A Pictorial History Book about IU South Bend

The sign that started it all….

By: Sky Santiago, Bicentennial Intern, Master of Liberal Studies, South Bend

Sometimes as a creative person you have secret longings that you do not know how you will fulfill. I had never mentioned it to anyone, but I have been feeling a strange pull when walking past the sign in the library that reads ARCHIVES.

I had wanted to do some kind of creative work with this collection, but never knew what this project might be or how it might come to fruition. This is an experience only another artist may understand: a sign that is a sign of things to come.

Finally in February I was asked to create a pictorial history book for the jubilee celebration at IU South Bend, with a chance to dive into the archival images collection. Without hesitation, I agreed.

My short backstory is I had attended “IUSB” (later to officially come to be known as IU South Bend) in the late 1980s as an undergrad and never finished my degree. I returned in 2011, and took up a new degree in Integrated New Media Studies, and graduated in 2015. I am in now in the Master of Liberal Studies degree program, so I have several decades of experience at IU South Bend where I witnessed some of the evolutions of this campus.

The many boxes of amazing materials that can be found in the archives.

To start the bicentennial internship and pictorial history book project, I met with Dr. Joe Chaney from Wolfson Press and Director of the Master of Liberal Studies degree program, and Alison Stankrauff, who is the Archivist at the Schurz Library, who gave me plenty of good mentorship and guidance to begin.

They suggested I read a book, A Campus Becoming, and to interview Dr. Patrick Furlong, who co-authored it. He is a local historian and emeritus professor of history from IU South Bend.

First, I did my homework. I read the book and created a timeline from it combined with a timeline I found online that Alison and Dr. Furlong had created. I also met with my fellow bicentennial interns to see what projects they were working on as well.

Alison and Dr. Chaney suggested some other titles that might assist me with  design and compilation, and I checked them out of the library.

Those were From Generation to Generation: The Michiana Jewish Community (2014), which was published by Wolfson, The Lincoln Highway Across Indiana (2009), Along the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Rail Line (2012), and German Settlers of South Bend (2003).

All three of the last titles are Arcadia Publishing titles, which initially we thought we might use as models for our book, as we had planned  the jubilee  book to have  black and white images in the interior. Also, the Arcadia books are small format—6.5” x 9.5” and we had thought to make the book a similar size.

My next step was to get into the actual archives and see what the contents were, how they were organized, how many photographs there were, and review their quality. I first examined our H:/drive to see what images we had, and what dpi resolution they were.

Where the magic happens….my work station.

Then I went to the actual physical photograph archives which were still in boxes. I began by just snapping photos of photos with my cell phone, not wanting to take too much time with scanning. This was going to be my initial survey of the material, so I could gain some ideas.

Next I met with Dr. Furlong who made several suggestions to take into consideration. I could tell he was very experienced in historical images and historical writing.

He almost seemed to be psychic with my thoughts and process. As we sat and chatted, he said to try to avoid the tendency to choose a lot of group shots. He indicated one has a tendency to try to be considerate in including as many people as possible, but it becomes visually boring to the person looking at the book.

He also thought the book dimensions could or should be bigger for a visual book of primarily photographs. We also discussed color, which I had previously considered on my own, but knew the cost was going to be more than we initially anticipated.

Color would allow us to show how our campus has evolved to its contemporary state. Since we are wondering how to cover these costs, we have a meeting scheduled with IU Press in Bloomington next week for consultation on this matter.

I had begun scanning images at 300 dpi, but after some further investigation discovered I did not scan them at high enough resolution, so I will have to start over. It is best to start with almost as high of resolution as possible from the scanner and then resample using Photoshop and InDesign.

I was advised to scan at 1200 dpi, full color RGB, although the scanner does scan at 2400 dpi. Also several images have grease, stains, dust and scratches, so they will have to be retouched.

The most challenging part at this time is defining parameters. Will the book be larger format or smaller? Will it be color or black and white? Will we have funds to develop the book further?

Today I checked out a few more campus-specific books, as suggested by Dr. Furlong, and found by Alison Stankrauff, which I will review: Coming of Age: 50 Years of Higher Education in Kokomo, 1945-1995: Indiana University Kokomo in Photos and Memories, Indiana University: Portraits of the Bloomington Campus and The University of Notre Dame, A Portrait of Its History and Campus.


Ferries, Linda et al. Coming of Age: 50 Years of Higher Education in Kokomo, 1945-1995: Indiana University Kokomo in Photos and Memories. Indiana University, 1997.

Furlong, Patrick Joseph and Tom R. Vander Ven. A Campus Becoming: Lester M. Wolfson and Indiana University South Bend 1964-1987. South Bend: Wolfson Press, 2010.

Indiana University: Portraits of the Bloomington Campus, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014.

Schlereth, Thomas J. The University of Notre Dame, A Portrait of Its History and Campus. South Bend: The University of Notre Dame, 1991.

The Legacy of Andrew Wylie: Food in the 19th Century

By: Rachna Chaudhari, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2018, Biology, Bloomington

When the Wylie House was built in 1835, the property surrounding the house extended for five acres, and the Wylie family lived on a working farm. According to Theophilus A. Wylie III’s memory map of the farm circa 1875, the property had many outbuildings surrounding it.

This included an icehouse, a smoke house, a double-pen barn, an elaborate log chicken house, a carriage house, and a large two-story utility building [1].

The map below represents the time period when Theophilus A. Wylie lived in the house, and not Andrew Wylie, but several of Andrew Wylie’s bills show evidence that these buildings were built when the original Wylie family resided there.

Theophilus Wylie III’s Sketch Map. Courtesy of Indiana University Archive Photographs Collection, P0022964.

It can be assumed these outbuildings were used frequently to do work like laundry, butchering meat, and other food-related preparation tasks. Based on the store records that Andrew Wylie kept, beef and venison, and ham was frequently purchased by the family [2]. Based on this, it can be assumed the family may have only butchered relatively smaller animals on their farm, and bought the larger ones from the store.

West-Northwest view from roof of Wylie House. Although the photo was taken in 1885, long after the original Wylie family inhabited the house, the farm and garden still existed when Theophilus Adam Wylie (photographer) lived at the house. Image courtesy, Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection, P0022333.

Based on the sketch map, the Wyllie’s had many different kinds of trees on their property including pear, peach, apple, and cherry.

The vegetables and fruits grown in the garden and on the trees provided the family with the necessary sustenance to live on even through the winter [1]. Home canning did not become practical until the late 19th century, so the family relied mainly on drying and pickling [1].

The Wylie’s were huge proponents of pickling as many of the original pickle jars still exist today at the Wylie House Museum. The Wylie’s also most likely smoked a lot of food for preservation as well due to the existence of the smoke house on their property.

Drying Herbs. Exhibit at Wylie House portraying the process of drying herbs. Image courtesy, Wylie House Museum Flickr Page.

Based on the store records, Andrew Wylie frequently bought cheese and butter [2]. This suggests one of two things: the Wylie’s did not have dairy cows, or that the amount of dairy produced by the cows was not enough to provide for the large family. There really is not any evidence indicating whether or not the Wylie’s had dairy cattle.

Because they bought beef almost every day from the store, it can be assumed the Wylie’s did not keep any beef cattle on their farm. Therefore, it is quite possible the Wylie’s kept no cattle or other large farm animals besides horses.

One interesting thing I noticed is that about once a week, the Wylie’s bought eggs, sometimes as many as six dozen, even though the sketch map indicates that one of the outbuildings was a chicken house. It could be possible that the chickens the Wylie’s did have were not producing enough eggs.

In a letter Elizabeth Wylie wrote to John H. Wylie on February 6th, 1852, Elizabeth writes,

“This has been an unusually cold winter here, as everywhere else, some our apple trees were split asunder, almost all the peach trees are killed, throughout the county; chickens froze on the roost, & the oldest inhabitant says it is the coldest winter in the memory of man” [3].

Elizabeth confirms the presence of peach and apple trees on the property, but does not necessarily confirm that the Wylie’s themselves had chickens. She merely states chickens throughout the county froze on the roost.

Not only do the store records bring to light what the Wylie’s diet was like, but it illustrates their status. The Wylie’s bought many spices including nutmeg, pepper, and cinnamon. They also bought coffee, tea, and candy on a regular basis [2].

These amenities were not something the everyday person would be able to buy regularly in the 19th century because they were imported from the Ohio River. Regular food was relatively inexpensive. For example, beef was around two to four cents per pound, turkeys were twenty-five cents, and chickens were seventy-five cents a dozen.

Typical food found in a 19th century pantry. Image courtesy, Wylie House Museum Flickr Page.

The store records also indicate the Wylie’s bought beets, parsley, and May peas seeds; however, this would not have been a regular purchase. The Wylie’s practiced seed saving in order to have seeds for upcoming planting seasons [1]. The Wylie’s were very resourceful and efficient when it came to food. If you happen to visit the Wylie House today, you can learn all about seed saving, see the heirloom seeds the Wylie’s used to plant, and attend one of Sherry Wise’s seed-saving workshops and buy seeds during the annual seed sale!


  1. [Manual], [Wylie House Museum Docent Manual], Reference Files, Indiana University Archives, Indiana University, Bloomington.
  2. [Bills, Receipts], Wylie Bills, Receipts, and Financial Documents, Collection C203, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.
  3. [Letters], Wylie Family Correspondences, Collection C203, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Hudson and Holland Scholars Program: A Brief History

By: Claudia Loman, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2020, Marketing and International Business, Bloomington

Hudson and Holland offices.

