BANKS AND BANKING.
Banking is not among the first lines of business established in the development of any country, but after a
time such institutions become a necessity, and here business requirements have been well cared for by the Presence
of strong. reliable banking concerns. Before going into the organization of the local banks in Bloomington, it
is well to note the disadvantages under which the earlier business men had to conduct their business, for lack
of stable money systems and good banks at home.
The "shinplaster" era in this county began in about 1855, when, for lack of money, Tarkington & Akin
commenced to issue such medium of exchange. The denominations issued were for fifty cents and one dollar, and at
first were received at their face value. J. M. Howe also issued some such "money." This was done to facilitate
exchanges, for the government failed to provide small denominations. Several thousand dollars of this species of
money was issued by the firm above named. In a year or two they began to depreciate in value, when trouble ensued.
In 1858 the following action was taken by the then leading business men of Bloomington, and the resolution published
in the Republican; "SHINEPLASTERS. - We, the undersigned citizens of Bloomington, Ind., pledge our word and
honor that we will not take any 'shinplaster' currency after the first day of February, for more than ninety cents
to the dollar; and that we will not circulate any more after that date - nor any other - paper currency not regularly
chartered according to law. January 20. 1858." Signed by William O. Fee, Thomas Mulliken, A. W. Campbell.
Kahn Bros., Howe & Co., W. D. Owen,O. L. Draper. Tuley & McCrea. Benjamin McGee. B. S. Gowgill. J. S. Tibbetts,
A: Helton & Co., M. L. McCollough, Millen & Moffatt, A. Adams, Mason & Faris, P. Henoch. A. S. Mercer.
E. E. Sluss, Dunn & Co., E. Johnson. S. J. Wade. T.O. McCollough
Good money was scarce at an early date in this county. Paper bills were in existence and were worth all prices
below par. As the value of the bills constantly fluctuated, they were really merchantable property, as gold and
silver during the Civil war period, when. in Wall street gold reached as high a quotation as $2.87 in greenback
money. Silver was scarce and gold still scarcer. Small denominations were almost unknown in real practical circulation,
save as they were created and used by common consent. Silver pieces were cut in two and four pieces. for change
making purposes. Goods, as well as farm products. were bought and sold on the barter plan.
The first banking in the county was done by Tarkington & Akin, in the fifties, and at first they issued only
"shinplaster" money. About 1857 the Bloomington Bank was regularly organized, with a capital of $26,000.
Soon bank bills, or notes. were issued, signed by the above men. Missouri and other state bonds were deposited
with the auditor of state, but in 1860 these bonds so depreciated in value as to cause the suspension of this home
bank. Its paper was only worth about thirty cents on the dollar. Soon after this a private bank was organized by
Buskirk & Hunter, continuing until about 1871, when it was transferred into the First National Bank, with a
capital stock of $50.000, which. later was increased to $100,000.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK.
The history of this concern may be stated as follows: The date of its organization was September 14, 1871; its
first officers were George Buskirk, president; J. Smith Hunter, cashier; its first capital was $120,000, same as
carried now. Its surplus was, in September, 1913, $33,000. Its officers are; Nat U. Hill, president; Ira C. Batman.
vice president; Charles S. Small, cashier; Reg. B. Stull. assistant cashier The deposits in the month of August,
1913, amounted to $508,092.29. This one item shows the confidence the people have in this old institution. It is
now working under its third charter from the United States government. The first charter was issued on September
14, 1871; the second September 14. 1891, and the present September 14, 1911.
During all the years of its existence, including the three panics. this banking house has withstood the tide and
stands today unquestioned, as a - solid institution, conducted on business principles:
THE BLOOMINGTON NATIONAL BANK.
This solid institution was organized October 26, 1906, with a capital of $100,000, which it still carries. Its
surplus in August. 1913, was $17,500; its deposits. $250,163.88. The incorporators were William H. Adams, B. F.
Adams. James K. Beck. William J. Allen, James A. Woodburn, E. G. Hogate, William T. Breeden and Harry A. Axtell.
The first officers were; William H. Adams, president; William T. Allen and B. F. Adams, vice presidents; James
K. Beck. cashier; Samuel Pfrimmer, assistant cashier. The first directors were William H. Adams. James A. Woodburn,
E. G. Hogate. W. T. Breeden. Harry A. Axtell. B. F. Adams.
The present (1913) officers are; William H. Adams, president; E. G. Hogate and B. F. Adams, vice presidents; Janes
K. Beck, cashier; Samuel Pfrimmer, assistant cashier; William H. Adams, B. F. Adams, James A. Woodburn, E. G. Hogate,
William C. Fess.
