Thursday, April 22, 2010

Muncie, Indiana - the quintessential American City

Muncie is a city of approximately 67,000 (during last census in 2000 - so expect a big increase shortly!) and is located about 58 miles NE of Indianapolis.  The area was first settled in the 1770's by the Delaware Indians and the city name comes from the word "munsee" meaning a member of the Delaware tribe.

Muncie offers many of the advantages of a larger city without the cost and congestion associated with major metropolitan areas.  Muncie is the county seat for Delaware County and was incorporated in 1865.  Drawn to the region during the Indiana Gas Boom of the 1880's many factories sprang up such as Ball Corporation, Delco Remy, Westinghouse, Indiana Steel & Wire, GM, Warner Gear and Broderick.  However, most of these factories closed during a tumultous period for the city from the late 1980's and the late 1990's.  As of 2006, the only survivor of the list was Borg Warner (Warner Gear).

Like many cities in the Rust Belt, Muncie has had to economically reinvent itself.  Their current economic backbone is in health care, education, retial and other service industries.  The largest employers currently include Ball Memorial Hopital, Ball State University, Muncie Schools, The City of Muncie, Sallie Mae, Wal-mart and The Youth Opportunity Center.  In June of 2004 Money Magazine ranked Muncie in its top 5 "up and coming" mid-sized cities.

Muncie is home to Ball State University, a premier institution of higher learning named for local industrialists. It is known for architecture, entrepreneurship, journalism and business programs.  Its most illustrious alumni include Jim Davis (creator of Garfield) and David Letterman.

Muncie is also home to many unique attractions such as Oakhurst Gardens, Miinetrista Cultural Center, Moore-Youse Historical Museum, National Model Aviation Museum and The Muncie Symphony.

Since 1929, Muncie has been the subject of a series of "Middletown" studies started by sociologists, earning them the reputation as the typical American city or Americas Hometown.

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