Time cannot be stopped. Constantly taking different forms — swirling, circling, growing — it never stays the same, and it is not finite. The flow of time is characterized by three different forms: everyday time, lifetime, and large-scale time. Time in the everyday is fluid, always flowing, moving, speeding up, and slowing down. But our lived experience is not limited to a day’s time; it can be experienced in much larger increments, perhaps most notably in the way we think about our histories and our futures. In these larger time-scales, we contextualize our ideas within our lifetime and make guesses at what might be even beyond our lives.
All of these different scales of time occur alongside one another in our minds. As Virginia Woolf knew, we incessantly live in multiple time frames, a never-ending, dialectical opposition where our past interacts with the present. It’s the issue of memory, to be caught between times — looking back, looking forward, looking everywhere, it seems, but the present, everyday time.
In the everyday, we are regulated by alarms, calendars, and schedules. In that tumult of time, we are lucky to escape into a daydream, to be entertained by a wandering thought that unroots our minds from the awareness of the clock. And when we snap back into routine, the structure of the everyday becomes conscious, if only for an instance, like a lucid dream dissolving to its core. In the streets of Muncie, the brick edifices remind us of an industrial history, stilted by promises that were only half-fulfilled. We are reminded of our location in Muncie’s large-scale frame of time by the factory lots, the church fronts, and the construction sites that characterize each individual community. They are defining images of who we are, where we’ve been, and what we want to be.
Below is a collection of images – histories and locations shared with us by our informants – that span Muncie’s large-scale, life- , and everyday frames of time. They are paired with captions, and in some cases audio taken from interviews with informants, about the images’ relationships to Muncie’s past, present, and pending future.
A city is a landscape that is constantly transforming, and the effects of these transformations are felt in the everyday lives of a city’s inhabitants. Muncie was established as a city in 1865, and at the time of the Everyday Life in Middletown study it has found itself in an uncertain transition from an industrial city revolving around factory life to one focused on education, health, and service. But these changing eras are measured by life-time and large-scale time. Traditionally, history has been studied in large-scale time, focused on the big events. We have furthered the effort to shift the study of history to focus on the hidden details- often found in the everyday. Everyday time passes at eye-level, usually unacknowledged. It is this history that falls through the cracks and becomes forgotten over time unless a special effort is made to record it. Everyday time passes at eye-level, usually unacknowledged. It is the history that falls through the cracks and becomes forgotten over time unless a special effort is made to record it.
The man-made landscape of a city is a never-ending construction process. In Muncie, the everyday lives of inhabitants are regularly affected by the construction of new public spaces or work being done to the infrastructure. Examples of the transformation of public spaces are pictured; the Rivoli Theater opened in 1927, and the Courtyard Marriot was opened in 2016. The construction of public space symbolizes a transitional moment in time. It is a skeleton of the space’s potential, a space being transformed into a place with which the community can interact.
During the Indiana gas boom in the 1880’s, factories flocked to the Muncie area and have been an integral part of the city’s history ever since. Several major companies have had factories in Muncie, most notably the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company (now renamed to Ball Corporation), Warner Gear, and Chevrolet. Muncie has since moved away from manufacturing, with most factories closed or torn down; it has transitioned into a post-industrial era. Many empty lots and buildings still remain as a testament to Muncie’s past.
While the majority of the Muncie population utilizes automobiles as their primary mode of transportation, buses have operated as a method of public transportation throughout Muncie’s history. From ownership under a private company to the modern MITS (named Outstanding Public Transportation System by the American Public Transportation Association in 2005), this method of travel remains a vital key to Muncie. For the MITS bus riders everyday life is made possible, and the bus becomes ordinary, noticed only when it’s running late or somehow out of the ordinary.
Muncie High Schools
Muncie High School first opened in 1868. In 1915, it was relocated to the four-story building. In 1974, it moved once again to its current location downtown (pictured). At various points in time, the number and location of high schools in Muncie has oscillated between one to three, mirroring the development of the city of Muncie through time. When there was a need for another high school, Muncie Southside High School opened in 1962. It closed on June 13, 2014. The consolidation of the Muncie high schools was financially necessary, but the emotional blow was felt by the entire Southside community, which was also largely affected by the decline of the Industrial age in Muncie.
