Welcome to the City of Connersville, a growing community truly at the center of it all.
Whether you are a new resident, visitor, or are considering relocating to our community we are confident you will find in Connersville a comfortable lifestyle, friendly people, and easy access to all the amenities of a big city living without th big city hassles.
Located in the Whitewater Valley, Connersville boasts a strong business heritage dating back to John Conners' first trading post established in 1805, the site of which is still operated as a business today, nearly two centuries later. The success of our early industrialists continue as a major factor around the world today while new business, industry, and the American spirit of entrepreneurship continue to grow and flourish in our community. The Commerce Center is conveniently located next door to City Hall to provide convenient "one-stop-shopping"for information and assistance to new businesses interested in Connersville.
The Connersville/Fayette County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide you with this little introduction to our community. We believe you will find here a community committed to a quality lifestyle, exemplified by its commitment to education (Connersville hosts regional campuses for three major Indiana post secondary schools) and our outstanding health care facilities unparalleled in communities our size. Recreational opportunities abound for families and individuals, and special events are happening most weekends throughout the year. And, there are abundant opportunities for you to be part of it all through participation in Chamber activities, the numerous service clubs, organizations and churches throughout the community.
After you become acquainted with us through this brochure, stop by the Chamber, City Hall, or any of the advertisers or attractions listed in this book. We are confident you will enjoy your time in Connersville, Indiana.
Connersville has held many titles over the years. It's been called "Little Detroit" because in the early decades of the 20th century it produced such luxury automobiles as the Lexington, McFarlan, Auburn and Cord. It is often called "The City of Champions" because high school sports and academic teams have achieved numerous championships.
Still, it likes to call itself "The City of Industry", because that's what it is today. With a population of 16,650, Connersville is home to more than 50 industrial firms, large and small. Drawing from throughout Fayette County and neighboring counties, it's workforce is well educated and trained in many industrial skills.
A vocational school and several area colleges continue to upgrade worker training, enhancing the attractiveness of the city to new industry.
Connersville is a delightful place to live, work and raise a family. It boasts a full compliment of homes from affordable bungalows to elegant, 19th century Victorian beauties, from pleasant apartments and townhomes to sprawling executive styles.
The city is close to some of the finest outdoor recreation facilities in the nation, places like Whitewater Memorial State Park and Brookville Lake reservoir. In addition, it stands at the center of a seven-county area widely known for its cultural organizations, museums, shopping facilities, and appealing historic sites.
The schools of Connersville are excellent and led by creative administrators and teachers. The high school was the first in the nation to introduce a school marching band.
A small town in heart and heritage, Connersville works to retain its natural friendliness and can-do spirit while it seeks continued growth. The promise of tomorrow looks good.
Connersville is situated in East-Central Indiana just a short distance from interstate 70. The county seat and only incorporated city in Fayette County, Connersville is
centrally located to major city centers of business, including Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Dayton, all within an hours drive. It also serves as a retail center for surrounding communities. The community is served by truck, rail and air transportation providing direct access to all major markets in the midwest.
1990 Census 15,550
1996 Est. 16,650
1990 Census 6,273
1996 Est. 6,963
1990 Census 26,015
1996 Est. 26,652
1990 Census 9,945
1996 Est. 10,572
Fayette County School Corporation
Seven member elected school board
8 elementary schools
1 middle school, 1 high school, 1 area vocational school
1 parochial school- k-6, 1 parochial school- k-12
Indiana University East - Connersville Center
Purdue University Programs - Connersville Center
Ivy Tech State College
Whitewater Community Education, Inc.
East Central Indiana
Fayette County - 215 square miles
Connersville - County Seat, only incorporated city in Fayette County - 6.27 miles
City - Elected mayor and seven member elected council, with a Board of Public Works and Safety appointed by the mayor for administrative activities
County - Seven member elected county council and three elected commissioners.
The Commerce Center facility is shared by Connersville/Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, the Fayette County Industrial Development Corporation, Small Business Development Center, Urban Enterprise Association, and MainStreet Connersville, Inc. all working together to grow the community and make the business climate as productive as possible.
