Terre Haute, Indiana
|City of Terre Haute|
Downtown Terre Haute, looking southwest
"A Level Above"
Location of Terre Haute in Vigo County, Indiana.
|o Mayor||Duke Bennett (R)|
|o Total||35.81 sq mi (92.75 km2)|
|o Land||35.02 sq mi (90.71 km2)|
|o Water||0.79 sq mi (2.04 km2)|
|Elevation||499 ft (152 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||1,730.92/sq mi (668.30/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||812 & 930|
|GNIS feature ID||444648|
Terre Haute ] is a city in and the county seat of Vigo County, Indiana, United States, near the state's western border with Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,785 and its metropolitan area had a population of 170,943.[
Located along the Wabash River, Terre Haute is one of the largest cities in the Wabash Valley and is known as the Queen City of the Wabash. The city is home to multiple higher education institutions, including Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.
Terre Haute is located alongside the eastern bank of the Wabash River in western Indiana. The city lies about 75 miles (121 km) west of Indianapolis.
According to the 2010 census, Terre Haute has a total area of 35.272 square miles (91.35 km2), of which 34.54 square miles (89.46 km2) (or 97.92%) is land and 0.732 square miles (1.90 km2) (or 2.08%) is water.
The Wabash River dominates the physical geography of the city, forming its western border. Small bluffs on the east side of city mark the edge of the historic flood plain. Lost Creek and Honey Creek drain the northern and southern sections of the city, respectively. In the late 19th century (particularly during the Terre Haute oil craze of 1889), several oil and mineral wells were productive in and near the center of the city. Pioneer Oil of Lawrenceville, Illinois, began drilling for oil at 10th and Chestnut streets on the Indiana State University campus in late December 2013, the first oil well drilled in downtown Terre Haute since 1903.
Terre Haute is at the intersection of two major roadways: U.S. 40 originally from California to Maryland and US 41 from Copper Harbor, Michigan, to Miami, Florida. US 41 is now locally named "3rd Street", but historically it was "7th Street", making "7th and Wabash" the Crossroads of America. Terre Haute is located 77 miles (124 km) southwest of Indianapolis and within 185 miles (298 km) of Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, and Cincinnati.
Climate is characterized by relatively high summer temperatures, mean winter temperatures near freezing, and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Dfa" (Humid Continental Climate).
|Climate data for Terre Haute, IN (1981-2010)|
|Record high °F (°C)||69
|Average high °F (°C)||38.1
|Daily mean °F (°C)||28.7
|Average low °F (°C)||19.3
|Record low °F (°C)||-24
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.56
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||4.2
|Average precipitation days||9.1||8.7||10.6||12.2||11.2||9.7||9.5||8.2||7.9||9.0||10.4||9.3||115.8|
|Average snowy days||3.3||1.6||0.9||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.3||1.8||8.0|
|Source 1: NOAA |
|Source 2: Microsoft Weather|
Terre Haute's name was derived from the French phrase terre haute (pronounced [t ot] in French), meaning "highland." It was named by French explorers and fur trappers to the area in the early 18th century to describe the unique location above the Wabash River (see French colonization of the Americas). At the time the area was claimed by the French and British and these highlands were considered the border between Canada and Louisiana.
The construction of Fort Harrison in 1811 marked the known beginning of a permanent population of European-Americans. A Wea Indian village had already existed near the fort, and the orchards and meadows they kept a few miles south of the fort became the site of the present-day city. (Terre Haute's currently affiliated Order of the Arrow lodge of the Boy Scouts of America is named after the last leader of the Wea village, Jacco Godfroy.) The village of Terre Haute, then a part of Knox County, Indiana, was platted in 1816.
Terre Haute became the county seat of newly formed Vigo County in 1818, leading to increased population growth. The village's 1,000 residents voted to incorporate in 1832; the village was elevated to city status in 1853.
Early Terre Haute was a center of farming, milling, and pork processing. However, the business and industrial expansion of the city prior to 1860 developed largely thanks to transportation. The Wabash River, the building of the National Road (now US 40) and the Wabash and Erie Canal linked Terre Haute to the world and broadened the city's range of influence. The economy was based on iron and steel mills, hominy plants, and, late in the 19th century, distilleries, breweries and bottle makers. Coal mines and coal operating companies developed to support the railroads, yet agriculture remained predominant, largely due to the role of corn in making alcoholic beverages and food items.
