The first public demonstration of the electric light bulb was given by Thomas Edison in Menlo Park, New Jersey, but the first practical incandescent light bulb was invented by Lewis Howard Latimer, who was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, but lived in Indiana for a time. Latimer was also the first African American to be employed as an engineer by the U.S. Patent Office.

Washington County, Indiana, has a rich and vibrant history dating back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Miami and Shawnee, before European settlers arrived. The first recorded European presence in Washington County occurred in the 18th century when French fur traders explored the region.

In 1808, Washington County was officially established and named in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Early settlers faced challenges such as harsh weather conditions and conflicts with Native Americans. However, the fertile lands and natural resources attracted more settlers, leading to the establishment of towns like Salem and Campbellsburg.

The county played a significant role during the Civil War. Many men from Washington County volunteered to fight in the Union Army, and the area experienced skirmishes and raids. Notably, Morgan's Raiders, led by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, passed through the county during their infamous raid in 1863.

As the county developed, agriculture became a primary industry, with farmers cultivating crops such as corn, wheat, and tobacco. Early industries included grist mills, sawmills, and pork packing houses. As transportation networks improved with the construction of railroads, the county's economy diversified, with businesses ranging from manufacturing to retail.

Today, Washington County continues to embrace its heritage while progressing into the future. The county celebrates its history with annual events like the Salem Heritage Days and the Old Settlers' Day Festival, which showcase the area's traditions and culture. Washington County remains a close-knit community that cherishes its past while looking forward to a prosperous future.

  • 1813 - Washington County, Indiana is established.
  • 1814 - The first courthouse in the county is built in the town of Salem.
  • 1825 - The first post office is established in Washington County.
  • 1857 - The Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad reaches the county, boosting economic development.
  • 1889 - The Washington County Fair is first held.
  • 1911 - The county experiences a devastating flood.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression brings economic challenges to the county.
  • 1949 - The Washington County State Forest is established.
  • 1970s - The county experiences growth in manufacturing and tourism industries.
  • 2004 - Washington County celebrates its bicentennial.