|City of Marion|
|— City —|
Grant County Courthouse
Location in the state of Indiana
|- Mayor||Wayne W. Seybold (R)|
|- Total||13.3 sq mi (34.6 km2)|
|- Land||13.3 sq mi (34.4 km2)|
|- Water||0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2) 0.30%|
|Elevation||810 ft (247 m)|
|- Density||2,355.5/sq mi (909.2/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0438611|
Marion is a city in Grant County, Indiana, United States. The population was 30,830 at the 2006 census. The city is the county seat of Grant County. It is named for Francis Marion, a Brigadier General from South Carolina in the American Revolutionary War.
The city is the home of Indiana Wesleyan University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the Midwest and largest private university in Indiana. Since 2003, former Olympic skater Wayne Seybold, has been Marion's mayor. Marion is also noted for being the birthplace of legendary actor James Dean and famed cartoonist Jim Davis, though both were raised in nearby Fairmount, Indiana. It was also the site of actress Julia Roberts and singer Lyle Lovett's wedding in 1993.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.3 square miles (34.6 km²), of which, 13.3 square miles (34.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.30%) is water.
|Source: US Census Bureau|
As of the census of 2000, there are 31,320 people,. The population density is 2,355.5 people per square mile (909.2/km²). There are 13,820 housing units at an average density of 1,039.4/sq mi (401.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 79.64% White, 15.57% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. 3.60% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 12,462 households out of which 27.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.1% are married couples living together, 14.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% are non-families. 33.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 2.91.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $30,440, and the median income for a family is $37,717. Males have a median income of $30,258 versus $23,467 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,378. 16.9% of the population and 12.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.8% of those under the age of 18 and 11.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The Battle of the Mississinewa was fought in December 1812, just north of the current city of Marion, as an expeditionary force sent by William Henry Harrison against the Miami villages. Today, the battle is reenacted every fall by residents of Grant County and many reenactors and enthusiasts from throughout the United States and Canada during the annual "Mississinewa 1812" festival, the largest War of 1812 reenactment in the United States.
When Martin Boots and David Branson each donated 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land in 1831 for the site of Marion, they chose a location on the left bank of the swift, scenic river which the Miami Indians had named "Mississinewa," meaning "laughing waters." So rapid had been the tide of settlement that it followed by only 19 years the Battle of Mississinewa, 7 miles (11 km) downstream, where U.S. troops and Indians had fought a bloody, pre-dawn encounter in 1812.
With the formation of Grant County in 1831, Marion was established as the county seat and its future was assured. The river provided water supply, power, and drainage and it bequeathed a natural beauty as it flowed at the base of hills that marched away on either side. Along with at least 36 other communities in the U.S., Marion was named for the Revolutionary War General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of South Carolina.
Marion grew slowly for more than 50 years as an agricultural trading center supported by a sprinkling of small farm- and forest-related industries. Indians were a common sight as they wandered in from Indiana's last reservation, with its Indian school, Baptist church and cemetery, 8 miles (13 km) away.
In the 1880s, fields of natural gas were discovered across much of east-central Indiana, and Grant County began to grow at a dizzying pace. Gas City and Matthews were carved out of raw farmland and launched as speculative boom towns, each absorbing existing tiny villages. They attracted several thousand residents before the gas failed and most industries left. As late as the 1940s, Matthews resembled a Western ghost town, before it attracted eleven glass factories and seduced the professional baseball team away from Indianapolis. Grant County's only covered bridge remains there as a link to the past.
However, the gas boom left its legacy. A few industries remained, particularly glass manufacturers.
On July 23, 1888, with increasing membership amongst the six National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS)National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Congress established the seventh of ten National Homes in Grant County, Indiana to be known as the Marion Branch. Congress allotted an appropriation of $200,000, while Grant County residents provided a natural gas supply for the heating and lighting of this new facility. Marion was selected as a site for the new branch due to the availability of natural gas and the political activities of Colonel George W. Steele, Sr, the 11th Congressional Representative from 1880-1890.
The Marion Branch Historic District is located at he intersection of 38th Street and Lincoln Boulevard, approximately 2 1/2 miles southeast of the city center of Marion. The boundaries are 38th Street on the norther, the railroad right of way on the east, the Mississinewa River on the southeast, Chambers Park on the south and southeast, and Lincoln Boulevard to the west. The 212 acre site is roughly square in form with diagonal boundary lines on the southeast and the southwest eliminating those corners of the square. Originally, farming operations on the Home grounds included the area that is now Chambers Park.
In 1981, a Determination of Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places for Federal Properties was made under Criteria A and C. As a result, since 1981, various projects have been reviewed by the Indiana State Preservation Office for compliance under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.
In 1992, the historic district was surveyed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a component of the Grant County inventory of historic sites and structures.