This hank does a general banking business, being counted among the most conservative financial institutions in
Monroe county, and is doing an excellent and safe business. It is also a United States depository bank, making
it doubly safe and popular.
CITIZENS LOAN AND TRUST COMPANY.
This was organized in February, 1900, with a capital stock of $25,000. In 1907 it increased its capital to $55,000.
Its first officers were; P. K. Buskirk, president; Fred Matthews, vice president; John T. Woodward, secretary;
William N. Showers, treasurer. Others who aided in the organization of this corporation Were W. T. Hicks, W. S.
Bradfute, H. C. Duncan, Ira C. Batman, L. V. Buskirk, N. U. Hill, Mary Waldron, Ed. Corr, J. T. Woodward and John
The present officers (1913) are: J. D. Showers, president; RoyO. Pike, secretary and treasurer; S. O. Harrell,
assistant secretary; L. D. Rogers, insurance; directors, J. D. Showers, Fred Matthews, W. T. Hicks, Ira C. Batman,
W. S. Bradfute, W. N. Showers, RoyO. Pike. The present surplus of this corporation is $30,000, while its statement
for August, 1913, shows its deposits to amount to S450,000.
THE MONROE COUNTY STATE BANK.
This bank - now over twenty one years old - was organized under the banking laws of Indiana, its charter being
dated October 27, 1892, by Bloomington capital to the amount of $25,000. The first stockholders included Messrs.
H. E. Wells, S. C. Dodds, James M. Andrews, S. K. Rhorer, W. B. Hughes and W. A. Fulwider. The first officers were;
H. E. Wells, president; S. C. Dodds, cashier; H. E. Wells, James M. Andrew, W. B. Hughes, S. K. Rhorer, W. A. Fulwider,
directors. The hank is located on the corner of Walnut and Kirkwood streets, and now has a surplus of $57,310;
deposits amounting to $287,000. The bank was chartered the second time, October 27, 1912. Its present officers
are; W. A. Fulwider, president; C. L. Rawles, cashier; S. E. Alexander, assistant cashier; S. W. Collins, W. A.
Fulwider, J. W. Cravens, Edwin Corr, F. R. Woolley, directors.
The first attempt at making Bloomington an incorporated town was March 5, 1827 - eighty six years ago - when
a call was made and the leading citizens met at the old court house. Ellis Stone was chosen president of that meeting,
and Benjamin F. Peele acted as secretary. As a result a vote was there taken to get an expression of the will of
the men of the new town. There were eighteen for incorporating and only three against the measure. An election
of the necessary trustees was ordered, and resulted as follows, the same being a report of the election officials
"At an election held in the town of Bloomington on the 8th day of September, 1828, to elect trustees for the
incorporation of the town, agreeably to the act of the General Assembly, we hereby certify that the following persons
were duly elected: Joshua O. Howe, William Alexander, Aster Labertew, Robinson Graham and James Evans. Given under
our hands and seals this 17th day of September. 1828.
"Truly and duly done.
"JOHN B. LOWE, Clerk.
"JAMES EVANS, judges."
This started out well. but for lack of unison and general interest in the new incorporation the municipality soon
died out. In the middle of the forties, the matter again revived and we find this proceeding of the Legislature:
"Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana. That such part of the township
of Bloomington in the county of Monroe as is included within the following limits and boundaries, that is to say,
beginning at the northeast corner of out lot No. 21, thence west to the northwest corner of out lot 39, thence
south to the northwest corner of out lot 28, thence west to the northwest corner of out lot No. 41, thence south
to the southwest corner of fractional lot No. 26, thence east to the northeast corner of out lot No. 35. thence
south to the southwest corner of fractional lot No. 9. thence east to the southeast corner of the University square,
thence north to the southwest corner of out lot No. 72, thence east to the southeast corner of out lot No. 75,
thence to the northeast corner of out lot No. 21, the place of beginning, including all the inlots and out lots
of said town, be and the same is hereby erected into a town corporate which shall henceforth be known and designated
by the name of the town of Bloomington, subject, however, to such repeal, alteration and regulation as the Legislature
may from time to time prescribe."
