Looking Back on Old Bloomington

This is a newspaper article from the “Bloomington Daily Telephone” from December 16, 1929 by Blaine W. Bradfute.

Image of the Showers Administration Building from the cover of Shop Notes vol 1 no 2, April 7 1917 (1989.072.0027b). The old Showers pond was 100 yards south of this building.

Four and five decades ago the boys of the north end of Bloomington found amusement at the Showers pond and the Hunter pond. How many people of today can recall the sites of these two ponds? The Showers pond was located a hundred yards south of the present Showers administration building. This pond was constructed as a water supply for the factory before Bloomington had a water system. It was used by the factory for many years and it was also used by many boys as a playground. Hundreds of youngsters skated on the pond, and sailed boats on its water. With its mud bottom the pond did not offer much of a swimming “hole” and no fish lived in it. Besides its economic feature of supplying water for the factory the Showers pond gave thousands of “play hours” to the boys and girls of the north part of Bloomington.

The Hunter pond was located on the Gen. Morton C. Hunter place at the foot of College avenue hill going north – it was near the I.C. tracks but it pre-dated this railway by many years. The Hunter pond offered a place to sail toy boats, skate and fish. Its waters teemed with small catfish and many a Bloomington lad threw his first hook and line in the waters of the old pond.

The favorite swimming “hole” of Bloomington boys at that time was in Griffy Creek, a hundred yards north of Griffy Creek bridge. A huge log was part of the north shore of Griffy Creek at this place, and it offered a fine place to dive into the water. The depth of the water was only up to a small boy’s mouth but there was a great amount of diving – many youngsters learned to swim and dive in this “old swimming hole.” The diving log and pool were in plain sight of the road and the bridge and whenever a horse and buggy approached “with a woman” there was a great splashing as a dozen naked youngsters plunked into the water, much as that many frogs might have done. This was long before the day of the one-piece bathing suit; indeed it was before the day of any type of bathing suit in Bloomington. In the summer the small boys bathed in the waters of Griffy Creek, in the winter they suffered a weekly Saturday night bath in a tin tub in the kitchen. By and large this was before the advent of the bathroom to Bloomington.

Photo from the MCHC photo collection (1989.041.0001)

The electric light had just come to Bloomington, gas was a long ways in the future, the automobile was to be invented a decade later, the “very rich” people drove a horse and surrey or phaeton. Livery stables occupied prominent places about town; here the “sports” kept their red-wheeled buggies. All the Saturday visitors carried their buggy whip in hand as they strolled about town Saturday afternoon. The mothers of small boys warned them against three great evils – the saloon, the pool parlor and loafing around a livery stable. It was a day of simple pleasures, a “nickle” was a large amount of spending money for a small boy, a dollar was a day’s wages for the ordinary working man. Chickens sold for 20 to 25 cents. There were saloons still about the public square and on north Walnut street (in the Princess and Harris Grand block). The general populace did its drinking in the saloons, celebrating the annual arrival of the Bock beer season. Business and professional men, town officials and deacons took their drinks at one of two famous drug stores. Life was very liable to be short, there was no hospital, no surgeons in Bloomington; it was before the day of appendicitis – men died from causes which today would hardly be termed a serious illness. Excitement dated from one fire to another; there was a volunteer fire department and a hand “Cater-rack” and every man, woman, and child down to the last baby atteneded – no excitement can compare to a good sized fire of the old days when Bloomington was a village.

Watching a fire continued to be a form of entertainment in the 1920s. Here a crowd gathers in front of the Hooks Drug fire in January 1929. From the MCHC photo collection (2003.059.0005)

Hail and Farewell

Tales of the H-T: Stories taken from or inspired by material in the Herald-Times archive at the
Monroe County History Center.

By Rod Spaw

Photo taken Sept 13, 2000 by Jeremy Hogan. Part of the H-T photo collection.

The image is surreal. The figure of a woman, blonde and tan, floats on a sea of bobbing heads against a green backdrop. She is wearing bikini bottoms and a white T-shirt with a large red heart drawn upon it.

Upon closer inspection, what at first seems like a mirage is more likely a life-size cutout of “Baywatch” actress Pamela Anderson being hoisted above a mass of humanity by unseen hands. Zooming in on the T-shirt reveals its complete message: “I (heart) Bobby.”

The place is Dunn Meadow. The date is Sept. 13, 2000. It is Bobby Knight’s farewell appearance three days after he was fired as coach of the IU men’s basketball team.