Rail - Sagamore National Corp. (Terminal and switching) with connections to Conrail and Norfolk & Southern, CSX, and Amtrak Services.
Highway - State Road 1, State Road 44, and State Road 121, near U.S. 40, I-70 and I-74.
Truck - Connersville is served by truck lines, one local.
Air - Connersville Airport- Mettel Field is located off State Road 1 North, across from the Ford Plant. It has 5,000-foot hard surface runway with three instrument approaches, and ILS.
Barge - Sixty miles to barge service at Cincinnati on the Ohio River.
Fayette Memorial Hospital; Whitewater Care Pavilion, Opthamology and surgical services, transitional, outpatient and home health services. 5 extended care facilities, and additional semi-independent living facilities
In 1803, Connersville founder, John Conner, began trading for furs with the Indians in southeastern Indiana from a post above Big Cedar Creek, near Cedar Grove. After the signing of the Grouseland Treaty of 1805, which moved the Indians from Franklin County, Conner moved his trading post to the site of present day Connersville.
During the war of 1812, while serving as an interpreter to the Indians for the President, Conner began to turn his attention to other activities. On March 4, 1813, he recorded a plat of Conner's Post. It contained 62 lots along the banks of the Whitewater River. Up the river from the town, he built a saw mill, taking advantage of water power to operate it. Later, he built a grist mill to grind the corn grown by area farmers.
In 1816, Indiana became the nation's 19th state. Three years afterward, Connersville was named the seat of Fayette County and the town began to grow. Connersville was established as the Town of Connersville in 1841.
The next big growth period came after completion to Connersville of the Whitewater Canal. Begun in 1836 as a state project, the canal was completed to the National Road in Cambridge City in 1846 as a privately financed endeavor. The first canal barge arrived at Connersville in 1845 and signaled a character change for the fledgling community.
The town began attracting industry and was soon recognized as an important stop on the canal, which ultimately extended north from the Ohio River to the Hagerstown area.
Among the first businesses in Connersville was Roots Woolen Mill which opened in 1846. It operates today as Roots Division of Dresser Industries and produces blowers and vacuum pumps, devices that were originally invented by Alanson Roots. In 1869, the Town of Connersville officially incorporated as the City of Connersville.
In 1886, John B. McFarlan, Sr., wanted to expand his buggy business. As part of the project, he desired to improve the flow of parts to his factory. In resolving this need, he created the nation's first industrial park to accommodate manufacturers supplying parts from wheels and axles to leather and glass for his operation. As the buggy gave way to the horseless carriage, these companies also made the transition to automobile production. Over the years that followed, the former cornfield has attracted numerous operations from auto manufacturing to appliance production.
After the turn of the century, Connersville developed into what some called "Little Detroit." Between 1905 and 1937, 10 different automobiles were built in the community. The best known two are treasured by antique auto enthusiasts throughout the world, the Auburn and the Cord.
Of the 3,000 Cords produced during 1937 exclusively in Connersville before automobile production ceased, 2,000 have been restored by collectors and are operating today.
During the years of World War II, Connersville produced almost one-half million Jeep bodies for the U.S. military as its part in the national war effort.
Connersville's early leaders often made huge fortunes and left a legacy of fine architecture in the impressive homes they built. Among these is Elmhurst, built in 1831 by a member of Congress; the Ansted Home, built by E.W. Ansted who, in 1895, headed Ansted Spring and Axle and later headed the Lexington Motor Company; and the McFarlan homes, also built by the motor car family.
Today, Connersville industry is diversified, but a prominent auto name is still present. Ford Electronics and Refrigeration builds automotive climate control components used throughout the world. Today, as well, the city prides its past and looks positively to the future.
Connersville has a responsive mayor-council form of government, with five council members elected by districts, with two additional council members, plus the mayor, elected at large. Government is divided into Administration, Streets and Sanitation, Parks and Recreation, Engineering, Community Development, Clerk-Treasurer, Police, and Fire Departments. A First Aid Unit is funded by both the city and Fayette County and covers the entire county. Residents dial 911 to obtain emergency services--police, fire and ambulance.
