Hartford City, Indiana
|Hartford City, Indiana|
|— City —|
|Motto: "The One And Only"|
|• Mayor||Ben Hodgin (D)|
|• Total||3.90 sq mi (10.10 km2)|
|• Land||3.88 sq mi (10.05 km2)|
|• Water||0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)|
|Elevation||919 ft (280 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||6,136|
|• Density||1,603.1/sq mi (619.0/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0435826|
Hartford City is a city in the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Blackford County. Located in the northeast central portion of the state, the small farming community experienced a 15-year “boom” beginning in the late 1880s. The Indiana Gas Boom was caused by the discovery of natural gas in the area, and it caused the community to transition from an agricultural economy to one that also included manufacturing. After the boom, the town lost some of its manufacturers and workforce. However, some manufacturers remained in the city, and some of the local workers began commuting to nearby cities to work in the new automobile industry.
From the 1920s to the 1980s, Hartford City was able to attract some new manufacturing companies because of its workforce and railroad facilities. During the 1980s, the economic decline of the “Rust Belt” region of the United States coincided with the decline in Hartford City’s population. The recent economic difficulties for the automobile industry have also been unfortunate for the economy of Hartford City, but the town continues to work to attract new businesses. The town’s population was 6,220 at the 2010 United States Census. The city is the county seat of Blackford County, and is located within Licking Township in the southwest portion of the county.
Early history 
Hartford City, Indiana began in the late 1830s as a few log cabins clustered near a creek. Folklore taught in local elementary schools suggested that Hartford City was originally a place to cross Lick Creek, known as “Hart’s ford”. This evolved to Hartford, and was eventually changed to Hartford City to avoid confusion with another Hartford located within the state. The community became the county seat of Blackford County. During the last half of the 19th Century, East Central Indiana consisted mostly of rural farming communities, including Hartford City. The town's population did not exceed 2,000 until after 1887, when the region began to grow because of the Indiana Gas Boom.
Hartford City’s population tripled in the next decade, as manufacturers were lured to the region to take advantage of low costs for land and the natural gas. Hartford City benefited from railroad service from two railroads in addition to a natural gas supply that was thought to be unlimited. Manufacturers such as Hartford City Glass Company, Sneath Glass Company, Hartford City Paper, Utility Paper, and Willman Lumber all located or began in Hartford City during the 1890s. Although the supply of natural gas was soon exhausted, many of these businesses continued to the 1950s and beyond.
Hartford City is located at .(40.4525, -85.3693)
The area sits on top of former natural gas fields. The area also has limestone formed from silt and mud deposited from an ancient sea. The land is flat from the work of a prehistoric glacier, and the soil is excellent for farming. According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 3.90 square miles (10.1 km2), of which 3.88 square miles (10.0 km2) (or 99.49%) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) (or 0.51%) is water.
Major highways 
Adjacent cities 
- Upland (about 8 highway miles west)
- Montpelier (about 12 highway miles northeast)
- Dunkirk (about 14 highway miles southeast)
- Muncie (about 19 highway miles south)
- Marion (about 23 highway miles northwest)
Hartford City has a typical Midwestern humid continental seasonal climate. There are four distinct seasons, with winters being cold with moderate snowfall, while summers can be warm and humid. The highest average temperature is in July at 84 °F (29 °C), while the lowest average temperature is in January at 18 °F (−8 °C). However, summer temperatures can top 90 °F (32 °C), and winter temperatures can drop below 0 °F (−17 °C). Average monthly precipitation ranges from about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm), with the heaviest occurring during June, July, and August. The highest recorded temperature was 103.0 °F (39.0 °C) on June 25, 1988, and the lowest recorded temperature was −26.0 °F (−32.0 °C) on January 19, 1994.
|Climate data for Hartford City, Indiana|
|Average high °F (°C)||33
|Average low °F (°C)||18
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.96
2010 census 
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,220 people, 2,666 households, and 1,691 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,603.1 inhabitants per square mile (619.0 /km2). There were 3,158 housing units at an average density of 813.9 per square mile (314.2 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.
There were 2,666 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.6% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.86.
The median age in the city was 41.3 years. 23.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 26.7% were from 45 to 64; and 18.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.