Section 2 of this act provided for the election of a mayor, recorder and five trustees, who should constitute a
body corporate, with perpetual succession and to be known as the common council of Bloomington. This act was approved
by the Governor, January 13, 1845. An act of the Assembly in 1849 made some changes in the limits of the town,
also provided that eleven trustees, instead of five, should be elected and simply bear the name "Council of
The election of the first town officers occurred in March, 1847, when these were duly elected; John Lawrence, mayor;
Robert Acuff, recorder; A. Labertew, treasurer; D. B. Judah, marshal; W. M. Smith, Samuel Kirk, J. M. Howe, John
Graham and Joseph G. McPheeters, councilmen. The first meeting of the town board was held March 6, 1847, in the
office of the recorder. The first act was to appoint a committee to draft ordinances. Orders were also given to
procure necessary record books, when the council adjourned.
At the second meeting the appointment of David B. Judah as street supervisor and commissioner was made. The same
session sixteen ordinances were passed upon, among which was this very appropriate one; "13th. No person shall
be allowed to keep a dog within the limits of the incorporation.: Any person violating this ordinance shall be
fined fifty cents for each dog so kept, provided that no person shall be fined more than once during the same year
for the same dog." This really amounted to no more than a fifty cent dog tax levy. However, in August of the
same year, upon petition of one hundred and three honorable citizens, the last named ordinance was repealed.
About that date Samuel M. Orchard was allowed to place hay scales on Market street. Much time was spent in amending
the city charter. which was then turned over to the representative in the Legislature from this county. to be passed
at the next session. In January, 1848. a tax of ten cents on each hundred dollars' worth of taxable property was
levied for town purposes.
The town records show that in 1851 an ordinance to tax retail liquor dealers with a town license of five hundred
dollars additional to the county license. was, after a long discussion, finally passed. That was the great cholera
year in ndiana and other states, and the council purchased two hundred bushels of lime to scatter about the streets
and alleys, and also ordered all drinking saloons closed during that fearful epidemic. Por a number of years after
that much money was expended on street and other town improvements, until the people began to question the wisdom
of continuing the town's incorporation any longer. On January to, 1858, an election was held to determine this
question "Shall the corporation be dissolved?" The result was, for corporation, one hundred and one;
against corporation, one hundred and fifteen. Thus, by a majority of fourteen, the town government was brought
to a close. The property' of the defunct town government was invoiced. and some of it turned over to the county
auditor for some future municipality, while other amounts were paid back in way of taxes already paid in. Thus
ended Bloomington's second incorporation history.
The following year, 1859, however, the place was again incorporated. under the new state law regarding such corporations,
and not by legislative act. From that date to the present the place has enjoyed an uninterrupted period of municipal
government. The town government continued until 1866, when, at the October election of that year, the question
of making the "town" into a "city" was voted upon, and resulted as follows; For changing to
"city," one hundred and seventy eight votes; to remain as a "town," ninety three votes. But
as a matter of fact there were five hundred and thirteen voters in the place at that date, and as a majority had
not voted at that election at all, the result was considered questionable. and it was allowed to rest for the time
In 1873 the total tax of the town was seventy five cents on every hundred dollars worth of taxable property. The
poll tax was then fixed at one dollar and twenty five cents.
BECOMES A CITY FINALLY.
In July, 1876, upon petition to the council (the same signed by two hundred and seventeen citizens), the call
for an election was made. It was held and the result was one hundred and eighty four for becoming a "city"
and one hundred and sixty nine against the proposition. Having carried, the election of city officers was in order,
and resulted as follows; C. W. Henderson, mayor; John Waldron, H. H. Voss. W. N. Showers. A. T. Massey, Andrew
Hoover, M. B. Dillon, councilmen. The first council meeting was held September 13, 1876. R. C. Greeves was clerk;
C. H. McPheeters, treasurer, and James Slocum, marshal.
By April, 1877, the bonded indebtedness of the city was thirty nine thousand seven hundred dollars, there having
been paid twelve thousand three hundred dollars. The city council ordered new bonds, bearing seven per cent., issued
to the amount of sixteen thousand dollars, that amount and one thousand seven hundred dollars more being then due,
for the purpose of refunding the old bonds at a lower rate of interest.
The old Pioneer Fire Company was re-organized in 1877, and fully equipped with fire fighting appliances. In January,
twenty nine street lamps were erected around the public square and along the principal streets, at a cost of seventy
five dollars. In 1880 permission was granted to S. Solomon & Company to erect gas works and lay down pipes
through the streets of Bloomington. In 1881 permission was granted the Bloomington Electric Telephone Company to
erect poles and stretch wires over the streets. In March, 1883, the city council of New Albany presented Bloomington
with a fine fire engine, as a return for five hundred dollars sent by the latter to the former a few months before
during the great flood on the Ohio.