With steady growth and development in the later part of the 19th century, the vibrant neighborhoods of the city benefited from improved fire protection, the founding of two hospitals, dozens of churches, and a number of outlets for amusement. Terre Haute's position as an educational hub was fostered as several institutions of higher education were established. The city developed a reputation for its arts and entertainment offerings. Grand opera houses were built that hosted hundreds of operas and theatrical performances. It became a stop on the popular vaudeville circuit. The development of the streetcar system and later the electric-powered trolleys in the 1890s made it possible for residents to travel with ease to baseball games, picnics, river excursions, amusement parks, and even horse racing. The famous "Four-Cornered" Racetrack, now the site of Memorial Stadium, was laid out in 1886 and drew the best of the country's trotters and drivers.
On the evening of Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, a major tornado struck the city at approximately 9:45 p.m., demolishing more than 300 homes, killing 21 people, and injuring 250. Damage to local businesses and industries was estimated at $1 million to $2 million (in 1913 dollars). Up to that time it was the deadliest tornado to hit Indiana. Heavy rains followed the tornado, causing the Wabash River to rise. By midday on Tuesday, March 25, West Terre Haute (Taylorville) was three-quarters submerged.
On Saturday June 16, 1923, and through to the following dawn, the largest Ku Klux Klan rally ever held in Indiana took place in Forest Park, five miles north of Terre Haute. A special train of eight coaches brought Klan members from Indianapolis, another came from Evansville and Vincennes, and another brought 1,000 Klansmen from Muncie. It was reported that Klansmen from throughout Indiana and many surrounding states attended, with an estimated crowd of 75,000. Proceeds from the rally were used to build a $100,000 Klan home just north of Terre Haute. At 9:00 p.m. 5,000 robed Klansmen paraded through the city. On their return to the park six 30-foot (9.1 m) tall crosses were burned. Fifteen hundred candidates were initiated into the Klan and 500 women joined the auxiliary.
Like all U.S. communities, Terre Haute experienced economic swings as the country's economic base evolved. Before the Great Depression brought the U.S. economy to a halt, outside influences such as Prohibition and the decline of the country's railroads had a negative effect on two of Terre Haute's major industries - distilleries/breweries and railroad repair works. However, in 1940 it was selected for a new United States penitentiary built on 1,126 acres (456 ha) south of the city.
World War II brought an economic upswing with the development of three ordnance plants in the county and the revitalization of the coal, railroad and agriculture industries. Terre Haute remained dependent on consumer manufacturers such as Quaker Maid, the world's largest food processing factory under one roof. The city was an enthusiastic participant in the war effort with troop send-offs, victory gardens, bond sales, civil defense drills, parades, and ceremonies. 1943 saw the opening of the country's 100th United Service Organizations (USO) facility in the city.
Following the war, Terre Haute gained several new factories: Pfizer (1948), Allis-Chalmers (1951), Columbia Records (1954), and Anaconda Aluminum (1959). The face of downtown Terre Haute began to change in the late 1960s when Interstate 70 was built, passing through Vigo County about five miles (8.0 km) south of the path of U.S. 40 Wabash Avenue). As traffic began to concentrate at the U.S. 41 interchange, many downtown businesses relocated to Honey Creek Mall shopping center, built in 1968.
Throughout the period, civic groups developed to work toward boosting the economy. The Terre Haute Committee for Area Progress developed the Fort Harrison Industrial Park in the 1970s. Grow Terre Haute in the mid-1980s encouraged the establishment of new stores, factories, and high-tech industrial parks that helped to stabilize the economy and enhance community life. Most encouraging were the arrival of the Digital Audio Disc Corporation (DADC), a subsidiary of the global company, Sony, as the first American factory designed exclusively to make compact discs. In other developments over these years, railroad overpasses eased traffic congestion, law enforcement strengthened, and several national and state awards for volunteerism and citizen participation boosted local pride.
Like other Midwest manufacturing cities, Terre Haute faced daunting challenges as it neared the end of the 20th century, including the outmigration of the population and the closure of long-time manufacturing operations.
