 1988; p. 13. MPL Call No. I 277.977 FIR.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paul Hadley, Designer of the Indiana State Flag (1916, adopted 1917) and Mooresvillian

2014 UPDATE:  Click the links below to read two excellent biographies of Paul Hadley:

  • Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 22 (1976)

  • Perry, Rachel Berenson.  “Paul Hadley and the Indiana Flag.”Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History 15:1 (Indiana Historical Society, Winter 2003): 20-29; “Paul Hadley, Indiana State Flag Designer.”  Indiana Magazine (Indiana Dept. of Commerce, Nov. 1977): 24-25; MPL biographical handout.

"Paul Hadley looks on as Ralph E. Priest, a student at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, applies gold leaf to an Indiana state flag, circa 1923. When faculty and students at Herron learned that no state flag was on display in the Hoosier capital, they created the one seen here and presented it to the state. The Indiana Historical Bureau now safeguards the flag." [Photo and caption excerpted from Perry, Rachel Berenson. "Paul Hadley: Artist and Designer of the Indiana Flag," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. 15(1), 20-29 (2003)].

Paul Hadley's Indiana state flag (see B/W photo above)
now stored at the Indiana State Library
by the Indiana Historical Bureau
(Photo by Cheryl Dobbs, December 2013)

Modest ... Soft-spoken … Dignified … Witty … These descriptions of longtime Mooresville resident Paul Hadley, designer of the Indiana State Flag, reflected the community and state in which he was raised. Born in Indianapolis on Aug. 6, 1880, Paul was one of four sons of Dr. Evan Hadley, M.D., and Ella Quinn Hadley. He switched from Indianapolis (later called Shortridge) High School to Manual Training High School to study art under Otto Stark, one of the famous Hoosier Group of impressionist painters. Paul then studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts & the PA Museum & Industrial Arts School. He first specialized in stained glass and interior designs, working for Philadelphia and Chicago firms. Paul helped design the Kennebunkport, Maine residence of Hoosier writer Booth Tarkington. Paul was named “most popular artist” at the 1922 Indiana State Fair. He did not drive a car; instead, he hiked cross-country to paint the scenic views. His ability to capture the essence of his subjects was matched by superb use of color and realism, softened with impressionistic tones.

Out of 200 proposals, Paul’s design for the Indiana State Banner (changed to Flag in 1955) was selected in the state’s 1916 Centennial Celebration, and the Indiana General Assembly adopted it in 1917. The flag’s flaming torch and six radiating beams from the torch symbolized the expansion of liberty and enlightenment. The 13 stars represent the original 13 U.S. states; the five inner stars represent the next five states admitted to the Union. Indiana is the largest star atop the torch.

As an art instructor at the Herron School of Art (1922-1933), he specialized in watercolors and outdoor sketches. Paul became Assistant Curator of the Art Association (1935-36). He travelled the country, capturing distinctively local scenes that defined mid-20th century Hoosier and American culture. He lived in Mooresville, Plainfield, and, finally, Richmond, IN, where he died on Jan. 31, 1971.

2016 UPDATE:  Watch these biographical videos to learn more about Paul Hadley.

Paul Hadley Biographical Video, Part One, by MPL

Paul Hadley Biographical Video, Part Two, by MPL

Paul Hadley Biographical Video, Part Three, by MPL

Paul Hadley Biographical Video, Part Four, by MPL

Paul Hadley Biographical Video, Part Five, by MPL

Monday, April 5, 2010

Downtown Mooresville at the Movies: MPL Local History Video

The MPL Indiana Room has a variety of materials showcasing the history of Mooresville and Morgan County, Indiana. We call this collection our "treasure trove." Here is a video showcasing the history of movie theaters in downtown Mooresville, which is also available to view on YouTube.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mooresville (Indiana) Treasure Trove Blog: A Blog is Born ...

William R. Buckley, local historian
Blog the First
Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Blog is Born!

Although it sounds like a bad 1950s sci-fi movie title, the likes of which would be ripe for riffing on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1989-ca. 2002), it is, at least, apropos to say that "a blog is born"!

Go Forth, and Blogify

Not exactly the Biblical mandate, but here we are with this brand new blog, and so now we must find a proper use for it. As the Indiana Room librarian at Mooresville Public Library (in Mooresville, Morgan County, Indiana), I have at my disposal a plethora of historical materials begging to be shared--well, if not quite begging, then at least politely asking.

Local History, Videos, Book Trailers, and More!

This blog, then, will showcase the local history of Mooresville, Indiana, and vicinity, as well as the MPL Indiana Room collections. We will include historical photographs, columns, videos, book trailers, and program information. A treasure trove of history awaits! Like most treasures, it will require some digging, which is hard on one's back, but the rewards are more than compensatory.

Join me on this historic venture! Our quest is the holy grail. What's the air speed velocity of a sparrow --er-- sorry, that's from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974). Well, there's, like, gobs of treasure, okay? Trust me on this.

Glad to have you aboard, squire.

"Historionically" yours,

William R. Buckley

P.S. I know that's not a real word--although histrionically is, and it would serve in a pinch here--but there have to be some latitudes in blogging, don't you think? Possibly some longitudes, too, but I'm no geographer.