When I first came across this internship opportunity I was immediately intrigued by it. Growing up I have always had an interest in history due to my parents.

On almost every family vacation we take we always have some type of educational component to it, whether it’s the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum in Atlanta, or the U.S.S Midway in San Diego, history has always pulled my interest. So, I may not be a history major but I was very excited to be able to do an internship on something that I enjoy in my free time.

The topic that I am researching is a minority scholarship program called Hudson and Holland Scholars Program. I felt a personal connection to this project because I am currently a Hudson and Holland Scholar.

I did have some prior knowledge of Hudson and Holland before because of a class that I took for this program last semester, but  I didn’t know  too many details.  I was excited when I got this topic because of not only being a scholar in the program, but because I love learning about diversity as well.

Starting out, I wasn’t too sure what I would be doing as an intern or how I was going to necessarily find new information on this program, but I quickly learned. When I first started going to the IU Archives or searched on the online archives, I struck out. Not much information has been added to the archives over the twenty-five-year span of the program. This is because most of the information collected by Dr. Herman Hudson and Dr. James Holland was kept in boxes in their offices.

Hudson and Holland scrap book.

This was exciting for me because I got to go through their personal scrapbooks, which included photo albums and many news article clippings they preserved. In the boxes, I found many different videos, papers from events, and pictures.

While researching, I came across a lot of different things but I felt a true connection when I’d read articles about when Dr. Herman Hudson and Dr. Holland passed away. They did so much for so many people through their mentorship and you could truly see this through the way that people spoke so highly of them. These boxes are where I found most of the information that I will be using for my project.

Hudson and Holland scrap book.

This research gave me a deeper appreciation for this program because a lot of the articles talked about all the things the people had to go through to start this program and get it funded. The government wasn’t giving very much money to Indiana University specifically for minority students, so they had to try to scrape up the money from various places.

Starting out though, the program wasn’t called Hudson and Holland, it started out as two separate minority programs called Minority Achievers Program and the Mathematics and Science Scholarship. These programs were put into place to attract high achieving minorities to Indiana University and merged in 2004 and were renamed Hudson and Holland to honor Dr. Herman Hudson and Dr. James Holland.

Dr. James Holland was the associate professor in the IU Department of Biology. For over the 30 years that he spent at IU, he was a mentor to many students across campus and had a true passion for the sciences. Along with this, he was a major component in getting the MAP and MASS programs at Indiana University because he wanted to see more diversity on campus.

Slide from Hudson and Holland Archives.

Dr. Herman Hudson arrived at Indiana University in 1968 and was one of the first major African American leaders to come to IU. Dr. Hudson had a passion for the arts and ended up creating different programs that showcased African American performing arts, such as the Soul Revue, the Choral Ensemble, and the African- American Dance Company. These two men were very influential in helping bring diversity to IU’s campus.

At first this program was aimed to attract first generation college students, but today this isn’t necessarily the case as these students are now second and third college generation. The vision that Dr. Herman Hudson and Dr. James Holland had continues to grow today with over 1,400 scholars on campus today.

This program serves more students than they could have ever imagined because when the Minority Achievers Program began it had a mere 34 students! Having a program as large as it is today was Hudson and Holland’s goal, because they wanted to give as many minorities as they could a chance at succeeding at Indiana University.

Overall, the intern experience has been great. I have been able meet different people around campus that are outside of Kelley, and work with different faculty members I may have never met otherwise.

It has also given me insight on how individuals worked so hard so students just like me can attend such a great school with support. The research that I’m discovering will provide a basis for the timeline I am producing, so stay tuned.

The Mini 500: The Gendered History of a Forgotten Tradition Part 3


By: Jordan Siden, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2017, History, Bloomington

Decline: 1988-2002

Practice for the Mini 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0026012.

The news was announced in the fall of 1987. After 37 years on the sidelines, women finally won the opportunity to race on bicycles in the inaugural Women’s Little 500.

Though the race would comprise just half as many laps as the men’s race, the victory had been hard fought. Since the 1970s, female riders had been agitating to race on the same stage as the men. Beginning in the mid-Eighties, the work of a passionate and organized group of women successfully convinced the IUSF that it was finally time to stage a separate race for women.[1]

Incidentally, the Mini, which for the past decade had been consumed by tension over the dilemma of inclusion, was split in 1988 along gender lines, too.

“Men will compete against men and women will compete against women,” commanded the IUSF with Biblical severity in the 1988 Mini 500 rules and regulations handbook.[2] There was to be a men’s division and a women’s division, and at last it seemed equality had prevailed for IU’s Little 500 Weekend.

When IDS sports writer David J. Neal covered the 1988 qualifications, his report presented apathetic, carefree riders who were more interested in having a good time than winning. “It’s difficult to take competition on a tricycle as a life-and-death thing,” Neal wrote. “After all, this is an object preschoolers pedal.”[3]

The 1988 Mini 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Student Foundation.

That week, two Mini 500 organizers, both women, wrote to the IDS saying they were “appalled” by the coverage: “David J. Neal’s story makes the trike race seem silly, and he implies that the teams that participate do not take it seriously.”[4] They reminded him that all the proceeds from the Mini, “a part of the ‘World’s Greatest College Weekend’ for 34 years,” go toward fundraising for working students.

A debate raged in the opinion pages of the IDS for weeks. “The Mini was never intended to be a forum for world peace, but a counterpart to Little 500,” an IUSF member defended.[5] “The idea, both in conception and execution, is to raise funds for working students through entertaining activities that are planned and managed by students.”

In another letter, the IUSF chairman, a senior, asked, “If the concept of the Mini 500 is in fact idiotic, why has it continued for 34 years?” Another student wrote a more pressing question posed itself: “Why did it take 34 years for the IUSF to figure out that women can ride bicycles?”[6]

“Now that there is finally a real women’s 500 . . . we should no longer have to pretend that tricycle racing is a serious sport, and can enjoy the Mini 500 as a fun—and silly—event,” he wrote.

In the end, the IDS published a technical and sober recap of the 1988 tricycle race.[7] The article made little fuss about the fact the Mini had been split in two gendered divisions, other than mentioning that one male rider was happy the divisions would promote better participation—for women.

After 1988, men and women raced in separate divisions. A co-ed division was added in 1995. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025841.

So what was to be made of the Mini in the era of the Women’s Little 500? Was it, as the IUSF insisted, simply a revenue producing attraction? Was it an embarrassing showcase of immaturity unfit for the university?

Coverage of the Mini began to change, yet again. The emphasis on competition that pervaded accounts of the Mini since the mid-Sixties began to make way for lighthearted features gleefully writing about the novelty of college students “finding fun in trikes,” as the IDS wrote as a headline for its coverage of the 1990 race.[8] An IU News Bureau press release in 1992 innocuously called the Mini a “lighthearted activity in which both men and women participate.”[9]

From the Indiana Daily Student’s coverage of the 1995 Mini 500. Image courtesy of the Indiana University Student Foundation.

The attention the IDS, the Arbutus yearbook and local newspapers once gave to covering the Mini was almost immediately repelaced by coverage of women’s bicycle race. Gone from the papers were the qualifying speeds of the Mini published below the bicycle qualifiers — they had been substituted by the qualifying times for the Women’s Little 500, and news of the Mini got buried in the back.

The Mini had become, once again, more of a carnival than a competition. “We are upping the enthusiasm by setting up more fun activities at the event such as dressing up in Star Wars outfits and having breaks in the main trike action to show funny trike tricks,” one organizer said before the 1998 race.[10]

By the mid-1990s, the custom of dressing up in costumes returned to the Mini for the first time since the Sixties. In 1995, a third, co-ed, division was added to the Mini, a sign that college students were less interested in a “battle of the sexes” than they were a good time.

Celebration at the 1991 Mini 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025990.

No one knew at the 2002 Mini 500 that they were attending the last-ever running of the Little 500’s historic tricycle race. In another time, the Mini had inspired months of training and heated rivalry. But in its last running, the race was another fun event in a raucous weekend.

The Star Spangled Banner performed on an electric guitar inaugurated “Trikin’ In the USA.” “Some trikers were out just for the fun of the night but won a couple of heats and surprised themselves,” wrote the IDS. “Some competitors came just to display their costumes.”[11]

The Mini ended as it began. As a fun night of entertainment in the midst of a packed weekend. Photo courtesy of the IU Student Foundation.

“It was one of the best Mini 500s I’ve ever been to,” an IUSF organizer said. The event was growing in popularity, said another. “The most important thing is that everyone enjoyed themselves and had a good time.”

But despite last year’s fun, the IUSF announced in February 2003 that it would discontinue the Mini 500. Director Jonathan Purvis told the IDS that the decision was due to a decline in spectator interest as well as a lack of desire to replacing the now-aging custom-built tricycles. But it was perhaps an absence of a rationale — a gradual erosion of purpose — that finally dismantled the tricycle race.

