Benton County, Indiana

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Benton County, Indiana
Benton County Courthouse in Fowler.jpg
Benton County Courthouse in Fowler.jpg
Map of Indiana highlighting Benton County
Location in the state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded February 18, 1840
Named for Senator Thomas H. Benton
Seat Fowler
Largest city Fowler
Area
 • Total 406.51 sq mi (1,053 km2)
 • Land 406.42 sq mi (1,053 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0 km2), 0.02%
Population
 • (2010) 8,854
 • Density 22/sq mi (8.41/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Footnotes:  

  • Indiana county number 4
  • Respsonsible for most of Indiana's wind-produced electricity

Benton County is located in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Indiana, along the border with Illinois. As of 2010, the county's population was 8,854.[1] It contains six incorporated towns as well as several small unincorporated settlements; it is also divided into 11 townships which provide local services.[2][3] The county seat is Fowler.[4]

Benton County is part of the Lafayette, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Wind turbines in Benton County from U.S. 52

History[edit]

Benton County was formed February 18, 1840. It is named for Thomas H. Benton (D), U.S. Senator from Missouri.[5] The original county seat selected in 1843 was Oxford, but after a long struggle between contending factions it was moved to Fowler in 1874.[6]

Courthouse[edit]

The current Benton County courthouse, located in Fowler, was designed by Gordon P. Randall of Chicago and built in 1874 by Levi L. Leach at a cost of $62,257.[n 1] The new courthouse was an impressive building from an architectural standpoint, but also provided much-needed improvements in security, including large fire-proof vaults. Randall had designed the Marshall County courthouse a few years earlier.[8]

Economy[edit]

In 2008 the Benton County Wind Farm began operating with 87 1.5 MW wind turbines.[9] Duke Energy purchases electricity from the wind farm and sells it to customers through its GoGreen program.[10]

In 2009 the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm opened nearby,[11] giving Benton County one of the largest concentrations of wind turbines in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

Geography[edit]

Map of Benton County, showing townships and settlements

Benton County's western border is shared with the state of Illinois and Iroquois County; Vermilion County is to the southwest and shares a small portion of Benton County's border. Newton and Jasper counties lie to the north, with White and Tippecanoe counties to the east. The entire southern border is shared with Warren County.

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 406.51 square miles (1,052.9 km2), of which 406.42 square miles (1,052.6 km2) (or 99.98%) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) (or 0.02%) is water.[12]

Cities and towns[edit]

There are six incorporated towns in Benton County. The largest, Fowler, is also the county seat and lies near the center of the county along U.S. Route 52. About 6 miles (9.7 km) to the northwest along U.S. 52 lies Earl Park. Boswell is in the southwest part of the county along U.S. Route 41; Oxford is about 6 miles (9.7 km) to the east along State Road 352. Ambia is in the far southwest corner of the county where the borders of Vermilion and Iroquois counties in Illinois meet the Indiana border. The west half of Otterbein is in the far southeast corner just south of U.S. 52; the east half is in neighboring Tippecanoe County.

Unincorporated towns[edit]

Extinct towns[edit]

Townships[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Railroads[edit]

Education[edit]

The county's four public schools are administered by the Benton Community School Corporation.

Climate and weather[edit]

Fowler, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
1.7
 
30
13
 
 
1.6
 
35
17
 
 
3.2
 
47
27
 
 
3.6
 
60
38
 
 
4.2
 
72
49
 
 
4.5
 
81
59
 
 
3.7
 
84
62
 
 
3
 
82
59
 
 
2.6
 
77
51
 
 
3
 
64
39
 
 
3
 
48
30
 
 
2.5
 
35
19
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[13]

In recent years, average temperatures in Fowler have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −24 °F (−31 °C) was recorded in January 1999 and a record high of 99 °F (37 °C) was recorded in July 1995. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.59 inches (40 mm) in February to 4.50 inches (114 mm) in June.[13]

