The Ball family, who invented the iconic Ball mason jars, relocated their glass manufacturing firm from Buffalo, New York to Muncie, Indiana in 1887. The Ball brothers (above) and their families made an indelible mark on Muncie, founding philanthropic organizations (such as the Ball Brothers Foundation and the George & Frances Ball Foundation), an educational institution (Ball State University), and Minnetrista, a year-round meeting area.
The current Minnetrista site is on the same property as the Ball family’s home. Many of the original Ball family mansions are still intact today; all but one of the brothers’ homes are still surviving, and they make for a lovely stroll down the Boulevard, with a number of them open to the public for various activities and events.
The family named the property Minnetrista, which means “a gathering place by the river,” because of its location along the White River. The name is a combination of the Sioux word “mna,” which means “water,” and the English word “tryst.”
Margaret Ball Petty wrote to her cousin Edmund F. Ball in 1978, recommending that the Ball Brothers Foundation build a museum where fine art may be shown. A four-year analysis of East Central Indiana’s cultural needs indicated that the creation of a state-of-the-art facility to conserve the region’s cultural legacy should be given high priority. Minnetrista Cultural Center opened on December 10, 1988, after the ground was broken on March 14, 1987.
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