Behind the camera is Jeremy Hogan, who that week has made hundreds of photographs on the Bloomington campus for the Herald-Times newspaper. This one is unlike all the others, but it also is representative in a way. It has been one long, strange trip for the young man from California who until that time had not been exposed to the full passion of Hoosier Nation.

“That photo looks like maybe a lighter moment in what was a tough period in the history of IU basketball,” Hogan said recently. “But I honestly don’t remember making that photo.”

What he does recall is the ferocity of support for the beleaguered coach who was fired on Sept. 10, 2000, by IU President Myles Brand for violating the terms of a “zero-tolerance policy” set for his continued employment. It was the last act in a drama that had been unfolding for months around Knight’s pattern of behavior during 29 years as the IU head coach.

Hogan, a 1997 graduate of San Jose State University, had worked at the H-T only for a couple of years. He hadn’t photographed IU basketball to any extent, and although aware of the coach’s famous volatility – and great popularity — it was not something he had given much thought.

Marching for Knight on Sept 10, 2000. Photo by Jeremy Hogan. Part of the H-T photo collection.

“IU basketball wasn’t really on my radar not being from here,” said Hogan, who worked for the H-T until 2019, and now runs the independent Bloomingtonian news website. “I could see that fans were really into it. It was a real subculture of American sports, or as some said, a religion.”

When news of Knight’s dismissal hit campus, people began to march, and Hogan followed, taking photographs all along the way. The H-T later estimated that 2,000 protestors – mostly students – took to the streets that day. They marched to the President’s House and burned a dummy in effigy; they waded into Showalter Fountain and removed the dolphin sculptures; they marched into Memorial Stadium and toppled the south end zone goal posts. They stood in front of Assembly Hall until Knight emerged sometime after midnight on Sept. 11 and asked them to go home. More than 200 IU, Bloomington, Ellettsville and Indiana State Police were on hand to watch them.

Photo by Jeremy Hogan, Sept 10, 2000. Students in front of the President’s house. Part of the H-T photo collection.
Photo of Bobby Knight taken by Jeremy Hogan, Sept 11 2000. Part of the H-T Photo Collection

“I grew up in Southern California during the ‘Showtime Era’ of the Los Angeles Lakers, and that team was run so professionally,” Hogan said. “I never heard of Pat Riley throwing a chair or choking anybody. So coming from mellow Southern California, the IU fans were from another planet.”

For Hogan, it was a “really weird” introduction to IU basketball.

“I mean, these kids were basically rioting over a coach, and I hadn’t seen that many Indiana State Police since I photographed a riot at a Grateful Dead show in 1995 while interning for the Indianapolis News,” he said.

Knight had promised supporters outside of Assembly Hall that he would meet with them again in a few days. He did so on Sept. 13 in Dunn Meadow. The Indiana Daily Student newspaper sponsored the appearance, which drew thousands of IU fans who came to hear their coach and to cheer him one last time. Hogan was present, too, documenting the event with his cameras, even if one person in the crowd didn’t appreciate it.

“I do remember covering Bob Knight a few days after he was fired in Dunn Meadow, and a man threatened to ‘put my cameras in the mud’ over and over while standing behind me. I finally turned around and told him that the gear didn’t belong to the newspaper, it belonged to me. I had to buy my own gear, and if he touched my gear, I was going to put him in the mud,” Hogan recalled.

Knight’s farewell lasted about 20 minutes, according to the H-T’s coverage the next day. The coach thanked students for their support over the years and asked that they continue to support the basketball team. He praised IU as a great university, with many more good people than those “who have an agenda that doesn’t include students.”

Then, with a wave of his hand, Knight turned and walked into IU history, the moment captured forever with a click of Jeremy Hogan’s camera.

Knight waving goodbye on Sept 13, 2000. Photo by Jeremy Hogan. Part of the H-T photo collection.

Here are Harrowing Details of I.U’s First Football Game

Many students and alumni are looking forward to the start of the 2022 IU football season. Let’s hope they have a better start than the 1889 team. Below is an undated article about Old Bloomington found in a donated scrapbook. All photos are of early IU football teams.