“At its high point, the nature of the event was extremely competitive before the Women’s Little 500,” Purvis said. “But, with the advent of the women’s race, the competition level went down. First, it was a fun part of the weekend, but then [switched] to an at times unsafe and certainly not sober weekend, which is not the image IUSF wants to present.”[12]

The Mini was to be replaced with the Little Fifty, a relay race with a men’s and women’s division. The IUSF said the new event, with fewer obstacles to participate than the bicycle race, was intended to “involve more students and increase the overall participation in Little 500 activities.”[13]

An IDS staff editorial condemned the IUSF the following week for throwing “forty-eight years of tradition,” and a “highlight of Little 500,” to the wayside: “While the Little Fifty is a great idea, it will certainly not fill the void of the Mini 500. Simply stated, it’s hard to run on a cinder track in a chicken costume.”[14]

But the notion that the Mini had run its course prevailed. By the beginning of the 21st century, the tricycle felt like an outdated relic. “The Mini does have a celebrated past but it is best suited for a time before Title IX,” wrote one student to the IDS. “Although the Mini was a coed event it was in essence replaced by the Women’s Little 500, which is a much more challenging and suitable event for today’s women.”[15]

The decision was final, and the next year the Mini disappeared from the Little 500 weekend.

But traditions can be difficult to part with. In 2007, Kappa Alpha Theta, a sorority, organized a restaging of the Mini 500. In the “Little Trike Hundred,” IU students once again rode oversized tricycles in the days leading up to the Little 500 weekend — though this time not under the lights of Assembly Hall, but in its parking lot.

The rules stipulated that each team was to include two men and two women. “We’re really trying to involve the whole campus,” the sororities’ vice president of public relations told the IDS.[16] The race’s motto: “If you can’t bike it, trike it.”

IU students raced tricycles once again when the Little Trike Hundred. Organized in 2007, the event has not occurred since. Photo courtesy of the Indiana Daily Student.

Just as it originated in 1955, it was a sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, who organized the tricycle race for college students. Though the event raised over $2,000 for the sororities’ national philanthropy project, the “Little Trike Hundred” wasn’t staged again.

Today, a tricycle that was once pedaled in the Mini 500 sits in the IU Visitor’s Center on Indiana Avenue. It’s one of the few reminders left of what was once the great sideshow to the Little 500 — and for most of its history one of the weekend’s few avenues of competition for women.

Otherwise, the Mini 500 has all but disappeared from the consciousness of IU’s student body. That female students were once encouraged to race on tricycles, while male students rode on bicycles, raises eyebrows among today’s students who first hear of the event.

In its beginnings as the competitive option for women in the Little 500 weekend, the Mini 500 was staged as an unserious and childlike counterpart to the men’s bicycle race. Though in the 1950s the race may have seemed like an appropriate way to include women in the rapidly expanding Little 500, by the 1970s much of the pageantry disappeared from the Mini as it adopted a more athletic presentation suited for changing ideas about women’s rights.

Though the Mini was a difficult competition that gradually developed into a showcase of women’s speed, agility and strength, donning an athletic veneer couldn’t hide the fact that for decades, every spring at IU, men raced bicycles while women raced on toys. The history of the Mini provides a fascinating window into changing gender expectations and social roles among college students in the second half of the 20th century.

Various struggles for inclusion have peppered the history of the Little 500. While women were consistently denied entry into the bicycle race, the Mini became a stage for a “battle of the sexes” that dogged the race throughout the 1980s. Men came to dominate the Mini, and took away what little athletic role women had as part of the “World’s Greatest College Weekend.”

The Mini changed as ideas of gender roles changed. The era of the Women’s Little 500, and the subsequent decline of the tricycle race, exposed the Mini as a surviving remnant of a less-equal past.

Although it disappeared in 2002, the Mini persisted for nearly a half-century of changing expectations for college women. With every passing Little 500 weekend, the Mini communicated the message that women at IU were unequal, inferior and undeserving of being taken seriously.

Examining the Mini 500 reveals one way inequality become an embedded part of student culture at IU. Its history may inspire all of us at IU to pause and see what other ways inequality manifests in ways unquestioned and unchallenged.

The above video is a preview of Jordan Siden’s research collected from IU Student Foundation promotional material of the Little 500 weekend. These films contain footage of the Mini 500 throughout the years, and Jordan assembled and edited these clips to help give viewers a more detailed sense of what the Mini 500 looked like and how it evolved. Housed in the IU Archives, a portion of the reel-to-reel films were digitized by the IU Moving Image Archive and are now housed in their online collection.

For part one and two of this blog, please visit: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/17/the-mini-500-the-gendered-history-of-a-forgotten-tradition-part-1/


Works Cited

[1] Schwarb, The Little 500, 127-8

[2] “1988 Mini Rules and Regulations,” Indiana University Student Foundation, 1988.

[3] David J. Neal “Out to Lunch takes pole,” Indiana Daily Student, April 11, 1988, 9.

[4] Rebecca S. Thompson and Susan V. Hill, “How could you imply that Mini 500 isn’t important?” Indiana Daily Student, April 14, 1988, 2.

[5] Jeffery Grant Kagen, “Once again, Thomas Olofson has missed the boat,” Indiana Daily Student, April 25, 1988.

[6] Paul Rodes, “Mini 500 hasn’t always been great symbol of feminism,” Indiana Daily Student, April 27, 1988.

[7] David J. Neal, “Hellion’s, Demons win men’s women’s Mini 5,” Indiana Daily Student, April 25, 1988, 10.

[8] Rob Vogt, “College students find fun in trikes,” Indiana Daily Student: 1990 Little 500 Edition, 32.

[9] “Little 500 Activities Planned to Include Mellencamp Concert,” Indiana University News Bureau, February 25, 1992, 2.

[10] John Lind, “The ‘Force’ Behind the Mini,” 1998 Little 500, Indiana University Student Foundation, 1998, 27.

[11] “Mini 500 opens race weekend,” Indiana Daily Student, April 19, 2002, 8.

[12] Gavin Lesnick, “IUSF halts Mini 500 race tradition,” Indiana Daily Student, February 5, 2003, 11.

[13] “Information Packet: The inaugural Little Fifty,” Indiana University Student Foundation, April 13, 2002, 2.

[14] Andrew LeMar, “Staff Editorial: Tradition put to the side,” Indiana Daily Student, February 11, 2003, 6.

[15] Tom Schwoegler, “Jordan River Forum: Mini 500 not all it was cracked up to be,” Indiana Daily Student, February 18, 2003, 7.

[16] “Little Trike Hundred kicks off week of Little 500,” Indiana Daily Student, April 16, 2007, http://www.idsnews.com/article/2007/04/little-trike-hundred-kicks-off-week-of-little-500.

The Mini 500: The Gendered History of a Forgotten Tradition Part 1

Mini 500, 1974. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025858.

By: Jordan Siden, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2017, History, Bloomington

Beginnings: 1955 to 1971

“Women Behind the Men Make the Race a Success,” read the headline to Lynn Sproatt’s article in the Indiana Daily Student on April 17, 1955, a little over a month before the fifth running of the annual Little 500.[1]

“For weeks before the race, team members will be pedaling all over campus and the countryside,” Sproatt wrote. “This sort of thing, persons notice. But behind the scenes, coeds who ordinarily wouldn’t know which end of a needle to thread will be stitching uniforms with clever—or simple designs.”

On the day of the race, the article continued, the co-ed sponsors would arise before the sun, head to the stadium, and install the decorations they had worked so hard to make. The dedicated, yet underappreciated co-ed sponsors to the Little 500 teams cheered on the riders, sewed their uniforms and designed the decorations for their pits.

“When the race is over, a team of bicyclists— men—will be declared winner of the Little 500,” Sproatt wrote. “But behind that team, there will have been a coed unit who will gladly take second place, no matter how much credit is due her, because that’s how things seem to fall in this world.”

The 1951 Little 500 Best Pit Decoration Winners. “The ‘Little 500’ is complete with pits, mechanics, and pretty girls,” read the caption to this photo. “The girls, however, limit their duties to decorating the pits.” Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0027448.

Though the women of IU had played only peripheral roles in the early years of the Little 500 bicycle race, on the front page of the same paper a new event was announced that promised to feature their speed, skill and talent.

Members of the Pi Beta Phi sorority had organized a race open to all women’s housing units, “an added attraction to make the 500 weekend a fuller one.”[2] The IU Student Foundation, who organized the annual Little 500, would develop the sorority’s race into the newest event of the Little 500 weekend.

It meant that after four years on the sidelines, women at IU now had their own chance to compete as part of the festivities. Teams of four riders with one alternate would race for cashmere sweaters and clock radios to see which one could pedal the fastest. Prizes would also be given to the team with the best costume.

The race would be called the Miniature, and the women would race on tricycles.

But while the annual Little 500 grew almost immediately into one of the most emblematic cultural events at Indiana University — an event which had been marketed as the “World’s Greatest College Weekend” since its first running in 1951 — women were kept out of the bicycle race until the hard-fought creation of the Women’s Little 500 in 1988.

Instead, in 1955, a precedent was set. At IU, while men raced on bicycles in the Little 500, women raced tricycles in the Mini.

It was a decision that allowed for men’s and women’s experiences to be very different for students participating in IU’s Little 500 weekend. The bicycle race made heroes out of college men, and its counterpart made spectacles out of IU’s women.

The Mini 500 would be raced every year until 2002. Throughout its history, it would act as a barometer measuring how ideas of gender roles changed at IU’s Bloomington campus.

