Renner, Indiana

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Extinct Village
Blackford County's location in Indiana
Blackford County's location in Indiana
Renner is located in Blackford County, Indiana
Location in Blackford County
Coordinates: 40°28′20″N 85°25′53″W / 40.47222°N 85.43139°W / 40.47222; -85.43139Coordinates: 40°28′20″N 85°25′53″W / 40.47222°N 85.43139°W / 40.47222; -85.43139
Country United States
State Indiana
County Blackford
Township Licking
Elevation[1] 919 ft (280 m)
ZIP code 47348
FIPS code 18-63765[2]
GNIS feature ID 441895

Renner is an extinct American village in Indiana's Blackford County.[3] Although Renner has been listed as a “populated place” by the U.S. Geological Survey,[4] this description is misleading.[citation needed] Renner was a railroad stop on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad. The land around the railroad stop was originally used to supply timber for railroad crossties, and eventually became a livestock farm. Housing for the families of the employees of the livestock farm was also located nearby. Although it is not known for certain, Renner is thought to have been named for railroad executive John W. Renner.[5] Renner was an executive of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad, and later the Pennsylvania Railroad, and retired with over 50 years of railroad experience.[6] Another community, Rennerdale, Pennsylvania, was named in his honor in 1895.[7][8]

The 530-acre (2.1 km2) farm adjacent to the Renner railroad station was owned by Benjamin Johnson. It became known as the Renner Livestock Farm in the early 1890s, and produced prize-winning Hereford cattle, Hampshire hogs, and horses – including the horse “Poetry of Motion”, a champion show horse.[9] Livestock were shipped from the Renner station, and the railroad made as many as four stops per day. In the early 1900s, the Renner station was considered one of the principle railroad stations in Blackford County.[10]

In 1919, Johnson sold all the farm's livestock, and then sold the farm. The farm was purchased by Fred A. Stimson. Stimson had purchased some of the Renner Stock Farm's cattle, and returned them to the Renner Stock Farm. He successfully continued the farm's tradition of award-winning livestock.[11] Early in 1927, Stimson sold the cattle, and general farming was practiced afterward. In 1937, the farm was sold to the Scripps Foundation in connection with Miami University (Oxford Ohio).[12]


The Renner railroad stop was located in Blackford County's Licking Township, northwest of Hartford City. (See railroad map herein.) The Renner railroad station was used by the nearby Renner Stock Farm to ship livestock all over the world. Although the rail line came to Blackford County in 1867, the farm was not started until the early 1890s. The Renner Stock Farm is credited as the originator of the beef cattle breed of Polled Hereford known as the Bullion 4th.[13]


The railroad line that ran through Renner was named Union and Logansport Railroad Company by the time it entered Blackford County in 1867, and it was the county’s first railroad.[14] This line was proposed in 1862, and completed to Hartford City in 1867 — running through the Blackford County communities of Dunkirk, Converse, Millgrove, Hartford City, and eventually Renner. The railroad was eventually named Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad.[15] Other names for the railroad since that time include the Panhandle division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central Railroad Company, Conrail, and Norfolk Southern Railway.[16] The line is now abandoned east of Hartford City, but still in place west of the city through Renner to Upland, Indiana.[17]

Blackford County's railroads, 1890s


Renner is in East Central Indiana, northwest of Hartford City. The northern half of Indiana, including what became Licking Township and Renner, was flattened by two glaciers millions of years ago.[18] These glaciers are also responsible for the rich Blackford County farmland.[19] The region is still agriculture-oriented. Soybeans and corn are the most popular crops grown in Blackford County, and over 65,000 acres (260 km2) are devoted to these two crops.[20] Additional crops and livestock are also grown in the county. A farm still exists in the area, and can be seen via satellite, but the railroad station is gone.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent cities[edit]

  • Upland (about 4 highway miles west)
  • Hartford City (about 5 highway miles southeast)
  • Gas City (about 10 highway miles west)
  • Marion (about 18 highway miles northwest)
  • Muncie (about 26 highway miles southeast)


  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Blackford County Historical Society's "Ghost Towns in Blackford County, Indiana".
  4. ^ United States Geological Survey. "Geographic Names Information System: Populated places in Blackford County, Indiana". Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  5. ^ The Blackford County Historical Society believes that the Renner railroad stop is probably named after railroad executive John W. Renner.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Railroad, p. 3.
  7. ^ Christopher T. Baer (December 2010). "A General Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Its Predecessors and Successors, and Its Historical Context 1895" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-15. Pittsburgh suburb of Rennerdale founded by employees of the Lines West Accounting Dept. and named for John W. Renner, Comptroller; purchase 60 acres on PCC&StL line near Pittsburgh at $200-300 per acre. (RyW) 
  8. ^ Collier Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. "Collier Township, Rennerdale". Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  9. ^ Shinn, p. 36. Portions of Shinn’s book have been reproduced on web pages.
  10. ^ Blatchley, p. 473.
  11. ^ American Cattle Breeding Association, p. 754.
  12. ^ Hartford City News. 1937-02-13. p. 6A.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Roberts, p. 8.
  14. ^ Biographical and historical record of Jay and Blackford Counties...., pp. 759-760, and pp. 239-240.
  15. ^ Biographical and historical record of Jay and Blackford Counties..., pp. 759-760.
  16. ^ A History of Blackford County..., p. 19.
  17. ^ "Norfolk Southern Railway Company — Abandonment Exemption — in Blackford County, IN". Surface Transportation Board. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  18. ^ A History of Blackford County..., pp. 8-9.
  19. ^ A History of Blackford County..., p. 10.
  20. ^ Purdue University's Indiana CropMAP web site.