History of Muncie, Indiana

History of Muncie, Indiana

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Muncie, seat of Delaware County, is sometimes referred to as "America's Hometown." The famous "Middletown" studies were carried out by a team of sociologists, led by Robert and Helen Lynd, in 1929 and 1937. The Lynds were followed by numerous other sociologists and agencies, making Muncie one of the most studied communities in the world.Muncie was originally part of the land reserved for the Delaware Indians, who had arrived from the east during the 1770s. Mary's Ohio called for them to move farther west. Having acquired this former Indian land, the federal government opened the region for white settlers.The first major trading post in the new settlement was established in 1823, by a merchant named Goldsmith Gilbert. With the arrival of newinhabitants, the settlement grew into a town, and the spelling of its name was changed to Muncie. The first railroad arrived in 1852, with the extension of the Indianapolis & Bellefontaine Railroad. Muncie was incorporated as acity in 1865.Ball State Teachers College was founded in 1918 and has since become Ball State University. Purdue University and ^Ivy Tech StateCollege^ also have campuses in Muncie.The Ball family, which moved its glass manufacturing business to Muncie from Buffalo in 1887, provided the principal funding for Minnetrista, a cultural center serving east central Indiana. Other museums include the Muncie Children's Museum and the National Model Aviation Museum. The Ball brothers also funded Ball Memorial Hospital, which opened in 1929.

Tag: Muncie Indiana

See Part III to learn about how the Bee Line and other Midwest railroads reset, and sought to accomplish, their goal – to reach St. Louis.

Top: Map of the Bee Line component railroads. Bottom: Map of the proposed route of the Mississippi and Atlantic Railroad (both excerpts from “Map of the Bellefontaine and Indiana Railroad and connecting lines,” 1852, courtesy of the Library of Congress).

With John Brough’s elevation to the presidency of the Bee Line’s Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad [I&B] segment – between Indianapolis and Union – on June 30, 1853, the Cleveland Clique was understandably euphoric. Brough’s newly arranged presidential authority there and at the Mississippi and Atlantic Railroad [M&A], about to begin construction between Terre Haute and St. Louis, personified the Clique’s growing regional dominance. By all appearances they, through the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad (CC&C) and president Henry B. Payne, would soon control the key Midwest rail corridor linking the East Coast and the West.

At the same time, the closer-to-home Bellefontaine and Indiana [B&I] – linking the I&B at Union with the Clique’s marquee railway, the CC&C, at Galion OH – had already found itself under the financial sway of the Cleveland band. Incredibly, the strategy to command a string of railroads tying St. Louis to the Eastern truck lines then breaching Ohio’s eastern boundary had been orchestrated by the CC&C’s Henry Payne in little more than two years.

(L) John Brough, courtesy of the Ohio History Connection. (R) Henry B. Payne, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In the almost giddy atmosphere that prevailed following John Brough’s coronation, an impromptu trip was arranged. Why not visit Terre Haute, and the Illinois state line for that matter, and then travel in a single day from Terre Haute to Cleveland? It would underscore what the Clique had accomplished, provide an on-the-ground view of the new western terminus of the coordinated lines, and draw them closer to the independently minded stockholder/management team at the controls of the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad [TH&R] – the only gap in the Clique’s string of pearls between Cleveland and St. Louis.

(L) James H. Godman, courtesy of the Marion (Ohio) County Historical Society (R) Calvin Fletcher, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Members of the Cleveland Clique along with president James H. Godman of the B&I, newly minted I&B president John Brough as well as board member Calvin Fletcher and secretary Douglass Maguire boarded a special train destined for Terre Haute on July 1 st . It had been less than twenty-four hours since the Clique’s I&B annual meeting coup. None of the original I&B Hoosier board members went along for the ride.

In one respect the trip was a success. They drank brandy and wine with Samuel Crawford, president of the TH&R, supped together and made it to a symbolic bridge spanning the Wabash—peering across wide stretches of western Indiana farmland toward Illinois. Truman P. Handy and William Case, board members of the Cleveland Clique’s cornerstone CC&C railroad, continued on to the Illinois line by horse and returned to Terre Haute by 3 a.m. Now they could boast of having made it from the Illinois line to Cleveland in a single day.

(L) Truman P. Handy, Biographical Cyclopedia and Portrait Gallery of the State of Ohio, Vol 2. (Cincinnati: John C Yorston & Co, 1880). (R) William Case, courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

A private train left Terre Haute before dawn on July 2 nd . It ran at a blistering thirty miles per hour until hitting a cow near Belleville—knocking the engine and car off the track. It was a near-death experience, as Calvin Fletcher recounted. Still, they were in Indianapolis by 6:30 a.m.

Fletcher did not record whether they accomplished the lofty goal of making it to Cleveland that day, as he remained in Indianapolis. All the same, except for the lack of participation by original I&B board members, it had been a notable start to John Brough’s presidency – and provided a glimpse of the Clique’s mechanism for expansion. The Hoosier Partisan’s absence would prove to be a telling sign of issues looming ahead.

Two weeks later Calvin Fletcher was among a sizable number of Indiana business and political nobility who, along with their spouses, received an invitation from the Cleveland Clique. The request was to join them for an all-paid junket to Niagara Falls. “I had an invitation with our citizens, those of Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Terre Haute, Dayton, Cleveland, Bellefontaine &c…a number have an invitation here.”

(L) Daniel Yandes, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society. (M) David Kilgore, author’s personal collection. (R) Thomas A. Morris, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Hoosier Partisans Alfred Harrison, Daniel Yandes and David Kilgore as well as ubiquitous Indiana railroad construction engineer and soon to be I&B board member Thomas A. Morris were among the throng. They all boarded a special train awaiting them in Indianapolis on the morning of July 20 th . In his diary, Calvin Fletcher would capture both the spectacle of the excursion and the travails of travel during this era.

Map of Cleveland Clique junket from Indianapolis to Niagara Falls, over the Indianapolis and Bellefontaine, Bellefontaine and Indiana (both in red), Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati (blue), by ship to Buffalo (orange dash), and rail to Niagara Falls (orange). Cities visited in colored rectangles. Courtesy of Erin Greb Cartogarphy.

The conductor to Union was none other than Fletcher’s recently hired son Stoughton Jr., who helped the party around a derailed freight train along the way. They arrived at Union about 10:30 a.m. Connection delays added to a tardiness that precluded the Hoosier contingent from stopping at Marion, Ohio, for a B&I board–arranged dinner. Instead, they raced on to Galion to connect with CC&C cars coming from Columbus. The crowd reached Cleveland at 7:30 p.m., only to find the boat hired to take the assembled masses to Buffalo had broken down.

Cleveland Railway Station and Docks, 1854. (James Harrison Kennedy, A History of the City of Cleveland: Its Settlement, Rise and Progress 1796-1896. Cleveland: Imperial Press, 1896.)

Because the politicians of Erie, Pennsylvania had made smooth rail travel between Cleveland and Buffalo nearly impossible during the early 1850s, going by this route was not a viable option. To force passengers and freight to overnight in Erie, city fathers had mandated different track ‘gauges’ (the lateral distance between iron rails) for railways entering/leaving the city from the east and west. The Erie “war of the gauges”, in combination with intentionally and poorly synchronized railroad schedules, wreaked havoc on passengers and shippers alike. Erie thrived on this senselessness until 1855, during which time near-riots by local merchants and warehouse workers nearly scuttled a move to finally synchronize schedules and re-lay rails to a uniform gauge.

It was midnight before more than 750 passengers stranded in Cleveland boarded a replacement vessel to Buffalo – arriving the next day at noon. There, a train of nearly fifteen cars met the ship and whisked its guests the final miles to Niagara Falls. They took in the falls and were awestruck by the engineering feat of the recently completed railway suspension bridge traversing the Niagara River. The revelers were then ferried behind the tumultuous sheets of water before dinner and a moonlit trip to Goat Island. The excursion lasted less than twenty-four hours. On the return boat trip to Cleveland the assembled guests lunched, ironically, at Erie, Pennsylvania.

