I recently visited my hometown of Muncie, Indiana, for my baby brother’s high school graduation, and while I was home I decided to head to one of my favorite parts of town to shoot photos of some of the beautiful homes. I wanted to share a little history with you about where I come from, and one of the families that has helped shape the community. Muncie would not be what it is now had it not been for the contributions of the Ball family. Referred to as “industrialists and philanthropists,” this family is known for founding the Ball Corporation, and funding what would later become Ball State University (my alma mater). You know this family for their “Ball Jars” — those mason jars everyone loves to craft with or can jam or veggies with. (Fun fact: my maternal grandfather worked for Ball Brothers, in the glass factory where Ball jars were made.)
The Ball family had five brothers and two sisters. The family homes (aka Ball mansions) line a beautiful street surrounded by gardens along the White River near the Minnetrista Cultural Center, and that’s where I strolled to take some photos. (The info found below was compiled from several sources, including websites, local lore, and my dad aka the human encyclopedia of Muncie history.)
This cool, spooky-looking home is called Oakhurst, and was home to George A. and Frances Ball. It was built in 1894. Their only child, Elisabeth, never married and lived in the home her whole life.
Here it is from another angle:
This was the home of Lucius and Sarah Ball. Lucius practiced medicine and was not involved with the canning jar company.
This is Maplewood, the home of William C. and Emma Ball. They had one child, William H. Ball, and if you find yourself in the company of my grandpa then he will most likely entertain you with dozens of stories about him. He was a very interesting character.
This is Nebosham, also known as the E.B. Ball Mansion. It was the family home of Edmund B. and Bertha Ball for 50 years. Bertha died in the 1950s, and the house sat vacant for a few years after her death. It was later leased to Ball State University, and in the 1970s the Ball Brothers Foundation gave it to the university to use as a continuing education facility. There is also a murder mystery festival that takes place here each year which draws mystery writers and fans from all over the world. (I attended a party in this home several years ago — it is amazing inside too!)
Pictured above is the carriage house at Oakhurst.
Below is Discovery Cabin located in Oakhurst Gardens, and is referred to as a “hands-on information station” where you will find resources on the surrounding gardens.
This is a path leading through Oakhurst Gardens:
There was another home, the Frank C. Ball home, which sadly burned down in 1967. It was built in 1894 and was gorgeous. The pillars are still standing, and the Minnetrista Cultural Center is now located where the home once stood.
I hope you enjoyed strolling through a little piece of my hometown with me. I always enjoy walking through the gardens when I’m home visiting, and I often take my boys there for photo shoots. This location provides a beautiful backdrop. We’ve had family photos taken there as well. There’s no question about the impact the Ball family has had on Muncie, and I’m happy to to be able to share a little bit of their legacy with you.
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