Much of the city's resiliency can be attributed to the diversity of the local economy. Manufacturing continues to be an important part of that, thanks to the formation of the Vigo County Industrial Park over 20 years ago. The efforts of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, in cooperation with city and county government, have made the Industrial Park home to some of the world's leading companies - Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional's (CSN's) cold-roll steel processing facility, Staples Corporation's Midwest Distribution Center, Advics automotive brake systems manufacturing facility and ThyssenKrupp Presta's automotive steering systems manufacturing facility and CertainTeed's fiber cement board manufacturing plant.
The revitalization of the downtown area can be traced to the construction of First Financial Bank's new headquarters building in the late 1980s and creation of the city's first tax increment financing (TIF) district, which funded the first downtown parking structure. Over the years, more initiatives followed, including construction of several new office buildings and a second downtown parking structure.
With the efforts of nonprofit groups such as Downtown Terre Haute and the expansion of the campus of Indiana State University, changes have spurred growth downtown. Several new hotels and businesses have been added to the "Crossroads of America" near 7th & Wabash, outdoor events and festivals attract crowds nearly every weekend during the summer months and the 7th Street Arts Corridor and Terre Haute Children's Museum, completed in 2010, enhance the appeal of the downtown area. It was these developments over several years that inspired property owners throughout downtown to rehab and renovate their buildings, including Hulman & Company and many individual owners. A new $25 million convention center is in the works for downtown Terre Haute, with completion planned for 2021
Renovation of the city's 1930s-era Federal Building to house Indiana State University's Scott College of Business in 2010  and development of a new downtown location for Indiana State University Foundation and the university's bookstore in 2011  strengthened ties between the city and the university. In 2015, Indiana State University partnered with developers to build a student housing facility in the heart of downtown, and other downtown residential development followed.
A casino has been proposed to be built on the east side of the city near U.S. Route 40/Indiana Route 46. A referendum in November 2019 on whether to allow the casino to be built passed overwhelmingly.
Duke Bennett, Republican, began his fourth term as Terre Haute's mayor in January 2020.
The City Council has six members each representing a district and three members-at-large.
Terre Haute is the location of the Federal Correctional Complex on Highway 63, two miles south of the city. The complex includes a medium security Federal Correctional Institution and a high security United States Penitentiary. The penitentiary houses the Special Confinement Unit for inmates serving federal death sentences. On June 11, 2001, Timothy James McVeigh, convicted of use of a weapon of mass destruction in the Oklahoma City Bombing, was put to death there by lethal injection. In 2020, five inmates were executed there, with two more scheduled for execution later that year.
As of the census of 2010, there were 60,785 people, 22,645 households, and 12,646 families residing in the city. There were 107,878 people residing in Vigo County. The city's population density was 1,759.8 inhabitants per square mile (679.5/km2). There were 25,518 housing units at an average density of 738.8 per square mile (285.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.5% White, 10.9% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.
There were 22,645 households, of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.2% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.95.
The median age in the city was 32.7 years. 20% of residents were under the age of 18; 18.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.4% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 12.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.6% male and 48.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 59,614 people, 22,870 households, and 13,025 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,908.3 people per square mile (736.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.3% White, 9.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 22,870 households, out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.0% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.0% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.95.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,018, and the median income for a family was $37,618. Males had a median income of $29,375 versus $21,374 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,728. 19.2% of the population and 14.8% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 17.4% of those under the age of 18 and 11.4% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Terre Haute is served by the Vigo County School Corporation. The corporation manages 18 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools, and 2 alternative schools, enrolling 14,642 students grades K-12.
Terre Haute is also home to multiple higher education establishments.
Indiana State University (ISU) is located in downtown Terre Haute. It has an enrollment of approximately 12,000. The Princeton Review placed ISU on its "Best in the Midwest" list of college and universities for nine consecutive years. ISU was also included in the Forbes' "America's Top 650 Colleges." 
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is a private engineering school located just east of the city. The school has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 undergraduate engineering school in the nation among institutions whose highest degree in engineering is the master's for 20 consecutive years. The school has an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students on its 200-acre (81 ha) campus.
Terre Haute is served by two airports. The Terre Haute Regional Airport is home to Hulman Field (HUF). The airport has a partnership with multiple military units including the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard. The airport also houses a flight academy thru Indiana State University.Sky King Airport is 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Terre Haute and mostly serves as training and recreational flights.
All city and intercity buses serve the downtown Cherry Street Multi-Modal Transportation Facility.
The Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ('Milwaukee Road') and the Pennsylvania Railroad used Union Station. The last train serving Terre Haute, Amtrak's Kansas City, Missouri-New York City train, National Limited, stopped running in 1979. Prior to the 1971 establishment of Amtrak, the Penn Central (combined company after the merger of the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad), ran these St. Louis-New York City trains through Terre Haute: Penn Texas and the Spirit of St. Louis. Prior to 1968 the CE&I ran the Georgian from Chicago, through Terre Haute, to Evansville, Nashville and Atlanta.
Terre Haute has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the Division of Forestry for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources since 1999 and also received the Growth Award, which notes a higher standard of excellence for urban forestry management. Indiana State University is one of four Tree Campuses in the state.
The Terre Haute Parks Department owns over 1,000 acres (400 ha) of dedicated land, including community parks, neighborhood parks, block parks, two golf courses, as well as trails, greenways, and boulevards.
Some highlights of the Terre Haute Parks Department include:
The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course has the distinction of being one of the few purpose-built cross-country courses in the world. The facility is part of 240 acres (0.97 km2) that comprise the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center east of Terre Haute. The course itself is built on a reclaimed coal mine and consists of an external loop of 3 km (1.9 mi) and four internal loops that allow for circuits of varying lengths. Indiana State University's Cross-Country team uses the Gibson Course for its home meets. The course has also hosted multiple NCAA national championship meets..
The Terre Haute Rex is Terre Haute's collegiate summer baseball team, founded in 2010. A member of the Prospect League, the team plays its home games at Bob Warn Field at ISU's Sycamore Stadium, The Rex's season runs from late May through early August. The team gets its name from a product with a historic connection to the community, Rex Coffee, roasted and packed in downtown Terre Haute by Clabber Girl Corporation and for many years a household name across the Midwest.
The Rex is building on a rich history of professional baseball in Terre Haute stretching back to 1884 that includes some of the most famous names associated with the game, including Hall-of-Famers Mordecai Brown and Max Carey, Josh Devore, Negro League Baseball All-Star Junius Bibbs, Vic Aldridge, Art Nehf (who holds the National League record for most World Series games pitched), Paul "Dizzy" Trout, Jim "Jumbo" Elliott, Harry Taylor, and Bill Butland. More recent professional stars include pitcher Tommy John (who won 288 games in his 26-year major league career) and catcher Brian Dorsett, both of whom played for the New York Yankees during their careers. Terre Haute North grad Josh Phegley is currently a member of the Oakland A's, and Terre Haute South grad A.J. Reed moved up to the Houston Astros in 2016.
Terre Haute has made an effort to revitalize the businesses and culture in its downtown district. Festivals, museums, restaurants, shopping, and the addition of multiple hotels in the area have greatly improved the overall image of downtown Terre Haute. Its revitalization efforts were recognized in 2010 when the Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Terre Haute Indiana's Community of the Year.
Located on Seventh Street between Wabash Avenue and Ohio Street, Terre Haute Arts Corridor includes the Swope Art Museum as well as two galleries: the Halcyon Contemporary Art Gallery and Gopalan Contemporary Art. The first Friday of every month features art openings, musical performances, and socializing.
The Swope Art Museum, open and free to the public since 1942, has a collection of American art including work by Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Janet Scudder, Andy Warhol, Ruth Pratt Bobbs, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg and many others.
The Turman Art Gallery at Indiana State University features rotating exhibitions by student and faculty artists. In 2007, the university was the recipient of nearly 150 Andy Warhol photographs and prints as part of the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program. These additions will be added to the other Andy Warhol prints already held in the university's permanent collection. The gallery's Permanent Art Collection and Study Collection includes a total of 3,600 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, prints, and photographs.
The cornerstone of the Terre Haute Arts Corridor is the historic Indiana Theater. Designed by famed theater architect John Eberson in Spanish Andalusian style and opened in 1922, this theater seats 1,674 and houses a screen measuring 54 by 33 feet (16 m × 10 m), which is the second-largest in the state. The theater, which had long sat vacant, was recently restored and is being used for concerts, film screenings and other events.
Terre Haute is home to several arts non-profits, including Wabash Valley Art Spaces and Arts Illiana.