1893 IU football team from the MCHC photo collection (1989.097.0049)

As soon as I.U. organized its first football team back in 1889, it tackled the Wabash eleven on the old college campus field. Of this game, The Telephone said in part: “The game of football Saturday between I.U. and Wabash, was an easy victory for the visitors. The first half of the game was a complete waterloo, the superior training and tactics of the Wabash team standing in sharp contrast to the weak and unorganized condition of the home eleven. Our rush line was weak and the half backs received miserable support. In short, the first half of the game could hardly be called football, Wabash making with little effort 40 points and I.U. nothing. In the second half, I.U. got a couple of points. Near the close of the game, Mr. Beiderwold, of the Wabash team received a hurt in some way near the right eye, which disabled him from further playing. His accident proved more serious than was first thought, and Dr. Harris was called. Mr. B. remained unconscious until 8pm but was able to go back to Crawfordsville with the visitors on the midnight train.

Irish Immigrants Valued Education

by Rose McIlveen March 22, 1986

For the Irish, the trauma of uprooting themselves from the old country may have been offset by the promise of a fresh start, but most of them who came to Monroe County did not leave the futures of their children to chance.

Fully 64 percent of the Irish families who were here in the 1850s sent their children to Indiana University for their education. Of the immigrants’ young people who attend IU, 31 percent received their degrees.

A study of the scanty information about the backgrounds of the Irish families does not indicate how much they brought with them in the way of financial resources. But the fact that a high percentage of them took some college courses, at least, indicates that as a group the Monroe County Irish placed a high premium on education. The opportunity was not far from their doorsteps, and they availed themselves of it.

The first of the Irish to arrive in Monroe County saw its untouched scenery from the back of a horse. John Carr and his fellow U.S. Mounted Rangers were headquartered at Fort Vallonia, and they crisscrossed this area, pursuing Indians that had raided settlements or stolen horses. Carr was a lieutenant in the same unit with First Sergeant John Ketcham. The latter built the second Monroe County Courthouse and was a trustee of IU. Carr was the first of the Irish immigrants to buy land, purchasing his in 1816 in Van Buren Township.

More conspicuous in the early history of the county were the Blairs. It was at the cabin of Abner Blair that the commissioners met in 1818 to conduct the county’s first business. Presbyterians by religious persuasion, the Blairs were adamantly opposed to slavery. In time, the family would produce lawyers, and a trustee of IU. The family homestead on the near westside of Bloomington was once proposed as the second site of IU.

John Campbell, of County Antrim, fathered a son by the same name, who joined the Union Army during the Civil War. The younger Campbell served in Company F of the 27th Indiana Regiment. He was wounded at Anteitam, fought at Chancellorsville, was wounded again at Gettysburg, and suffered a broken arm in the Battle of Resaca. Upon his return from the army, he was elected township trustee, and he and his wife adopted one of their own, young John Maginnis, to add to their family. The Campbells were believers in education. Eight of them attended IU. Another family that contributed one of its sons to the Union Army was that of John Dinsmore. His son, Joseph, who had received a degree from IU, joined Company F of the 82nd Indiana Infantry. Before the war ended, Joseph was a veteran of the battles of Chickamauga, Resaca and Kenesaw Mountain and was with General Sherman in the “march to the sea” in Georgia. When the Dinsmore family arrived here in 1838, they bought 120 acres in Van Buren Township. Eventually the homestead was enlarged to 240 acres. The sons of the family each received family farm acreage as wedding presents. John Dinsmore was a member of the Monroe County Fair board.

Veterans Reunion 82nd Indiana Volunteer in 1906. Included in this photo is Joseph Dinsmore. Photo from the MCHC Collection (2009.024.0007)

Newsboy a Witness to Wave of Terror in Monroe County

Blog post by Rod Spaw

Tales of the H-T: stories taken from or inspired by the archives of The Herald-Times at the Monroe County History Center.

Newsboy sculpture on Chris Kohler and Sherry Rouse’s lawn

For more than 40 years, the limestone sculpture of a newsboy has graced a corner of the yard at the home of Chris Kohler and Sherry Rouse in Monroe County.

Newspapers under one arm, and with most of its features obscured by a wide-brimmed, floppy hat and baggy shirt and trousers, the statue has the fluid qualities of a figure in one of Thomas Hart Benton’s classic murals, a similarity not lost on Rouse, a retired curator at Indiana University’s Eskenazi Museum of Art.

She and Chris do not know who carved the sculpture, but they do know some of its history, especially what befell it before coming into their possession. The statue has a dark stain around the neckline left by epoxy used in its repair. There is a crack in the middle of its back and a depression left by something striking it there with force, such as a sledgehammer. A big chunk of the hat has been broken off.