“Parked in the BSU parking structure near Emens, the same one I parked in back when I was an undergraduate student 1979-1984 … It’s deteriorated a lot in the intervening years… Back in the day, there was a police officer stationed in a shack next to the entrance to the garage. You would pay the officer a dollar to park, or if he was off-duty, feed a dollar into a machine at the garage entrance. … I remember someone blew up that shack (when it was empty) with a concussion grenade back in the early eighties as a gag. Seriously, blew it to smithereens. Nobody thought it was a big deal. The DN covered it with a photo of the pieces lying all over the ground. I can remember driving by the carnage on my way to class one day. Parking was free that day. Can you imagine the hoopla if that would happen today?” (Informant 2)
Founded in 1929, Ball Memorial Hospital has undergone a number of transitions in physical form. As the city grew, the hospital grew along with it. It is now affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine, is the top employer in Muncie, and has been crucial to developing a new identity for the city focused on education, health, and service. Visitors are experiencing unusual circumstances concerning their own health or the health of a loved one; but to the hospital, such issues are part of the everyday.
The 1965 March of Affirmation began on the Ball State University campus and ended in downtown Muncie to show support for the marches from Selma to Montgomery. In 2015, the MLK Unity Walk was held at Ball State University in honor of the peaceful civil protests of the past, such as the March from Selma to Montgomery. Muncie community members are encouraged to walk together with Ball State students, united against racism while also bridging the divide between campus and the Muncie community.Muncie is historically a racially divided town. In the 1920s, Muncie’s African American population was excluded from the Middletown study, typifying the racial relationship in Muncie during that era. Since then, racism has been a topic of discussion, constantly influenced by its history in Muncie.
One informant from Whiteley explained that “Muncie is very much a segregated city. You’ve got pockets of people. The black community is on the east side, the poor white community is on the south west side, and the business class is on the west side with Ball State in the middle.” Informant 1, who graduated from Ball State, discussed her first time visiting Muncie’s traditionally black neighborhood Whiteley. Because she was used to living on campus at that time, her initial reaction was fear, but after visiting she found Whiteley to be an intimate and community-oriented part of town. Most of Muncie is aware of this divide but don’t know how to combat it. Informant 4, in an effort to close the division in Muncie, works with a local group to give awareness to racism and promote discussion about race in the community.
Informant 15 grew up attending Antioch Baptist Church. The church still stands in Muncie today as one of several churches in the Whitely neighborhood. Religion provides people with a strong sense of purpose in their everyday lives.
The Muncie Mission opened in the 1930s in the basement of the old First Baptist Church to counter the effects of the Great Depression. It moved locations in 1935 to the building on South Mulberry (pictured). The Mission has moved locations throughout its history, but it remains in Muncie and focuses on the East Central Indiana communities. In 2009, it moved to its current location at 1725 S. Liberty Street. The Muncie Mission annually unites the Muncie area through its event, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” This organization and event aids Muncie in creating its identity as a community-focused city.
Founded in 1998, ARF started out as a place where animals could be cared for and loved. Since then, founder Terri Panszi has built up a rescue foundation that offers so much more than care and love. Prospective pet parents adopt these rescued animals and give them a loving place to live. ARF aims to end euthanasia as a means of population control of animals, referring to itself as a “no-kill” community.
The Riggin Dairy Farm began operations in the 1920s but suffered during the Great Depression. Business picked up again in the 1970s with Riggin operating in four counties. Now, a barn remains on the northern boundary of Muncie where the annual Riggin Barn Festival takes place, continuing the legacy of a community oriented space.
Rivoli Theater was constructed in 1927. Located in the downtown area, it was a popular movie theater and is fondly remembered by Muncie residents who spent time there in their youth. Here, it is pictured during several of its different eras, including during its demolition in 1987. Visit this blog to read more about the Rivoli and its last pre-demolition days.
The Muncie Fieldhouse has operated as a gathering space for a variety of functions in Muncie, from car shows in the 1920s (pictured) to music festivals to sports. Built in 1928, it was intended to house Muncie Central basketball games and is one of the largest high school gymnasiums in the country. The Fieldhouse demonstrates the importance of basketball to Indiana and the Muncie community throughout several generations.