Community Theatre of Terre Haute presented its first shows in 1928. A staple of the Terre Haute arts scene, Community Theatre is a volunteer theatre producing five varied main stage plays and musical productions per year.
Terre Haute also features the Crossroads Repertory Theatre, a professional theater company with over a 40-year history. Its season is mid-June thru late-July and performances include classic and new plays and musicals, as well as educational programs and staged reading of new plays.
Hatfield Hall is home to a 602-seat theater located on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. For over 10 years there has been a Performing Arts Series at Hatfield Hall. Indiana State University holds a Performing Arts Series on its campus as well. The performances of both series range from Broadway musicals, musical acts, plays, lectures, and dance productions.
Terre Haute has multiple music venues and a strong music community. The Wabash Valley Musicians Hall of Fame recognizes local musicians yearly.
Locally, The Blues at the Crossroads Festival brings more than 15,000 Blues fans to the city the second weekend of September each year. A statewide high school jazz festival is hosted annually by The Phi Mu Alpha chapter at Indiana State University. Terre Haute is also the birthplace of musician/actor Scatman Crothers.
The Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, established in 1926, is the oldest professional orchestra in the state of Indiana, predating the Indianapolis Symphony by four years. The Terre Haute Symphony started as a volunteer group of musicians who provided community entertainment, and has evolved into a group of paid professional musicians who complete auditions to demonstrate their skill level. A series of concerts is offered from September through April as well as a free Children's Concert for approximately 3,000 fourth graders from the Wabash Valley.
Terre Haute is also home to various other music organizations such as the Terre Haute Community Band, Terre Haute Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra, Terre Haute Children's Choir, Terre Haute Masterworks Chorale, Banks of the Wabash Chorus which performs in Harmony Hall, the Sweet Harmony Women's Barbershop Chorus and The Wabash Valley Musicians Hall of Fame.
Terre Haute native Paul Dresser was a late-nineteenth-century singer, actor, songwriter, and music publisher, who became "one of the most important composers of the 1890s". In 1913 the Indiana General Assembly named Dresser's biggest hit, "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" as the state song of Indiana. The Paul Dresser Birthplace in Fairbanks Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Vigo County Historical Society operates the property as a museum, open by appointment. In 2014, a bronze sculpture, sponsored by Art Spaces and created by Teresa Clark to celebrate the composer, was dedicated in Fairbanks Park near the Dresser House.
The Vigo County Historical Society Museum boasts an collection of artifacts in downtown Terre Haute into a 40,000 square foot, four-level building constructed in 1895. There is a triangle of museums downtown, with the Terre Haute Children's Museum and the Clabber Girl Museum just blocks away.
The three-story Children's Museum is at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and Eighth Street in downtown Terre Haute. It is a hands-on science and technology museum that has educated over 230,000 adults and children from over 22 counties in Indiana and Illinois. It has traveling exhibits focused on weather and space that educate children of Wabash Valley schools. The museum is a participant in a national consortium of 14 science and technology museums.
The Clabber Girl Museum is located at Wabash and Ninth Street in downtown Terre Haute. Housed in the Hulman & Company building built in 1892, the museum has exhibits on the history of Clabber Girl, one of the oldest brands in America, and on the art of baking. The museum is adjacent to the building where the Clabber Girl Baking Powder is still manufactured today.
Kleptz Antique Auto Museum, at 625 Poplar Street, displays antique cars, motorcycles, and other auto memorabilia. Styles range from a 1902 clear plastic car, a 1963 Chrysler Turbine, and a 1932 Duesenberg with a Judkins body.
The Indiana Association of Track & Field and Cross Country Museum is a new addition to the Terre Haute Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Terre Haute was the home of Socialist Party of America leader and five-time presidential nominee Eugene V. Debs. His former home is now a museum located on the campus of Indiana State University. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and is now owned and operated by the Debs Foundation. The interior of the museum features many of Debs' possessions and other artifacts from his lifetime. It is open to the public.
Terre Haute has three sister city relationships:
One well known Terre Haute legend is the story of Stiffy Green, a stone bulldog that allegedly at one time guarded the mausoleum in Highland Lawn Cemetery of florist John G. Heinl, the brother-in-law of Eugene V. Debs and the father of journalist Robert Debs Heinl. The statue is now housed in the Vigo County Historical Society Museum, in Terre Haute.