It was written thirt years ago, of Bloomington, that "Ever since the Civil war the town or city board has
been constantly engaged in improving her streets. The paving, macadamizing. guttering, etc., have gone on until
all the leading streets of the city are almost water and mud proof. The city is, without single exception, the
cleanest of any in the entire state."
What was said then is doubly true in 1913, and is so acknowledged by careful observers who travel.throughout the
Bloomington is now rated in the fifth class of cities, that is, under ten thousand in population. The city has
about two and a half miles of brick paved streets, and several miles of excellent sewerage. The police department
is composed of five men, two night officers, two day officers and the chief. Besides Marshal Joseph B. Hensley,
there is Henry Dudley, Krit Shaw, Hugh Hinkle and Ira Robinson. The fire department is unusually well equipped
for a city of this size. There are six men, including the chief, and there are approximately one hundred and sixty
fire plugs at advantageous points within the city limits. The equipment includes an Ahrens-Fox chemical combination
motor truck. one steam engine, and one horse drawn combination wagon. The department owns about fifteen hundred
feet of hose. The gas and electric plants are owned by. the Central Indiana Lighting Company.
The following have served as mayors of the city; since its organization as such in 1876; 1876-78, C. W. Henderson,
resigned; A. J. Hoover filled vacancy; 1878-1885, Clelland F. Dodds: 1885-1887, James B. Mulky; 1887-1891, M. M.
Dunlap; 1891-1897, L. V. Buskirk; 1897-1902, Arthur M, Hadley; 1902-1904, Frank J Dunn; 1904-1910, Claude G, Malott;
1910. John G. Harris,
The elective and appointive officers of the city in 1913 are as follows: Mayor, John G, Harris; city attorney,
R. L. Morgan (appointive); city clerk, W. A. Wellons; marshal, Joseph B. Hensley; treasurer, Jesse A. Howe (appointive);
councilmen, at large, S. C. Freese and L. C. McDaniel: first ward, W. S. Sentney; second ward, E. R. Fletcher;
third ward. Henry Beard,
FINANCES - 1913,
In the report made by Jesse Howe, city treasurer, on September 1, 1913, there was a cash total in the treasury
of $54,556,36, The records of the city show that the bonds outstanding equal the amount of $71,077, which includes
$42,000 in water works bonds, In valuation, the water works plant is worth about $170,000, Other city property
and value includes the fire department, with a value of $12,000: Rose Hill cemetery, $5,000: and the street department.
WATER WORKS SYSTEM,
Bloomington for many years had difficulty in obtaining sufficient water, of standard purity, for the use of
its citizens, At first people depended largely upon wells, which did not prove satisfactory as the city grew in
population, Then came the era of using cistern water, which nearly every family was provided with, It became a
fad and generations of people here were educated to the notion (possibly true) that filtered rain water was the
best drink for the people, But he who has drunk from some cold mountain stream or spring will never be converted
to the theory that rain water is best to cool the parched throat and burning lips! Even today most of the residences
depend largely upon the chain pump and cistern system. and in many cases, when properly filtered and cooled by
running through coils, surrounded by ice, the water is very good for drinking purposes.
The present water works system was installed in 1892, when the city purchased the large tract of land known
as Weimer's springs, which probably has solved for many years to come the water problem of Bloomington, The water
is now obtained from three large lakes, fed by springs, and capable of furnishing sufficient water for a city twice
as large as this, In 1911 the city expended ten thousand dollars for a new lake and an increased pumping capacity,
with various other improvements. Water taken from these lakes, several miles from the city, passes through a large
filter composed of one foot layer of broken rock, two feet of gravel and one foot of sharp sand. It is then pumped
by three powerful engines to the city, at the rate of four million gallons per twenty four hours. More than sixteen
miles of eight and twelve inch pipes traverse the streets, giving to all within the corporation, who desire it,
a good quality of water, at fair rates.
The Bloomington postoffice has been of the second class of offices since 1894, about which date it also became
a free delivery office. It now has seven city carriers and ten rural route carriers. Its business for the last
fiscal year (June 3o, 1913) amounted to $37,427. Its departments are all complete and well up to the standard required
by the postoffice department at Washington. It has the rural free delivery system, with its ten routes, averaging
about twenty miles each, to the outlying districts of the county; its postal savings department, with deposits,
on September I, 1913, amounting to $13,500; its money order department, doing a large monthly business; its newly
established parcel post department and all the modern appliances for handling the mails with certainty and dispatch.
It is now located in the new federal building, completed June 7, 1913, at an expense to the government of $82,000.
It is built of the celebrated oolitic stone that has made Monroe county famous. The interior walls are all faced
with spotless marble, and the floors of fire proof stone flooring, while the cases and general furniture are as
magnificent as any bank building in the state.
