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Stinesville Town

Monroe County, Indiana

Stinesville Municipal Building is located at 7835 West Buskirk Street, Stinesville, IN 47464.
Phone; 812-876-8303

Stinesville Mercantile

Photo: 8201 Main Street in Stinesville. Built in 1894, it is part of the Stinesville Commercial Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Photographed by User:Nyttend (own work), 2011, [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons, accessed July, 2022.

Evaluated as a typical Indiana small town, Stinesville has an exceptional collection of solid limestone commercial buildings. The nominated district is the most impressive remnant in the community which represents the town's period of prosper;ty as a limestone quarrying and milling site. This prosperity was directly shown in the unusually high level of quality of the construction of these five limestone commercial blocks, which, nearly anywhere else, would have been simple wood-framed shops. The social life of Stinesville focused on the downtown as well. The I.O.O.F. Building was not only the most prominent lodge hall in town, but was home to a Christian Church congregation. In the 1930s, the J.W. Easton, George Easton, M.L. Easton and D.E. McHenry Buildings briefly housed the town public school classes after the school building suffered a fire. The period of significance includes the oldest building (1886) and includes the period when the public school was housed here (ending 1937).

The exploitation of natural resources provided most of the industrial growth for southern Indiana during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Mineral water bottling, sand mining, and stone quarrying are examples of industries which flourished in southern Indiana, unlike the heavy manufacturing characteristic of central and northern Indiana industry. Lawrence and Monroe Counties are most renowned for the quantity and quality of limestone which became sought nation-wide for a new generation of monumental architecture.

Stinesville became a boom town in the 1890s. The population swelled to nearly one thousand as skilled carvers and stone workers found employment at the mill and settled here. European artisans were commonly employed at the mill or quarries. It was said that one could walk down Main Street and hear seven different languages being spoken during the town's heyday. For thirty-six years, the rumble of trains loaded with cut stone on its way to Chicago, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C. and other distant cities was a welcome sound to the citizenry. County courthouses in Monroe, Vigo, Clay, and Boone Counties: the Indiana Statehouse: the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Indianapolis): the Tribune Tower (Chicago) and the Masonic Temple in Washington, D.C. are among the many notable structures made of Stinesville stone. A devastating fire leveled the Hoadley mill in 1916, and the owners decided to rebuild in Bloomington. Bereft of the most significant employer in town, Stinesville settled into a quiet existence as a typical market town.

It was during the 1890-1916 period that James Williams, the Easton brothers-Millard, John, George McCellan "Clell", and Delmer, as well as D.E. McHency became leaders in the business life of the Stinesville conununity. About twenty-five stores had opened in Stinesville by the 1890s, but these five stone buildings are only intact remnant of downtown Stinesville. These men were not only merchants, but acted as a chamber of commerce, bankers, lawyers, and "good Samaritans."

Adapted from: Mary J. Walls, Secretary and Stephen Summitt, Treasurer with Mark Dollase. Stinesville Renaissance, Stinesville Commercial Historic District, nomination document, 1994, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.


Nearby Towns: Gosport Town •