History of Bloomington, IN

History of Bloomington, IN

Located some 50 miles to the south of Indianapolis, lies Bloomington, Monroe County’s seat. This attractive city is known to most as the ‘Gateway to Scenic South Indiana’. A group of settlers from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Carolina established the city in 1818. The incredible haven of blooms really impressed these settlers; so much so, they named the region Bloomington, a well-suited name in my opinion.

Bloomington is home to quite a number of Indiana state parks, recreation opportunities, lush green forests and so many other natural resources. Notable recreation centers include Lakes Lemon and Monroe. Lake Monroe was created in the 1960s in a bid to solve the water crisis in the area. This city is also home to Indiana University (founded in 1820), one of the oldest not to mention largest universities in the US. Most of the buildings here were constructed from Indiana Limestone.

In the ancient times, a major part of the population made a living by timbering, limestone extraction, farming and from the furniture industry. some companies from the 17th century include the Virginia Iron Works and the Salt Works. In 1827, a Limestone Mill was established in the Stinesville region. By the 1860s, there were several other limestone mills that came up. 

The railway got to Bloomington between 1854 and 1855, and it really had a major impact on transport. It was now more feasible to transport limestone, which was a good thing for the city. A lot of new communities sprung up along the railroad, increasing Bloomington’s population. Some early businesses from the era include Oaks Manufacturing, Showers Brother Furniture, Pedigo Perfection Washing Machine and many more. Early banks were Monroe County Bank and First National Bank Workingmen’s Building Loan Fund. Soon after the civil war, public schools were founded, in accordance with the state legislature. 

As the 1900s approached, they brought with them tons of changes to Bloomington. These included but were not limited to: A Rural Free Delivery mail service, Bloomington Hospital, yet another railroad, better roads, city sewers, sanitary water, sidewalks and paved streets. The limestone industry here continued to flourish. City parks were established all around. Businesses thrived like never before until The Depression wreaked havoc in Bloomington. The water problem recurred and it led to construction of lake Lemon and Lake Monroe nearly 10 years later. 

After the war, Bloomington picked itself up and strived to thrive again. Towards the early 1980s, the economy took a turn to the high-tech end of the spectrum. Today, Bloomington is a well-established city that provides for its residents as best as it can. The quality of life here is quite impressive, thanks to the city’s strong economy.

Did you know about these famous people from Bloomington, IN?

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