Indiana celebrates its bicentennial in 2016, and Monroe County is excited to be a part of the celebration! Learn more about Indiana and Monroe County's first 200 years, and see how you can get involved in this important commemoration!

Contact 

Monroe Bicentennial County Coordinator: Laura Newton, Assistant Director/COO, Visit Bloomington, 812-355-7721
laura@visitbloomington.com
County historian: Joyce Poling, jpoling@homefinder.org

History of Monroe County 

Monroe County was formed in 1818 from portions of Orange County. It was named for James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. Here's a brief history of the county, as described by Glenda Murray, a volunteer for the Monroe County History Center.

1818

Monroe County and Bloomington are founded by settlers from the Upland South (Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia).

1824

A state seminary opens in Bloomington; it is later renamed Indiana College in 1828 and then Indiana University in 1838.

1853

The railroad comes to Monroe County, leading to increased growth in Harrodsburg, Ellettsville and Bloomington.

1850s

Charles Showers starts a carpentry business on the square; his sons purchase it in 1868 and build the Showers Brothers Furniture Factory.

1860s

The limestone industry grows after the Civil War. John Matthews comes to Ellettsville from England and begins quarrying with newer technology.

late 19th century

Twin Lakes, Leonard Springs and Lake Griffy are built in response to a need for clean water.

1905

The Local Council of Women open Bloomington Hospital in response to the death of a young man who was hit and killed by a train.

1920s

The Showers company grows so much that it pays one fourth of Bloomington's total tax income and employs 2,500 people. Also in this decade, Indiana limestone provides 80% of the limestone used in construction across the United States.

1929

Morgan-Monroe State Forest is created by the state.

1930s

The Depression and erosion had negative consequences for area farmers. Construction projects from the Works Progress Administration, Public Works Administration and other New Deal programs employed many local men and led to new sidewalks, retaining walls and IU buildings including Bryan Hall and the IU Auditorium.

1935

Hoosier National Forest is created by the federal government.

1963

William and Gayle Cook move to Bloomington and start a medical device company in their spare bedroom. Cook companies now employ 9,000 people.

1960s

The county population grew from 59,200 to 84,800. The US Corps of Engineers built Monroe Lake for flood control; it soon became a new water source for the county.

1980s

A debate about whether to tear down the courthouse and create a new one finally ended when residents and the county government gathered enough money to renovate the old courthouse.