2000 census 
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,928 people, 2,918 households, and 1,943 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,861.7 people per square mile (719.1/km²). There were 3,156 housing units at an average density of 848.1 per square mile (327.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.34% White, 0.09% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.61% of the population.
There were 2,918 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,531, and the median income for a family was $39,654. Males had a median income of $29,257 versus $20,600 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,596. About 7.3% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.8% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
The government consists of a mayor and a city council. The mayor is elected in citywide vote. The city council consists of five members. Four are elected from individual districts. One is elected at-large.
In Hartford City, about 11 percent of male workers, and 9 percent of female workers, are employed in the transportation equipment industry. This makes the transportation equipment industry the most important provider of jobs for people living in the city, even though there are no auto parts plants located in the county. The decline of the auto industry has forced Hartford City to be less of a “bedroom community” reliant on jobs relating to automobile parts manufacturing in nearby cities, and more focused on developing businesses within the city. Currently, there are six businesses located in Hartford City that employ between 100 and 350 people, and none with more than 350 employees. Those six companies (in descending order of employees) are Key Plastics LLC, 3M Company, Hartford City News Times, BRC Rubber Group, Inc., Blackford Community Hospital, and Dacraglass Incorporated. In addition, there are nearly twenty more local entities with 25 to 100 employees. Agriculture also influences the town. Although they do not live in the city limits, farm families are involved with the local schools, parks, and social activities – and are consumers of the products of local merchants.
The 2009 official web site of Hartford City shows three main pictures: Civil War re-enactors, a basketball player, and the courthouse. Those pictures summarize what is important to the city and its culture. Hartford City’s town square is a “living museum”, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the buildings were built during the gas boom in the late 19th century, and are fine examples of architectural styles used at that time. Some of the architectural styles used are Romanesque Revival, Commercial Italianate, Renaissance Revival, and Queen Anne. Hartford City’s courthouse and First Presbyterian Church are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adding to the historical atmosphere, the courthouse lawn contains war monuments on each corner. The town has a small museum and library housed in the Blackford County Historical Society building. The city’s main public library, the Hartford City Public Library, is a Carnegie library that began with funding from Andrew Carnegie in 1903.
Civil War 
History comes alive for three days in Hartford City each October, as the Blackford County Civil War Re-enactment Club has staged re-enactments, exhibits, and other entertainment for over twenty years. The club is also responsible for the addition of the Blackford County Civil War Memorial that rests on one of the corners of Hartford City's courthouse square.
Sports and recreation are important to the community. The city Parks Department maintains four parks. The city has also had a public swimming pool since the 1950s. Two golf courses have Hartford City addresses, three more are located within ten miles (16 km) from the center of Hartford City, and ten more are within 20 miles (32 km). The city has some small “lakes” and reservoirs available for fishing, such as Lake Placid and the lakes around the nearby Shamrock Lakes area. A larger lake with over 2,600 acres (11 km2) of water (Salamonie Lake) offers boating, fishing, and swimming – and is located within one hour’s driving time. State Parks nearby include Ouabache, Mounds, and Summit Lake. For those willing to drive north for about 90 minutes, Pokagon State Park is located on Lake James and Snow Lake. This park features campgrounds, hiking trails, a beach, the Potawatomi Inn, and a toboggan track.
Hartford City sports leagues include baseball, softball, soccer, and football. Indiana is known for its high school basketball, and Hartford City high schools have had their share of success in the state basketball tournament. Hartford City High School won 14 sectional and 3 regional tournaments in about 60 years of action. Hartford City High was consolidated into Blackford High School in 1969, and Blackford has won 10 sectionals. The Blackford High School gym seats 4,000 for a town with a population of less than 7,000. Hartford City’s Blackford High School football team has also had some tournament success, winning the Indiana state 2A football championship in 1974-75 and 1979-80 – both teams were undefeated.
Agriculture has a strong influence on Hartford City’s culture. The main crops in the area are soybeans and corn. Some wheat and hay are also grown. The Indiana Farm Bureau office for Blackford County is located in Hartford City. 4-H, a youth organization associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a strong presence. The county 4-H fair is held every June, and features a rodeo, horse show, dog show, livestock, a carnival, and more. The week-long event typically starts with a mile-long parade with a marching band and other participants.