The newsboy is perhaps the last evidence of a wave of crime that had local officials and journalists on edge in the summer and fall of 1976. Arson fires, bricks through windows and assorted other crimes and misdemeanors were attributed to a shadowy character who called himself “The Inspector” in a series of calls to the Herald-Telephone (now the Herald-Times).

“I’m ‘The Inspector,’” he told the newspaper during one of his calls. “I inspect things in the county that are undesirable, and if they don’t meet my standards, then I remove them.”

The wave of nighttime vandalism began on June 25 with the attempted arson of a barn on the farm of Monroe Circuit Court Judge Nat U. Hill. Four nights later, the county’s last remaining covered bridge on Maple Grove Road burned down.

Calls to the newspaper began on Aug. 8, when an unidentified man took credit for dumping trash on Judge Hill’s lawn overnight and for tossing a brick through the front window of reporter Larry Incollingo’s home. Other reporters could expect the same treatment, he warned.

The newsboy became a victim during the overnight hours of Aug. 17-18. A reporter received a 4 a.m. wake-up call from The Inspector, who took responsibility for “decapitating” the statue.

While the motive for his crime spree was unclear, the newspaper believed it was connected to reporting about a leaked tape recording in which an inmate at the Monroe County Jail talked with a detective about the Nat Hill barn fire and destruction of the Maple Grove bridge.

The limestone sculpture, which measures 49 inches tall by 18 inches wide and sits on a base that is two-feet square, had been a fixture in front of the Herald-Telephone building since the newspaper had moved to South Walnut Avenue from downtown in 1961.

Photo of the newsboy sculpture in front of the Herald-Telephone building (from the MCHC photo collection)

According to newspaper files, former H-T publisher Stewart Riley had commissioned its carving using drawings of a similar sculpture he had admired during a trip to Brazil.

An image of a scultpure in Brazil taken from historicimages.com. Is this sculpture Stewart Riley had in mind?

One of the H-T’s reporters at the time was Sunny Schubert, a sister of Chris Kohler. He said his sister offered to buy the statue once the newspaper decided it was too damaged to repair. After paying a nominal amount for the now-headless newsboy, Schubert first hauled the sculpture to her residence at the Fountain Park Apartments at 10th Street and Russell Road.

She later offered it to her brother, who besides being a geologist at Indiana University, was a real-life newsboy; he delivered copies of the Indiana Daily Student newspaper to its home subscribers. Kohler said he moved the statue to the home he and Rouse had just finished building, where it has remained to this day.

But that is not the end of the story.

The head wasn’t reattached immediately, and one Halloween, it just disappeared, along with a slew of lawn ornaments from other homes in their neighborhood. Rouse said her husband made a plywood sign and set it near the road in front of their home, appealing for the return of the newsboy’s head.

Not long afterward, a man drove past on his way to the county dump, his truck filled with pilfered lawn decorations that had been dumped on his property. He saw the sign, stopped, and left the entire load with Rouse and Kohler, who told neighbors where they could retrieve their stolen property.

The statue now has become part of the couple’s life story.

“Chris and I think of the sculpture as an icon of our youth,” Rouse said. “We have lived here for much of our lives, and it anchors our front yard. Our dogs, a cat and a couple of important fish are buried out there. … I always imagine him yelling, “Extra, Extra, Read all about it!”

The Inspector’s story didn’t end with the newsboy, either. In late September 1976, an arsonist succeeded in destroying Nat Hill’s barn. The Inspector took credit for that in a call to the Herald-Telephone, as well as an earlier attempted arson at Ye Olde Regulator Tavern, now the site of Kilroy’s Sports bar.

Other crimes were attributed to the nighttime vigilante; he took credit for some of them and some he claimed were the work of others. In fact, in his last call to the newspaper on Sept. 30, 1976, The Inspector said he was “retiring” because of copycats. “This thing’s getting out of hand,” he told the newspaper. “Everybody and his brother is taking it up.”

A week after that final communication, police arrested a man for one of the crimes linked to The Inspector, a home burglary and assault case. Carlisle W. Briscoe Jr. did not admit to being The Inspector, and local authorities could not prove it. However, he was found guilty by a jury of the burglary and assault charges; he spent more than two years in state prison before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

Briscoe was one of the better-known miscreants in Monroe County at the time of his arrest. A decade earlier, a 26-year-old Briscoe, who claimed to be a member of the Klu Klux Klan, was convicted of firebombing the Black Market, a mercantile run by civil rights activists at the site of what now is People’s Park. Briscoe received a sentence of one to 10 years in prison for that conviction.