In the wake of the G.I. Bill, IU was an institution growing in size and exploding in population. In 1950, wanting to get the fledgling IU Foundation off the ground, IU President Herman B Wells invited Howard “Howdy” Wilcox Jr., a 29-year-old fresh out of the army and working for an advertising firm in Indianapolis, to come to Bloomington and become the foundation’s new executive director.[3]

Wilcox knew the key to the foundation’s success was to plant the seeds of philanthropic responsibility in students early, and he developed the IU Student Foundation, the student arm of the organization. Though a small body of students were eager about the foundation’s mission, Wilcox was still in need of a way to prepare the student body at large to regularly and annually invest in the university once they became graduates.

The story of how Wilcox, the son of a famed Indianapolis 500 racer, came up with the idea for the fundraiser for working students is a story that has been told and retold in the days leading up to the Little 500 for decades. And like any great piece of cultural mythology, the details differ in its various re-tellings.

An IU News Bureau press release in 1990, a standard pre-race feature of the Little 500’s founding story, describes Wilcox’s eureka moment: “Screams and cheers coming from a nearby IU dormitory interrupted [Wilcox’s] peaceful afternoon and lured him to find out what the commotion was all about. He followed the cheers and surprisingly found about 50 women screaming out their dormitory windows. They were cheering on five cyclists who were intensely racing around the dorm.”[4]

Wilcox immediately saw the potential. He would stage a bicycle race modeled after the Indy 500, and its proceeds would go to working students.

While most accounts of the Little 500 origin story make no mention of the screaming fans’ gender, this detail provides an important clue for understanding the role women students played at IU in Wilcox’s time.

In 1951, no rule stipulated that women couldn’t ride in the Little 500. There was no need for one. It was simply a given that the athletes to participate in Wilcox’s race would be men.

Beyond IU, women’s roles on college campuses were precariously susceptible to societal forces. During World War II, women in higher education were met with a brief period of unprecedented opportunities in technical and professional training “that seemed to belie sex labels,” Barbara Miller Solomon wrote.[5]

But, in the wartime absence of men, this moment toward equality disappeared once G.I.s returned home to enroll in universities by the millions. A curriculum and student culture focused on preparing women for domestic life and marriage came to dominate educational priorities for collegiate women in the 1950s.

IU was no exception to the sudden, nationwide shift in favor of a “distinctly feminine education” for the modern woman. IU graduate student Julia Joshel writes that the activities of IU’s residence halls was one way IU trained women undergrads “the development of attributes suitable for a housewife.”[6]

By sewing uniforms, cheering on the men and decorating the pits, the Little 500 in the 1950s was another way for women to practice their domestic duties.

Carolyn Hill, “Miss Bicycle at Indiana,” pictured for American Bicyclist and Motorist magazine in 1955. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0026019.

In the early years of the Little 500, women were photographed atop or next to bicycles, but only to pose in advertisements for the upcoming race and its many corresponding social events.

From the first Little 500 in 1951, some women did ride bicycles competitively in the Little Little 500, a relay race between the Kappa Alpha Theta and Delta Gamma sororities the morning of the Little 500. The event was a challenge to race around a track while dropping an egg from a spoon the fewest number of times.[7]

The winning team, appropriately, would win an eggbeater. The “Little Little” was run annually until 1960.

Until the first Miniature 500, the Little Little 500 was the only opportunity for women to compete athletically in the Little 500 weekend. Photo courtesy of the Indiana University Student Foundation.

But while women riding bicycles was considered a novelty during IU’s Little 500 weekend, the invention of the bicycle had, in fact, once played a central part in the advancement of women’s rights.

In late 19th century, bicycles provided women a means to leave the domestic sphere of home and experience newfound mobility and individuality. As Robert A. Smith writes, the bicycle “is credited to challenging the conventional forces dictating what women could and could not do.”[8] Susan B. Anthony said in 1896 that the bicycle “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”[9]

Though tricycles appeared as the first popular alternatives to the earlier high wheeled, cumbersome and difficult to ride bicycle of the mid-nineteenth century, Sarah Hallenbeck writes it was the development of the “safety bicycle”—the low-bar prototype to the contemporary bicycle—that would broaden the accessibility of cycling to include women and set off the bicycle craze of the late 19th century.[10]

And beyond just leisurely riding, Clare S. Simpson found that by the late 1890s women competed professionally in bicycle races staged across the United States and England.[11] Scores of women raced in competitions staged and funded by promoters eager to entertain. Though novelty and sex appeal did contribute to the success of women’s bicycle racing, its history demonstrates that since the 19th century women were capable and ardent athletes on two wheels.

The short-lived phenomenon of women’s bicycle racing had largely disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century. Fifty years later, the idea of college-aged women racing on bicycles would have seemed laughable. As the Little 500 bicycle race would expand, women at IU would be left out of the race and placed into what were considered more appropriate, feminine roles.

Bill “Army” Armstrong, who succeeded Wilcox to become the executive director of the IU Foundation in 1953, would very rapidly grow the Little 500 into a full weekend of entertainment—broadening its appeal to enlarge its audience.

Armstrong’s first major addition to the weekend was the introduction of the Little 500 Sweetheart, a young female model, beauty pageant winner, singer or dancer who was expected to kiss on the lips each member of the winning Little 500 team. She was a prize written about extensively in the IDS and local papers into the 1960s.

The 1964 Little 500 Sweetheart being pedaled at the Mini 500 by the Little 500 racer with the fastest qualifying lap. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025905.

The 1955 Little 500 included about a dozen social events, including luncheons, ice cream socials, parades and receptions. Armstrong’s new Variety Show brought celebrities and comedians to Bloomington, and fraternity dances like the Bicycle Bounce and Sprocket Hop provided a convenient stage for men and women to mingle.[12]

So when the Miniature 500 was announced, it was heralded as an exciting role-reversal, an event that would give an opportunity for women to share in the fun and enjoy a moment in the spotlight.

“Our ‘Little 500’ week-end is no longer a campus-confined ‘men only event,’” the official 1955 Little 500 program announced.[13] Staging a women’s race meant that men, for just one night, were to switch with the women as the cheering supporters.

Since co-ed sponsors dutifully filled the stands of the Little 500 as supporters to the men’s teams, men who would participate in the Mini were asked to form a cheering section for the team that would back them the next day.[14]

But unlike the Little 500, the Miniature was a stage for demonstrating petite-ness — not physical prowess. “You have to be tiny to ride in the ‘Minnie,’ or you’ll get your knees bruised,” quipped the satirical student paper the Crimson Bull in the days leading up to the first race.[15]

The first Miniature 500 was supposed to have taken place in the parking lot outside the IU Auditorium, but rain moved the event into the Fieldhouse on Seventh Street, and established the basic configuration the race would take in every subsequent running.

In the style of the Little 500, each team in the Miniature shared one tricycle. To exchange it required the first rider, pedaling at top speed down the straightaway, to leap off the tricycle while her teammate would run alongside it and grab its handlebars to leap atop it herself.

For a race called the Mini, the oval tracks were appropriately narrow, and quickly negotiating the turn at each end of the track required a careful combination of strength and balance. The fastest team would advance to the next round, leading to a final, deciding heat.

At the 1959 Mini 500. Tricycles were shared and exchanged between one team in the style of the Little 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0051279.

And though the Little 500 bicycle race was already referred to endearingly as a “watered-down version of the Indianapolis Memorial Day classic” for college kids, the Miniature took this idea a step further.[16] The very name of the competition articulated the message that, compared to men’s race, the women’s race was an even more diminished display of childish fun.

Though the Miniature 500 set a stage for women to compete, it was also an infantilized rendition of the Little 500 fit for displaying women’s perceived inferiority. “Short girls have suddenly become very popular in the housing units because they are the only ones who can ‘gracefully’ manage the children’s tricycles,” Susan Wallace wrote for the IU News Bureau before the first Miniature in 1955.[17]

A parade of women carrying extravagant floats began the Miniature, and the Little 500 Sweetheart would be pedaled around the track by the man who’d raced the fastest qualifying lap for the Little 500. Teams raced in their costumes in the first years of the Mini 500. Kappa Kappa Gamma won the first Miniature dressed as wooden soldiers.[18]

Nine-year-old Billy Shaw pedaled a custom-built Austin Motors toy pace car that night. Children were featured regularly in the Mini’s opening procession for decades.[19]

The 1964 Mini 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025915.

The following year, the IDS wrote 5,520 people attended the Miniature 500, who enjoyed a “carnival atmosphere” provided by a calliope player.[20] Kappa Kappa Gamma won once again, and Chi Omega won the costume prize dressed as Roman charioteers.

Changes would be made to the Miniature by way of annual repetition. In 1959 the first theme, Carnival of Trikes, was introduced, and a theme would accompany every subsequent running of the race. The race soon became so popular that a round of qualifications was needed to reduce the pool of teams to 63.

A team of racers at the 1959 Mini 500. While the race was in many ways a pageant, it was for most of its history the only avenue for women to compete in the Little 500 weekend. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0051315.

By the 1960s the race would officially be called, succinctly, the Mini 500.

In 1961 the event moved to the new 17th Street Fieldhouse. And while written accounts once emphasized the rider’s prettiness, petite-ness, and inclusion in the broader weekend, by the mid-1960s participants in the Mini 500 were praised instead for their speed and skill.

