Following the official incorporation of the City of Muncie in 1865, several neighborhoods surrounding downtown began to develop. Avondale, named after a suburb north of Cincinnati, was developed in the late 1800’s.¹ Streetcars began serving the area in late 1893 ).² Thomas Park was named after Muncie Mission founder Eddie Thomas (Muncie Evening Press, 15 June 1991).³
Winton Driving Park, a horse and automobile racing track, operated in the neighborhood in the early 1880s. After the track closed, the track was resurfaced and became 9th, Gharkey, 11th, and Pierce Streets.
The Avondale United Methodist Church, whose original section was built in 1891, was home to the Muncie branch of the Red Cross in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Three schools were formerly located within the neighborhood. Lincoln School, built in 1895, was located along Sampson Avenue between 11th Street and Memorial Drive. Harrison School, located on Liberty Street between 6th and 7th Streets, closed in 1971 and is currently owned by Full Gospel Temple. Wilson School, 13th and Liberty Streets, is now apartments for senior citizens.
Chevrolet used to have a factory within TPA, in the block bounded by Perkins, 8th, Elliott, and the CSX railroad tracks. The plant opened in 1935, saw major expansions in the 1950s and 1960s, and closed in 2006. (Digital Media Repository).
Ball State has a long history of working in TPA and with its residents. In 1969, landscape architecture students created a plan to renovate Thomas Park. The Urban Design Studio held a public forum and created a plan for the southern half of Muncie, which included TPA. Landscape architecture students submitted plans to develop the Chevrolet site in 2014.
1: Muncie Morning Star, “Unknown,” (pg. 4) Muncie Star Company, 20 May 1904.
2: Lockridge, R.F., “History of Delaware County,” (pg. 179) Indiana Historical Society Publications, 20 May 1904.
3:Gerhart, L., Muncie Evening Press, “The Way We Were,” Muncie Star Company, 15 June 1991.