Briscoe eventually left Indiana and settled in Nebraska. He died in 2013 at the age of 71 in the Nebraska State Penitentiary, where he was serving a sentence for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

The PCB Display at the Public Library Didn’t Go As Planned…

Blog post by Rod Spaw

Tales of the H-T: Stories taken from or inspired by the Herald-Times archive at the Monroe County History Center.

A display intended to inform the public about an environmental hazard had unintended consequences for the Monroe County Public Library and its patrons in the summer of 1984.

The issue was polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), an insulating fluid used for two decades at the Westinghouse Corp. plant in Bloomington in the manufacture of electrical capacitors. Congress banned the manufacture and use of PCBs in 1976 due to their toxicity and persistence in the environment; once present, it was nearly impossible to get rid of them. By the time Congress acted, an estimated 2 million pounds of PCBs had been released in Bloomington through discharges by Westinghouse to the city sewer system; by the scrapping of old capacitors at unregulated dump sites; and by the use of PCB-laden sewage sludge as a soil amendment throughout Monroe County.

From the Herald-Times Archive at the Monroe County History Center

By 1984, city government had expended nearly 10 years and more than $1 million to address the problem. PCBs seemingly were everywhere, including the local library, as the Herald-Telephone (now the Herald-Times) reported on July 25, 1984.

As reported by the newspaper, state health officials advised the library to close after learning about a display that included burned capacitors and PCB-soaked paper. The materials, along with information about PCB contamination, had been placed in the library about two weeks prior by an activist group called Citizens for Clean Air and Water.

A spokesman for the group told the newspaper that the display was covered and sealed to prevent release of PCBs. However, health officials said they smelled an odor associated with PCB oil after the building was closed. Subsequent air testing detected the presence of PCBs, but at a level well below the limit for occupational exposure, the H-T reported.

Library director Bob Trinkle, who had been on vacation when the display was installed, told the newspaper that the building’s air conditioning system was cleaned thoroughly – twice — as was the carpet and hard surfaces near the display, whose contents were removed by an Indianapolis company specializing in hazardous material handling.

The library then reopened to the public on July 2, one week after it had closed.

Frontier Feud Played Out in “Post” Ads 

by Rose McIlveen March 8 1988

Despite the august presence of the Indiana Seminary in Bloomington in the 1830s the town exhibited some of the rough characteristics of the frontier. 

One of the earliest cases on the court docket here was typical of the many slander and “affray” disputes. Seth Goodwin had been charged in 1818 with assault on Jacob Lebo. When the circuit judge, “The Honorable General Washington Johnston” got around to hearing the case he fined Lebo $9.50 and Goodwin 5 ¼ cents.

Goodwin, who came to Indiana from Pennsylvania “when Indians were as thick as wild turkey” had prospered at some stage of his life. According to the 1856 Atlas of Monroe County, he had purchased half of a section and a quarter of another in Van Buren Township. In fact, he was listed in the Histories of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown Counties, Indiana as being the second highest taxpayer in the township. 

In 1836 Goodwin got wind of some disturbing gossip, which he traced to Solomon Wooden. Settlers in Salt Creek area were saying that Goodwin had abused his wife before her death.

Instead of shrugging his shoulders, Goodwin ran an ad in the Bloomington Post. It said, “Take Notice, I am sorry to begin with the fragments of the world (whatever that means). I would inform the public that Solomon Wooden reported that I should have abused my wife before her death. I found the report on Salt Creek and traced it back to Solomon Wooden and he refused to give his author. I now inform the public that Solomon Wooden and his author is a LIAR and I can make it appear by many. I would wish Solomon Wooden to bring suit against me and then we will know the certainty.”

Well, barely had the ink dried on Goodwin’s salvo, when the subject replied via another Post ad, “Seth Goodwin. This man published me a liar in the Post and in reply I have only to say that I can prove by many respectable and honorable men and women that this self same Seth goodwin did abuse and ill treat on of his former wives, from her own assertions, and I now pronounce this self same Seth Goodwin a LIAR, a paltroon, and a scoundrel, and I dare him to sue me or to seek any kind of satisfaction of me.”

In the midst of all of this bridge-burning rhetoric, one would expect to find a news time in the Post that described an “affray” between the two. Not so. 

By way of background, Goodwin had at least two marriages that were performed in Monroe County – to Delilah Rickets in January 1836, and to Nancy Morgan, who wed him in August 1841. Presumably the “abused” wife preceded Delilah.