No longer chided as petite, writers began attributing riders in the Mini with toughness, and in some cases, mannish-ness. “Ever wonder what happens to tom boys who grow up?” posed the IDS in 1965. “They ride in the Mini.”[21]

The 1964 “Willkie South 8+9” Mini 500 team. Photo courtesy of the Indiana University Student Foundation.

The tricycle race was an event most teams trained for. Coaches, usually men, were commonplace on Mini 500 teams. Teams of women practiced in dormitory parking lots through all weather in the months leading up to the race.

Modifications were made to the trikes leading up to the 1966 Mini, which included solid steel handle bars, motorcycle spokes and the removal of an unnecessary step on the tricycle’s back deck. “We had to add new safety features on the trikes because the girls are so rough on them,” explained a Mini organizer to an IDS reporter.[22]

But while coverage increasingly focused on athleticism, the Mini could not shake off its tendency to objectify its participants. “It’s good to see a girl who isn’t afraid of breaking a nail or getting a run in her stocking,” the IDS continued. “Besides, most of them are cute enough that a couple of bruises don’t detract much.”

In 1972 the Mini 500 moved to the newly opened Assembly Hall. The same year Title IX was passed to protect the rights of women in any federally funded institutions — and has since become synonymous with equal rights for women’s athletics—the Mini 500 moved to the sleek floor in IU’s cherished basketball stadium.

When the first independent team won the Mini 500 that year, the IDS wrote about the tricycle race with Olympic fervor: “The whole crowd of at least 8,000 was on its feet as Funky’s demonstrated how the race should be ridden.”[23]

The move to Assembly Hall led to changing attitudes about the Mini. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0026015.

The move to Assembly Hall had another important consequence. The pace of the heats increased substantially. Funky’s, the IDS excitedly wrote, had broken the Mini 500’s record time in a semi-final heat at 39.6 seconds, and won the whole thing in another record-breaking final race of 40 seconds flat.

“Teams used to practicing on bumpy, gravelly surfaces were amazed to find themselves careening down the straightaway at record speeds, only to skid out-of-bounds on tricky hairpin turns,” wrote the IUSF in its 1973 pre-race brochure.[24]

Throughout the 1970s, qualifying times for the Mini 500 were published in the Bloomington Herald-Telephone right below the Little 500 qualifying times. And though the parades and pageantry continued to begin the event, the Mini never looked more athletic. Under bright lights and a slick concrete floor, teams dressed in matching T-shirts, high socks and gym shoes raced tricycles with determination.

The custom of racing in costumes had long disappeared from the Mini 500 by the 1970s. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025848.

In the IDS and other local papers that covered the event, the rhetoric of Mini focused primarily on difficulty and tempo of the race: “Taut nerves typify Mini,” declared the headline to an IDS sports writer’s 1973 preview.[25] That year, the Alpha Sigma Phi team grumbled in the IDS about referee’s unfair calls.[26]

By the 1970s, the Mini became regarded for its difficulty and the athleticism required to win it. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025923.

In the era of women’s liberation, women had also begun to knock at the door of the Little 500 bicycle race.

According to John Schwarb, author of The Little 500, six women who expressed interest in racing the 1973 Little 500 were barred from competing when their application was denied by the IUSF.[27] Only after filing a complaint with the Bloomington Human Rights Commission was the IUSF forced to allow women to at least attempt to qualify for the Little 500.

Though an enrollment technicality ultimately prevented the team from a qualifying attempt, it would foreshadow a decade of fights over inclusion. Women would begin to form bicycle teams and participate in the Little 500 qualifiers. But from 1973 onward, each of these attempts ended in disappointment—no all-female team raced fast enough to qualify for the necessary 33rd spot to compete in the Little 500.

The Mini would soon be rocked by a different battle for inclusion. While the tricycle race continued for the remainder of the 1970s, few would have sensed the trouble brewing ahead.

The Mini 500 had given women the opportunity to be included in the Little 500 weekend in a competitive event. During the 1980s, Assembly Hall would become a battleground in a greater fight for gender quality—a fight that would tear the Mini apart.

For part two of this blog, please visit: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/17/the-mini-500-the-gendered-history-of-a-forgotten-tradition-part-2/


This project could not have been completed without the help of several individuals, and a variety of organizations across the IU-Bloomington campus. Many thanks to Jim Capshew for all of his advice and encouragement, and for his endless patience through many revisions. Thanks also to Sarah Jacobi and the entire staff of the IU Bicentennial for their help and support throughout all stages of this project. Thanks to Kristin Leaman, Brad Cook, Dina Kellams, and the rest of the staff of the IU Archives. And finally, thanks to IU Student Foundation Director Tara Vickers for her enthusiasm and support for this project.

Works Cited

[1] Lynn Sproatt, “Women Behind the Men Make the Race a Success,” Indiana Daily Student, April 17, 1955.

[2] “Coeds to Pedal for Glory in Miniature 500,” Indiana Daily Student, April 17, 1955, 1.

[3] Wilcox, Howard S. “Howdy,” interview with Jean Freedman, Indiana University Oral History Research Center, OHRC accession #91-69-1, June 15, 1991, 6.

[4] “Howdy Wilcox Puts Idea to Work to Create 40 Years of Little 500,” Indiana University News Bureau, April 16, 1990, 1.

[5] Barbara Miller Solomon, In the Company of Educated Women: A History Of Women in Higher Education in America, (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1985), 188.

[6] Julia Joshel, “Education for Domesticity: Women in the Indiana University Halls of Residence, 1945-1960,” in Journal of the Indiana University Student Personnel Association, 2015, 9-18.

[7] “Mad Scramble!” Indiana Daily Student, (edition unknown), 1951.

[8] Robert A. Smith, A Social History of the Bicycle: Its Early Life and Times in America, (New York: American Heritage Press, 1972), 76-7.

[9] Louise Dawson, “How the bicycle became a symbol of women’s emancipation,” The Guardian, November 4, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2011/nov/04/bicycle-symbol-womens-emancipation.

[10] Sarah Hallenbeck, Claiming the Bicycle: Women, Rhetoric and Technology in Nineteenth-Century America, (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), 4.

[11] Clare S. Simpson, “Capitalizing on Curiosity: Women’s Professional Cycle Racing in the Late-Nineteenth Century” in Cycling and Society, ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton, (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007), 47-66.

[12] Kathie Neff, “One-day Race Grown in to Weekend Full of Sports, Dances, and Shows,” Indiana Daily Student, (edition unknown), 1955.

[13] “Miniature 500,” 5th Annual Little 500, Indiana University Student Foundation, May 14, 1955.

[14] “Men’s Units to Cheer,” Indiana Daily Student, (edition unknown), 1955.

[15] “Now Minnie,” The Crimson Bull, (edition unknown), 1955, 13.

[16] “Handlebar Handicap,” Courier-Journal Magazine, May 22, 1955.

[17] Susan Wallace, “Get a ‘Trike,’ Quit Smoking and You May Win a Radio,” Indiana University News Bureau, May 7, 1955.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Dan Thomasson, “Kappas Pedal Hard To Cop Miniature,” Indiana Daily Student, May 14, 1955.

[20] Kent Nixon, “Kappas Cop Second Miniature 500,” Indiana Daily Student, May 12, 1956, 6.

[21] “Bruises (photo caption),” Indiana Daily Student, (edition unknown), 1965.

[22] “Rough riding Miniature 500 teams use custom built trikes for first time,” Irene Clare, Indiana Daily Student, (edition unknown), 1966.

[23] Tracy Dodds, “Funky’s burns track to win,” Indiana Daily Student, April 29, 1972.

[24] “Mini,”1973 Little 500, Indiana University Student Foundation, May 1973, 53.

[25] Rich Dotson, “Taut nerves typify Mini,” Indiana Daily Student, (date unknown), 1973.

[26] “Jordan River Forum: Mini 500 blues,” Indiana Daily Student, (date unknown), 1973.

[27] John Schwarb, The Little 500, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999), 125.

The Mini 500: The Gendered History of a Forgotten Tradition Part 2

By: Jordan Siden, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2017, History, Bloomington

 Crisis: 1978 to 1987

Mini 500, 1982. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025821.

The man in the photograph clutches the tricycle between his legs. His open mouth and eyebrows raised in concentration accentuate his round face.

Dressed in a polo shirt, short ’70s shorts, and a boyish baseball cap atop curly hair, his wiry legs extend as he stands to leap off the trike. With him in the parking lot is a woman, running along his side, her arms outstretched to receive it.

John Pericak, a coach for 1977 Mini 500 runners-up Nick’s Chicks, couldn’t find a new team to coach the next year. So he formed his own team with Ken Cotner, another man, and two women, Mary McCampbell and Debbie Latham. They called their team Half and Half.

Men had never entered the Mini 500 before, and the IDS ran the photograph alongside their story of the new kind of Mini 500 team. Pericak told the IDS that while some thought his team was harmless, others thought they shouldn’t be allowed to participate.

At qualifications, the IDS wrote the crowd’s reaction “was like the team’s name — half and half. Half mocking and half accepting the trike team made up of two men and two women.”[1]

The appearance of the co-ed Half and Half team meant the Mini 500 could no longer be exclusively the women’s alternative to the Little 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025942.