The Connersville Police Department has 36 sworn officers and two civilian staff members. A squad of 22 vehicles chalks up 370,000 miles annually patrolling some 40 miles of city streets.
Police officers work with city schools in the national D.A.R.E. anti-drug program and give safety talks and drug education talks in schools and before civic groups. The department sponsors Neighborhood Watch and performs home and business security surveys. Officers also do vacation checks on homes.
The department is transitioning to community oriented policing, moving from reactive law enforcement to proactive law enforcement. Community policing demands community involvement. Part of this program includes officers on foot patrol in neighborhoods during nighttime hours. The department is also working toward equipping two officers for bike patrol.
Police training is emphasized by the Connersville Police Department, as a result, it exceeds the state requirement of 16 hours of training each year. Several police officers are currently attending college classes during off duty hours and five have college degrees.
The Connersville Fire Department has 39 full-time firefighters and maintains a fire insurance rating of 3. The department operates from three strategically situated station houses and has a rescue truck, an 85-foot snorkel, a 55-foot telesquirt, and three fire engines.
The department conducts regular fire safety inspections in schools, businesses and industrial facilities.
Those who love the grand styled old homes, love Connersville. Busy business executives desiring luxury living with loads of space and privacy love Connersville. People who dream of roomy, affordable homes and a secure environment in which to raise a family love Connersville. In short, everyone who loves living amid the friendliness of a small town and the peace of mind it brings, loves Connersville.
The more than 10,500 homes of Connersville run the gamut from 19th century mansions to crisply modern town homes, from cozy bungalows to sprawling executive style estates, and from rental apartments to retirement living.
The city is growing in several directions. In the north, near the industrial area, smartly styled apartment complexes adjoin neighborhoods of cozy single family homes. On the east, overlooking rural farmlands, are new single family and multi-family developments. On the southeast, Riverbend Estates, a planned unit development, is the newest project in the community. When completed, it will have 16 acres devoted to business and 244 single family homes. On the southwest, off Country Club Road, is Timber Creek, a fine new development of single family homes.
A large number of homes dating back to the latter decades of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century line the streets near the downtown business area of Connersville. Here are lusty Victorian designs as well as Italianate and Federal designs. Here too are boxy American Foursquares of the early 20th century. But a few remain as beautiful today as they were when they were built. And several are in stages of restoration.
In the countryside surrounding Connersville, and throughout all Fayette County, elegant country homes dot the rolling landscape, often with stone gate posts marking the entrance to a long and winding drive.
In Connersville, coming home is the best part of the day.
The people of Connersville live close to nature. The lush countryside is only a few minutes away for most families. Residents take full advantage of city parks, plus facilities of nearby Whitewater Memorial State Park and Brookville Lake, which is the third largest lake in Indiana.
The city's Roberts Park offers tennis and basketball courts, horseshoes picnic and playground facilities, an outdoor swimming pool, shelters, baseball field, and an amphitheater. A highlight of the park is Longwood Bridge, Fayette County's last surviving covered bridge built in 1880 and relocated to the park as a historic treasure.
Manlove Park is operated by the Fayette County Conservation Club. It boasts an 18-acre lake, 123 acres of campgrounds, hiking trails, a horse track, nature center and lodge.
Eighteen-mile-long Brookville Lake is a short drive from Connersville, it provides flood control in the Whitewater Valley, serves as a municipal and industrial water supply, and offers great recreation opportunities to area residents. The 5,260-acre lake is popular for boating, fishing, and swimming. The land surrounding offers family camping, hiking trails, hunting in season, picnicking, two beaches and true family fun.
A short distance from the northern tip of Brookville Lake is Whitewater State Park featuring a 200-acre lake for swimming, fishing, sailing and canoeing. The park has cabins, 273 Class-A campsites, a horseman's camp, bridle trails, hiking and biking trails, and cultural arts program.
The Connersville area's most passive park is Shrader Weaver Nature Preserve, 107 acres of virgin forest and recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a natural land. While nature trails wind through the property, it bears few other marks of human endeavor. Philip Shrader's 1830 home is preserved on the site.