The United Methodist Church has the biggest congregation in town. Other churches include Catholic, Church of the Nazarene, Christian, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Baptist, and Presbyterian. The Methodists, and then the Presbyterians, were the first to build churches in town. The historic First Presbyterian Church and the Christian Church were both built during the Gas Boom in the 1890s.
The local daily (except Sunday) newspaper is the News Times, and it is also available from its web site. Hartford City has a history of difficulty supporting two newspapers, and the News Times can trace its lineage back to the Hartford City News and the Hartford City Times. During the Gas Boom, the town had two weekly and two daily newspapers: Hartford City Telegram, The Hartford City Times, Hartford City Evening News, and The Daily Times.
There are at least fourteen radio stations that send moderate to very strong signals to the Hartford City area. These stations are typically located nearby, or they have an exceptional signal, such as Fort Wayne’s 50,000 watt WOWO AM station. The two local radio stations are WMXQ and WHCI, both FM stations.
Indianapolis television stations such as WTTV, WRTV, WISH-TV, WTHR, and others, reach the antennas of households in Hartford City. Stations located near Hartford City include Marion’s WIWU-CD and WSOT-LD, and Muncie’s WIPB.
The state of Indiana has many college options available, including well-known universities such as Ball State University, Indiana University, Purdue, and Notre Dame. The state also has one of the largest private boarding high schools, the Culver Academies.
Higher education 
Hartford City has at least four universities located within 21 miles (34 km) of town. Ball State University is the largest and most well known, and is about 18 miles (29 km) away in Muncie, Indiana. (Ball State is named for the Ball brothers, who made much of their fortune with the Ball Corporation in the same Indiana Gas Boom that boosted Hartford City.) Muncie is also home to Ivy Tech State College-East Central. Private school Indiana Wesleyan University is about 21 miles (34 km) away, in Marion, Indiana. Another private school, Taylor University, is about 7 miles (11 km) away in Upland, Indiana. Taylor University is named after Bishop William Taylor, and has been in Upland since 1893. The move to Upland was attributed to the population boom in the area at the time, and is another example of the impact of the Indiana Gas Boom.
Primary and secondary schools 
Blackford High School is located on the north side of Hartford City, and it has served the entire county since 1969. Enrollment for the 2008-2009 school year is 702 students, and 41 teachers are listed on the school roster. Hartford City High School was the town’s high school prior to the 1969 consolidation Montpelier High School. Hartford City Middle School is located on the town’s west side, within easy walking distance from Sigma Phi Gamma Park. Students from grades 6 through 8 attend the middle school, and 23 teachers are listed on the roster. Students for grades 3 through 5 attend Northside Elementary School, and grades K through 4 attend Southside Elementary School. Hartford City also has a private school – Saint John’s Riedman Memorial School is a private Catholic elementary school with approximately 60 students.
Hartford City’s early transportation advantage was fact that two railroad lines crossed near the middle of the city, running north-south and east-west. The east-west line is now out of service as of 2008, but the north-south line is still in service. Both are operated by Norfolk Southern. Hartford City also has a good highway system. Indiana State Road 3 runs north-south through the city, known as Walnut Street. Indiana State Road 26 runs east-west through the city, known as Washington Street. Indiana State Road 22 used to run concurrently with State Road 26 through Hartford City, but that segment was decommissioned in the 1970s. Although Interstate 69 does not run through Hartford City or Blackford County, it is less than 10 miles (16 km) away and a convenient way to drive to Fort Wayne or Indianapolis. From Hartford City, drive west on State Road 26 to reach Interstate 69. Driving north from Indianapolis, the State Road 26 exit is number 55. The Interstate's northbound exit 59, at Upland, is an easy route to travel to the north side of Hartford City. Some small airports are located near Hartford City, but airports in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis have the best selection of commercial flights.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2009-11-25.[dead link]
- See “Inside Indiana Business” web site article dated 8/10/2006 for a recent example. Plastics
- Hartford City Illustrated: A Publication Devoted to the City's Best Interests and Containing Half Tone Engravings of Prominent Factories, Business Blocks, Residences, and a Selection of Representative Commercial and Professional Men and Women. [S.l.]: Daulton & Scott, 1896.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- See pages 289-293 of Moore’s Hoosier Cyclopedia. See also the entire 1895 report of the Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources, especially pages 12, 14, 17, and 20. Moore's
- "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Indiana". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "Yahoo! Weather / The Weather Channel: Historical Weather for Hartford City, Indiana, United States of America". Yahoo!. 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- See "City-Data.com" web site for Hartford City. Data
- See Chicago Tribune article "Midwest auto industry". Auto Industry
- See "Manta" web site. HC Employers
- See the web-posted "National Register of Historical Places Registration Nomination Form for the Hartford City Courthouse Square Historic District". Historic
- See "National Register of Historical Places" web site. National Register
- See the "Blackford County Historical Society" web site. Society
- See the Hartford City Public Library web site. Library
- See Re-enactment Club web page. War
- See Hartford City web site. Parks
- See Golf Link web site for Hartford City. Golf
- See Salamonie Lake web site. Lake
- See Indiana Outfitters web site for area parks and lakes. Parks See also Pokagon State Park web site. Pokagon
- See Indiana High School tournament history web site. Tournament
- See Indiana High School Athletic Association web site. Football
- See Indiana CropMAP for Blackford County. Crops
- See City-Data.com web site for Hartford City. Data
- See Biographical and Historical Record of Jay and Blackford Counties…, page 745.