The appearance of Half and Half created a new dilemma over inclusion in the Mini 500. Though women had struggled and failed throughout the 1970s to qualify for the bicycle race, what would the inclusion of men bring to the Mini, a race that for its entirety served as women’s sole competitive option during the Little 500 weekend.

The theme of the 1978 Mini 500 was “Star Trikes,” and each team hung a banner in Assembly Hall. Half and Half’s read, “Where no man has gone before.”[2]

Though Half and Half was quickly eliminated in an early heat, Pericak and Cotner reassembled the team for the following year. But McCampbell had graduated, and Latham moved to a dormitory and wasn’t eligible to race on an independent team. So the two men placed an ad in the paper for two women riders. They didn’t want to compete in the women’s race with an all-male team.

They insisted men could compete alongside women equally, and were written about sympathetically in the IDS as two competitors wanting only to join in on the fun.

“Pericak and Cotner said they wanted to continue their tradition of a two-women-two-men team because if the team was all-male, it would be as if they were competing against the women, not with them,” sports writer Karen Halsema wrote.[3]

Half and Half hardly constituted a threat in taking the Mini away from women. Failing to reach a time in the top 10, the team was not even mentioned in the IDS’ Monday-morning recap of the 1979 race.[4] But Half and Half’s good-natured run at the Mini would be the start of a steady incursion of men into the tricycle race.

At the 1982 Mini 500 qualifications, four men dressed in Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps were approached by an IU Police Department officer. They were told the stands they were sitting on were reserved for racers. That night, the men in Hawaiian shirts, Jerry’s Kids, came in 35th place to become the first all-male team to qualify for the Mini 500.[5]

Although reaction among those in attendance varied, some told the IDS they saw their colorful costumes as a sign that the men weren’t taking the race seriously. “We weren’t trying to make fun of anything,” Tom Danielson of Jerry’s Kids insisted. “We were totally serious.”

“Bloomington may have its own ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Friday night at Assembly Hall,” read the IDS’ preview to the 1982 Mini 500.[6] Though the team was received warmly at qualifications, Jerry’s Kids were booed by the audience during the pre-race parade.[7]

The all-male team did not perform well that night, and was eliminated well out of reach of the final heat. But their foray into the Mini called the entire event into question. If the women’s race wasn’t only for women anymore, who was the Mini 500 really for?

By the late-1970s, many began openly criticize the Mini as an event that perpetuated sexist attitudes toward women. In 1979, when a bicycle team of four women and one man attempted to qualify for the Little 500, the riders interviewed for the IDS did not mince words when they shared their motivation for attempting to break into the Little 500.

The Wild Wheelers, winners of the 1981 Mini 500. Photo courtesy of the IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025906,

“The whole trike thing is degrading — the way it got started — like children riding tricycles before they are big enough for the real thing,” rider Rhonda Pretlow said.[8]

Laurie Calland, another rider, added, “Women [trikers] aren’t riding for themselves. It is kind of like entertainment before the real event — they’re like cheerleaders or something.”

One student called the Mini a “degrading, sexist and a heinous insult to women” in a letter to the IDS in 1979.[9] In 1982, an editorial read that just allowing women to attempt to qualify for the men’s Little 500 isn’t enough. “Differences in body structure have put women in their places in the past — perched precariously on oversized trikes.”[10]

“The message is clear,” a sports columnist for the IDS wrote. “The big boys ride the bicycles in the Little 500. The little girls get to ride the tricycles in the Mini 500.”[11] He called for the “degrading, insulting and patronizing event” to be abolished.

Jerry’s Kids, re-named Phi Spika Trika, entered the race again in 1983, along with a co-ed team. “So now what are the feminists going to say?” Julie Bell wrote for the IDS Opinion Board. “Is the Mini 500 degrading to men participants too?”[12]

If you didn’t like the Mini, Bell wrote, you didn’t have to participate in it. If women weren’t willing to either train hard and qualify for the Little 500, or petition for a bike race of their own, “there is one more option to protect women racers from humiliation. They should start a trike team of their own, practice hard and make sure men don’t start winning the Mini 500.”

In March 1984, questions over the sexist nature of the Mini 500 had come to the attention of the Bloomington Faculty Council, an administrative body made up mostly of IU professors. At a meeting, the Student Affairs Committee presented a report regarding their concerns with the Mini 500, which stated:

“It is the feeling of a number of people that the Trike race is the ‘powder puff’ version of the bicycle race. It reinforces the stereotype of women as infantile, limited in physical strength and athletic ability, less motivated than men competitively, and characteristically silly or superficial. There are other people, however, who see the race as an enjoyable, competitive event that allows women who are less serious athletes to participate in the weekend’s activities.”[13]

The committee proposed a resolution: “BFC urges the Student Foundation to choose an alternative to the Mini 500 tricycle race which will provide more opportunities for nonsexist participation by all students.”

Although a minority opinion argued the faculty council had no right to interfere with the activities of a student group, many faculty council members present at the meeting lambasted the Mini 500 on the grounds of sexism.

One IU professor called the Mini a “parody event” which prolonged the outdated image of women as “unserious people.”[14] Another mentioned his uneasy observation that he had never seen a female coach for a Mini 500 team, only a “patriarchal male guru out there directing traffic, surrounded by a harem of young women.”[15]

The faculty council’s resolution passed 32 to 9 the following month.[16] The message was clear: something had to change about the Mini.

Meanwhile, fears that men would soon capture the Mini grew to become an increasingly urgent concern. In 1984, Phi Spika Trika, racing for its third year in a row, captured the top speed in qualifications to become the first all-male team to qualify in the pole position.

At the race, the crowd was divided and demonstrations were ugly. The Herald-Telephone wrote that fans from the Phi Spika Trika’s residence hall “unfurled a banner that read, ‘Women belong in the kitchen not on trikes.’”[17] The IDS reported the crowd booed louder each time the team made it to another round.[18]

Racing a strong race, it looked that night like the all-male team was going to win. “Phi Spika Trika cruised easily through the preliminaries, outmuscling its opponents in each round,” the H-T reported.

Phi Spika Trika was disqualified for fouling in the final round, and the team took 3rd place. “I wish they wouldn’t make such a joke of it,” a rider said of the all-male team. “A lot of the girls take it very seriously.”

The next year a co-ed team, Who Knows, won the Mini.[19]

The pressure to inaugurate a main event for women bicyclists continued. The IUSF added a women’s division to the Team Pursuit event in 1986, which 18 teams of women competed in.[20] The following year, 32 women participated in the new “Miss-n-Out” sprint race. These demonstrations of women’s eagerness to race bicycles in the Little 500 were becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

At the 1986 Mini qualifications, 64 teams raced for 63 spots. Dejoya II T.L.W, a rookie team made up of men from the McNutt Quadrangle residence hall, decided to approach the first heat strategically, and raced slow to avoid fouling. But by the end of the night, the team, which practiced one and a half hours a day, six days a week, had finished the night in the pole position.[21]

The winner of 1986 Mini 500 would be decided by strokes of misfortune. “Dejoya II’s times were dictated by its competitors during the semifinals and finals,” wrote the H-T. “Fouls enabled the team to win both races easily.”[22]

The past several years of male intrusion into the Mini 500 had led to this moment. At the 1986 Mini 500, Dejoya II T.L.W. became the first all-male team to win the tricycle race.

A rider for the team, a freshman, told the IDS he didn’t think his team had an advantage because they were all men. He attributed his team’s win to dedication.[23]

Though the crowd continued to boo even after they had won, the team “was appreciative of the equally hearty ovation it received from McNutt residents.” The co-ed team Who Knows took second.

“We had the best all-girls team,” Lee Kennedy of 3rd place Kappa Alpha Theta told the IDS, “so I guess that’s something.” Twenty-one men had competed in the Mini that night.

As soon as Half and Half entered the Mini 500, the inclusion of men meant the race could no longer serve exclusively as the women’s alternative the Little 500 bicycle race. But in 1986, before a single woman had gained her opportunity to race in the Little 500 atop a bicycle as an equal, now even the Mini had been taken from them.

In 1986, Dejoya II T.L.W. of McNutt Quad became the first all-male team to win the Mini 500. Photo courtesy of IU Archives Photograph Collection, P0025920.

The next year, a writer for the H-T called the Mini an “endangered species,” an event that to some, she wrote, was a “vestige of days gone by and should be eliminated for the sexist image of women relegated to riding tricycles.”[24]

A week later, the Crone Basement-Freaks of Nature from McNutt Quad became the second all-male team in a row to win the Mini 500. The men waved to a large crowd of supporters in the stands, while many in the crowd booed them and each of the five all-male teams who competed.[25]

“We went from not being able to ride those trikes at all to being pretty good at it,” sophomore Lee Denhart told the IDS.

For part three of this blog, please visit: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/17/the-mini-500-the-gendered-history-of-a-forgotten-tradition-part-3/

For part one of this blog, please visit: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/17/the-mini-500-the-gendered-history-of-a-forgotten-tradition-part-1/

Works Cited

[1] Mert Weinberg, “Two Mini-500 trikers first male competitors,” Indiana Daily Student, April 13, 1979.

[2] Dave Haynes. “Pole sitters Deltz Zeta win Mini 500,” Indiana Daily Student, (date unknown), 1979.

[3] Karen Halsema, “Half of the trike half remains,” Indiana Daily Student, April 4, 1979.