Another site for appreciating nature is the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in Fayette County. It covers 654 acres of wooded land and features hiking trails, ponds, shelter and picnic areas, and a museum and library. The sanctuary is the State Headquarters for the Indiana Audubon Society and hosts the annual meeting.
Avid golfers enjoy the challenges of several different courses in the Connersville area. The Connersville Country Club is semi-private and features an 18-hole golf course, swimming pool, and a clubhouse with dining and banquet facilities.
Connersville folks can enjoy the competitiveness and fun of community youth and adult athletic leagues year 'round. Baseball/softball, basketball, and bowling leagues are available for youth through adult. Football and soccer leagues keep young people busy while adults have the option of a number of volleyball leagues. A local health club helps young athletes and adults alike keep in shape. In all, Connersville is a great place to enjoy life.
The schools of Connersville and Fayette County aim for excellence in students, curriculum, instructors, administrative staff, and buildings and equipment. Public education is the domain of the Fayette County School Corporation, headquartered in Connersville. It overseas seven kindergarten through sixth grade elementary schools, one first through sixth grade school, Connersville Middle School, Connersville Senior High, Connersville Area Vocational School, and East Central Special Services. The latter is a consortium of seven school corporations providing special education opportunities. In total, the County School Corporation has an enrollment of over 4100 students and a staff of some 850.
Among the corporation's many programs are classes for gifted and talented, latchkey programs for the children of working parents, and alternative school.
Elementary schools focus on providing the basics of education - reading, language arts, mathematics and social studies. These are augmented by music, art, and physical education.
In Connersville Middle School, students gradually make the transition from the highly structured environment of elementary school to the atmosphere and personal responsibilities of high school.
Students at Connersville Senior High School choose from more than 160 different academic and career-oriented courses. Included are four foreign languages- German, Japanese, Spanish, and French. Offered as well are advanced placement courses in calculus, physics, biology, and history that earn college credit in high school.
The high school's sports programs are reflective of Indiana's enthusiasm for high school sports, especially basketball, and are responsible for the city's claim to the motto: "City of Champions". Both boys and girls athletic teams have often achieved state championships. Boys and girls basketball teams and the girls gymnastics teams have been amazingly successful in competition.
Connersville High School also focuses on music and the arts with a variety of art studies and several musical organizations, including a jazz band and concert choir, as well as a male and female barbershop chorus.
The Connersville Area Vocational School, located within walking distance of the Connersville Senior High School, serves six independent school corporations. It has an enrollment of more than 600 students and helps them attain their career goals by augmenting the career studies available in high school. Students attend classes half days, spending the remainder of their time at their home high school.
The Vocational School offers training in building trades, business, cosmetology, drafting and computer aided drafting, electronics, culinary arts and food service, industrial technologies, mechanical technologies, and health technologies.
Two parochial schools provide a quality alternative to public education in the community. Temple Christian School serves over 200 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, while St. Gabriel Catholic School serves over 150 students in grades K-6. In addition, several preschools and day care centers serve the children of working parents.
Connersville High School graduates can attend college without leaving the city. To acquire the skills needed for technical careers, they attend classes at Connersville branch of Ivy Tech State College. For academic studies, the Connersville center of Indiana University East and Purdue University meets their needs. The two universities also share a campus in nearby Richmond. Whitewater community Education, Inc. in Connersville, cooperates with several area colleges and universities to provide distance learning opportunities and a wide array of non-credit and educational enrichment opportunities.
Ivy Tech works with local businesses and industry to tailor courses that fit local and area employment needs. Indiana University and Purdue University also offer various programs designed to aid business development in the community. An Education Consortium has been organized to coordinate and offer one-stop-shopping assistance to area industry.
Other institutions of higher learning within easy reach of Connersville include Earlham College in Richmond, Miami University in Oxford, Ball Sate University in Muncie, Butler University in Indianapolis, the University of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis campus of Indiana University and Purdue University.
Connersville is Fayette County's center for commerce. Several nationally known retail names plus dozens of locally owned stores and shops occupy three shopping plazas and the downtown business center, giving Connersville residents a wide array of shopping opportunities. They find the quality of goods and services they desire and they will find it with maximum convenience. Connersville residents and surrounding communities spend more than $196,000,000 annually for retail goods and services in Connersville.
