Historical Markers in
Crawford County, Indiana

The first long-distance auto race in the United States was held in Indiana in 1911. The race, called the Indianapolis 500, is still held annually and is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Crawford County, Indiana, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1818. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Miami tribes, who relied on the local resources for their sustenance. European settlers arrived in the late 1700s, and by the early 1800s, the region was rapidly being settled by pioneers.

The county's first settlement was named Columbia and was established in 1806. However, it wasn't until 1818 that Crawford County was officially organized and named after William H. Crawford, who was then serving as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. The county quickly grew in population, attracting settlers with its fertile soil, abundant timber, and access to waterways.

In the mid-1800s, the county became an important player in the salt production industry. The discovery of salt springs along the Blue River led to the establishment of salt works, which became a vital source of income and employment for many residents. The county's strategic location along the Ohio River also made it a hub for trade and commerce, with numerous steamboats regularly passing through.

During the American Civil War, Crawford County sent many of its young men to fight for the Union. Although the county itself was not heavily impacted by major battles, it faced its share of challenges, including raids by Confederate guerilla forces and the disruption of regular economic activities. However, following the war, the county rebounded and continued to evolve economically and socially, adapting to changes brought about by industrialization and modernization.

Today, Crawford County retains much of its rural charm, with its beautiful natural landscapes and friendly communities. It embraces its history and heritage while also looking to the future, striving to balance progress with preservation. From its early settlers to its current residents, Crawford County's story is one of resilience, adaptability, and community spirit.

  • 1816: Crawford County, Indiana, is established.
  • 1820s: The first permanent settlements are established in the county.
  • 1830: The county's population reaches 6,000.
  • 1839: Leavenworth becomes the county seat.
  • 1861-1865: Crawford County residents serve in the American Civil War.
  • 1880s: Railroads are constructed in the county, boosting its economy.
  • 1920s: Electricity is introduced to Crawford County.
  • 1940-1950: The county's population experiences a decline due to World War II and economic changes.
  • 1960s: Hoosier National Forest is established in part of Crawford County.
  • 1990s: The county experiences a slight population increase.
  • 2000s: Crawford County focuses on tourism and recreation as economic drivers.