[4] Mark Ambrogi, “Kappa Delta, Delta Zeta and Nick’s Chicks favored, Indiana Daily Student, April 17, 1979.

[5] Carol Morokoff, “Marriage of men, Mini 500 trike race gets mixed review,” Indiana Daily Student, April 21, 1982, 18.

[6] Karen Day, “Men among Mini qualifiers,” Indiana Daily Student, April 24, 1982, 16.

[7] Carol Morokoff, “Chi Omega wins Mini 500,” Indiana Daily Student, April 26, 1982.

[8] Robin Wiegman, “‘Political’ reasons motivate women in Little 5 field,” Indiana Daily Student, April 6, 1979, 6.

[9] William Wiggins, “Jordan River Forum: Mini 500 sexist, insult to women,” Indiana Daily Student, April 19, 1979.den

[10] Michelle Slatalla, “Abolish Mini 500,” Indiana Daily Student, April 22, 1982, 4.

[11] Bob Kravitz, “Abolish Mini 500 and have a women’s bike race,” Indiana Daily Student, April 9, 1982, 15.

[12] Julie Bell, “Mini 500,” Indiana Daily Student, April 23, 1983, 3.

[13] “Report from Student Affairs Committee on the Mini 500 Tricycle Race,”

Bloomington Faculty Council, Indiana University, March 6, 1984.

[14] “Minutes,” Bloomington Faculty Council, Indiana University, March 6, 1984, 19.

[15] “Minutes,” Bloomington Faculty Council, 21-2.

[16] “Minutes,” Bloomington Faculty Council, Indiana University, April 23, 1984, 33.

[17] Jeremy Gibson, “Kappa Delta wins Mini 500,” The Herald-Telephone, April 21, 1984, 18.

[18] Michael Bowers, “Kappa Delta beats men in Mini 500,” Indiana Daily Student, April 23, 1984.

[19] Alison Schmidt, “Who Knows wins 31st Mini 500,”Indiana Daily Student, April 22, 1985.

[20] Schwarb, The Little 500, 127.

[21] “All-male McNutt rookies win Mini 500 pole position,” Indiana Daily Student, April 14, 1986.

[22] Linda Locey, “All-male team wins Mini for the first time in 32 years,” The Herald-Telephone, April 26, 1986, 10.

[23] Michelle Hopkins, “All-male team captures Mini 500,” Indiana Daily Student, (date unknown), 1986.

[24] Linda Thomas, “Mini 500 an endangered species?” The Herald-Telephone, April 23, 1987, 20.

[25] Paul T.J. Sullivan, “‘Freaks’ win Mini 5 race,” Indiana Daily Student, April 27, 1987, 3.




My Semester as a Treasure Hunting Time Traveler: Part 2

By: Spencer Bowman, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2020, English and Media, Bloomington

The bicentennial time capsule team’s look back in history helped to give us the background and context necessary for our planning and implementation of the bicentennial time capsule, to be buried in 2020.

Firstly, we now understand and appreciate just how important is to ensure the university’s new time capsule can actually be recovered in 2120. Our team has been brainstorming and will eventually work with IU administration to find an appropriate location for the time capsule so that is remembered for decades to come.

Another large part of our research which helped with our development of a project plan for the 2020 time capsule was investigating what other universities around the country have done in regards to time capsules or cornerstones.

My search focused on Big Ten colleges, and while each campus had a unique take on their own time capsule which served as inspiration for our own brainstorming, a few problems were evident in more than a few examples.

The most frequent issue was time capsules being lost or forgotten, only to be found during a building demolition in a few lucky cases, with only those placed in prominent locations with clear markings opened as they were intended to be when they were buried.

One example of a highly visible time capsule at Purdue University, which we of course aim to surpass in any way possible. Photo Courtesy Purdue University/Chloe Woodson [1]
Other patterns I saw which I thought should be avoided in our time capsule involved the choice of the items which should be included. Many emphasized logistical information—class schedules, rosters, event programs, etc.—and while these documents are surely useful from a historical perspective, they also left audiences of eager students disappointed in what could have been otherwise been a celebratory event. [2]

Because of this, our time capsule will aim to strike a balance between important information for the future as well as more artistic, personality-driven artifacts which can give a greater sense of just who the people of IU 2020 were.

After looking at other university’s time capsules, I believe an inclusive process which welcomes the voices of students, staff, faculty, and alumni will be a fantastic way for our project to stand out among other university time capsules and survive for a century.

There are still questions regarding what this process will look like, but our goal is to create an online submission system and have those submissions considered by a review panel that is representative of every IU campus and every category of individuals—students, alumni, faculty staff, etc.

As we wrap up this semester’s research and start to discuss questions about the bicentennial time capsule, my interest and investment in this project has only increased.

The potential recovery of the centennial time capsule is something I am greatly looking forward to seeing.. There is still a lot of work (and a few years) between now and putting our time capsule in the ground for a century, but until then, I’m having a great time putting in the work to make my mark on IU history. See you in 2120!

For part one of this blog, please visit: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/14/my-semester-as-a-treasure-hunting-time-traveler-part-1/

Works Cited

[1] http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/general/2012/120406_DYKcapsules.html

[2] Vesey, Tom. “Time Capsule Underwhelms Crowd” The Washington Post, November 25, 1986.

My Semester as a Treasure Hunting Time Traveler: Part 1

By: Spencer Bowman, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2020, English and Media, Bloomington

In April of 1922, then president of Indiana University William Lowe Bryan spoke at the dedication ceremony for the university’s centennial time capsule: “The people of 1822 could not dream the great­ness 100 years would bring to the school they were founding.

They did the best in their day. We must do our best in our day. And a greater city and a university far beyond our dreams will meet on April 17, 2022.” [1] It’s a nice quote, but as part of the team tasked with finding this nowmissing time capsule,

I can’t help but wish he followed it up with exact coordinates of the burial location. It would certainly make this treasure hunt a whole lot easier.

William Lowe Bryan turns the first spade of earth for the tablet which marked the location of the first building in Seminary Square. Photo Courtesy IU Archives, P0049679

As an IU Bicentennial intern, I work with a team whose mission is two-fold: research the IU centennial time capsule buried somewhere on IU’s original campus in Seminary Square and develop a plan for the Bicentennial time capsule to be buried in 2020.

The two tasks may seem largely independent from one another, but in doing the work, I have been surprised to see how my thoughts of the past, present, and future of IU inform one another. Because of this internship, I have thought about IU in ways I never thought I would and I have explored a rather offbeat corner of the university’s history.

To tell you about the research of the 1922 time capsule our team has done so far, a brief history lesson first might be helpful. Four years after Indiana was admitted to the United States, the state’s General Assembly voted to establish a state seminary on January 20, 1820—a date now known as Founders Day, and the date we will celebrate as IU’s 200th birthday in 2020.

Two years later, in 1822, construction began on the first two campus buildings: the Seminary Building and the Professors’ House. A bit of confusion comes about in the 20th century, when the administration celebrated 100 years since the beginning of construction, to be the university’s “birthday,” while in 2020 we will be celebrating two centuries since the law passes which established the university.

On April 17th, 1922, then-president William Lowe Bryan placed a hermetically sealed tablet with “University valuables” at the spot “which marked the entrance to the chapel on the south side of the [Seminary Building],” according to a 1922 article in The Indiana Alumnus. This is where things get tricky for our search.

Floor plans of the Seminary Building. Photo Courtesy IU Archives, P0022514

The university sold Seminary Square to the city in 1897, who then used the land to establish a park which would memorialize the location of the original campus.

I contacted the city of Bloomington, who partnered with IU for a Seminary Plaza construction project in 1996, but was told that nothing of interested (such as a time capsule, perhaps) was unearthed during construction. One of many dead ends on this unique treasure hunt.

Fortunately, we weren’t the only people interested in finding this missing tablet from almost a century ago. A 2015 Hotline column in The Herald-Times suggested that the capsule could be buried near what is now the Wendy’s on 2nd Street, as that land was at one point part of the original state seminary campus. [2]

Additionally, a retired IU professor, Dr. James Weigand (now deceased) took a keen interest in searching for the time capsule years ago, and frequently prodded Bloomington Parks and Recreation to contact Seminary Plaza Kroger—which, like Wendy’s, now sits on what used to be the original campus—to see if they would allow an investigation under their property.

According to Dave Williams of Bloomington Parks and Recreation, the department stayed out of the situation, as they long ago sold the property to Kroger and no longer had a stake in the matter, but Dr. Weigand claimed that he had information which suggested the time capsule was buried under what is now the butcher’s area in the Seminary Plaza Kroger. You’re starting to see why we’ve been running into trouble.

It wasn’t all dead ends, however. Our search did seem to back up Dr. Weigand’s old claim of the time capsule being under the Seminary Plaza Kroger. There may be some variation between sources on the specific location—under the butcher’s area, parking lot, or the neighboring Wendy’s—but we still have a relatively narrow area in which we can transition from a historical, research based investigation to a more investigative search.

A partnership between the Office of the Bicentennial and the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, may be in the works to begin an archaeological dig of IU’s original campus. There is no evidence that the time capsule has already been recovered, so I have high hopes that the centennial time capsule will be recovered before 2022, a century after it was buried.