Postcard image of the Suspension Bridge across Niagara Falls circa 1876, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

That evening Cleveland’s mayor hosted what Fletcher referred to as a “soirée” of dinner, music, and speeches. He called it “a most splendid affair that I ever witnessed.” As might have been expected, newspaper editors and writers had been invited gratis. They clearly earned their passage by publishing effusive articles in the regional and national press.

The editor of the Indianapolis-based Locomotive gushed: “We have never taken an excursion with which we were so well pleased. Every arrangement was made in princely style for the accommodation of the invited guests and everything free as air, from our railroad bills down to our omnibus bills, including hotels and everything necessary.” It had proved to be the most incredible public relations feat of its day.

Finally, on the return leg from Cleveland to Indianapolis, the B&I board hosted the earlier-deferred dinner party at Marion, Ohio. Toasts were exchanged, a “three cheers” shouted, and the Hoosiers were off to Union the next morning. There they waited an hour for connecting passengers coming from Cincinnati. Exhausted, the entourage supped at Muncie and finally arrived back in Indianapolis by 11 p.m.

Still, for the people of the era, it had been both an awe-inspiring event and a technological marvel. To the parochial Hoosier Partisans, it brought home the sobering reality that the Cleveland Clique outgunned them financially and politically. The sheer number of interconnected board, business, banking, and government relationships represented at the Cleveland festivities was astounding. And they had gathered with a single purpose: to focus their wide-ranging powers on dominating the Midwest rail corridor between Cleveland and St. Louis.

The I&B, basking in the afterglow of this landmark event, which drew investor attention to its pivotal role as a funnel for traffic from Ohio to Indianapolis, saw its stock and bond prices jump. Nonetheless, Calvin Fletcher decided to sell all but $5,000 of his stock in August. He found a ready market: “I distributed among my friends who seemed to want it & one demanded, as a matter of right as I had offered to others, that he should have a portion. The stock soon fell & it was fortunate I let it go.”

Fletcher’s unemotional view was sprinkled with a candid and ominous reality, however: “Brough the president has failed to establish his right to go through to St. Louis straight. This I think will effect [sic] the road materially.” And he was right.

Whatever the reason for the I&B’s price bounce, it did not reflect the financial or business reality with which John Brough and the Cleveland Clique were faced. Brough’s usefulness to the Cleveland Clique appeared, for the moment, to be in question.

Check back for Part V to learn more about how the Cleveland Clique turned their attention to binding the various component parts of the Bee Line together both physically and legally – to the irritation of the Hoosier Partisans.

Muncie 4-Speed: The Complete History

To understand the evolution of the Muncie 4-speed you have to look at a series of engineering platforms that led to the final design of this transmission. The Muncie design has roots going back to 1935. I took the time to research the patent number that is cast into most Muncie main cases. It is U.S. Patent Number 3,088,336 (see Appendix). You will see that James W. Fodrea designed the patent no other engineers are listed. If you look closely, you’ll see that the patent drawings look nothing like the Muncie 4-speed but rather like the BorgWarner T10! Therefore, the Muncie patent is basically a design for the layout of a 4-speed transmission. This “layout” is a 4-speed transmission with four forward gear ratios in the main case, a midplate bearing support, and a reverse gearset in the extension housing.

This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, GM TURBO 350 TRANSMISSIONS: HOW TO REBUILD AND MODIFY. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:

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This is a classic Muncie bolt pattern
and case. It’s a standard M20 model.

BorgWarner was a company founded in 1928 from the merger of Borg and Beck (founded in 1904) and Warner Gear (founded in 1901). They designed a 3-speed transmission, the T85, which was originally used in the 1935 Chrysler Airflow. It was used right up to 1971 in the Ford Pickup F100 with an overdrive. The T10 shares the same case design, gear centers, and 3-4 synchronizer as the T85. The cases have a distinctive similar size, shape, and cover-bolt pattern.

James Fodrea and Alice Henman are
on the way to visit the Muncie plant
in 1957. Fodrea was the GM engineer
whose name is listed on the design
patent for the Muncie. Although he
is seen with a 1957 Corvette, which
came with a T10 4-speed, the design
of the T10 and Muncie share the
same features.

This is how the Muncie countergear’s
design evolved. The center gear is
from a BorgWarner T85 3-speed.
The lower gear is the latest version
of the early T10 and the upper is the
Muncie M22. Note how the Muncie
gear is physically longer than the T10.
The reason for these design changes
was simply to meet the demand for
increased torque capacity

If you look at Fodrea’s 4-speed patent drawings you can clearly see it was based on the T85 platform. His brilliant and well-thought-out idea was to make it into a 4-speed. It’s important to understand that in 1956 General Motors didn’t have the money for the Corvette program. Zora Arkus-Duntov wanted to use the design of General Motors’ employee James Fodrea. BorgWarner was probably the foremost manual transmission manufacturer at the time, and basically wrote the book on manual transmission design. (They are credited with hundreds of manual transmission patents.) It is therefore no surprise that a decision was made for BorgWarner to manufacture this 4-speed transmission based on the GM concept drawings and Fodrea’s patent. It was a very logical decision: Tooling costs would be minimal because hobs, castings, and certain components could be used from the T85 platform. This would be the fastest and most cost-effective way to put a 4-speed into a Corvette with very little risk. Many Corvette restoration books share the common misconception that the 4-speed T10 and Muncie are two separate entities. They are not the Muncie evolved from the T10.

Happy Accidents Create the Muncie

The 4-speed design of the T10 and Muncie is a very “forward” design. Whether it was a series of lucky choices, or happy accidents, the 1957 design allowed for improvements. Other muscle car transmissions of that era, such as the Ford Toploader and Mopar A833, left no room for improvements because of the layout and initial design of their geartrains. The Super T10 was a later-version design of the T10.

The maindrive gear on the left is from
a T85 3-speed. The center gear is
from an early T10 and on the right
is an M21 Muncie gear. All of these
gears have the same number of clutch
teeth: 36. Notice that the Muncie
synchro cone is larger in diameter for
improved stopping power.

BorgWarner sold the T10 to Doug Nash in the early 1980s, which then sold it to Richmond Gear. In 2012, Motive Gear acquired Richmond Gear and they are still manufacturing the Super T10 today. Several NASCAR transmissions, such as the G-Force T101, are also T10-based. The Muncie saw many improvements during its 10-year production run with General Motors. Auto Gear Equipment (AGE) currently produces Muncie replacement parts as well as new replacement transmissions. Auto Gear sells them directly and also through approved distributors. Auto Gear’s “Syracuse 4-speed” is a Muncie on steroids.

General Motors received royalties for every T10 sold from BorgWarner, so you have to wonder why they would bother making their own 4-speed at the Muncie plant. It appears that BorgWarner had an exclusivity contract with General Motors until 1960. This was the first year that the T10 was used in the Ford Galaxie and Fairlane. Soon after, Chrysler and American Motors began using the T10. With the power levels increasing in GM muscle cars the power capacity of the T10 also needed to increase.

This is the current Super T10 design.
Its concept and design are identical to
the Muncie’s. Both were derived from
the same U.S. patent.

This is the current Muncie M22.
Your can see that the layout of the
geartrain is identical to the ST10’s.
All gears and synchronizers are in
the same position. Notice how the
angle of the M22 gears is much
straighter than on the ST10. The
noise level increased because of this
angle, giving the M22 the nickname

I believe the reasons for bringing the T10 to the Muncie plant were threefold. First was to revamp the T10 to handle more power. Second was the direct benefit of the increased sales volume of the 4-speed GM muscle car market. The third reason was increased T10 royalty benefits.

Muncie Design Changes

Good engineering should allow for improvement to the design. When designing transmissions you have to remember that as vehicles change dynamically (increased horsepower, weight, or gas mileage requirements) the transmission also has to change. Because the Muncie was well engineered, there was room for improvement to the base design. Modern automation gives companies the ability to store incredible amounts of data it’s much easier to track changes. Today’s VINs (vehicle identification numbers) are even bar coded. A service technician can use a scanner to find a VIN, and any known service issues are easily found.

