Monday, December 18, 2017

Northeast Corner Changes

In 1824, Samuel Moore constructed his general store on the northeast corner of the intersection of Indiana and Main Streets in downtown Mooresville.  Let's see how that corner has changed over the years.

Situated on the northeast corner were the following:

  • Samuel Moore's general store (1824-1869);
  • First I.O.O.F. building (1869-1881);
  • Second I.O.O.F. building (1881-1989);
  • Paul Hadley memorial park (1990-2017);
  • Mooresville Bicentennial Park (2017-    )
Let's see some images, courtesy of the Indiana Room at Mooresville Public Library.

Original Plat of Mooresville, Indiana (1824)
(showing the northeast corner of Indiana and Main Streets)
(Section B4, Lots 1-2 & 15-16)
(Recorded February 21, 1825, Morgan County Recorder's Office)

After the fire (July 8, 1881) that destroyed
the first I.O.O.F. building (photo by J. P. Calvert)
(photo donated to MPL by Ernest L. Hadley [1891-1972])

Back of 1881 photo
MPL photo report for 1881 picture

I.O.O.F. Morgan Lodge #211 members parade in front of
the second I.O.O.F. building (circa 1885)
(photo by J. P. Calvert)

Second I.O.O.F. building is in the upper center
of this photo (circa 1885) by J. P. Calvert

East Main Street (circa 1890)
(Second I.O.O.F. building is at front left)
(photo by J. P. Calvert)

Second I.O.O.F. building (July 18, 1920)
(photo by Manley Brown)

(second I.O.O.F. building in background)
from the Mooresville Times, January 22, 1976)

2-22-22 celebration (original photograph)

Demolition of Hundley building
(just east of the second I.O.O.F. building)
(Mooresville Times, October 24, 1963)

Removal of top floor of second I.O.O.F. building
(Mooresville Times, July 23, 1964)

Last day of the second I.O.O.F. remnant (April, 1989)
(photo by Jack Broyer)

Planning Paul Hadley mini-park (1989)
(Mooresville Times, July 21, 1999)

Janet (Griffin) Buckley sits atop the
"founder's stone" in Paul Hadley mini-park
during Mooresville's Victorian Christmas
(December 3, 2011)
(photo by William R. Buckley)

State historical marker commemorating Paul Hadley
& the Indiana State Flag being unveiled
(August 6, 2016)
(photo by William R. Buckley)

Mooresville Bicentennial Park
(December 5, 2017)
(photo by William R. Buckley)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

New Local History Video Series

Mooresville Public Library has begun a new video series called Mooresville Moments: Our Local History, based upon its collection of local history postcards and flashcards.  The title is borrowed from the popular newspaper column, "Mooresville Moments" (1999), written by town historian Wanda Potts (1921-2012), who served as MPL's Indiana Room librarian from 1966 to 2002.

In this first installment, we feature the official Mooresville Town Banner, designed by Bonita Marley, who served as library director from 1961 to 1984. The flag commemorated the 150th anniversary of the town's founding. You can see it flying downtown in Bicentennial Park.

Mooresville's Town Banner (video)
(Mooresville Moments #1)
by Mooresville Public Library

Thanks to Wanda and Bonita, the library has an extensive local history collection preserved to share with the public. We hope this new video series does justice to their treasure trove of Mooresville history.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Downtown Mooresville's New Bicentennial Park

Mooresville's new Bicentennial Park is now substantially completed and open to the public.  The park is downtown on the northeast corner of Main and Indiana Streets, where Samuel Moore's general store was situated (built in 1824), and where the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) buildings were located (the first was built in 1869, replacing Moore's wood-frame/brick structure; the second in 1881), the capstone from which has been incorporated into the new park (see photo below).  (As always, click the images to enlarge them.)  The capstone commemorated the founding of I.O.O.F. Morgan Lodge #211, not the construction of the first building, but it was incorporated into the structure in 1869 when the first building was constructed.

The park's sculpture reminds us of the flames atop the torch shown on the Indiana State Flag.

Alongside the American and Indiana flags flying in the park is Mooresville's official town banner, designed in 1974 as part of the town's sesquicentennial celebration by Bonita Marley (1906-2002), director of Mooresville Public Library (1961-1984).

The state historical marker commemorating Paul Hadley and the Indiana State Flag was relocated a few feet north of its original location.

Landscaping and final touches will be completed in Spring 2018, according to an article in the Mooresville-Decatur Times, Saturday, December 2, 2017, pages A1-A6.

New street lights, brick sidewalks, and signage surround downtown on Main and Indiana Streets, as can be seen in the photos above and below.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Detecting an Unmarked Photo's Date & Locale

In Mooresville Public Library's Indiana Room vertical files, there are many unidentified photos.  One such picture was taken by lifetime Morgan County resident Maurice Hensley (1927-2017), who worked for 42 years at the Railway Mail Service and the United States Postal Service, retiring in 1987 as Mooresville's postmaster.  He was also an entrepreneur who owned and operated several local businesses with his wife, Beth (Medsker) Hensley.  We know Mr. Hensley took the photo because it was given to the library by Beth, who has volunteered at the library for over three decades.

Maurice Hensley (1927-2017)

Undated Photo by Maurice Hensley 
 (Click Image to Enlarge)

So, when and where were the photo taken?  Nothing was written on the back of the picture to tell us, so we need to search the clues in the captured image.

It is easy to identify the buildings as those situated along the north side of East Main Street in downtown Mooresville, based upon similar images included in the library's vertical files or in Mooresville High School's yearbooks.  The vehicles shown suggest the mid-1970s.  Advertisements from the 1974-1979 editions of Wagon Trails (the MHS yearbook) clarify which businesses were operating on East Main Street, and, more importantly, often provide their addresses.

 We also know from Clara Richardson's A Brief History of Mooresville, Indiana, 1824-1974 (1974) (on page 121) that Dickinson's Printing, who published the book, was then located at 10 East Main Street. By 1977, Dickinson's had moved to 22 East Main Street (according to Robinson's 1977 Mooresville Town Directory). This corresponds with the address shown in Mr. Hensley's photo. Furthermore, J. Neal & Son Pumps appears (to the right in the photo) in a building constructed in 1976. Plus, the liquor store sign shown in the rearview mirror's reflection was on West Main Street (in the mid- to late-1970s, but prior to 1980) by the alley where Sugar Mamas Custom Cakes stands today. So we may safely conclude that Mr. Hensley took this photo either in 1977 or 1978.

We just noticed the message on Dickinson's sign (at the bottom) quoting Mr. Hensley's advice to shop and mail early (as a good postmaster would do). That places the photo in late November or early December of 1977 or 1978 (note the bare trees in the background).

With a little effort, we may use the library's local historical resources to narrow down places and dates shown in unmarked photographs such as this.  Ordinary "town pictures" are invaluable because they record precious memories simply by capturing the way things were.  But to appreciate their meaning and significance, we still need human memory to recall, or, if none is still available, then historical materials to which we may turn to identify the scenes captured in film.

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.