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City of Crawfordsville, Indiana
—  City  —
Crawfordsville Courthouse, 1997
Nickname(s): Athens of Indiana (William Compton, 1825) [1]
Location in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 40°2′20″N 86°53′48″W / 40.03889°N 86.89667°W / 40.03889; -86.89667Coordinates: 40°2′20″N 86°53′48″W / 40.03889°N 86.89667°W / 40.03889; -86.89667
Country United States
State Indiana
County Montgomery
 - Mayor Charles Coons (D)
 - Total 8.4 sq mi (21.7 km2)
 - Land 8.4 sq mi (21.7 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 787 ft (240 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 15,243
 Density 1,818.9/sq mi (702.3/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 47933-47939
Area code(s) 765
FIPS code 18-15742[2]
GNIS feature ID 0433103[3]
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 1,327
1850 1,513 14.0%
1860 1,922 27.0%
1870 3,701 92.6%
1880 5,251 41.9%
1890 6,089 16.0%
1900 6,649 9.2%
1910 9,371 40.9%
1920 10,139 8.2%
1930 10,355 2.1%
1940 11,089 7.1%
1950 12,851 15.9%
1960 14,231 10.7%
1970 13,842 −2.7%
1980 13,325 −3.7%
1990 13,584 1.9%
2000 15,243 12.2%
Source: US Census Bureau

Crawfordsville is a city in Montgomery County, Indiana, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 15,243. The city is the county seat of Montgomery County[4].

Crawfordsville and the unincorporated county areas attached to it are collectively referred to as Union Township.



Crawfordsville is located at 40°2′20″N 86°53′48″W / 40.03889°N 86.89667°W / 40.03889; -86.89667 (40.038831, -86.896755)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.4 square miles (21.7 km²), all of it land.

Crawfordsville is located in west central Indiana, about an hour west-northwest of Indianapolis, the state's capital and largest city. While the Crawfordsville Micropolitan Area is not yet formally a part of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area, it is considered a part of the wider Indianapolis Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Indianapolis marketing area.




In 1813 Williamson Dunn, Henry Ristine, and Major Ambrose Whitlock noted that the site of present-day Crawfordsville was ideal for settlement, surrounded by deciduous forest and potentially arable land, with water provided by a nearby creek, later named Sugar Creek. They returned a decade later to find at least one cabin built. In 1821, William and Jennie Offield had built a cabin on a little creek, later to be known as Offield Creek, four miles southwest of the future site of Crawfordsville.

Major Whitlock laid out the town in March 1823. Crawfordsville was named in honor of Colonel William H. Crawford, who was the cabinet officer who had issued Whitlock's commission as Receiver of Public Lands.[1]

According to a diary of Sanford C. Cox, one of the first schoolmasters in the area, in 1824: "Crawfordsville is the only town between Terre Haute and Fort Wayne... Maj. Ristine keeps tavern in a two-story log house and Johnathan Powers has a little grocery. There are two stores, Smith's near the land office, and Issac C. Elston's, near the tavern... David Vance [is the] sheriff.[6]

It was successfully incorporated as a town in 1834, following a failed attempt three years earlier.

In November 1832, Wabash College was founded in Crawfordsville as "The Wabash Teachers Seminary and Manual Labor College". Today, it is one of only four remaining all-male liberal arts colleges in the country, and has a student body of around 900.

On December 18, 1833, the Crawfordsville Record carried a paid announcement of the opening of Crawfordsville High School.[1]

The city grew in size and amenities, adding such necessities as a bank and fire department. It gained status as a city in 1865, when Indiana granted its charters.

Late 1800s

In 1862, Joseph F. Tuttle, after whom Tuttle Grade School was named in 1906 and Tuttle Middle School was named in 1960, became President of Wabash College and served for 30 years. "He was an eloquent preacher, a sound administrator and an astute handler of public relations." Joseph Tuttle, together with his administrators, worked to improve relations in Crawfordsville between "Town and Gown".[1]

In 1880, prominent local citizen Lew Wallace produced Crawfordsville's most famous literary work, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, a historical novel dealing with the beginnings of the Christianity in the Mediterranean world.

Perhaps more crucial for Indiana's basketball-oriented culture, both the first official basketball game in the state (Crawfordsville versus Lafayette, March 16, 1894) and the first official intercollegiate basketball game (Wabash versus Purdue, also in 1894) occurred at the city's YMCA.