From the 1960s until the late 1980s General Motors issued Technical Service Bulletins by mail or fax to alert dealerships of potential service issues. I’m not a fan of these but I do understand their importance. I do not like them because, for the most part, they are admitting defects to a design. They fix it if there is a complaint but do not order a recall. Recalls are bad publicity, so it’s easier to fix the problem silently rather than risk sales. The problem is that some cars just aren’t driven very often. The service issues crop up after the warranty period has expired and the owner is left to pay for a repair on something that was defective in the first place.

In the early 1980s I did a great deal of repair work for GM dealers nationwide for the Corvette 4+3 overdrive. It had three major service issues affecting 1984 and 1985 models. I had the bulletins, but most of these service issues happened after the warranty period ended.

The first front-bearing retainer on the 1963 Muncie was made of aluminum its
casting number was 3790278. These proved to be very weak and were replaced
by a cast-iron retainer (604932). Both of these retainers are now extremely rare.

I bring this up so you can better understand how service updates and design changes are handled. You also need to remember that all record keeping was done manually and sometimes the changes were left undocumented. It is often very difficult to decipher what part numbers actually match the part you may need because the GM parts books have discrepancies.

The first Muncie has several unique features that were dropped by 1964. It had a small 6207-style front bearing and an aluminum front bearing retainer. This retainer was upgraded to cast iron by the end of the 1963 run. The 3831704 cast main case is unique because the front bore is smaller than it is on later Muncies. The first-speed gear rode directly on the mainshaft. A snap ring retained the first and second synchronizer assembly on the mainshaft. The first-speed gear had a smaller bore diameter as well as a recess in the bore to clear the synchronizer retaining snap ring. It had a thrust washer behind first gear that floated on the rear bearing inner race.

The countershaft diameter of 7/8 inch and front bearing were both carried over from the T10 4-speed design. The shifter shafts had 5/1618 threaded studs.

This is not a Muncie 4-speed retainer.
It is from a Saginaw 3-speed, casting
number 591620. It can be used as an
adapter-bearing retainer. It was an old
trick to enable small-retainer transmissions
to correctly pilot to largeretainer-bore
bellhousings. If you
attach a small-retainer transmission
to a large-bore bellhousing the
transmission is not piloted correctly.
Typically, the front bearings shatter
and input shafts break teeth, usually
at the end if this mistake is made.
This adapter retainer can be used to
attach a 1963 Muncie to a later bellhousing.
You can also turn down the
outside diameter on a lathe to replace
the rare 3790278 or 604932 retainers.

The GM service manuals are interesting. For some reason, the unique 1963-only items were still used in exploded-view illustrations, which confused many rebuilders into the early 1970s.

Two 1963 Muncie
are shown here.
An original 1963
shaft is shown
at right while a
rare BorgWarner
replacement shaft
is at left it has an
added oil cavity
on the first-gear
section. Notice that
these shafts only
have enough room
for the speedometer
drivegear to
press onto them
in one place. This
means that they
can only be used with extension housings
that have a driver-side speedometer

The Muncie was designed to shift better than the T10 it used larger-diameter synchro cones. Both the M20 wide-ratio and M21 close-ratio transmissions were offered. These were the only ratios ever offered from General Motors for the Muncie 4-speed:

These are three first-speed Muncie
gears. The far left gear is a 1963
type that has the recess for the 1-2
synchronizer snap ring and a smaller
bore. The middle gear is the laterstyle
original-equipment late-1964 to
1974 gear. On the right is an aftermarket
gear made in Taiwan.

Two major improvements were issued. The first was the introduction of a larger-diameter front bearing that meant a new case casting and larger-diameter front bearing retainer were necessary. The second was that the first-speed gear now rode on a bushing that was press-fit onto the mainshaft. It stopped against the first and second synchronizer assembly, thereby eliminating the need for the assembly to have a retaining snap ring. Because the bushing was subsequently retained by the rear bearing, the synchronizer could not go anywhere. The first-gear thrust washer was eliminated and the gear was designed to have a thrust surface that ran against the rear bearing’s inner race.

The first-gear design change was done for several reasons. The first was added strength. Whenever you have a snap-ring groove between a flow of power you have a potential stress riser on the shaft. Because the slider engages first gear across the snap-ring groove, a huge stress riser develops that leads to broken mainshafts. First gear also had a tendency to seize to the mainshaft. Cutting grooves and valleys for oil in the shaft only weakened the shaft more. A bushing was used with a “v” notch to promote better oil flow under the gear.

By the end of 1965 the rear extension housing saw some modifications to the casting. Webbing was added to the top and bottom. Small changes in countergear needle bearing spacer tubes surfaced. Some tubes were seamless with four needle spacers while others had a seam with six spacers. There seems to be no specific time when this change took place. By 1965 the shifter-shaft designs changed because they had been snapping. The new thread size of the stud was increased to 3/8-24.

Muncie shifter shafts have evolved in
three basic stages. From the left, the
small 5/16-18 threaded stud, which
snapped easily. The newer 3/8-24
stud still had to fit the rectangular
keyway of the linkage arm, and so it
had flats milled on each side, but they
still broke. The last revision was a
bolt-on shaft using a standard 3/8-16
threaded hex head bolt.

These spacer tubes go inside the
countergear. The upper tube has
no seam but the lower one does.
Because the needle bearings ride
against the seam, extra spacer rings
are needed to cover the seam. Typically,
the seamless spacer had four
needle-spacer rings. The seamed
spacer tube used six. Most of the later
GM overhaul shop manuals show
four spacers in the exploded-view
diagrams when, in fact, the transmissions
used six.

These spacer tubes go inside the countergear. The upper tube has no seam but the lower one does. Because the needle bearings ride against the seam, extra spacer rings are needed to cover the seam. Typi­cally, the seamless spacer had four needle-spacer rings. The seamed spacer tube used six. Most of the later GM overhaul shop manuals show four spacers in the exploded-view diagrams when, in fact, the transmis­sions used six.

In 1964 and 1965, Muncies in some of the full-size Chevrolet Impalas and Pontiac Catalinas were equipped with longer mainshafts and extension housings to keep driveshafts shorter and reduce harmonic vibration.

M22 RockCrusher

In 1963 the Corvette Grand Sport racing program was instituted. The early Grand Sports used a special heavy-duty version of the M21 close-ratio transmission. These special units evolved into what is called the M22 today. According to research by Alan Colvin (author of the Chev­rolet by the Numbers books), 57 M22 units were actually built for 1965 production. The engineering change documentation for the M22 is dated December 12, 1964.

The change basically states that a new gearset is to be used with different synchronizer assemblies, the main case is to be modified to accept a drain plug, and the countershaft bore of the case is to be machined to accept a 1-inch-diameter counter-shaft. A letter to Zora Arkus-Duntov dated December 8, 1964, is referenced in this engineering change stating successful use of the M22 in Grand Sport Corvette field testing.

So exactly what is an M22? The RPO M22 stands for Heavy-Duty Close-Ratio. Many people think the gearset had some different alloy compared to the standard sets, but it didn’t. According to original engineering drawings I have of the M22 first gear, it is made of an 8620-alloy steel. The same alloy is used to manufacture the M20 and M21 gears. The difference is the notation on the drawing to add shot peening to the gears.

Shot peening is a process in which the gear is blasted (like sand blasting) with steel shot. Steel shot is spherical and the gear surface develops thousands of microscopic dimples when the shot hits the gear. These dimples reduce stress risers on the area’s gear teeth that can develop cracks because of fatigue.

This is a pair of Muncie first gears.
The gear on the left is the standard
M20 and M21 and the gear on the
right is the M22. I placed them backto-back
so you can see the difference
in the helix angles of the teeth. The
M22 is straighter.

