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

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Muncie Central High School Athletics Films in the Digital Media Repository

Program for inaugural game on Ball Recreational Field, 1950
High school athletic seasons are remembered in Indiana. Some memories of specific shots and tackles in a season may fade over time, but legends are built as the stories of seemingly impossible achievements on the field or court are passed from one generation to the next. We happy few who grew up in Indiana can likely recall in detail the legendary exploits of our high school teams that were handed down by previous generations and lived during our own time. The details of those legends will vary from school to school and person to person. Some tales may end in state championships, others end in an upset of a larger high school or despised rival, and still others are the family legends of a parent who simply put in the hard, consistent work to contribute on a varsity team. The point is, we remember.

Muncie Central players cutting nets after sectional victory, 1950
The new Muncie Central Athletics Films in the Digital Media Repository will help give new life to legends of past athletic seasons for fans and players who experienced them and give others a chance to watch games played by their parents and grandparents for the very first time. This online collection includes digital copies of 16mm films donated by the Muncie Central High School Alumni Association that document portions of Muncie Central Bearcats basketball and football seasons from approximately 1950-1974. Games of particular note for Bearcats fans include the inaugural football game played on Ball Recreational Field, Muncie Central’s 1950 basketball sectional victory, and the first basketball game played between Muncie Central and Muncie Northside. The films in this collection also provide glimpses into the high school playing careers of Bearcat basketball legends such as Bill Dinwiddie, Tom Harrold, Rick Jones, and Tim Kuzma.  

Muncie Central Bearcats vs. Cathedral Fighting Irish, 1965
Fans of Muncie and Delaware County teams, North Central Conference (NCC) rivals, and other Indiana high schools that played against the Bearcats will also discover films of interest in this digital collection. Junior high school basketball games document the athletic development of Delaware County players from Delta, Kuhner, McKinley, and Storer. Burris Owls fans will find footage of their tightly contested 1967 basketball game against the Bearcats. Muncie Northside fans can get a glimpse of the Titans’ strong regular season play during their two-loss 1972-1973 season. Muncie Southside basketball fans will enjoy films of the Rebels’ 1968 defeat of Muncie Central and their overtime victory over the Bearcats in 1973. Fans of Muncie Central's conference rivals such as Anderson, Kokomo, Lafayette Jefferson, Logansport, Marion, and Richmond will find many films documenting the history of tough competition in the storied North Central Conference. Other high school teams are included in this collection and a complete listing of the teams identified can be found at the end of this post. 

Muncie Central Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), 1950s
While the majority of the films in this digital collection document basketball and football games, there are other topics in Muncie and Delaware County history to discover for those who are not sports fans. Muncie Central High School alumni will find films of a commencement practice and a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) ceremony from the 1950s. Films documenting historic Muncie buildings, Ball Brothers factory operations, and other community events are also available.

Ball Brothers employees boxing jars in stamping works, 1950s

So as the seasons change in Indiana and games move from the gridiron to the hardwood, take some time to explore memories of Indiana’s high school athletic past preserved in these films. You will discover the athletic legacy of the jump shots and unexpected jump passes, the blocked shots and pancake blocks, and the hard fought victories and defeats that have built high school athletic legends in Indiana. As you explore these films, we encourage you to leave a record by posting stories about your experiences at these games and helping us identify the opponents and dates we could not quite figure out. To do so, please leave a comment or tag at the bottom of the record in the Digital Media Repository.

Contact us at libarchives@bsu.edu or 765-285-5078 if you have any questions about this collection or if you are interested in donating material that documents the history of schools or athletics in Muncie and Delaware County.
Teams identified in this collection include the following:
+ (Denotes Muncie and Delaware County Opponent)
* (Denotes North Central Conference Opponent)