The present efficient and accommodating postmaster. Oscar H. Cravens, was commissioned May 22, 1913. under President
Woodrow Wilson. The office force of capable assistants are as follows: Walter Burke, assistant postmaster; Milton
L. Borden and Howard Farr, money order and register clerks; Lowell C. Day, delivery and stamp clerk; James Thrasher,
A. H. Pering, David Houston, T. J. Adams, clerks; S. P. Cardwell and Homer Hinkle, janitors: H. A. Seward, W. L.
Dowden, C. H. Alexander. S. C. Coffee, Hoy Baker. city carriers; Henry Munson, W. E. Buzzard, W. J. Koontz, R.
A. Kilpatrick, A. P. Blewett, H. A. Sexton, Porter Hazel, Wilburn Hunter, A. M. Hardy, rural free delivery carriers;
Joseph Neill, Jesse Neill, John Payne, substitute carriers.
The postmasters at Bloomington since the establishment of the office, together with the date of their appointment,
is as follows:
David H. Maxwell (established) February 15, 1825; William Lowe, June 6, 1829; John Bowland, March 9, 1833; Barton
R. Byers, January 29, 1834; Abram Buskirk, April 16, 1839; Geo. H, Johnston, July 29, 1839; Abram Buskirk, September
7, 1839; David H. Maxwell, May 31, 1841; John M. Berry, December 30, 1845; David H, Maxwell, October 2, 1849; John
M. Berry, December 2, 1852; Benjamin Wolfe, December 28, 1857; William M. Tate, March 15, 1861; J. G. McPheeters,
March 14, 1865; Tilghman H. Gentry, May 2, 1867; J. G. McPheeters, May 26, 1869; Henry J, Feltus, July 20, 1885;
Joseph G, McPheeters, July 20, 1889; Rufus H. East, April 20, 1893; Lawrence V, Buskirk, May 27, 1897; Walter Bradfute,
January 23, 1907; Oscar H, Cravens, May 22, 1913.
In 1883-84 the city council appropriated $1,000 to sink an artesian well on the public square, At a depth of one
hundred and twenty five feet crude petroleum was found, and natural gas at a depth of seven hundred and seventy
five feet, But it did not appear that the products were found in sufficient quantities to work.
During the present year (1913) the city school board is erecting an $80,000 high school building, on the old college
campus in the southern part of the city, The $80,000 federal building, built of solid stone, is the attraction.
of resident and stranger, alike.
THE COMMERCIAL CLUB.
The Bloomington Commercial Club, organized a few years since, has been the means of bringing the city to the
notice of the outside world as nothing has ever been able to do before, This organization is made up of the best,
most active men in the city and is ever alert to the interests of all that tends to upbuild and make better the
city and county. Its present officers. and directors are: James Karsell, president; C. H. Springer, secretary;
G. C. Davis, treasurer, The board of. directors are: Oscar H. Cravens, T. J. Sare, Alex, Hirsh, W. A. Fulwider,
S. C. Freese, G. C. Davis, S. C. Dodds, L. S. Field, George H. Talbott, E. H. Lindley, W. H. Worley, A. C. Coyle,
E. M. C. Hobbs, F. R. Fletcher and Charles B. Waldron,
OTHER CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS,
In the summer of 1913 the following clubs and organizations had a. healthy existence in Bloomington: The Boys
Club, the Delphian Club, the Indiana Club and the Indiana University Club; also the military organizations of Company
H, First Regiment Infantry, Indiana National Guard, Company H, Hospital Corps, Indiana National Guard; Bloomington
Band; Indiana University Band, and places of amusement as follows: The Crescent, Harris Grand, Princess and Rex
The state statistical reports for 1909 gave the following concerning the city of Bloomington:
Its population in 1910 was 8,838, an increase of 2,378 since the census of 1900. It is located on the Chicago,
Indianapolis & Louisville and the Indianapolis & Southern railways; has ten free rural routes; the American
Express company; the Western Union telegraph; Bell and Independent telephone companies; two daily and one weekly
newspapers; eleven miles of sewer; one mile of improved streets;.five public school buildings; two national banks,
state bank, trust and savings bank, three building and loan associations; a commercial club; the Young Men's Christian
Association and Young Women's Christian Association; brick and tile mill; wagon factory; cigar factory; two flourishing
mills; a basket factory; one glove and mitten factory; one broom factory: five stone saw mills; two other saw mills;
twenty two physicians; twenty five lawyers; six dentists; two veterinary surgeons; two dry goods stores; eight
drugstores; two department stores; four hardware stores; four jewelry stores; three shoe stores; two book stores;
six 'millinery stores; three furniture stores; two music houses; three wall paper and paint stores; three harness
shops; four undertaking establishments; six clothing stores; five confectionaries; four building material houses;
two machine shops; six livery stables; two garages; three hotels; six restaurants; ten barber shops; three hair
dressing rooms; five meat markets; two moving picture shows; three tailor shops; three second hand stores: two
produce stores; estimated number of employes engaged in the manufacturing plants of the city, 650; weekly payroll,
$12,000. No saloons.