In 1882 one of the first Rotary Jails in the country opened. The jail is now a museum and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The beginning of the 20th century marked important steps for Crawfordsville, as Culver Union Hospital and the Carnegie Library were built in 1902. Culver operated as a not-for-profit, municipally-owned facility for 80 years, was then sold to for-profit American Medical International, and in 1984 was relocated from its original location near downtown to a new campus north of the city. The hospital's ownership was transferred to Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. in 2000, and it was renamed St. Clare Medical Center. The Carnegie Library is being converted into a local museum and the public library has since moved across the street. In 1911, Crawfordsville High School (motto: Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve) was founded, and promptly won the state's first high school basketball title. Crawfordsville's major employer for much of the century, commercial printer RR Donnelley, began operations in Crawfordsville in 1922.

Recent history has held few nationally noteworthy events for the city, but much internal change. Nucor Steel, Alcoa CSI, Raybestos Products Company, Pace Dairy Foods, and Random House have all created factories in or near Crawfordsville which provided employment to much of the population. Manpower has taken over as the primary employer in the city and has allowed most of the local companies to reduce employees. In 2008 Raybestos laid off the majority of its workforce with less than 100 employees left. Wabash College won the Division III NCAA basketball title in 1982. The college plays an annual football game against Depauw University for the Monon Bell, one of the oldest rivalries in all college sports. In 1998 the state began a proposed project to widen U.S. Route 231, in an attempt to ease intrastate travel flow.

New York Shoe Repair and The Silver Dollar Tavern on fire.
Washington and Main street 1997.
(western half of the 100 block of East Main Street, as seen from courthouse.)

Silver Dollar fire

On May 8, 2007, approximately a quarter-block of historic buildings in the 100 block of South Washington Street was burned in a major fire. A woman in one of the buildings reported the fire.

One person, Leslie Eric Largent, died in the fire. The fire was covered by the press statewide. Two buildings, built circa 1882, were completely destroyed: one that housed the Silver Dollar Bar (formerly Tommy Kummings' Silver Dollar Tavern); the other contained the New York Shoe Repair and Bargain Center at the corner of Pike and Washington streets. Above the shoe store were several apartments where residents were sleeping.

On May 22, 2007, the fire was ruled to have been an act of arson.[7]

Local Legend

A monster was seen here in the late 1800s that became known as the Crawfordsville monster. It was described to be made of a cloud with red glowing eyes. The story was featured in The History Channel's television series Monster Quest, on the episode on unidentified flying creatures.


Crawfordsville is the home of the world's first thin-slab casting minimill (steel manufacturing plant that recycles scrap steel using an electric arc-furnace). Nucor Steel broke ground on its first sheet steel mill and first galvanizing line at its $1 B Crawfordsville facility in 1987.


As of the 2000 census[2], there were 15,243 people, 6,117 households, and 3,664 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,819.4 people per square mile (702.3/km²). There were 6,623 housing units at an average density of 790.5/sq mi (305.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.02% White, 1.61% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 2.39% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.25% of the population.

There were 6,117 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,571, and the median income for a family was $43,211. Males had a median income of $32,834 versus $22,093 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,945. About 10.0% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.9% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

Notable natives and residents

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Rail transportation

Amtrak Station located behind the historic station, now a meeting facility.

Currently, Amtrak provides service to Crawfordsville.

Amtrak Train 51, the westbound Cardinal, is scheduled to depart Crawfordsville at 7:28am on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday; Amtrak Train 851, the westbound Hoosier State, is scheduled to depart Crawfordsville at 7:28am on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Both trains go to Lafayette, Rensselaer, Dyer and Chicago Union Station to connect with other trains.

Amtrak Train 50, the eastbound Cardinal, is scheduled to depart Dyer at 10:30pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with service to Indianapolis, Connersville, Cincinnati, Maysville, South Portsmouth, Ashland, Huntington, Charleston, Montgomery, Thurmond, Prince, Hinton, Alderson, White Sulphur Springs, Clifton Forge, Staunton, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Manassas, Alexandria, and Washington, DC and continuing on to New York City.

Amtrak Train 850, the eastbound Hoosier State, is scheduled to depart Dyer at 10:30pm on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with service to Indianapolis.

Monon Railroad logo.png

Until 1967, passenger service was provided by the Monon Railroad, providing service to Chicago, Lafayette, Greencastle and Bloomington, Indiana. The Monon railroad was merged into the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1971.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Gronert, Theodore G., Sugar Creek Saga: A History and Development of Montgomery County, Wabash College, 1958.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ History of Montgomery County, together with historic notes on the Wabash Valley, gleaned from early authors, old maps and manuscripts, private and official correspondence, and other authentic ... sources. Author: Beckwith, Hiram Williams, 1833-1903. Published: Chicago : H.H. Hill and N. Iddings, 1881. pg. 117
  7. ^ Indianapolis Star article

External links

Simple English

Crawfordsville is a city in the state of Indiana, in the United States.


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