The tooth counts and gear pressure angles of M20, M21, and M22 gears are the same. The difference is the helix angle. If you reduce the helix angle of the gear you reduce thrust loading on the main case. Reduced thrust loading reduces heat and yields less horsepower loss to the rear wheels, but it increases gear noise. Hence the name “RockCrusher.” Muncie 4-speeds have varying helix angles in the gearsets. Typically, the M20/M21 gearsets have a first-gear helix angle of 26.4 degrees and an input shaft angle of 39 degrees. The reduction in the angle with the M22 is quite substantial. The M22 first gear has an angle of 14.5 degrees and the input shaft is 24.2 degrees.

The standard first-gear sleeve is on the top and the sleeve for the M22 is on the bottom (GM PN 3932228). It has flats ground into it to promote better oiling so that first gear does not seize to it. In road-racing applications, when you are in fourth gear doing more than 100 mph, first gear is spinning on the mainshaft at more that twice the mainshaft’s RPM. This is one of those undocumented parts that is not listed in all the parts books but takes some digging to find.Later you could get a roller bearing M22 firstgear assembly directly from Chevrolet (GM PN 3965752). The roller first gear was designed to prevent gear seizures in high-speed road-race conditions.

Several major improvements began in 1966. The diameter of the main case countershaft bore was officially increased to 1 inch. The most common main case casting was 3885010. This larger diameter was necessary because the big-block and small-block engines were producing more power. As a result, all M20, M21, and M22 countergears had to be redesigned to accommodate a larger countershaft. The needle bearings changed from .156 to .125 inch and the diameter of the spacer tubes also changed. New thrust washers for the countergear were also needed because their bore size changed and the location of the holding tang of the thrust washer was also redesigned.

The early 24-tooth maindrive is on the
left and the later 1966–1970 model
with 21 teeth is on the right. Reducing
the number of teeth made a huge
difference in reducing breakage of
this gear it becomes stronger while
keeping the same gear diameter. This
gave it a thicker tooth profile. I always
use an apple pie as an analogy. A pie
divided into four equal pieces obviously
has larger pieces than the same
pie divided into eight pieces.

The synchronizer assemblies were also updated to what is commonly called a “shoulder style” synchro ring. The early 1963–1965 ring had a tendency to crack at the strut key slot. Therefore, the ring was redesigned with material added to create a shoulder in front of the synchro teeth. It’s important to know that the later rings used a narrow synchronizer hub to compensate for this increased thickness. If you mix them up you end up with shifting problems.

The M20 gearset’s front end was also redesigned to handle more power. Both the M20 input shaft and front of the countergear were machined with thicker teeth. This was accomplished by reducing the input shaft tooth count to 21 from 24 and the countergear’s maindrive section to 25 from 29 teeth. The 25/21tooth headset ratio is 1.19:1 and the 29/24 ratio is 1.21:1. This yields a slightly different M20 ratio set.

Available Gear Ratios

Prior to 1966 order options really didn’t exist for Muncies. General Motors optioned cars with either the M20 or M21 ratios based on engine types and axle ratios. Many window and tank stickers exist from before 1966 that list cars as having M20s when in fact they had M21s. M22 production was rare in both 1966 and 1967 29 were produced in 1966 and only 20 in L88 Corvettes in 1967.

Speedometer fitting placement was also changed. Before 1966 the speedometer gear “bullet” fitting on the extension housing was located on the driver’s side in the middle of the shift linkage and below the oil level. The passenger-side speedometer extension housing also has added material between the upper shifter mounting holes. These extension housings always had a tendency to leak as well as get in the way of after-market shifters. For some reason, Pontiac kept the driver-side speedo while Chevrolet and Oldsmobile did not.

A small update was also added to the pivot pin on the sidecover that holds the whole internal interlock and detent system. It was press-fitted into the cover but it had a tendency to fall into the transmission. The new pin design simply added a hat to the end of the pin so it could not fall through.

Webbing has been added to late-style
extensions (casting PN 3857584). The
passenger-side speedo tailhousing
is always desired because it gets the
driver-side speedo away from the
linkage. Looking for the webbing is
an easy way to recognize the casting
when looking for parts.

The left countershaft is 1 inch in
diameter and the right is 7/8 inch.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the
difference. A great way to restore and
upgrade worn-out pre-1966 cases is
to just bore them out to fit the later
shafts and upgrade the gearset.
The larger countershaft is needed to
handle the load of big-block engines.
The larger the shaft, the more surface
area the case has to support it.

The 1963–1965 needle countergear
needle bearing on the left is .156
inch in diameter. Four rows with 20
needles per row were used. The later
design reduced the diameter of the
needle to .125 inch because of the
larger countershaft, which used four
rows with 28 needles per row.

This is essentially an original 1964 442
Oldsmobile Muncie casing with the
original factory shifter. The sidecover
pivot pin has no “hat” and can fall into
the transmission. The speedometer
fitting is located right where the linkage
is. It’s also below the oil level and
prone to leaks. By 1966 it was relocated
to the upper passenger side.

These are the two types of sidecover pivot pins that were used. Always use a later-style pin (right) when doing a rebuild. Some people simply pressed out the old pin and welded a blob of metal to the end of it.

Beginning in 1967, transmissions had a date designator added to the serial numbers. For prior years only a month and date were added.

1968, 1969 and 1970

The 1968 model was identical to the 1967 model except for a main case casting alloy change. The most common main case casting used during this period was 3925660. The front bearing retainer was also changed to a thicker casting. The height of the casting changed from roughly .325 inch to .450 inch. This made piloting the transmission into the bellhousing an easier operation.

If you are going to switch extension
housings so that you can use a passenger-side
speedometer fitting, you
must make sure the mainshaft can
accommodate the different position
of the drivegear. The upper shaft has
the single position for the driver’s side
and the lower shaft has more area
added to the back for the passenger’s
side. The hole in the shaft was actually
used on 1969–1970 models that
had a clip-on plastic gear.

The late-style synchro hub and
blocking rings (left) were used on
1966–1974 transmissions. Adding
more material in front of the teeth
reinforced the blocking rings. The hub
had to be narrowed to make room for
this additional material. The early hub
and ring combination is on the right.
Early hubs measured 1.150 inches
across the spline face and later hubs
measured 1.020 inches.

Notice the thicker shoulder of the
later-style ring (left). The early ring
(right) had a problem: Cracks developed
at the key slot. Mixing early
rings with a late hub causes excessive
clearance and ring damage.

More M22s were produced from 1968 to 1970 than in any other period. Using data from Alan Colvin’s Chevrolet by the Numbers books there were approximately 13,700 M22s made in the era compared to approximately 6,400 made in 1971 and 1972. What that means is that from 1968 to 1970 there were more factory 10-spline-input M22s assembled than the later 26-splines.

The 1969 design changes were subtle, and now all models had drain plugs as a standard issue. It was no longer just an M22 thing.

This was also the first year of “bolt-on” shifter shafts. Shifter shafts damaged because of broken studs or stripped threads were now a problem of the past. The rectangular drive portion of the shifter shaft was also increased in length from .605 to .722 inch. Shifter linkage arms were changed because the drive slot now had to be longer to match the drive portion of the mating shaft. The slot width of .315 inch remained unchanged. Putting a later linkage arm on a pre-1969 shaft can cause the linkage to become loose and out of alignment.

The speedometer drivegear only came as a molded 8-tooth gear. It was held in place with a spring-steel clip. It was obviously a move to save money and consolidate inventory since all transmissions would be assembled internally using all the same parts. Before 1969, different internal steel drivegears were installed to match specific axle ratios and tire sizes. The later plastic drive-gears frequently failed the transmission had to be disassembled and the equivalent press-on 8-tooth steel gear had to be used anyway.

Serial numbers from 1969 on were appended with a ratio designator. See Chapter 2 for more information on serial numbers.

The 1970 model was the same as the 1969, and 1970 proved to be a transitional year. The final main case casting of 3925661 was introduced, but there are huge overlaps in date codes. This means a transmission could be assembled in April with a 3925661 case and then in July with a 3925660 case.