PHENOMENAL DEVELOPMENT IN FIVE YEARS.
No other half decade in the history of any Indiana city has shown the marked growth in population and real substantial
improvement exhibited by Bloomington from 1907 to 1912, It has witnessed the change from a conservative and slowly
developed town into a completely equipped and progressive modern city, New transportation facilities, new court
house, new buildings, both public and private, have marked this five year period in' the city's history, Now the
city is known for its beautiful homes and contented populace, Here one finds the homes of men from almost every
calling in life - homes for the great army of workers in shop, mill and factory, for the instructors of Indiana
University, - and for the workers and owners and operators of the great politic stone industry of the community,
These homes, neatly and well built, are an ornament to the city and the talk of the "stranger within the gates."
The business section of the place has been doing its full share in these eventful five years, Handsome new structures
have been reared in place of old, time honored, but worn out buildings, The ancient court house has been torn away
and the half million dollar temple of justice adorns the spot about which clusters so much of ancient town history
and tradition, This building stands a monument to the thrift, enterprise and good taste of a prosperous city and
As one writer puts it: 'Five years have brought Bloomington many new people. Men and women of rare refinement have
been attracted to the city by its delightful location and its exceptional educational advantages, Business men
of keen ability and foresight have been induced to cast their lot among us, attracted by the rare business advantages
here found in every hand, new population has almost doubled in five years: the character of the many new structures
indicate what type of people are in charge of affairs here now,"
Is this a thing of dhance ? No, indeed. Here has been organized the Bloomington Commercial Club, an organization
with no selfish, 'personal aims, but, on the contrary, the general up building of a permanent and great commercial
and home city, the future of which is now assured, The uniqueslogan of this Commercial Club is the key to what
has been accomplished and what may be looked for in the near future, "Pride of Indiana and the Center of the
Oolitic Stone Belt,"
REMINISCENCES OF BLOOMINGTON AND HER PEOPLE,
By Amzi Atwater,
It was in January, 1865, that I came to Bloomington to be pastor of the Christian church and study in the university,
The church building stood where the parsonage now stands, the pulpit platform covering nearly the place where the
east end of the front porch is now. The Methodist church was located on the west side of the railroad near the
corner of Sixth and Madison streets, The Presbyterian church at that time was known as "Old School and New
School," The Old School was located on the east side of the public square, the New School on Sixth street
just west of the present site of the Bowles hotel, While the influential Ballentine and Foster families were in
the New School, the greater numbers and wealth were with the older organization. A few years later the cause of
their national separation having been removed, the two united on the east side. The Baptist, United Presbyterian
and Catholic churches, when they built new and commodious houses later on, retained the same lots they had occupied
Among the men whom I found leading in the Christian church in 1865 were David Batterton, Johnson McCullough, Barton
W. Cole, Richard A. Fulk, Ellis Sluss (Captain John Sluss, being in poor health, could not take much part), William
A Clark, Joshua Hoover, Andrew Hoover, Henry Rhorer, Thomas Holtzman, Benjamin Smith and many others. All the officers
of that day have died or became inactive. William A. Clark was the leader of the music, using a tuning fork to
get the key and had his singers gather about the great central pillar or a little in front of it. He probably held
membership in the church longer than any other one of these officers, beginning in 1846 and ending with his death
in June, 1911, making him about sixty five years. At the age of eighty five he could attend with us and enjoy the
worship, his son, Rev. Thomas J. Clark, being the pastor.
Forty eight years ago Bloomington had only a small population In 1865 there may have been a lithe over two thousand
people; now (1913) we have perhaps ten thousand. The census of 1910 gave 8,838. We had the one railroad then (not
then called the "Monon," which is a later designation, but simply the "L. N. A. and C.," which
some inventive genius translated the "Long, Narrow, Awkward and Crooked"). There had been no improvement
of streets at that time, probably not even about the square. and after the rains, the freezing and thawing in February
and March, the wagon wheels sank in mud holes nearly to the hub.