For part two of this blog, please visit: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/14/my-semester-as-a-treasure-hunting-time-traveler-part-2/

Works Cited

[1] “I.U.’s First Building Memorialized.” The Indiana Alumnus, August 5, 1922. Pg. 7

[2] “Capsule may be hard to dig up” Hotline column, Herald-Times, May 25, 2015 http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/news/opinion/hotline-signs-and-the-seminary-park-time-capsule/article_165728c8-3717-559e-b5e2-12744486d247.html

21st Century Scholars Program: A Brief History

By: Arianna Koppen, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2018, Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management, and Public, Nonprofit, and Community Recreation, Bloomington

“No child who is willing to work hard, sacrifice, and make the grade should be denied the dream of a college education” – Governor Evan Bayh, 1990 [1]

Before I began my internship with the Office of the Bicentennial, I took some time to think about the various identities I hold on campus. As a 21st Century Scholar, I decided I had a great opportunity to learn more about the program that, for me, turned college from a possibility to a reality. I found the research process enlightening, as I began making connections between my previous basic knowledge of the program, how it fits into an overall political context, and my personal experiences.

Aside from online research, I interviewed key people on campus and spent a few days in the IU Archives. The archives require patience and a strategic approach. I originally thought it would be a good idea to request all 75 boxes from one collection, but decided to start with the 10 that seemed the most relevant. When I walked into the archives and saw these few boxes laid out, I was beyond overwhelmed.

A large portion of the documents I looked through were not related to my project, but many times, I found key information or clues that led my research in other directions.

 21st Century Scholars Background

Years before I was born, when Evan Bayh began his tenure as Indiana governor in 1989, one of his top priorities was to make higher education accessible for anyone who deserved it. Governor Bayh was inspired by businessman and philanthropist Eugene Lang, who somewhat impulsively promised a class of sixth graders that if they put in the work, he would pay for each of them to go to college.

After being drafted by State Representative Stan Jones, the 21st Century Scholars Program was signed into state legislation by the 1990 Indiana General Assembly. The 30th anniversary of the program will be in 2020, aligning with IU’s Bicentennial.

Scholar Enrollment 1991-2015. Courtesy of Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Click to enlarge.

The first Scholars began enrolling in college in 1995 and graduating in 1999. As of 2015, more than 70,000 students statewide obtained their degree through the program. Of these students, more than 20,000 Scholars have attended IU, and 3,200 are currently enrolled at IU.

Statewide enrollment rates spiked in 2009 and 2010. This was during the national recession which lowered many families’ incomes. I found this especially interesting, since I applied as an eighth grader during the 2009-2010 school year.

The opportunity to apply to the program in middle school, as opposed to high school senior year, provides reassurance to kids who might have otherwise been hopeless about attending college.

21st Century Scholars on Campus

In 2003, the programming on campus expanded under Jeanetta Nelms’ leadership. For the first time, Scholars could go to the office in Ashton for help that was especially designed for them.

Effective at the start of 2007, the Lumina Foundation provided a three-year grant to implement a “Toolkit for Success” to promote retention and performance, supplementing existing services and creating new ones.

Some of these initiatives included one-on-one academic tutoring, campus cultural experiences, financial management workshops, and special minority male initiatives. Even after this grant ended, most of these programs are still offered today.

Courtesy of Indiana University Archives Collection C501, Box 121. Click to enlarge.

Around 2008, the ScholarCorps program was created, now known on campus as Volunteer Corps. Volunteer opportunities were organized, such as making baskets for Middle Way House and cleaning Spring Mill State Park.

Indiana University has been an inspiration for the way the program has developed on other Indiana colleges and universities. In 2007, IU created the 21st Century Scholars Covenant to supplement the existing program to cover unmet needs for additional expenses for 275 students in the first year. After the Covenant was created, the number of Scholars attending IU approximately doubled.

Jeanetta Nelms with 21st Century Scholars, circa 2004. Office of 21st Century Scholars, Indiana University.

Currently, nearly 1 out of 5 in-state undergraduate students at IU are 21st Century Scholars.

Today, the 21st Century Scholars Program is housed in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, established in 1998.


The program is one of Indiana’s initiatives to improve education, increasing college enrollment rates considerably. Indiana’s rate of high school graduates continuing to college in 1986 was 40th in the nation, and rose to 9th in 2002.[2] As well,

in 2005, 85% of 21st Century Scholars enrolled in college, compared with 56% of non-Scholars.[3]

Indiana’s program was the first of its kind and is often used as a model for other states to create similar programs. Several states, such as Oklahoma and Rhode Island, have created programs to cover some or all of tuition expenses with a range of eligibility requirements.

Despite its strong points, the 21st Century Scholars Program does not remove all barriers, including financial, psychological, and institutional obstacles that low-income students face before college graduation.

As well, Scholars at IU are 1.4 times more likely to be the first in their family to go to college and 2.5 times more likely to be raised by single parents.

Creating these programs to increase college accessibility is an important method of promoting higher education and combating the cycle of poverty. By offering a guarantee for college affordability, students will increase their aspirations and find pathways for future success.

Chris Enstrom with 21st Century Scholars volunteering at Spring Mill State Park, circa 2009. Office of 21st Century Scholars, Indiana University.


[1] Indiana State of the State Address, Indianapolis, IN, January 12, 1990

[2] St. John, E., Gross, J., Musoba, G., and Chung, A., “A Step Toward College Success: Assessing Attainment among Indiana’s Twenty-first Century Scholars”, Lumina Foundation for Education, 2005.

[2] Blanco, C., “Early Commitment Financial Aid Programs: Promises, Practices, and Policies”, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, August 2005, p. 24.

The Creation of IU’s Natural Spaces

By: Caroline Wickes, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2017, History and Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Bloomington

Lilly Woods Frank M. Hohenberger Collection, Lilly Library, 4×5, Box 10, Item 19.

I grew up in a small farming community in central Indiana. I didn’t feel particularly connected to nature, perhaps because the vast swathes of corn seemed hardly natural. Once a month, my family of five would pack into our station wagon and drive to my grandmother’s house in Bloomington. We would always arrive late at night and my father would have to slam on the brakes constantly to avoid deer.

My grandmother lived in Meadowood, next to Lake Griffy, and on these coveted weekends my siblings and I would get to explore a magical world of tall oak trees, winding creeks, and steep ridges. Bloomington, in my mind, was a very wild place indeed. I loved every inch of it.

In high school, when I was looking at colleges I was drawn to IU not by the candy striped pants at Assembly Hall, but by the trees. They were big, as if they had stood there a long time and held inside them secret histories. I remember walking from Ballantine to Woodburn, crossing the Jordan River on a crisp fall day, and realizing that I belonged. I continued to feel more and more at home on IU’s campus with teachers who focused on sustainability, a job at IU Outdoor Adventures, and every free moment spent outside.

My love of natural spaces is matched only by my love of history. For many years, these loves dueled one another in my head—history or the outdoors? The outdoors or history? When I started my internship at the Office of the Bicentennial, there was a ceasefire. I had found perfect harmony in my project, which was a study of IU’s use of natural spaces particularly the IU Research and Teaching Preserve.

I decided to study the historical use of nature as a “laboratory” and came across the IU Biological Field Station in Warsaw, Indiana. In 1895 Professor Carl Eigenmann established the station and began teaching summer courses there to IU students. Days were spent studying what they found either in their fishing nets or on their botany excursions. It was the first inland biological station in the country.

I was amazed to see a rich history of marrying the natural and the academic. The Biological Station was able to produce high quality research and, perhaps more importantly, high quality researchers.

Students at the Biological Field Station in their tent. Students had the option of camping out all summer at the Station. Courtesy of IU Archives Blog Post Summer Fun at the Biological Field Station 2011.

It got me thinking a little more about the process of research, something I was doing a lot of during my internship. When sleuthing for a clue in the archives you must be attentive, creative, and doggedly persistent, but most importantly you must be curious. Curiosity, not obligation, drove me to do my best work. I followed rabbit holes and I came across tidbits in the most unlikely places because I was interested in what I might find.

I feel the same way when I am in nature. When I am hiking or climbing or just sitting in the grass I feel inclined to wonder about the things around me. I pick up interesting leaves, observe sedimentation, and listen to the calls of some yet unknown bird. All the while, I am becoming more and more curious about the world around me.

I grew to recognize the transferability of my two lives: historical bookworm and adventurous outdoorswoman. I also started to see more and more instances of Indiana University doing the same. IU has balanced its natural spaces with its institutional setting and has often blurred the lines between the two.

I found this to be very true in the case of the IU Research and Teaching Preserve, which provides a space for academic inquiry using an outdoor laboratory. As more cases of this emerged, I also started to see an overarching ethos of environmental integration at Indiana University.

Unknown Photographer. Undated. A man standing on the old fire tower at Bear Wallow, which was replaced by JK Lilly in the early 1920s.

IU owns a lot of land for the express purpose of research and teaching in a natural setting. The field stations are as far away as Montana and as close to home as a jump across the bypass. This did not occur in a vacuum. This environmental ethos has developed over the years as students, faculty, and administrators continue to advocate for natural spaces.

I am currently pouring over documents about the Lilly-Dickey Woods, one of IU’s properties just 20 miles from campus. As I read about its previous owners, the various groups that have used it, and the research taking place there now I am struck by how much this land has meant to so many people.

A 1942 newspaper article about the land gets me thinking maybe it’s time to lace up my boots and go there myself. If history is any indicator, it is well worth the hike.