The introduction of the transmission controlled spark (TCS) switch on the Muncie sidecover seemed to appear in 1970. This is an emissions device and its function is to disable the ignition system’s vacuum advance until the transmission is shifted into fourth gear. Owners of most of these cars eliminated this system because they felt it hurt performance. It’s quite common to see the switch plugged off or just filled with sealant.

In the final years of Muncie production, the best engineering improvements for strength were incorporated into the gearboxes. The biggest change was the number of splines on both the input and output shafts. The input shaft spline count was increased from 10 to 26 splines along the same 1.125-inch-diameter shaft. The output shaft was increased from 27 splines to 32.

This is a typical transmission controlled
spark (TCS) sidecover. The switch is
in great shape. Some switches have a
bayonet end (shown), and later ones
have a pin-type male connector.

The 3925661 main case casting was used exclusively and a new tail-housing (3978764) with only three shifter-mounting holes was added. The transmission was also 3/4 inch longer than older models. Fitment issues might arise when installing one of these transmissions in a pre1971 car. The shifter bolt pattern does not allow early linkage mounting plates to bolt to it. You have to shorten the driveshaft of course, you also have to change the clutch disc and driveshaft yoke. Hurst Competition Plus shifters designed for earlier transmissions usually do not fit on these gearboxes. You have to purchase Hurst shifters intended for the make and model car that these gearboxes came in.

A few undocumented synchronizer updates were made. The design of the slider strut key groove was wider and tapered to reduce key wear. These assemblies came with heavier strut key springs. The synchronizer hubs had a very tight press fit to the mainshaft because the hubs apparently were nitrided. (Nitriding is a heat-treating process that adds surface hardness to the hub splines without distortion.) The sidecovers of some 1970 units had the heavier 20-pound detent spring but by 1971 all the covers had these springs.

This photo shows that the overall
length of the rectangular drive portion
is longer on the bolt-style arm compared
to that of the stud type. The
rectangular slot of the linkage arm
must fit properly. Mixing late long-slot
arms on early short-slot shafts causes
the linkage to go out of alignment.

All ratios (M20, M21, and M22) came with the 26/32-spline configuration. Even to this day there is a misconception that all “fine spline” Muncies are M22 “RockCrushers,” which is not true. In actuality, more M20 units were produced with this configuration than were M21 and M22 models. The last year that the M22 ratio was available as an option was 1972.

The left shifter shaft has a 3/8-24
threaded stud with machined flats on
both sides. The 1969-and-up shafts
used a bolt-on style, which eliminated
broken studs and stripped threads.

By the end of 1974, Muncies were no longer being installed in GM cars. The weaker BorgWarner ST10 replaced them and by 1975 big-block cars were no longer being produced. At this time, the Corvette had a 165-hp small-block engine, catalytic converter, and “unleaded fuel only” stickers on the gas cap doors. Transmissions had to be geared to work with economy axle ratios such as a

Notice the difference in the drive slots of these arms. The example on the left
is for pre-1969 transmissions and the one on the right is for those that accept
a 3/8-16 threaded bolt. The slot on later arms always has a circular cutout to
make room for the bolt. Adapter clips are available to take up the extra space
so you can use later arms on stud-type shifter shafts.

The upper mainshaft has 27 splines
and the lower has 32. Because largerspline
1971–1974 Muncies are larger
in diameter, a different driveshaft
yoke is needed. The extension housings
also take different bushings and
seals. Make sure you order the proper
gasket and seal kits when rebuilding
these later units.

3.08:1 rear. The Muncie was never designed for that. To redesign the Muncie and downgrade it would have cost a lot of money. It was much easier to replace it with the ST10. The ST10 duplicated the current spline configuration, length, and shifter bolt patterns.

The glory days of the 4-speed Muncie were over and BorgWarner once again was back in the saddle. The ST10’s production in GM vehicles was from 1974 to 1988. Because of production quality issues, no Corvettes were produced in 1983. The ST10 was used with an overdrive in 1984 to 1988 Corvettes only and was called the Doug Nash 4+3 (even though the patent for the original Muncie includes the ST10). In a sense, 1988 marked the last year this type of transmission was used in a GM vehicle.

This synchro slider is the earlier
design with the smaller strut key
pocket. There are no part numbers
in the GM system that differentiate
these assemblies. Typically, the strut
key springs had a lighter tension compared
to later styles.

The later slider had a smoother,
ramped, strut key pocket. These used
a heaver tension spring compared to
earlier sliders. Today I use a spring
that has a tension between the early
and late springs.

The left synchro hub is the standard
hub and the right is a factorynitrided
hub. Notice the color difference
between them. These hubs fit
extremely tightly on mainshafts, and
you need to have the proper press
clamps or pullers to remove them.

Written by Paul Cangialosi and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks

Starting from a one-room schoolhouse

MUNCIE, Ind. – What happens inside a school is what's important, of course, but the history of local schools starts with the school building.

In the case of the history of Muncie schools, the building that started it all wasn't actually in Muncie the first one-room schoolhouse in Delaware County was a log cabin built in 1827 in Perry Township, a 1927 Muncie Sunday Star article reported.

Children are shown aboard a Center Township school bus in this 1930s photograph by Richard Greene. Center Township Schools consolidated with Muncie Community Schools in 1959.
(Photo: Photo provided by Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries)

The first school in "Muncietown" was built in 1855, just a few years after free public education began to become widespread in Indiana, according to a Muncie Community Schools publication titled "History of Public Education in Muncie, Indiana." The second Muncie school was later built on the site of an "Old Seminary Building" purchased by the Muncie city school district in 1855 after the existing building was pronounced unfit for use as a school.

Looking at a listing of schools added over the years after that suggests bursts of growth for the city and the school district, with the regular addition of another school to the lineup every few years, some years adding multiple schools around the city.

Some of those buildings, naturally, were replacements for older buildings, but even taking into account additions or renovations, the length of time between construction and closing for some Muncie schools is startling Roosevelt Elementary at 300 E. 21st St., for instance, dated back to 1902, and closed in 1980, quite possibly outliving a number of its earliest students.

Though schools were once built solidly enough to last for decades, those structures didn't always continue to suit users' needs even in the days before trying to wire schools for today's technology. A 1970 newspaper article about issues with older school buildings such as West Longfellow Elementary, built in 1905, noted older schools had the restrooms in unheated basements, and often didn't have gymnasiums.

An Emerson School elementary class is pictured around 1920. Notes on the back of the photo identify Phil Ball as one of the students.

(Photo: Photo provided by Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries)

Along with the need to replace aging buildings, shifting enrollment was also a factor in the addition, subtraction and combining of various schools. The Muncie Schools history lists enrollment in 1855 at 616 students taught by nine faculty members Muncie schools were up to an estimated 4,476 students by 1915, an estimated 8,495 by 1935 and 19,104 by 1970, the era of three high schools and a burgeoning auto industry job market locally.

&ldquo. school officials, fresh off the consolidation of the two high schools, are discussing the possibility of closing more of the city's remaining schools while searching for ways to shore up — or even increase — the district's declining enrollment.&rdquo

Muncie's school enrollment peak was 19,808 students in 1967, a number that included Burris Laboratory School.

In stark contrast, the Indiana Department of Education lists Muncie Schools' enrollment for 2014-15 at 6,106, at a time when school officials, fresh off the consolidation of the two high schools, are discussing the possibility of closing another of the city's remaining schools while searching for ways to shore up — or even increase — the district's declining enrollment.

A postcard from around 1910 shows Muncie High School, the building that predated the old Central High School downtown.
(Photo: Photo provided by Lost Muncie/Jeff Koenker)

That consideration is hardly a new one. A September 1970 newspaper article began, "Is a new school construction program justified at a time when pupil enrollments are falling off?" The article cited the drop in enrollment since 1964, alongside plans for the "new Central" and plans to replace or remodel as many as possible of the district's existing buildings, 13 of which were more than 50 years old.