The Goodwin/Wooden paper war lasted from December 1836 until March 1837. Considering the price of advertising, it was a costly argument. On March 3, 1837, in a fit of good humor, Post editor/publisher Marcus Deal printed the name-calling ads side-by-side. 

Once the argument had really warmed up, Goodwin’s ad was bigger and showier than Wooden’s. Goodwin said, in part, “SOLOMON WOODEN AGAIN!!!! I am going to give a detail of Solomon Wooden’s character. I have known Solomon Wooden – he was called a cruel liar in Kentucky, and since he came to this state he is called Broad Horns, the reason he tells such broad lies so extensive…I would have brought suit against you, but ‘sue a beggar and catch a louse.”

Was there any real substance to the name calling? Who knows? Unless some descendant of either of those hard-headed men supplies the information, we will never know. In any case, Goodwin, the ore affluent of the two, had the last word in the March 17, 1837, edition of the Post.

Tales of the H-T: The One That Got Away

Stories taken from or inspired by the H-T Archives at the Monroe County History Center

By Rod Spaw

John Terhune can tell you a thing or two about The One that Got Away, but his is no fish story.

It is a tale of the elusive moment, and what it takes to capture history, turning a fleeting instance into an image for the ages. He can testify that it requires more than opportunity, timing and talent. It also takes a bit of luck.

Terhune went to work as a photographer for daily Herald-Telephone and Sunday Herald-Times on the day of his graduation from Indiana University in 1982. During the next few years, he would spend hours at one end or the other of the famous basketball court in Assembly Hall where the IU men’s basketball team was led by coach Bob Knight.

That’s where Terhune was on Feb. 23, 1985, when the Hoosiers tipped off against their archrivals from West Lafayette, the Purdue Boilermakers. True IU fans already know where this story is heading. For the rest of you, a notation scribbled with permanent marker in the margin of a contact sheet of Terhune’s negatives provides a telling clue: “Purdue Chair Game.”

It had been a trying season for the famously volatile IU coach. Indiana entered the game with a 6-7 record in the Big 10 conference, having lost back-to-back home games against Ohio State and Illinois. Knight was exasperated. Two days earlier, in the game against Illinois, H-T photographer Larry Crewell had snapped Knight angrily stomping his foot on a chair. Against Purdue, the future Hall of Fame coach would escalate his aggression toward the courtside furniture.

Less than 5 minutes into the first half, IU already had been whistled for multiple fouls, and Terhune could see through the viewfinder of his camera that each call was bringing Knight closer to an eruption.

Like most courtside photographers, Terhune used two cameras. One was for close-up action at the end where he was sitting, and another with a longer, magnifying lens captured what happened on the sidelines or at the opposite end of the court. It was the longer lens that Terhune now trained on Bobby Knight. The former H-T staffer said he even told a student photographer sitting nearby to keep an eye on the IU coach because something was about to happen.

The sequence of events has been well documented in the past 37 years, both in print and YouTube video. IU’s Steve Alford was whistled for a foul about 4 minutes into the game. Less than a minute later, a teammate was tagged for another penalty during a scrum for a loose ball in front of the IU bench. Knight thought there should have been a jump ball, which Terhune’s negatives show him signaling from the sidelines. On the ensuing inbounds pass, IU was called for its third foul in 59 seconds, and Knight said something that referee Fred Jaspers couldn’t ignore. It earned Knight his first “T,” technical foul, of the game.

IU coach Bob Knight signals for a loose ball in a game against Purdue on Feb. 23, 1985. Moments later, Knight was whistled for the first of three technical fouls. Photo by John Terhune, from The Herald-Times archive at the Monroe County History Center

Knight had been known to throw his jacket from time to time, something many coaches did, including Purdue’s Gene Keady. But for this game, Knight had decided to go casual, ditching his customary sport coat for a short-sleeved golf shirt. So, he grabbed the nearest thing that could be thrown — a metal and plastic bench chair — and flung it underhanded toward the end line where Terhune was sitting. However, the H-T photographer did not get the photo. At just that moment, his camera ran out of film, and Terhune was rewinding as history skittered past him.

The next day’s edition of the Sunday Herald-Times carried a UPI wire service photo of Knight winding up to launch the chair and Terhune’s photo of the aftermath – game officials huddling with IU Athletic Director Ralph Floyd and a still angry Bob Knight. By that time, Knight had received two more technical fouls and had been ejected from the arena. The two-photo sequence was captioned “Knightmare” in the Herald-Times.

