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Page last updated on July 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Bloomington and Monroe County boast one of the most intact historic squares in Indiana, containing a thriving business district with unique shops and spaces.

Around the square there are virtual layers of history. For example, Mike Black, proprietor of Black's Mercantile, discovered an old foundry furnace built into the foundation of his building, believed to have been built for the Seward iron works. At one time, Seward was the oldest continuously run business in Indiana, but it is most famous locally as the fabricator of the fish weathervane that you see on the dome of the Monroe County Courthouse.

In 1981 there was a lengthy community debate about building a modern courthouse and demolishing the old one. As a consequence of that discussion, the courthouse was finally restored. Shortly after, CFC, Inc., a local company, began the monumental job of rehabilitating the south side of the square. Since those two groundbreaking projects, downtown owners have steadily reinvested in the idea of a historic square. So much restoration has been done, in fact, that archaeological artifacts are being found constantly: A bottle of "Green River" whiskey was found during the restoration of the Redman Building also known as the Knight of Pythias Building on North Walnut. This "sour mash" was purchased from a local billiard parlor and saloon, Troutman and DeMoss, which operated in 1910 on West Kirkwood.