LaGrange County, Indiana
|LaGrange County, Indiana|
Lagrange County courthouse in Lagrange, Indiana. Built in the 1870s and now on the National Register of Historic Places
Location in the state of Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
|• Total||386.70 sq mi (1,002 km2)|
|• Land||379.62 sq mi (983 km2)|
|• Water||7.08 sq mi (18 km2), 1.83%|
|• Density||98/sq mi (37.77/km²)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
|Footnotes: Indiana county number 44|
The county is located in the Northern Indiana region known as Michiana and is about 55 miles (89 km) east of South Bend, 105 miles (169 km) west of Toledo, Ohio, and 175 miles (282 km) northeast of Indianapolis. The area is well known for its large Amish population. For that reason, the county teams up with neighboring Elkhart County to promote tourism by referring to the area as Northern Indiana Amish Country.
The first settlement of LaGrange County was founded about a half mile west of Lima in 1828. Over the next four years, settlers flocked to parts of Lima, Springfield, and Van Buren Townships. Finally in 1832, LaGrange County was carved out of neighboring Elkhart County and established with Lima as the county seat. The town of LaGrange was platted in 1836 and settled in 1842 as the new county seat, closer to the center of the county. Lima's name was changed to Howe in 1909. LaGrange was laid out and platted in 1836.
LaGrange County's initial settlers were Yankee immigrants, that is to say they were from New England and were descended from the English Puritans who settled that region in the colonial era. They were part of a wave of New England settlers moving west into what was then the Northwest Territory after the completion of the Erie Canal. The original settlers in LaPorte County specifically hailed from the Massachusetts counties of Worcester County, Suffolk County and Berkshire County; the Connecticut counties of Hartford County and Windham County as well as the Connecticut towns of Sherman, Lebanon and Fairfield; and from the Vermont towns of Burlington, Brookfield, Huntington and Grand Isle. They were mainly members of the Congregational Church, but as a result of the Second Great Awakening many became Baptists and many also converted to Pentecostalism and Methodism. When they arrived in what is now LaGrange County, there was nothing but virgin forest and wild prairie, the New England settlers cleared roads, built farms, constructed churches, erected government buildings, and established post routes. As a result of this migration, LaGrange County was culturally continuous with early New England culture for many years.
In 1837, the government removed Chief Shipshewana and the Potawatomi Tribe from the northwest corner of the county. Several years later the Chief was allowed to return and died in Newbury Township in 1841. A town named Georgetown had been platted in 1837 but was abandoned due to lack of development. In 1844, the first Amish came from Pennsylvania to settle around the old town. The village continued to grow and the town of Shipshewana was platted nearby in 1899 and incorporated in 1916 in Newbury Township.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 386.70 square miles (1,001.5 km2), of which 379.62 square miles (983.2 km2) (or 98.17%) is land and 7.08 square miles (18.3 km2) (or 1.83%) is water.
The county is mostly made up of rural farm land but also some rolling hills and several lakes.
Forty unincorporated communities also exist in the county. They are Beatys Beach, Brighton, Brushy Prairie, Eddy, Elmira, Emma, Gravel Beach, Greenfield Mills, Greenwood, Hartzel, Honeyville, Howe, Indianola, Lakeside Park, Lakeview, Mongo, Mount Pisgah, Northwood, Oak Lodge, Ontario, Plato, Ramblewood, River Oaks, Scott, Seyberts, Sha-Get Acres, Shady Nook, South Milford, Star Mill, Stony Creek, Stroh, Tall Timbers, Timberhurst, Twin Lakes, Valentine, Webers Landing, Witmer Manor, Woodland Hills, Woodland Park, and Woodruff.
- St. Joseph County, Michigan (northwest)
- Branch County, Michigan (northeast)
- Steuben County (east)
- Noble County (south)
- Elkhart County (west)
The Indiana Toll Road, Interstates 80 and 90, passes through the northern fringes of the county and serves Howe, LaGrange, and Sturgis, Michigan by means of exit 121. The Toll Road connects Toledo, Ohio and Chicago. U.S. 20 runs through the county and connects Shipshewana and LaGrange to Elkhart and Angola. Indiana State Highways 3, 5, 9, and 120 also pass through the county.
The economy is based mainly on agriculture and small shops but tourism also plays a big role, especially in Shipshewana.
Climate and weather
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in Lagrange have ranged from a low of 14 °F (−10 °C) in January to a high of 82 °F (28 °C) in July, although a record low of −28 °F (−33 °C) was recorded in December 2000 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.76 inches (45 mm) in February to 4.17 inches (106 mm) in June.
The county is led by a board of three elected commissioners that serve as the executive branch of county government. The county council is made of 7 elected members - four from each council district and 3 at large. Also, one assessor serves the entire county as opposed to one for every township.
The current county commissioners are:
- North District: Garry Heller
- Middle District: Jac Price
- South District: Larry Miller
The current county council members are:
Charles F. Ashcraft D - District 1 Ryan Riegsecker R- District 2 Richard Yoder R - District 3 Peter Cook R - District 4 Ben Taylor R - at large Steve McKowen R - at large Mike Strawser R - at large Accurate as of November 2012.
Approximately 37% of the population of LaGrange County is Amish, and the county is home to the third largest Amish community in the United States. This is reflected in the linguistic situation in the county: 28.45% of the population report speaking German, Pennsylvania German, or Dutch at home. A further 2.85% speak Spanish. As of the census of 2000, there were 34,909 people, 11,225 households, and 8,856 families residing in the county. The population density was 92 people per square mile (36/km²). There were 12,938 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.74% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 1.92% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 3.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.3% were of German, 23.8% American, 6.0% English, 5.3% Irish, 5.2% Swiss and 5.1% Pennsylvania German ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 11,225 households out of which 40.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.20% were married couples living together, 6.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.10% were non-families. 18.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.54.
In the county the population was spread out with 33.80% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 10.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $42,848, and the median income for a family was $46,885. Males had a median income of $33,872 versus $23,395 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,481. About 5.40% of families and 7.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.20% of those under age 18 and 9.10% of those age 65 or over.
68.5% of the total population and 61.29% of the children in 5-17 age group used English as their home language, according to 2000 Census. The Amish languages (German, Pennsylfaansch and Dutch) were used by 28.47% of the total population and 35.77% of the children. 
The county has three public school districts and the Howe Military School.
The Lakeland Community Schools serve the central part of the county. The system includes three elementary schools (Lima-Brighton, Parkside, and Wolcott Mills), one middle school, and one high school both named Lakeland.
The Prairie Heights School Corporation serves the east side of the county as well as parts of Steuben County. The system includes two elementary schools (Milford and Prairie Heights) and one junior-senior high school named Prairie Heights. The mascot of Prairie Heights School is a black panther. The Westview School Corporation serves the west portion of the county. This system consists of four elementary schools (Meadowview, Shipshewana-Scott, Topeka, and Westview), and one junior-senior high school named Westview.
In addition to the public schools, Howe Military School exists in Howe and several Amish schools are located across the county.
- List of counties in Indiana
- List of counties in Michigan
- National Register of Historic Places listings in LaGrange County, Indiana
- The News Sun, daily newspaper covering LaGrange County
- "Lagrange County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Welcome to Northern Indiana Amish Country
- Counties of LaGrange and Noble, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. F.A. Battey & Company. 1882. p. 111.
- The expansion of New England: the spread of New England settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620-1865 by Lois Kimball Matthews page 201
- De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 564.
- "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- "Monthly Averages for Lagrange, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
- "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
||St. Joseph County, Michigan||Branch County, Michigan|
|Elkhart County||Steuben County|