Whitewater Trade Center is the largest of the city's shopping centers. It is anchored by a large national department store chain on one end and a grocery with nearly 36,000 square feet of shopping space on the other end with about a dozen stores in between. Two fast food restaurants and a family-style restaurant stand nearest the street. Another major department store chain is represented on the adjacent property. Other shopping centers are Grandview Shopping Center and Connersville Plaza, both with major stores as anchors.
Downtown Connersville remains a viable retail center, but is in a transitional state. Professional offices and business services are gradually becoming dominant. Many of the storefronts surrounding the Fayette County Courthouse are largely occupied by law firms. However, it's still possible to make a wide range of purchases downtown, everything from motorcycles to fine jewelry, and from home furnishings to clothes for the family.
The Connersville Urban Enterprise Zone encompasses the downtown area and offers inventory tax breaks. The MainStreet program offers low interest revolving loan funds to encourage renovation and restoration of storefronts to attract new businesses to the area.
Shoppers and people working downtown enjoy lunching at several excellent restaurants in the area, or they can drive to a nearby fast food facility for a quick sandwich.
Indiana's famous Antique Alley (Centerville, Dublin, Hagerstown and Richmond) is a few minutes north of Connersville in neighboring Wayne County. Antique buffs can visit more than 550 dealers in the shops and malls of Antique Alley. Of course, proximity to major metropolitan areas like Indianapolis, about an hour away, gives residents easy access to several big enclosed shopping malls.
From concerts by high school bands and choruses and an area symphony orchestra to an array of festivals and the historic pleasures of the Elmhurst Estate and the Canal House, there's always something that rates a round of applause in Connersville and Fayette County.
Connersville Senior High School was the first in the nation to organize a high school marching band. Music continues to be an important factor in the school's curriculum. It boasts a jazz band, a marching band, two mixed choruses, a men's barbershop chorus as well as a women's, a show choir, and a concert choir, all who perform for the public during the school year. the concerts rank high among Connersville residents. Students in theatrical arts also perform throughout the year.
The Richmond Symphony Orchestra, in nearby Richmond, performs seven concerts during the season. The Whitewater Opera Company is the oldest independent opera company in Indiana and the only one doing statewide tours. Also based in Richmond, the company performs three operas each season. For the performer and the spectator, a theater production is never more than a short drive away to one of the many regional theater groups.
A variety of special events bring Connersville families together for days of outdoor fun. Among these are the Pushmobile 400, in which Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts race their handmade push cars down Connersville streets; the annual Easter Egg hunt in Roberts Park, the city's big Armed Forces Day Parade; the Jaycees Springfest Carnival, complete with rides and games for the whole family; the annual Elmhurst Fish Fry; the annual Community Pride Picnic; Fayette County Free Fair, the oldest free fair in the state; Connersville's Fall Festival and Car Show, with arts and crafts, concessions, games, classic cars and live entertainment; and Connersville's "Little Detroit"Go Cart Race.
Connersville Mudfest Volleyball Tournament, held the last weekend in June, is one of the messier highlights of the community's festival calendar. It attracts large crowds to watch 100 competing teams playing a court of mud and water that's a foot and a half deep. All proceeds go to charity.
The Fayette County Public Library, in Connersville, is a cultural focal point in the community. Patrons enter the library via a long atrium walkway with exhibits displayed in windows on either side. The library houses 75,795 volumes with close to 10,000 more in its bookmobile. In addition, it has 290 periodicals, more than 1,200 video cassettes, 250 recordings and 227 compact discs, and 824 audio books. The library's annual circulation exceeds 175,000.
Connersville and Fayette County have much that rates a hearty round of applause!!
Connersville is home to 58 manufacturing firms ranging from large to small, providing the community with a strong and diverse economic base. Ford Electronics and Refrigeration Corporation is the largest employer with more than 3,000 workers. It produces climate control components along with other parts.
With more than 500 employees, Dresser Industries of Roots Division, Inc. is second largest, producing rotary blowers, vacuum pumps, and centrifugal compressors. It is also the city's oldest industrial resident, beginning operations in 1854.
