Town of Bunker Hill

101 West Broadway
Bunker Hill, IN 46914

(765)689-8758

townofbunkerhillin.com

Our History

 

History

Bunker Hill was platted in 1851 by James Myers, John Duckwall and Alexander Galbraith.

 

Notable residents

James Forman "Tod" Sloan (August 10, 1874 - December 21, 1933) was an American thoroughbred horse racing jockey. He was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1955.

Sloan was born in Bunker Hill, Indiana, near Kokomo, the son of a Union Army soldier. He was a tiny and frail child, and after his mother died when he was five, his father sent him to live with a nearby family. He was still a young boy when he struck out on his own, taking jobs in the nearby gas and oil fields. For a time he ended up working at a horse racing stable in St. Louis, but later in Kansas City was employed by a thoroughbred horse trainer who encouraged him to take advantage of his diminutive stature and become a jockey.
 
By 1886, Sloan was working at Latonia Race Track in Covington, Kentucky, where trainer Sam Hildreth gave him the opportunity to ride one of his horses. Sloan's performance was not impressive, and his horse finished in the back of the pack. However, he persisted and a few years later was riding at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, and on March 6, 1889, scored his first win there.
 
In 1893, Sloan went to race in northern California where he met with considerable success. In 1896 he moved to New York City after being hired by "Pittsburgh Phil", where within a short time he was the most dominant rider in the thoroughbred racing circuit on the East Coast. Despite his many career victories, Sloan said that Hamburg (1895-1915) was the only great horse he ever rode. Sloan took over as jockey for Hamburg when the horse's career was near its end after the three-year-old had been soundly defeated in the Belmont Stakes. Ridden by Sloan, the horse won the Lawrence Realization, easily defeating Kentucky Derby winner Plaudit, and then scored the most impressive win of his career in the grueling 2 1/4 mile American Brighton Cup. Such were Sloan's abilities that in 1896 he won nearly 30% of all his races, increased it to 37% in 1897, and upped it to an astonishing 46% in 1898.

After Sloan left racing, Oscar Hammerstein arranged for him to star in a one-man show in a New York vaudeville theatre, but it did not last. He eventually went to Paris, France, where in 1911 he converted a small bistro into what became the famous Harry's New York Bar (located at 5 rue Daunou between the Avenue de lra and the Rue de la Paix). Financial problems from overspending on a lavish lifestyle forced Sloan to sell the bar and return to the U.S. His money gone, in 1920 he tried acting in motion pictures, but by then his name no longer had the star value to carry him. Married and divorced twice, Sloan died of cirrhosis in 1933 in Los Angeles, California, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale. Ultimately, British racing historians restored his reputation, as his betting on races had been a dubious charge at best. He was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1955. Sloan told his life story in a book titled "Tod Sloan by Himself" that was published in 1915 of which 200 were signed by Sloan and are highly sought after. Following his death, Beryl Markham received an advance from Houghton Mifflin to write a book on Sloan, but it too was never published because of Markham's own problems.
 
At one time Sloan was married to the stage actress Julia Sanderson.

Information gathered from Wikipedia