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SUMMER / FALL 2019      © 2021 812 Magazine

It happened here!

Five forgotten gems from Bloomington's history

Nestled among the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, Bloomington is bursting with surprises. Throughout its 200 years, the city has managed to blend a progressive urban attitude with comfortable, small-town charm. Here are five historical gems that will leave you saying, “I can’t believe it happened here.”

1) The first house made of Indiana limestone was constructed on Maple Grove Road, right here in Bloomington. Daniel Stout built the house in 1828, just 10 years after Bloomington was established. The two-story house, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, still stands and serves as a tribute to our region’s limestone history.

2) One hundred and sixty years ago, Bloomingtonians were complaining about high taxes and poor road conditions. Not much has changed. Today, however, we aren’t voting to disband the city government, as Bloomington’s citizens did in January 1858. For nearly 20 years, Bloomington had no mayor and was run by a board of trustees. The city wasn’t reincorporated until 1876.

3) In 1941, Indiana University made national news when it constructed a cyclotron, a device that accelerates charged atomic and subatomic particles. Bloomington then became a research site for the Manhattan Project, responsible for creating the first nuclear weapons.

4) Even in 1919, Hoosiers loved basketball. That year, Bloomington High School became the sixth school to win the state championship, just nine years after the tournament began in 1910. Coach Clifford Wells would later become the first full-time director of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1963.

5) When the broadcasting station WTTV opened in Bloomington in 1949, it was only the second such station in Indiana. At that time, Bloomington was the smallest community in the nation to have its own station. Today, WTTV operates out of Indianapolis.