The town in 1865 was contained in narrow limits. There was no South Park, Maple Heights, Fair View, Prospect Hill,
Kenwood, Cottage Grove, University Park, University Heights, nor Allen's Addition. The ground of these additions
was mostly farm land then. On none of the streets did the line of houses extend very far out.
The present Dunn street marked the eastern edge of the town at that day as far south as Third street. Beyond was
Dunn's woods, the present site of the university. East of the present Grant street (all these names are comparatively
modem) and north of Kirkwood avenue what houses there were amounted to nothing more than mere cabins. East Fifth
street (Kirkwood avenue) presented a sorry appearance. There were but few two story dwelling houses in the whole
town. I think I could go over the city now and point out the site of almost every two story house that was then
in existence in January, 1865. Let me try to mention a few prominent places and their occupants. If I should make
any mistake old citizens are at liberty to correct me. President Cyrus Nutt when he first came to take charge of
the University in 1860 rented the house at the corner of Third and College avenue, once the Cornelius Perring house,
later the house of Mrs. Nancy Alexander. As a prospective student, I called on him there in July, 1861. President
Nutt later on bought the property on North College avenue always known as the Dr. Nutt place, now owned by Mrs.
Hill, widow of State Treasurer Hill.
In 1865 Judge Samuel Buskirk lived in the two story house which was torn down in 1879 to make room for the College
Avenue Methodist church. The large building at the corner of Seventh and College avenue was still counted the Ladies'
Seminary, though some boys attended. The high school building was small and plain. It is now occupied by the colored
school. The chief common school building of 1865 was the old tannery. The vats had been filled up, the children
walked over them and climbed the stairs to school rooms which had been used for the manufacture of leather. The
passers by would sometimes banteringly call the children "tan-rats," which of course they resented.
But the chief tannery was run by John Waldron, near the corner of Fifth and Madison streets, where has ever since
been located the family home.
Miss Mattie Cherry, Miss Margaret McCalla, later city superintendent, Miss Mary Henderson, later Mrs. Joseph Dinsmore,
and Miss Belle Rainey, later Mrs. Dr. Foster, were the chief teachers. Some six or eight years later (I cannot
be accurate on the date) Col. James Thompson, of the college faculty, lately from the United States army, being
placed upon the school board, suggested to the authorities that the low and unsightly tannery lot should be filled
up and be made the location of the new school building. This idea he carried out and the fine Central building
was the result. The Maxwell family had lived for some years in their house on South College avenue, but a little
previous to the time of which I speak had transferred the property to Joseph M. Howe, the dry goods merchant, who
then occupied it. The Maxwells had moved to the farm for the benefit of the children. Some twenty years later they
returned to town and still later they repurchased the beautiful old home. In 1865 William Stewart lived in his
property at the west end of Third street. It had been known as the Governor Dunning place, afterward it was called
the Jacob Young place, later the Dillon House. Over on the hill to the south was one of the attractive and sightly
places of town, though the house was simply a large cottage. It was the home of Judge James Hughes and was surrounded
The stumps of some of these trees may possibly be visible to this day on Prospect hill, but the rare old grounds,
after falling into dilapidation, have been cut through and divided up, and are mostly now covered with pleasant
homes. Over in the west part of town, between Fifth and Sixth streets, was the Tarkington place - the residence,
for a time, of Banker Tarkington. Some of his evergreens, I think, can be seen there yet.
Out on Fair View (as now called) the front porch of Thomas Mulikin overlooked his cow pasture. The roomy house
of Zimri Worley (father of Craig Worley), also surrounded by pasture ground and presenting a magnificent view,
could not have been far to the south of the present site of the Seventh school building. The house of Elias Able
stood at the corner of Seventh and Rogers. That old man's memory was something remarkable and a main reliance in
local history. The old yellow brick house you see on South Morton street, near Central school building, was the
home of David Batterton. There was one of the most honest. most faithful, most worthy men in the town. His nearest
neighbor was Milton McPhetridge.
Time and the noise of railroad and planing mill have made the old place almost untenable. Prof. James Woodburn
lived in his substantial brick house on North College avenue, which his son, Prof. James A. Woodburn, now owns.
When Professor Woodburn died suddenly in September. 1865, as college was about to open, I was unexpectedly called
to take his place. Our most noted astronomer and college professor, Dr. Daniel Kirkwood, lived on the east side
of the avenue by the side of President Nutt. The place is now the residence of Editor Walter Bradfute.
