An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
The walls of that room and others inside Mutchner’s scenic eastside home offer glimpses of his interests, from auto racing to basketball to political history. The famous picture of a triumphant Truman, hoisting an erroneous “Dewey Defeats Truman” Chicago Tribune headline, rests neatly framed alongside a 1952 campaign button and an autographed notecard from the former president.
It tells a story about Mutchner, too.
As an Earlham College student in the 1950s, Mutchner traveled to Missouri to watch the national basketball tournament for small colleges. While there, he realized Truman kept an office in the top floor of a downtown building in Kansas City after his eight years as president ended. Mutchner decided to visit, hoping to get Truman’s autograph. Once there, Mutchner reached the right floor, trekked to the end of the hall and saw a sign on the door that read: “Harry Truman, walk in.”
“So I did,” Mutchner recalled.
After the young collegian took a seat and got an intense look-over from a Secret Service agent, the president strolled in. Truman greeted Mutchner and asked what brought him to Kansas City.
The small talk subsided, and Mutchner asked the president for an autograph. Truman obliged, writing, “Best wishes to John Mutchner. Harry Truman 3/10/55.” Mutchner headed back to the tournament, objective accomplished.
Initiative has continued to serve Mutchner well for nearly six decades.
Last week, he stepped down after nine years as president of the nonprofit Wabash River Development and Beautification organization — better known around Terre Haute as “Riverscape.” He’s resigning to give younger leadership to the group, whose mission is to encourage a transformation of the once neglected Wabash into a natural center of community activity.
Local businessman Charlie Williams, chosen last week to replace Mutchner, sees rapid achievements in that nine-year stretch. “We’ve covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time,” Williams said. Mutchner and the pioneering members of Riverscape “accomplished some things that should’ve taken years, and only took a few short years,” said Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.
“It’s clear,” the mayor added, “that John had a huge passion to make great things happen along the river.”
He spent a quarter-century as basketball coach at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, building the program at the renowned engineering school into a Midwestern hoops powerhouse among small colleges. His teams won 341 games from 1963 to ’88, drawing a noisy, loyal following in the Quonset-hut style Shook Fieldhouse, where the players took the court to the chest-thumping explosion of a cannon and an unfurling of a Fighting Engineers banner. For another 25 years, Mutchner led a successful property development firm. But nine years ago, when a group that began as Terre Haute Tomorrow under former Purdue Extension agent Max Miller evolved into Wabash River Development and Beautification Inc., Mutchner was asked to serve as its president, and he agreed.
Yet today, even considering his long career resume, the 79-year-old Mutchner calls that “Riverscape” organization “the most dedicated, goal-oriented group I have ever been around,” adding, “and it will go right on.”
An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
ISU Performing Arts Series presents wide-ranging season
The Indiana State University Performing Arts Series, sponsored by Terre Haute Savings Bank, has always brought a diverse selection of top-quality performances to the Terre Haute community, but its upcoming season might offer the widest variety of entertainment.
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Community Theatre’s ‘Harvey’ auditions set for Monday, Tuesday
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Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard; recipes, classes, even the Farmers Market, can help you and your family get started
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Rock ’n’ Camp: New camp teaches details of forming, running garage band
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Clowning around: Performers have been delivering smiles to faces across Wabash Valley for nearly a quarter of a century
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Timeless Talent: Self-taught artist still creating smiles as 99th birthday approaches
The colorful scenery of Indiana countrysides illuminates every page of John Christopher’s album. It contains dozens of photographs of his paintings and drawings. They’re Christopher’s visions of covered bridges, bird dogs, barns, ducks, deer and creeks — images from his boyhood, etched in his memory.
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Russell McLain poured a sample of sweet red wine, called Splish Splash, into a glass atop a counter inside a cozy tasting room with trophy animals and a widescreen TV perched on its walls.
Rockville native remembers ride through Pacers’ last championship season
The star player greeted the rookie with a bold promise.
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TRIED ’N’ TRUE: No oven needed for these Peanut Clusters
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ISU to bring The Color Run to Terre Haute
Indiana State University is planning a colorful kickoff event for the 2014-15 school year.
The university is bringing The Color Run to Terre Haute on Aug. 23. One of the largest event series in the nation, the race douses participants from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. Billed as the “happiest 5K on the planet,” the event caters to everyone — first-time runners to professional athletes — and has no winners or official times.
‘Sound of Music’ this weekend and next at Maple Avenue UMC
Maple Avenue United Methodist Church’s Summer Theatre will present six performances of “The Sound of Music” beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, July 25.
Brazil Concert Band sets ‘German Musikfest’ concert for July 27
The Brazil Concert Band will present “German Musikfest” at 7 p.m. Sunday at Forest Park in Brazil, rain or shine.
GRAPE SENSE: Find unexpected rewards in the path less traveled
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TRIED ’N’ TRUE: Stuffed ‘mangoes’: A recipe to eat or can
Mrs. Mable Gard from West Union, Ill., put this into the Extension cookbook.
‘On the Banks of the Wabash’ band festival set
Seven bands from Indiana and Kentucky will join the Terre Haute Community Band and special guest Gymnasium Heide-Ost Symphonic Band from Heide, Germany, to present the fourth annual “On the Banks of the Wabash” Community Band Festival on Friday and Saturday. Five bands are making their first appearance at the festival. All concerts are at Fairbanks Park and are free.
Crossroads Rep offers a different show each night
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Before Sullivan County resident Joan Osburn bought her home in the mid-1970s, the current owner wanted to make sure she and her husband were going to treat the land that came with it with respect. “The first time we came to look at the property, it was kind of funny because she walked our legs off,” Osburn said. The 40-acre property resembles McCormick’s Creek State Park, fit with walking trails, ravines and waterfalls.
CHRIS DAVIES: Don’t have fun exercising? Learn to play
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Country act Parmalee to perform at Hi-99 Summer Bash
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Ohio Boulevard home built to promote 1948 movie
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TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A recipe for oyster lovers
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