IU coach Bob Knight and IU athletic Ralph Floyd huddle with game officials after a series of technical fouls on the IU coach result in his ejection from the basketball game with Purdue on Feb. 23, 1985. Photo by John Terhune, from The Herald-Times archive at the Monroe County History Center

The game took place during the film era of photojournalism. What happened to Terhune still is possible nowadays, when cameras record images on digital memory cards, but it is less likely.

Chris Howell, a former H-T photographer, shot IU basketball games during both the film and digital eras. He said a roll of film contained about 36 frames, and during a normal basketball game, he might shoot 8 to 12 rolls, or more than 400 individual images. The storage capacity of digital cards vary, but Howell said he routinely snapped 700 or more images per game after the switch to digital photography.

IU lost the “Chair Game” to Purdue, and Knight’s actions got him suspended for the game after that by the Big 10 conference. When he returned to Assembly Hall, the bench chairs had been secured by a wire cable to prevent their use as projectiles.

Terhune worked at the Herald-Times until 1990. He ended his journalism career in 2019 as a staff photographer with the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, the home turf of Purdue, where he had worked for almost 19 years.

There would be other big moments in big games for Terhune, but the veteran photographer never forgot The One That Got Away.

“I was disappointed for sure,” he said.

Additional sources: “Bobby Knight throws a chair,” Referee magazine, Feb. 1, 2022, “All the Rage,” by L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated online, and “Silver Knight,” by Bob Hammel and Rich Clarkson

Smithville Saloon Gets Rude Treatment

“Looking Back” by Rose McIlveen March 28, 1987

Monday, August 29, 1898, was not a run-of-the-mill kind of day in Smithville. That was when the locals awoke to discover that in the near future, at least, they would have father to go to to “wet their whistles.”

Chirped the Bloomington Courier, “The people of Smithville have a novel way of getting rid of saloons. At least it is a different way than is being used by the temperance people of this city who are remonstrating against the sale of liquor.”

The newspaper primly explained that “Smithville is not used to saloons.” In fact, the liquor business that James May established in Smithville was still a novelty, being only two months old. He may have thought he was providing a much-needed service to the little community, but there were those who thought otherwise.

At approximately 1:30 am – give or take a few minutes – persons residing in the vicinity of the saloon were awakened by a terrible commotion. Of those who had intentions of venturing outside, none actually did that, due to the advice of a gang of men armed with such formidable weapons as guns, axes and sledge hammers. For the intimidated ones, imagination had to suffice.

From the MCHC Collection (1987.037.0040)

What was going on were some alterations at the local saloon – alterations that would cause May to reconsider the marketability of his product in the Smithville area. Whip-capper vigilantes wielding the hammers and axes shattered doors and windows first and then proceeded to the interior attractions. Attacking a mute, $150 refrigerator containing cold beer, the men returned the liquid to the earth from which it came. In fact, every bottle containing an alcoholic beverage received the same treatment.

The Bloomington Telephone  reported that the group numbered 10 or 12, who arrived on horseback from the east. Continued the newspaper, “They had evidently come for business and in little time whiskey and beer were soaking the ground.” Nor did the tables and chairs escape destruction. They were said to be worth $300.

Speculated the Telephone as to why May was put out of business, “For some time there has been talk in the community that men both old and young had been spending too much money for liquor, when their families were going without the necessities of life.” That might have been said of some Bloomingtonians, but the temperance movement in the city took a more rational approach, trying to persuade people to vote “dry” in the periodic referenda during the years of local option.

There was speculation that the gang of men were self-styled Regulators, an extra-legal force that had been known to resort to bodily harm to get their point across. The instances of taking the law into the average citizens’ hands was not a Monroe County phenomenon, and in later years the excesses prompted the governor of Indiana to take drastic action.

Neighborhood Stores Were Full of Charm

Looking Back by Herbert H. Skirvin 8/8/81

Jackson’s Grocery & Meat Market, c. 1926. 400 E. 3rd Street. Photo from the MCHC Collection (1988.109.0198A)

Three cheers for the old fashioned country stores, like those once existing in and around Bloomington! They were enshrined in Americana years ago, but a few real-life survivors can still be found in some of the nation’s out-of-the-way spots.

Then, too, there are the replicas, fascinating the vintage buffs at many of the tourist havens. One of the largest and most faithful in detail is located at St. Augustine, Fla. It even has an adjoining blacksmith shop, where the smith will fashion you a ring out of a horseshoe nail. 

