Bob Ross painted here, David Letterman (pictured) attended Ball State, much more.
A scenic city with more than 50 individual neighborhoods, Muncie has a long-standing hospital, good transportation assets, a Cardinal Greenway exercise trail and a median age for residents of just over 28 years. Here are some more quick facts:
Bob Painted Here
Famed American painter Bob Ross filmed his weekly half-hour The Joy of Painting show at TV station WIPB in Muncie from 1984 until the show ended in 1994. The show still airs today in syndication on PBS stations throughout the country, more than 20 years after Ross died at age 52 in 1995.
Muncie in the NFL
Muncie was one of 11 charter members of the National Football League that formed in 1905. The Muncie Flyers played in the NFL for 20 years before going bankrupt after the 1925 season.
Nicknamed Little Chicago
Muncie gained the nickname “Little Chicago” during the Prohibition era of the 1920s because gambling, prostitution and bootleg liquor were big crime industries in the city. In addition, gangster John Dillinger often used Muncie as a hideout whenever things got too heated in Chicago.
Letterman Attended BSU
Late-night talk show legend David Letterman began his entertainment career in Muncie when he attended Ball State University from 1965-1969. He hosted an on-campus radio show on WBST called Make It or Break It in 1965, but that rock ‘n’ roll radio gig only lasted a week, playing the worst songs he could find and concocting fake news stories. Today, gracing the Ball State campus is a David Letterman Communication and Media Building.
The Muncie 4 Speed
General Motors outfitted many of their muscle cars from 1963-1975 with a hopped-up transmission called the Muncie 4 Speed, named for the manufacturing plant in Muncie where it was created. The Muncie 4 Speed became legendary and went into cars like Chevy Corvettes, Camaros. Pontiac Firebirds and Trans Ams.
Plenty of Glass
The well-known Ball Corporation that produces glass jars and lids for home canning began its long history in Muncie, starting its operation in 1889. Today, the company is headquartered in Broomfield, Colo.
Jim Davis, cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Garfield, was born in Marion in 1945 and joined the faculty of Ball State University in 2016 as an adjunct professor. Odd stat: Davis’ first wife, Carolyn, was allergic to cats.
Mao and Pregnant Woman
The David Owsley Museum of Art has 11,000 works on display in the Fine Arts Building on the Ball State University campus. Two of the more famous paintings are Mao by Andy Warhol and Pregnant Woman by Edgar Degas.
Arc of Indiana
An organization that empowers people with developmental disabilities, Arc of Indiana contracted the construction of a Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center hotel so that people with a range of disabilities would fill 20 percent of the jobs.
Hello, Zhuji City
Muncie has one international sister city – Zhuji City in the People’s Republic of China – and several trips have occurred from officials from both cities for the purpose of furthering business partnerships and developing international tourism ties.