The Industry Neighborhood has a strong history as the neighborhood that helped win World War I. It was primarily home to the workers employed in major manufacturing companies in the neighboring Blaine area, including Kitselman Brothers, Ontario Silver, Hemingray Glass, Ball Corporation, Indiana Steel and Wire, and the Indiana Bridge Company. Many of these companies began contributing to the war effort well before the United States of America entered the conflict, giving aid to British and French forces across Europe.
Referable to the big areas of industry located in the Ball Brothers factories by the side of the railways to the north, the neighborhood earned the public name of the industry. Most of the Industry Neighborhoods first residents were factory workers and placed in working class houses between the plants and downtown. Much of this development took place in the 1920’s.
At the beginning Industry Neighborhood was constructed on its southeasterly corner. It is bound by Memorial on the south, Blaine on the west, 8th of the N, and Macedonia to the east, that the Ball Brothers located some of their original Muncie plants. The Ball Brothers decided to move their plants to land a few miles outside of the city boundaries during the gas boom of 1887. Many of the old buildings have since been pulled downward, but some still continue under the name of Alltrista.
Indiana Steel and Wire and the Kitselman Brothers produced telephone and telegraph wires as well as the barbed wire fencing strung across Europe. Hemingray provided insulators for these wires, while Ontario Silver and Ball Corporation provided utensils and containers (respectively) for rations issued to troops. The Indiana Bridge Company produced the components assembled into the first ever fabricated steel ship. When the United States entered World War I, many of the workers from these factories went overseas.
However, some of the factories in industry of Industry did not shut down. American involvement in the conflict meant that some 280 women from the Industry Neighborhood continued manufacturing munitions for the war effort.
While the manufacturing industry has been slowly leaving the area since the 1960s, there are still traces of the neighborhood’s heritage. Immediately across the street in Blaine, several small factories and offices are on the National Register of Historic Places and Heekin Park, originally founded to give south side Muncie residents a public place to rival McCullough Park on the north side, still exists within Industry