(Around 1917, when I was a boy here, an old blacksmith working in a barn-like building on Indiana Avenue, halfway between 10th and Cottage Grove, made me one of those rings. Crude though it was. I kept it a long time. It was the first ring I ever owned.)

In the 1900-20 period, all the grocery stores in Bloomington, except several big ones downtown, were in the country store bracket. While they generally were larger, had fancier layouts, carried more goods and did more business, they were, in many respects, much like their contemporaries operating in nearby rural areas.

The importance of the old-time grocery to the community was incalculable. Neighborhood and family life revolved around it. Besides supplying food and other essentials, it served as a halfway social center, where a customer could loaf awhile, exchanging gossip and news, and get a word of cheer – even a helping hand if one was needed. 

It didn’t have discounted coupons and 10 kinds of dog food, as today’s supermarkets do, but it offered something special – a lot of heart. Soup bones and a liver snack from the family cat were always free in the meat department. If you bought a pound of something, the proprietor and clerks usually gave you 17 ounces. A dozen of anything usually turned out to be a baker’s dozen (13); wooden crates for kindling wood were free, and so on.

Burch Grocery at 905 W. 11th c. 1940. Photo from the MCHC collection (1995.020.0014)

The proprietor, typically a stocky man with a bald head and a mustache, knew most of the people in his neighborhood and dealt with them on a first-name basis. He granted credit to all but the drunks and the shiftless, and, in hard times, kept the wolf away from many a family door. Sometimes, unfortunately, he went broke because of excessive charity. 

Some of these stores were well managed, some weren’t. All, however, in their best days, were fascinating to both young and old. In the minds of small children, especially those with a few coins to spend, they were the closest things to heaven there were, other than the churches.

The first time I ever was inside one was in 1911, when I was 3 years old, and our family was living on N. Lincoln, a few doors north of 10th. My mother sent an older brother to Clark’s, on the northeast corner of 10th and Grant, to buy a loaf of bread and he took me along.

The first eye-popper was on the Grant Street side of the brick building. Large posters were pasted on the wall, two of them having pictures of a muscular pioneer and an Indian chief wearing his feathered headdress. There were a lot of words on all the posters. As I later learned, they were advertising Bull Durham smoking tobacco, Sweetheart soap, Arm and Hammer baking soda and Star chewing tobacco. 

On entering the store, I immediately went into an open-mouthed bug-eyed, speechless trance. The candy counter was on the right and my brother lifted me onto the top of a covered bushel basket of apples so I could see all the goodies. I nearly fell off the basket. I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

Each of us had a penny to spend and after the bread was purchased, my brother tried to get me to pick a penny item. But it was no use – I couldn’t talk. Finally, he told the clerk to give me a peppermint stick and when I clutched it he pulled me out the door. 

As we started to walk home, we saw the store’s large delivery wagon and its team of horses drop-hitched at the curb on Grant. The wagon had just returned from one of the rounds and the driver and his helper, using a back door, were loading it with baskets of groceries for another. We stood and watched until they finished and the driver, returning to his seat, cracked his whip in the air and yelled “Giddy-up!” to the horses and they took off 

In the next two years I often went to Clark, many times by myself, on errands for my mother. Usually, she gave me a penny or two for candy. Once, I got a nickel. Boy, that was a treat!

From the fall of 1914 until the spring of 1920, I attended the McCalla Grade School at 9th and Indiana Avenue. That’s when I became well acquainted with Todd’s Grocery on 10th, three doors west of Indiana Avenue, and its colorful proprietor, Tom Todd. Only the playground, an old pasture and 10th Street separated the school and the store and the pupils beat several paths on the pasture, traveling back and forth. 

Tom Todd was a stocky, partly bald man and had a mustache. Although a kindhearted man, he was serious and became gruff, sometimes inpatient, when the youngsters were slow in making up their minds at the candy counter. One day, when I couldn’t decide how to part with three pennies, he grabbed a broom and chased me out of the place.

Later, when I was in 4th grade, my teacher asked me to go over to Todd’s and buy some things for lunch. She gave me an itemized list: 3 cents worth of crackers, 5 cents worth of cheese, a 4 cent apple and 4 cents worth of cookies. When I presented the list and 16 cents to Tom Todd, he turned red in the face and looked like he was going to have a stroke. But since the order was for a teacher, all he could do was sputter and growl.