Some schools Muncie acquired by means other than building them. While other school districts in Delaware County eventually consolidated or voted down proposals to do so, Muncie Community Schools consolidated with Center Township Schools in 1959, the same year that the Indiana General Assembly mandated each county study school reorganization, specifically for districts with enrollment below 1,000, according to the Muncie Schools history. Claypool and Eugene Field elementaries became a part of Muncie schools as a result, bringing MCS enrollment to 16,657 (not counting 940 Burris students).

High schools

The city's first high school, according to the Muncie schools history, was started in September 1868 in the basement of the Universalist Church, space the school district rented for $200 a year. The first high school commencement was June 26, 1868, held in the Wysor Grand Theater.

&ldquoWhile that building was under construction, according to the Muncie schools history, classes were held in a former factory/machine shop at 316 N. Mulberry St. that later became Thomas Apartments.&rdquo

This image from around 1912 shows Muncie High School, which closed in 1913 and was replaced with the original Central High School on the same site at High, Adams, Charles and Franklin streets downtown.
(Photo: Photo provided by Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries)

Muncie High School, constructed at a cost of $26,000 on land at High, Charles, Franklin and Adams streets, opened in 1881. That building closed in 1913, and Central High School was built on the same site, opening in 1915, when high school enrollment was about 880. While that building was under construction, according to the Muncie schools history, classes were held in a former factory/machine shop at 316 N. Mulberry St. that later became Thomas Apartments.

As Muncie's population and school enrollment grew, Southside High School was built on East 26th Street in 1962. Eight years later, Northside High School opened on West Bethel Avenue, despite complaints and eventually a failed civil rights lawsuit over concerns that the addition of Northside was "de facto segregation." The same year that Northside opened, Muncie's high schools switched from serving grades 10-12 to 9-12.

The "new" Central High School, replacing the downtown high school in 1973, was designed for 2,300 students current enrollment, post-Central/Southside consolidation, is about 1,630, according to the IDOE. The building's construction was estimated at $9.5 million, and it was planned to be "half again as large as Northside High School" and located on the old Minnetrista golf course grounds, according to a 1971 Muncie Star article.

Less than 20 years after going to three high schools, Muncie went back to just two, changing Northside from a high school to a middle school amid declining enrollment.

The front of the old Central High School along High Street is shown in this photo from around 1973, the year the building was closed.

(Photo: Photo provided by Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries)

Contact planning editor Robin Gibson at (765) 213-5855 and follow her on Twitter at @RobinGibsonTSP.

Muncie schools timeline

1827: First schoolhouse in Delaware County built near New Burlington in Perry Township.

1855: First Muncie school opened closed before 1890.

1867: Second Muncie school built on a lot at Adams between Gharkey and Mound closed around 1895.

1867: Hamilton C. McRae named superintendent of Muncie Schools served until 1883.

1881: Muncie High School opened at High, Adams, Charles and Franklin streets closed in 1913.

1889: Avondale School opened, near Sampson and 12th Street in Perkins Addition, on land purchased from trustee John J. Perkins for $1,250 lost in a fire in 1895.

1889: Washington Elementary opened at Vine and Pershing closed in 1972.

1890: Jackson School opened on Madison between Second and Third streets closed in 1927.

1893: Blaine School opened at Seventh and Shipley closed in 1978.

1895: Lincoln School opened at 1200 W. 12th St. newspaper article noted it was one of two schools built to replace Avondale School, which was destroyed in a fire that year closed in 1980.

1898: Jefferson School opened at Adams between Gharkey and Mound closed in 1974.

Jefferson School is shown in this Richard Greene photo from around the time it was closed in the mid-1970s.
(Photo: Photo provided by Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries)

1901: Garfield Elementary opened at Madison and Ninth additions built in 1949 and 1977 closed in 2009. Later sold to the Muncie Housing Authority, now houses the Unity Community Center and Inspire Academy charter school.

1902: Roosevelt Elementary opened at 300 E. 21st St. closed in 1980.

1905: McKinley Elementary opened at 600 N. Mulberry closed in 1972.

1905: West Longfellow Elementary opened at 1100 N. Broadway closed in 1972.

1909: Harrison Elementary opened at Liberty between Sixth and Seventh closed in 1971.

1913: Riley Elementary opened at 1601 N. Walnut St. closed in 1984. Later used to house an alternative school and Head Start classes.

1914: Forest Park Elementary opened on West Eighth between Clark and Daly closed in 1984.

1915: Central High School opened at High, Charles, Franklin and Adams addition built in 1951 closed in 1973.

1918: Stevenson Elementary opened at 2400 S. Mock closed in 1973.

1921: Wilson Junior High opened additions built in 1928,1955 and 1965 closed in 1995. Plans to demolish it halted for a proposal to repurpose the building, which now houses senior apartments and the Maring-Hunt Library.

1923: Emerson Elementary opened at Ashland between Pauline and and Linden closed in 1981.

1928: Muncie Fieldhouse opened renovated in 1983.

1929: Burris established as a laboratory school for Ball State Teachers College, under a joint agreement with Muncie schools.

1939: McKinley Junior High opened at Walnut between Wysor and Columbus closed in 1984.

1940: Muncie trade school at Kilgore and Perkins acquired converted to service center in 1973.

1951: Sutton Elementary opened.

1953: West View Elementary opened.

1954: Longfellow Elementary opened.

1957: Franklin Junior High opened at 16th and May closed in 1987.

1958: Anthony Elementary opened converted to administration building in 1988.

1959: Muncie Community and Center Township school districts consolidated, bringing Claypool and Eugene Field elementaries into Muncie Schools. Eugene Field at 1202 Hoyt closed in 1973. Claypool closed in 2005 now used by Head Start.

1959: Storer Middle School opened converted to elementary in 1988.

1962: Southside High School opened.

1962: Kuhner Junior High opened at 2500 N. Elgin.

1962: North View Elementary opened.

1964: Mitchell Elementary opened.

1966: Morrison-Mock Elementary opened closed in 2005.

1967: Proposal to open a new high school in northwest Muncie prompted criticism public criticism and charges of "de facto segregation," eventually resulting in a lawsuit.

1970: Northside High School opened.

1970: Ten Muncie elementary schools began serving students breakfast.

1971: Some Muncie elementaries began "satellite lunch programs," with meals prepared in central kitchens, packed and shipped to schools.

1972: Washington-Carver Elementary opened closed in 2008.

1973: Central High School moved to new building at 801 N. Walnut St.

1973: Kuhner Junior High converted to Muncie Area Career Center.

1973: Muncie Schools decided to halt financial support of Burris, despite pleas of Burris officials and parents.

1974: Indiana General Assembly agreed to fund Burris separately, with enrollment limited to 750 but open to anyone in the state.

1975: Muncie school officials considered new district lines to shift students from Southside to Central in hopes of relieving overcrowding at Southside.

1980: South View Elementary opened.

1988: Storer Middle School became elementary Northside High School became middle school Anthony Elementary became administration building.

1990: Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities opened at Ball State University with 150 gifted juniors from around the state.

1990: Morrison-Mock Elementary joined the Buddy System, a statewide program that provided students with computers to take home as well as technology at school.

1991: A study of Muncie school facilities included a look at the possibility — ultimately rejected — of converting Southside into a middle school to replace Wilson, and leaving Central as city's only high school.

1995: Muncie Schools moved sixth-graders from elementaries to middle schools.

1995: Students and staff moved from old Wilson Middle School to new building over spring break.

1996: Consultant recommended closing Morrison-Mock and Claypool elementaries because of dropping enrollment, but officials opted not to close any schools.

1996: Muncie Schools add full-day kindergarten at elementaries receiving federal Title I funds.

1998: Central and Southside high schools went on different versions of block schedule.

2001: A $5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment funds the start of 10 learning centers at local schools, and a Priority School at the Youth Opportunity Center to provide an alternative school for suspended students from school districts countywide.

2009: Washington-Carver building reopened as East Washington Academy

2014: After much public debate, Wilson Middle School closed, Southside High School transitioned into middle school to replace it and Central made the city school system's sole high school.

