Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Archives and Special Collection Exhibit Features Downtown Muncie

“Everything Is Waiting For You, Downtown:” Muncie Stores and Storefronts, 1920-1970     

Corner of Walnut and Charles, FW Woolworth Dime store on NE corner. From the Spurgeon-Green Photograph Collection

In its heyday from the 1920’s through the 1960’s, downtown Muncie was vibrant and vital, with bustling crowds and busy stores and theaters.  As the popular song “Downtown” from the 1960s by Petula Clark said, “everything was waiting for you downtown.”  Indicative of this vitality was the various stores and their elaborate storefronts that displayed their wares to advertise specials, goods, and services and entice customer patronage. Big stores such as Ball Stores and Stillman’s were anchors of downtown business, while many smaller ones came and went through the decades. Also part of the charm and lure of many of these businesses was the architecture of the buildings themselves, such as the McNaughton Building and the Wysor Grand.

Ball Stores (W.A. McNaughton Building) 

Archives and Special Collections has a treasure trove of photographs, advertisements, documents, and drawings that depict images of these buildings and the businesses they housed.   This exhibit about the stores and storefronts of downtown Muncie draws from photograph collections such as Otto Sellers, Spurgeon Green, and W.A. Swift, as well as the Muncie and Delaware County Historic Photographs Collection. All these photograph collections are available to view on the University Libraries Digital Media Repository (http://libx.bsu.edu). Enjoy a trip down memory lane as we reminisce about when downtown Muncie was the place to be, the businesses there were the places to go, and everything was waiting for you. 

Wysor Grand Building, from the Richard Greene Slide Collection

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