This facility is now a part of VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, a dual campus facility associated with the former VA Medical Center Fort Wayne. Unfortunately, the original treatment hospital built in 1889, the greenhouse and cadet quarters are scheduled for demolition. There has been a lack of public interest in restoring these building to their original splendor and as they are currently a hazard for Veterans, the Department has no choice but to destroy these buildings.
A lynching occurred in Marion on August 7, 1930. A large mob estimated at 2,000 gathered at the city jail where three young black men were held on charges of killing a white man and raping his girlfriend. Before they could be tried, the three, Thomas Shipp, Abram Smith and James Cameron, were dragged from the jail and severely beaten. Shipp and Smith were hanged, but Cameron was released when an unidentified man claimed that he had nothing to do with the crimes. In 1931 he was convicted as an accessory to murder and served four years before being paroled. The event in Marion was notable as the last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States.
Marion's prosperity plateaued between the end of the gas boom, just prior to World War I, when the gas boom ended, and 1955, when General Motors located a stamping and tool plant there. A new era launched overnight, raising the sights of local residents who migrated to the city in unprecedented numbers with thoughts of a vastly expanded community potential. Except for bedroom communities near metropolitan centers, Marion's growth during the 1950s exceeded all but one Indiana city with populations of 10,000-100,000.
One of Marion's more notable architectural landmarks is the extensive Marion High School campus, which includes an impressive 1,468 seat community auditorium. This is where the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra, the Marion Civic Theatre, and the Mississinewa Valley Community Band provide musical and dramatic entertainment for Marion's numerous arts patrons.
The seven-time state basketball champions, Marion Giants, play in the 7,500 seat Bill Green Athletic Arena. The city operates a 2.75-mile (4.43 km) Riverwalk from downtown to Matter Park, and there is a newly renovated $9,000,000 YMCA Memorial Coliseum to honor war veterans. This was the previous home of the Giants, which was built after their first State Basketball Title in 1926.
A publicly-owned mansion, the Hostess House, is used for social functions, and Marion General Hospital has been nationally-accredited for approximately a half-century. Marion General was recently named a Magnet hospital. Fewer than 5% of all hospitals earn this honor.
With more than 15,000 total students, Indiana Wesleyan University is the fastest-growing university in Indiana and currently the largest private university in the state. The university's main campus in Marion is home to more than 3,200 undergraduates and nearly 1,000 postgraduates. IWU has one of the largest adult education programs in the Midwest, and dozens of adult learning campuses are located throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.
Indiana Wesleyan University's 350-acre (1.4 km2) Marion campus has won numerous architectural awards, and the university has spent nearly $250 million in the past 20 years on campus facilities. The university's award-winning, 1,200 seat, Phillippe Performing Arts Center is used for numerous community events throughout the year, such as Marion Philharmonic Orchestra concerts and the Grant County Spelling Bee.
Indiana Wesleyan's new $22 million Chapel, which opened in January 2010, seats 3,800 and is one of the largest auditoriums in the Midwest. The university is currently the largest single employer in the city of Marion and contributes over $1 million annually towards the local economy.
Marion's manufacturing sector produces automotive components, paper products, foundry products, machinery, wire, and cable. The paper plate industry was born in Marion; in its infancy, five of the nation's nine plants were located in the city.
The area surrounding Marion is part of the Corn Belt; as such, agriculture remains a significant component of the region's economy. Corn, soybean, and hog production is supplemented by specialty crops such as tomatoes.
Thomson SA's Marion facility was shuttered in 2004, leaving the city in an economic slump. On June 13, 2007, the Thomson building's northern portion was destroyed by a fire. Other Marion plant closures in the past few decades include those of Ball-Foster, SCM (later Ampad) Paper Company, and the Malleable Iron Works (both on the far west side along Miller Avenue). The city has made inroads in attracting new busineseses in the mid to late 2000s, however. Veriana Networks, a digital media and professional services firm, plans to develop its new headquarters campus near the intersection of Indiana State Road 18 and Interstate 69 in Marion. Marion has been the only Midwest community selected as one of the Top 100 Microenterprise for Economic Development by Site Selection Magazine for the years 2007 and 2008. TriEnda Plasstics LLC selection of Marion in 2008 was one of the top 5 Manufacturing Projects in Indiana and received the coveted Silve Shovel award from Area Development Magazine. In the last ten years ovee $1,113,000 has been invested by private sector employers in Marion (source local newspaper).
Christmas City U.S.A. is a local non-profit organization promoting the Christmas season in Marion and Grant County. They proudly organize and sponsor the Annual Christmas Parade each year the Saturday before Thanksgiving to kick off the Holiday season.
It all began in 1965 when the organization had a vision to expand the holiday season beyond the traditional cards and private parties. Directors wanted to foster human relations among residents of all ages and public relations toward nonresidents. In 1970, Christmas City and the Chamber of Commerce joined forces to promote a new look for the city. Postcards, bumper stickers, billboards were designed to establish the city as Christmas City U.S.A. The name was even trademarked to preserve the city's identity.
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