In 1816, amidst the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, the newly elected President James Monroe established a seminary. Located on a trading route and possessing abundant natural resources ranging from limestone to lumber, the area was ideal for development. Within seven years, it was home to roughly 500 residents living in log houses around a small town square. In a complex relationship of rawness and refinement afforded by the town's isolation, Bloomington evolved simultaneously as agrarian community and distinguished academic center. By the time the seminary became Indiana University in the mid-19th century, both a stagecoach line and a railroad had blazed trails through the city. Industry boomed as the limestone quarries flourished and smaller businesses expanded, perhaps the most successful of which was Showers Brothers Furniture. Supplying many of the coffins for those killed in the Civil War, the Showers' business was once the largest furniture company in the world. Through its success, the family invested in residences, building 11 homes in what is now the nationally registered North Washington Street Historic District. Built around the turn of the 20th century, the Showers' homes embody the Queen Anne Victorian and Classical Revival styles of the period.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Bloomington, IN.