Stant manufacturing traces its roots back to 1898 and is the city's third largest firm with more than 250 workers. It produces automotive closure caps, cooling system testers, auto thermostats, heater control valves, heater cores and hose clamps.
The majority of Connersville manufacturing companies have between 10 and 100 employees giving the community stability. The products they make include screen printing equipment, tools and dies, air and gas vacuum blowers, industrial paints, containers, aluminum extrusions, casket shells, and draperies.
Two other major employers in the community are Fayette County School Corporation with more than 850 employees, and Fayette Memorial Hospital with a staff exceeding 600.
There are a number of industrial sites available in Connersville, including open land and existing structures. The Airport Industrial Park, located north of the city and adjacent to the Connersville Airport, offers more than 25 acres designed for business and industry.
The Connersville Urban Enterprise Zone, besides covering the downtown area, includes industrial properties. Therefore, prospective industries can look to the tax breaks and other incentives offered within the Zone. Tax reductions and incentives throughout the community include tax abatement for industry, two revolving loan funds, industrial revenue bonds, plus state incentives for infrastructure projects, "Training 2000" program, and loan guarantees. The Fayette County Industrial Development Corporation, Connersville's Small Business Development Center, Connersville Urban Enterprise Association and the Connersville/Fayette County Chamber of Commerce work closely with prospective new business and industry.
Being in close proximity to major markets makes Connersville an excellent place to do business. In addition, Connersville Utilities delivers abundant water supply with reserves, and the Ohio Valley Gas serves as the major gas supplier, while electrical energy is provided by PSI Cinergy.
Connersville families take comfort in knowing they have speedy access to an in-town hospital when medical attention is needed.
Fayette Memorial Hospital, established in 1913, has doubled in size in recent years with the construction of a 90,000-square-foot addition, complete with an attractive three-story-high atrium, and now has a total of 140 beds.
The hospital has more than 60 physicians on staff, representing some 20 medical specialties, and a courtesy and consulting staff numbering 46 physicians. Medical services of the hospital include cardiology, general medicine, surgery, internal medicine, geriatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Fayette Memorial Hospital operates a 24-hour emergency service staffed by physicians and nurses trained in emergency medicine. It boasts two cardiac rooms, two trauma rooms, nine treatment rooms, a triage area, and an enclosed ambulance entrance.
The hospital's new Transitional Care Facility is specially designed for patients making the transition from in-hospital treatment. The Home Health Care and Hospice programs allow patients to stay in the comfort of their own homes while receiving supervised professional care.
Diagnostic services of the hospital include the latest in medical technology. It offers CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, it offers magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and SPECT cardiac imaging.
The hospital provides complete rehabilitation in its Rehabilitation/Physical Medicine Department, working with community physicians to determine the most appropriate regimen for each patient. It's Wellness Center provides cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs and medically supervised exercise programs available to the public.
Connersville and Fayette County have several nursing homes offering skilled and intermediate care for the elderly. In addition, there are three retirement centers where residents have a choice of lifestyles from independent living to assisted living.
Connersville's location couldn't be better. It stands 60 miles equidistant from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Dayton, three major marketplaces which give meaning to the word hustle. Interstate 70 to Indianapolis and Dayton is only seven miles to Connersville's north and I-74 to Cincinnati is 29 miles to the south. State Route 1 is the city's link to both.
Two other state routes-44 and 121-intersect in the city, connecting it to neighboring communities. U.S. 40 is about five miles to the north.
Business and industry are served by three railroads, CSX, Indiana Hi-Rail which offers a terminal and switching as well as access to Norfolk & Southern and Conrail. In addition, Amtrak serves the city.
A local trucking company and 15 others meet the highway shipping needs of the community. Barge transportation on the Ohio River is only 60 miles away at Cincinnati.
Private and small business aircrafts are based at Connersville airport-Mettel Field, on the northern edge of the city. It boasts a 5,000-foot runway with three instrument approaches and ILS. And, while Indianapolis International Airport is an hour's drive away, it is served by 10 major airlines and three commuter lines who carry more than 3,000,000 passengers annually.
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