Sources: "History of Public Education in Muncie, Indiana, 1850-1990" (Muncie Community Schools), and The Star Press


Just finished watching "Hoosiers". I don't remember how many times I've seen it, but it sure brings back memories of small schools, those small gyms were amazing.

Michael Hayes задал вопрос .

Does anyone know who this is? It was probably taken in 1959 in Desoto.


I read this morning someone asking what year the Desoto elevator had burnt. I am not sure if the exact years my grandparents owned it off hand. Rebecca Ann Baxla Odle might be able to answer that. I posted in … Ещё an earlier feed some photos of the fire that destroyed the elevator. This photo (no date on it) is from the Muncie Star. I have an album of the elevator my grandmother gave me a few years before she passed. Thought a few of you might like to see. If anyone wants me to post pictures I would be happy to do so. Most of the pictures have local farmers of the day in them. I do know some, but not all of them.

Christi Ellington задала вопрос .

Question? I grew up with an urban legend in DeSoto… “Screaming Bridge”. The woods that sit on the corner of DeSoto Rd and 500 East… if you walk the railroad tracks back, there is a bridge that crosses a small pond. I use to go back there a lot when I was a kid. Back then, there was a section of cement wall with a diving board. The path to it was … Ещё fully grown over and there was a No Trespassing sign.
The legend… some High School kids were jumping off the diving board into the pond. One of them were injured and was drowning. The other kids screamed for help, but no one could hear them because of the passing train. The kid died. So, now when a train is going by and you are sitting by that bridge, you can hear the screams for help.
They have since redone the area. I have tried to do some investigating into the truth of the legend. It was fun to try and get the scare, but I haven’t found much. So, can anyone confirm this story at all?

About the Delaware County Indiana Historical Society

The Delaware County Indiana Historical Society, located in Muncie, IN, is a local organization dedicated to studying and preserving the history of Muncie. The Historical Society fosters an appreciation of the past, with an emphasis on local history. In addition to collecting and preserving historical artifacts, photographs, and personal stories, the Historical Society conducts research into local Delaware County families and businesses, which they present to the public through exhibits. The Historical Society also provides public historical records.

Posts tagged Muncie

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A Hoosier in New York…Emily Kimbrough

In her humorous columns in The New Yorker magazine, Muncie native Emily Kimbrough frequently referred to her Hoosier roots and world-view.

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100 Year Flood

When purchasing home insurance one anticipates every contingency, including such events as a “100 Year Flood.” In June 2008, Hoosiers in south-central Indiana learned exactly how formidable that event could be. The state’s hydrologist officially termed the 2008 deluge a “100 Year Flood” when water levels broke records set during the Great Flood of 1913. […]

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Kennedy and King

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November 5, 2007

Edna Parker

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May 7, 2007

Letterman Scholarship

For the last twenty years, students with so-so grades have taken heart in a rumor involving Ball State University and a certain gap-toothed late-night talk show host. According to urban legend, Hoosier native David Letterman established a scholarship at his alma mater for students with nothing better, or worse, than a “C” average. The rumor has insinuated itself so thoroughly into reality that the apocryphal “C”- average scholarship has been listed on the Internet and discussed at college financial aid sessions.

August 14, 2006


Muncie, Indiana was the heart of an ethnological study to chart everyday life in middle America in the 1920s.

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A City Deconstructed: The State of Factories in Muncie

Editor’s note: The views expressed by the people in this story do not necessarily reflect the views of Ball Bearings.

If you took a time machine back to the 20th century in Muncie, Indiana, you would find factories booming and thriving all throughout the city, according to the Delaware County History website.

In 1880, Muncie experienced The Gas Boom. The discovery of natural gas in Indiana meant that towns like Muncie could attract industry to them with the promise of free natural gas. According to the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, this was when the Ball Brothers factory moved to Muncie, and when 162 factories came to the “Gas Belt,” which consisted of Muncie, Kokomo, Anderson, and Marion.

The upsurge of the automobile industry in the early 1900s brought even more factories to the little Indiana town. According to the Indiana Historical Society, industrialization hit its peak in Muncie in the 1950s during the post-World War II boom.

“The Midwest was one of the fastest growing places in the world,” says Michael Hicks, professor of economics at Ball State University.

Along with the rapid growth of factories came stable, high-paying jobs. Population rates grew to an all-time high, employment rates in the city began to skyrocket, and the community thrived like never before, according to the Muncie Public Library. Factories like Borg Warner, Chevrolet and Ball Brothers Co. not only provided jobs for a huge portion of the Muncie population, but also seemed to create tight-knit communities and a sense of togetherness throughout the entire city.

The boom of factories and growing industrialization in Muncie came to a quick halt around the end of the 20th century. According to the Muncie Public Library, the more than 20% of the population that had been employed by factories in the 1970s had dropped to a staggering 7% by 2000.

According to Hicks, the 12,000 factory workers that were employed in Muncie in August of 1995 decreased significantly to 3,900 factory workers that were employed in Muncie in January of 2020.

The Muncie Chevrolet plant that employed more than 3,000 people closed its doors permanently in 2006. Borg Warner, an automotive manufacturer that employed nearly 4,000 people, followed suit in 2009.

Muncie resident Rick Shirk worked at the Muncie Borg Warner plant for 32 years. He spent the majority of his life working within the 1.1 million square feet of the plant. Rick says it was the high starting wages and unbeatable benefits that initially drew him to the factory. Fortunately for him, Rick retired just three months before Borg Warner closed its doors in July 2009.

“I was one of the lucky ones. Not everyone was that lucky,” Rick says.

Rick left Borg Warner not because of the impending shutdown, but rather because things were starting to change, including the factory’s decision to hire women and other minority groups. Rick believes major changes like these were one reason why the factory started to decline so rapidly. He knew he had the capability to leave before things at the factory really took a turn for the worse, so that’s exactly what he did. He says it wasn’t a shock to anyone when they announced the factory was closing, but that didn’t make it any less difficult.

Rick says working at the factory was a lot of fun when he first started in 1973, at the age of 22.

“In the summertime, it’d be so hot. We used to fill up buckets with water balloons and we’d sneak up and hit each other in the back with them,” he says. This stopped later on, Rick says, because of policy changes.

Rick emphasizes to anyone who asks about his time at Borg Warner that life at the factory was anything but clean. Despite the employment of cleaning crews, the use of oil in the plant created thick layers of dirt and grime on most of the surfaces. The workers would come home after long shifts reeking of oil and sweat. Over the years, he says, the factory installed ventilation and it helped somewhat with this problem.

“Working at the factory was never a clean job. You could look down the aisles and see the oil mist just lingering in the air,” Rick says. “It was everywhere.”

Throughout his time at Borg Warner, Rick filled many different positions. He operated numerous types of machinery and moved around from sector to sector. In other words, he knew the ins and outs of the factory just about better than anybody. Although he wasn’t laid off like some as a result of the shutdown of Borg Warner, the closing of the plant was still difficult for him to witness.

“The closing of factories around Muncie has killed a huge part of the city,” Rick says.

Hicks agrees that the jobs lost by the closing plants were a devastating blow to the community, not just economically, but also socially.

“The things that sustain a community are not factory jobs, but the relationships we have with other people, which are greatly enhanced by jobs,” Hicks says.

You don’t have to go back too far in a history book to see how integral factories were to the growth and development of Muncie. The shutdown of factories not only left thousands of people without jobs, but also left a gaping hole in the Muncie community.

But the effects of deindustrialization were felt all across the country, not just in Muncie. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 7.5 million Americans have lost their jobs due to factories shutting down since 1980. Manufacturing employment is lower now than it has been in decades as the country continues to shift away from the industry-driven economy it once was.

If you took a drive around Muncie now, it would look a lot different than it did back in the mid-20th century. Factories that were once flourishing are now abandoned and sit in empty lots, left to rot and decay.

Read More

Muncie Ballet Studio hosts free event with community partners

The Muncie Ballet Studio held free performances by dancers ages three and older for the community June 26 at Canan Commons Park. The performance event was a collaboration between the studio and the City of Muncie.