Gen. Morton C. Hunter was absent in the war in the early weeks of 1865, but his family remained in their beautiful
home on the hill to the north, ever since known as the General Hunter place. He made a good record both in the
army and in Congress. and if his health had not suddenly failed as it did, he would doubtless have been elected
Governor of Indiana. The fine old Doctor Wylie place on Second street. for so many years the home of learning,
refinement and old time hospitality. still stands, but slightly changed. Occupied by his worthy family, it is a
reminder of the good man who was long among us. Among the excellent men whom I met when I came to Bloomington was
the pastor of the New School Presbyterian church, Rev. Mr. Bishop. He lived on East Seventh street. Prof. Elisha
Ballentine bought the place of him. When the house burned in the seventies. Professor Ballentine rebuilt it, and
made it his residence till his death in 1886. The place was doubly honored by noble occupants. It is now the residence
of Henry Woolery. I also liked Rev. Hopkins, pastor of the Old School Presbyterian church, and counted him a warm
But time would fail me to mention all the residences worthy of note at that day. There was the fine house of Benjamin
McGee on North College avenue, now owned by W. J. Allen. University Trustee Nat Browning had the corner of Tenth
and Walnut, later held by J. B. Clark. Austin Seward (the builder of the foundry and a great mechanic) was still
living in his brick house at the corner of Walnut and Seventh streets, later transferred to John May. Merchant
William O. Fee was in a frame house (on the opposite corner), which he later replaced by his large mansion with
the high ceilings
Further to the south was the Dr. McPheeters corner, now occupied by a grocery and other business. There was the
large brick house of Johnson McCollough on South Walnut street, later the home of J. C. Worley, and the homes of
Mrs. Kelly, Rev. Levi Hughes and Mrs. Dunn of East Third street. W. B. Seward lived, till his death in the same
house and on the same corner of Washington street he had forty years ago. Is there another instance among our business
men of such continuous occupancy? William F. Browning, one of our oldest residents, was living on North College
avenue, opposite the Female Seminary and the residence of James Small.
The bank of Akin and Tarkington, having ceased in war times to do business, there was no bank in Bloomington forty
years ago. People had to obtain and cash their, drafts as best they could. A little later, Smith Hunter, brother
of Gen. M. C. Smith, started a kind of banker's office in a building where Campbell's dry goods store is now. Through
his hands the professors received their salaries and cash on their drafts. There has been a wonderful change among
businessmen. So completely has this taken place, that there is not a single firm of forty years ago doing business
on the public square. But this must be said by way of explanation. The Seward Foundry firm is no doubt the oldest
business firm in the city and of course they were in business at the time I mention, but just off the square to
the north. Rev. Charles Showers was running a small furniture factory at the time, with the assistance of his sons,
James and William. John W. Davis was working at the tailoring trade down in the Orchard House at that time, and
W. W. Wicks, now running his large dry goods establishment, was then, or a few months later, a clerk for C. P.
Tuley in his store about where the Kahn clothing house is now and Capt. W. J. Allen, having bought out David Batterton's
tin and stove shop, began selling hardware soon after he returned from the war in the summer of 1865. Mr. Davis,
at the age of eighty four, held the record for sticking to his calling to extreme old age. Beginning in 1848, he
kept on, with a brief interruption, to 1905, as he could and did make clothes to order at that very time, and kept
it up to his eighty eighth year. His ninety fourth year (1913) finds him able to go about.
Here and there a big hole in the ground might be seen in the outskirts of the town; here people got their building
stone. These would not be called quarries now. Some say people hauled building stone from a distance, which they
could easily have obtained by a few feet of digging, not realizing the wealth that was underneath them.
THE LINCOLN FUNERAL.
There being then no public hall in town other than the court house, on great occasions the college chapel was
brought into requisition. Such an occasion was the funeral of President Lincoln. The universal outpouring of grief
and horror over his assassination, April 15, 1865, was so great as to demand the tolling of bells and assembling
of the people in churches and public halls in all the cities of the northern states. Each town, moved by a common
and spontaneous excitement, held its own funeral for the President. Bloomington was forward in the patriotic movement.
The feeling was so intense and the throng was so great as to fill not only every seat, but every foot of standing
room in the big chapel, and crowded the doorways and all space back to the stairs. It was arranged for President
Nutt to preside and the city pastors and leading citizens to speak. Among the latter was Governor Dunning (ex-lieutenant
governor), whose home was then in Bloomington. I remember well how he rose in the crowd near the west chapel door
and with his stentorian voice said "Sinner as I am" (then he went on to claim some merit for his present
[Return to part 1 of Bloomington, Indiana History.]