Residents have a portal into the past with Monroe County Public Library's newest exhibit, "On Kirkwood in 1967." The program, featuring exclusive photos of Kirkwood Avenue, will be offered Thursday, Aug. 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the downtown library in program room 2C.
With a population of about 42,000, Bloomington was reportedly one of the fastest growing cities in the state in 1967. Bloomington's then-mayor, John Hooker, was a World War II veteran and Indiana University alumnus, and he spearheaded many development projects during his tenure. At the time, the city had five parks, three banks and 52 churches. Though much of Kirkwood Avenue has changed, there are still some pieces of lasting local infrastructure.
The 1967 image is owned by Monroe County Public Library. The 2022 photo was taken by H-T photographer Rich Janzaruk.
In 1967, the median income of all U.S. households was $7,200; the minimum wage was $1.40 an hour. The area's largest employers were RCA Corp., Indiana University, Westinghouse Electric Corp., Sarkes Tarzian and Otis Elevator Co.
At Hays Market, a downtown grocery store at the corner of Sixth and Morton streets, milk was 79 cents a gallon. A pound of Folger's Coffee sold for 69 cents.
In 1967, a three-bedroom home with a full basement was advertised for $8,295 while a fully furnished, one bedroom apartment could be rented for $125 a month.
The 1967 image is owned by Indiana University Archives. The 2022 photo was taken by H-T photographer Rich Janzaruk.
While some may think of 1967 as completely disconnected from modern times, some of its ideas have lasted through present day. That year, Bloomington began using Lake Monroe as a drinking water source.
The mid-1960s was one of civil rights progression on both the national and local stage. In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. That same year, Bloomington hired its first African American police officer, Charles Brown. After graduating from Bloomington High School in 1962, Brown joined the Marine Corps and served three tours of combat in Vietnam. He retired from the police force as a captain in 1989 after 22 years of service.
Bloomington's history was captured in The Herald-Times' headlines of 1967. In April, Central Junior High School suffered a major fire. In March, 6,000 kids were reportedly administered the measles vaccine. One H-T reporter cheekily headlined a column about 1967's upcoming spring allergy season, "Sorry, but plague about to strike." Another H-T article caught up with a local nurse who recently returned from Vietnam, who reported harsh living conditions but "good morale" among soldiers. A proposal for Monroe County to have its own fire department was considered by the county commissioners.
The 1974 photo is owned by Indiana University Archives. The 2022 photo was taken by H-T photographer Rich Janzaruk.
People can view more photos and hear about Bloomington's local history at the library's exhibit opening. Attendees are asked to register at mcpl.info/calendar.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Bloomington in 1967: first Black police officer, news from Vietnam