- News Times web site link: NewsTimes.
- See Biographical and historical record of Jay and Blackford Counties, pages 734-737, for a discussion of the Hartford City press in the 1800s. See the IN.gov web site for listing of the state’s collection of Blackford County newspapers. Newspapers See also Hartford City Illustrated for the four newspapers in 1895.
- See Radio Locator web site for Hartford City area. Radio
- See Radio Locator web site for WOWO broadcast area. Area
- See broadcast TV listings for Hartford City from AOL. TV
- See Taylor University web site. Taylor
- See Blackford County Schools web site. Schools
- See Private School Review web site. Private
- See Indiana DOT railroad web site. (5 MB PDF) Railroads Hartford City is in north-east-central Indiana.
- See Indiana Highway Ends web site. SR22
Further reading 
- "1938 Blackford County Retrospect". Indiana County History Preservation Society. 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- Biographical and historical record of Jay and Blackford Counties, Indiana: Containing ... portraits and biographies of some of the prominent men of the state : engravings of prominent citizens in Jay and Blackford Counties, with personal histories of many of the leading families and a concise history of Jay and Blackford Counties and their cities and villages.. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1887. p. 901. OCLC 15560416.
- "Blackford County Historical Society". Blackford County Historical Society, Inc. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "Blackford County Newspapers". IN.gov. 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- "Blackford County Schools". Blackford County Schools. 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
- "Civil War Days Hartford City". Blackford County Civil War Re-enactors Club, Inc. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "GolfLink". GolfLink.com. 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
- "Hartford City Employers". Manta.com (owned by ECNext Inc.). 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- Hartford City Illustrated: A Publication Devoted to the City's Best Interests and Containing Half Tone Engravings of Prominent Factories, Business Blocks, Residences, and a Selection of Representative Commercial and Professional Men and Women. Chicago: [S.l.] : Daulton & Scott. 1896. OCLC 11382905.
- "Hartford City, Indiana". City-Data.com. 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
- "Hartford City, Indiana". Hartford City, Indiana. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "Hartford City Public Library". Hartford City Public Library. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "Indiana 4-H". Purdue University. 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
- "Indiana Farm Bureau – Blackford County". Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
- "Indiana High School Athletic Association". Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- Jones, Tim (April 12, 2009). "Midwest auto industry: Tough times ahead for towns across region". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- "National Register of Historic Places – Indiana – Blackford County". United States Department of Interior National Park Service. 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "News Times". Hartford City News Times. 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- "Petoskey Plastics Will Open Facility in Hartford City". Inside Indiana.com. 2006. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- "Pokagon State Park". StateParks.com. 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
- "Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service". Purdue University. 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
- "Radio Locator". Radio-Locator.com. 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- "Salamonie Lake". US Army Corps of Engineers. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "The Discovery of Natural Gas Changes the Face of East Central Indiana". Minnetrista. 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
- "Tournament History". Homestead. 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Hartford City.|
- City website
- Blackford County Economic Development Corp
- "Hartford City". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
- "Hartford City". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.