History of the Bloomer House
The Parke County Community Foundation is honored to have as its headquarters the “Bloomer House”, located just north of the Courthouse square in Rockville. Below are three families whose generosity has allowed this structural treasure to continue to serve the citizens of Parke County.
The Rice's– Builders of the Bloomer House
In 1863, Dr. Harrison J. & Nancy Rice built the home which is now known as the Bloomer House. This striking, civil war era Italianate home was meticulously constructed and was one of several properties owned by the Rice’s in Rockville, Des Moines Iowa, and Chicago.
Dr. Rice was also the owner of 1200 acres of land here in Parke County. Dr. Rice delivered the keynote address at the laying of the Courthouse Cornerstone in 1879. He lived and practiced here until his death just after the turn of the century
The Bloomer Family
Doctors Joseph and Richard Bloomer (father and son) owned, resided in or practiced medicine in the Bloomer house for a period of more than 80 years.
Joseph R. Bloomer, along with wife Lula Eviston Bloomer began his practice in Rockville in 1911. Son Richard Bloomer graduated from the IU School of Medicine in 1938 and joined his father’s practice the same year.
Dick was also simultaneously on staff at the Tuberculosis hospital. He married Betty Glore in 1939. Richard served in WWII at Fort Knox as well as the 11th General Hospital in England. He left the service with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Dick and Betty resided in Rockville all their lives, raising children Joseph, Richard, John, Judith and Rebecca.
Following Dicks retirement, the family sold the Bloomer House to the Parke County Community Foundation. In addition, the family created a six-figure endowment fund for the continued maintenance of the Bloomer House, helping to assure its future for generations to come.
The Britton's Helping Make the Bloomer House a Community Place
Leighton & Donna (Martin) Britton married in 1967 and lived & raised their three boys here in Parke County. They also own and operate Britt Tool located in Brazil. Leighton served on the Board of Directors here at the Foundation from 1999-2005.
In 2005 Mrs. Britton was diagnosed with cancer and lost her battle in May of 2006. As a tribute to Donna’s life, Leighton and sons Greg, Darin, and Corey funded a complete exterior landscape renovation of the entire Foundation facility.
The gazebo is accessible for public use during daytime hours. The Foundation would like to thank all those who volunteered their time and efforts to this community project.