Terre Haute - Encyclopedia

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TERRE HAUTE, a city and the county-seat of Vigo county, Indiana, U.S.A., on the eastern bank of the Wabash river, about x86 m. S. by E. of Chicago and about 73 m. W. by S. of Indianapolis. Pop. (18 9 o) 30,217; (1900) 36,673, of whom 1520 were negroes and 2952 foreign-born; (1910, census) 58,157. Land area (1906), 8.25 sq. m., of which nearly one-third had been annexed since 1890 and a considerable part since 1900. It is served by the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, the Evansville & Indianapolis, the Evansville & Terre Haute, the Southern Indiana, the Vandalia and several electric interurban railways. It is finely situated on high ground 60 ft. above the river level, and has wide, well-paved streets shaded by oaks and elms. It is 659 the seat of the Indiana State Normal School (1870), which had in 1909 a library of about 50,000 volumes, 52 instructors and an average term enrolment of 988 students, and of the Rose Polytechnic Institute, which was founded in 1874 by Chauncey Rose (1794-1877), was opened in 1883, offers courses in mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical engineering and in architecture, and in 1909 had 22 instructors and 214 students. About 4 m. W. of Terre Haute is St Mary-of-the-Woods (founded in 1840 by the Sisters of Providence, and chartered in 1846), a school for girls. The Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library (1882) contained 30,000 volumes in 1910, housed in a building erected in 1903 by Mr Crawford Fairbanks in memory of his mother. Terre Haute's industrial and commercial importance is largely due to its proximity to the valuable coal-fields of Clay, Sullivan, Park, Vermilion, Greene and Vigo counties. The total value of its factory product in 1905 was $29,291,654; both in 1900 and in 1905 it ranked second among the manufacturing cities of the state. It is the largest distilling centre in the state and one of the largest in the country, the value of the output of this industry in 1905 being more than half the total value of the city's factory product for the year. The value of the glass product in 1905 was 4.4 per cent. of the value of all factory products of the city, and 16 per cent. of the value of all glass manufactured in the United States.

The first settlers at Terre Haute built their cabins near Fort Harrison, which was erected by command of Governor William Henry Harrison in the winter of 1810-11. In 1812 the fort was successfully defended against an attack of the Indians by its commandant Captain Zachary Taylor, and in 1817 was abandoned. After the close of the War of 1812 the town grew rapidly and became an important commercial centre, owing to its river connexions and to the fact that the National (or Cumberland) Road crossed the Wabash here. Terre Haute was incorporated as a town in 1838, became a city in 1853 (under a general state law of June 1852), received a special city charter in 1899, in 1905 was organized as a city of the third class, and became a city of the second class in 1909.

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