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Last modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Historical marker to be unveiled at original site of Indiana University

Aug. 23, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University and the City of Bloomington will unveil and dedicate a state historical marker this Friday (Aug. 26) at Seminary Square Park, the original site of IU.

IU Executive Vice President and IU Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson and Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan will host the dedication ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. in the city park at the intersection of Second Street and College Avenue. The public is invited.

"Indiana's founders showed remarkable wisdom when they called for the establishment of a system of education that would include the state university now known as Indiana University," Hanson said. "The historical marker at Seminary Square Park will celebrate the close ties between IU and the Bloomington community -- rich and varied connections that have endured for nearly 200 years and will continue to prosper."

Seminary Square

IU Archives

Depicted here are the last two buildings at the original Indiana University campus: the Old College Building, right, and Science Hall, left, which burned in 1883.

The event will also include a tree-planting ceremony marking efforts to replace trees that were destroyed or damaged by severe storms that struck Bloomington and the IU campus in May.

Speakers, in addition to Hanson and Kruzan, will include Jeremy Hackerd, project manager with IU's Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, speaking on behalf of the Indiana Historical Bureau; and former IU Trustee Stephen L. Ferguson and his wife, Connie, who have donated 150 trees to help restore the campus and have committed to purchasing 100 trees for the city.

Strong winds blew through Bloomington on May 25, destroying or severely damaging eight mature trees in Seminary Square Park and nearly 300 trees on the IU campus. The IU Foundation and the Bloomington Parks Foundation are accepting donations to replace the trees.

Along with the dedication, the Wylie House Museum, home of Andrew Wylie, IU's first president, will be open for free public tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The museum is located at 307 E. Second St., two blocks east of Seminary Square Park.

State historical markers commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places and events in Indiana history and help communities promote, preserve and present their history for the education and enjoyment of residents and tourists of all ages. There are approximately 500 historical markers across the state. The Seminary Square Park marker will be the ninth located in Monroe County.

The original constitution of the state of Indiana, approved in 1816, called on the legislature to provide for "a general system of education, ascending in a regular gradation, from township schools to a state university." In 1820, Gov. Jonathan Jennings approved legislation that created the Indiana State Seminary, and classes were first held in April 1825 in Bloomington. The State Seminary was re-chartered as Indiana College in 1828 and again as Indiana University in 1838.

IU moved to its present Bloomington location in 1884, after fire destroyed Science Hall, one of two buildings at the original locale of the university. The Seminary Square site was subsequently occupied by Bloomington High School and later by Central Junior High School, which was destroyed by fire in 1967. The City of Bloomington purchased the property from the local school district in 1974.