Indiana Academy hosts in-person, virtual NASA summer camp

After most summer activities and camps were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are making a return this year as cases continue to drop and restrictions are lifted.

Butler University will require COVID-19 vaccinations for fall 2021

The university said they expect the requirement to bring herd immunity to campus.

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Aug. 23 - encore presentation


The Muncie Sanitary District is a special unit of government created under Indiana State law by the action of an Ordinance of the City of Muncie, Indiana adopted in 1968. The District is managed under the provisions of Indiana Code 36-9-25 and is governed by a three-person Board of Sanitary Commissioners which acts as both the Executive Body and Fiscal Body of the Muncie Sanitary District. There are only a handful of Districts in the State of Indiana which are operated in this manner.

The District has the power to enact Ordinances which provide the rules and procedures that the District follows in providing services to the public served by the District. The District also establishes user fees for the services it provides and sets a tax levy to pay for some of the duties the District is required by law to perform such as upkeep on sanitary sewers and storm sewers in the District. The enactment of Ordinances and establishment of fees and the setting of tax levies are but a few of the duties performed by the District’s Board of Sanitary Commissioners.

Each member of the Board of Sanitary Commissioners is appointed for a term of four (4) years by the Mayor of the City of Muncie. Commissioners may only be removed in accordance with Indiana Statute and should a Commissioner resign before the end of their four (4) year term the Mayor appoints their replacement to only serve out the remainder of that term. The current Board of Sanitary Commissioners is contained on the District web-site.

The Departments of the Muncie Sanitary District are contained on the District web-site along with the administrators of each Department. Under each Department you will also find a brief description of the duties performed by that department. Each department has been formed to carry out statutory functions of the District and also provide support to other Departments needed to carry out their assigned duties.

Muncie Genealogy (in Delaware County, IN)

NOTE: Additional records that apply to Muncie are also found through the Delaware County and Indiana pages.

Muncie Birth Records

Muncie Cemetery Records

Beech Grove Cemetery Billion Graves

Elm Ridge Memorial Park Billion Graves

Fairview Cemetery Billion Graves

Gardens of Memory Cemetery Billion Graves

Mount Pleasant Cemetery Billion Graves

Parker Moore Cemetery Billion Graves

Rees Cemetery US Gen Web Archives

Tomlinson Cemetery Billion Graves

Wheeling Cemetery Billion Graves

Muncie Census Records

Federal Census of 1940, Muncie, Indiana LDS Genealogy

United States Federal Census, 1790-1940 Family Search

Muncie Church Records

Muncie City Directories

Emerson's Muncie directory Internet Archive

Muncie City Directories 1876-1922 Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana, city directory Genealogy Gophers

Muncie, Indiana, city directory, 1893 Internet Archive

Muncie Death Records

Muncie Histories and Genealogies

Story of the magic city : a souvenir of Muncie, Indiana Genealogy Gophers

Muncie Immigration Records

Muncie Land Records

Muncie Map Records

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, April 1896 Library of Congress

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, February 1887 Library of Congress

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, July 1889 Library of Congress

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, November 1892 Library of Congress

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, October 1883 Library of Congress

Muncie Marriage Records

Indiana Marriages Through 1850 Indiana State Library

Muncie Minority Records

Muncie Miscellaneous Records

Muncie Newspapers and Obituaries

Ball State University Student Newspaper 1922-present Ball State University

Daily Muncie News, 1879-1880 Google News Archive

Evening Times 1901-1905

Muncie Daily Herald 1890-1891 Newspaper Archive at FindMyPast

Muncie Daily Herald 1892-1906

Muncie Daily News 1888-1890

Muncie Daily News, 1880-1892 Google News Archive

Muncie Daily Telegraph 1871 Newspaper Archive at FindMyPast

Muncie Daily Times 1880-1901

Muncie Delaware County Telegraph 1871-1873 Newspaper Archive at FindMyPast

Muncie Evening Press 1905-1996

Muncie Indiana State Journal 1913-1914 Newspaper Archive at FindMyPast

Muncie Morning News 1879-1900

Muncie Morning News, 1898-1901 Google News Archive

Muncie Morning Star 1903-1903

Muncie National Republican 1914-1918 Newspaper Archive at FindMyPast

Muncie News 1892-1892

Muncie Post Democrat (Muncie, Delaware County 18 February 1921 - 29 December 1950) Hoosier State Chronicles

Muncie Post-Democrat 1921-1950 Ball State University

Muncie Telegraph 1870-1873 Newspaper Archive at FindMyPast

Muncie Times (Muncie, Delaware County 10 January 1991 - 25 2011) Hoosier State Chronicles

Muncie Times Newspaper 1991-present Ball State University

Muncie Weekly Times 1903-1903

Offline Newspapers for Muncie

According to the US Newspaper Directory, the following newspapers were printed, so there may be paper or microfilm copies available. For more information on how to locate offline newspapers, see our article on Locating Offline Newspapers.

Courier-Democrat. (Muncie, Delaware County, Ind.) 1875-1881

Delaware County Democrat. (Muncietown, Delaware County, Ind.) 1843-1845

Delaware County Free Press. (Muncie, Delaware County, Ind.) 1858-1860

Delaware County Free Press. (Muncie, Ind.) 1862-1864

Delaware County Telegraph. (Muncie, Ind.) 1872-1873

Delaware Free Press. (Muncie, Ind.) 1861-1862

Delaware Free Press. (Muncie, Ind.) 1864-1866

Evening Times. (Muncie, Ind.) 1901-1905

Free Press. (Muncie, Ind.) 1860-1861

Guardian of Liberty. (Muncie, Ind.) 1866-1860s

Indiana Signal. (Muncie, Ind.) 1848-1850

Indiana State Journal and Weekly Times. (Muncie, Ind.) 1912-1914

Morning News. (Muncie, Ind.) 1893-1898

Muncie Daily Herald. (Muncie, Ind.) 1880s-1905

Muncie Daily News. (Muncie, Ind.) 1879-1892

Muncie Daily Times. (Muncie, Ind.) 1879-1901

Muncie Democrat. (Muncie, Ind.) 1870-1875

Muncie Democrat. (Muncie, Ind.) 1881-1910s

Muncie Evening Press. (Muncie, Ind.) 1905-1996

Muncie Journal. (Muncie, Ind.) 1846-1847

Muncie Liberal. (Muncie, Ind.) 1872-1870s

Muncie Morning Star and News. (Muncie, Ind.) 1901-1904

Muncie Morning Star. (Muncie, Ind.) 1899-1901

Muncie Morning Star. (Muncie, Ind.) 1904-1944

Muncie News. (Muncie, Ind.) 1876-1901

Muncie News. (Muncie, Ind.) 1878-1870s

Muncie Post-Democrat. (Muncie, Ind.) 1921-1924

Muncie Star. (Muncie, Ind.) 1944-1996

Muncie Telegraph. (Muncie, Ind.) 1870-1872

Muncie Times. (Muncie, In) 1991-Current

Muncie Weekly News. (Muncie, Ind.) 1870s-1876

Muncietonian. (Muncietown, Delaware County, Ind.) 1837-1830s

National Republican. (Muncie, Ind.) 1914-1925

Post-Democrat. (Muncie, Ind.) 1924-1953

Republican. (Muncie, Ind.) 1870-1870s

Star Press. (Muncie, Ind.) 1996-Current

Whig Banner. (Muncie, Ind.) 1850-1852

Muncie Probate Records

Muncie School Records

Ball State University Orient Yearbook 1919-1965 Ball State University

Ball State University Student Newspaper 1922-present Ball State University

Muncie, IN High School Alumni 1868-1919 Old Yearbooks

Muncie, IN High School Class of 1920 Old Yearbooks

Muncie, IN Northside High School Yearbooks 1971-1991 Old Yearbooks

Additions or corrections to this page? We welcome your suggestions through our Contact Us page

Watch the video: Stories and Legends: Historic Preservation in Muncie, Indiana (August 2022).