Government[edit]

The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana and the Indiana Code. The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all spending and revenue collection. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms and are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes and service taxes.[14][15] In 2010, the county budgeted approximately $5 million for the district's schools and $2.8 million for other county operations and services, for a total annual budget of approximately $7.8 million.[16]

The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue and managing day-to-day functions of the county government.[14][15]

The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.[15]

The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and be residents of the county.[15]

Each of the townships has a trustee who administers rural fire protection and ambulance service, provides poor relief and manages cemetery care, among other duties.[3] The trustee is assisted in these duties by a three-member township board. The trustees and board members are elected to four-year terms.[17]

Based on 2000 census results, Benton County is part of Indiana's 1st congressional district and in 2008 was represented by Pete Visclosky in the United States Congress.[18] It is part of Indiana Senate district 6[19] and Indiana House of Representatives district 15.[20]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,144
1860 2,809 145.5%
1870 5,615 99.9%
1880 11,108 97.8%
1890 11,903 7.2%
1900 13,123 10.2%
1910 12,688 −3.3%
1920 12,206 −3.8%
1930 11,886 −2.6%
1940 11,117 −6.5%
1950 11,462 3.1%
1960 11,912 3.9%
1970 11,262 −5.5%
1980 10,218 −9.3%
1990 9,441 −7.6%
2000 9,421 −0.2%
2010 8,854 −6.0%
Est. 2013 8,767 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]
1790-1960[22] 1900-1990[23]
1990-2000[24] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 9,421 people, 3,558 households, and 2,547 families residing in the county. The population density was 23 people per square mile (9/km²). There were 3,818 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.90% White, 0.21% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 1.28% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. 2.60% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 33.8% were of German, 20.3% American, 10.7% Irish, 6.8% English and 6.1% French ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 3,558 households out of which 35.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.50% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.40% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 15.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,813, and the median income for a family was $46,869. Males had a median income of $30,592 versus $22,169 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,220. About 3.50% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.00% of those under age 18 and 4.50% of those age 65 or over.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A $62,257 capital expense in 1874 would be roughly equivalent to $15,000,000 in 2009.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Benton County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  2. ^ "Benton". Indiana Township Association. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  3. ^ a b "Duties". United Township Association of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  4. ^ "Find a County – Benton County, IN". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  5. ^ Baker, Ronald L.; Carmony, Marvin (1975). Indiana Place Names. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 12. 
  6. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. pp. 551–552. 
  7. ^ Williamson, Samuel H. (April 2010). Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present. MeasuringWorth. Calculations made using Nominal GDP Per Capita, a measure of capital intensivity, using "the 'average' per-person output of the economy in the prices of the current year." This is a measure of the amount of capital and volume of labor required to reproduce the work over varying production methods, but assuming that money represents a proportion of the economy.
  8. ^ Counts, Will; Jon Dilts (1991). The 92 Magnificent Indiana Courthouses. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-253-33638-5. 
  9. ^ "Benton County Wind Farms". Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  10. ^ "Duke Energy's GoGreen Power". Duke Energy. Retrieved 2009-06-21. [dead link]
  11. ^ "U.S. Wind Energy Projects - Indiana". American Wind Energy Association. 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2009-06-20. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  13. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Fowler, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  14. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". Government of Indiana. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  15. ^ a b c d Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). Government of Indiana. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  16. ^ State of Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. "2010 Budget Order (Benton County, Indiana)" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  17. ^ "Government". United Township Association of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  18. ^ "US Congressman Pete Visclosky". US Congress. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  19. ^ "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  20. ^ "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  21. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Goodspeed, Weston A. (1883). "Part III. History of Benton County". Counties of Warren, Benton, Jasper and Newton, Indiana. Chicago: F. A. Battey and Company. pp. 213–407. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°37′N 87°19′W / 40.61°N 87.31°W / 40.61; -87.31