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Blackford County, Indiana

Blackford County Indiana
US county information
NameBlackford County
StateIndiana
SeatHartford City
US Area
Total Area165.58 sq mi (428.9 km2)
Land Area165.08 sq mi (427.6 km2)
Water Area0.50 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Population12766 (2010)
Density29.7/km2 (77/sq mi)
Founded2 April 1838
Named forIsaac Blackford
2nd Chief Justice of Indiana and longest serving member of the Indiana Supreme Court
Congressional district6th

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Blackford County is located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of Indiana. The county is named for Judge Isaac Blackford, who was the first speaker of the Indiana General Assembly and a long-time chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. Created in 1838, Blackford County is divided into four townships, and its county seat is Hartford City. Two incorporated cities and one incorporated town are located within the county. The county is also the site of at least 15 unincorporated communities and ghost towns. A small portion of a third city extends into the southeast corner of the county. Occupying only 165.58 sqmi, Blackford County is the fourth smallest county in Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the county's population is 12,766 people in 5,236 occupied households. Based on population, the county is among the 10 smallest counties of the 92 in Indiana. Although no interstate highways are located in Blackford County, three Indiana state roads cross the county, and an additional Indiana state road is located along the county's southeast border. The county's two rail lines are owned by the same railroad company.

Before the arrival of European-American settlers during the 1830s, the northeastern portion of the future Blackford County was briefly the site of an Indian reservation for certain members of the Miami tribe. The first European-American settlers were typically farmers, and small agricultural communities became scattered throughout the county. The county began as mostly swampland, and became more agriculture-oriented as the swampland became drained. When the county's rail lines were constructed in the 1860s and 1870s, additional communities evolved as railroad stops.

Beginning in the late 1880s, the discovery of natural gas and crude oil in the county (and surrounding region) caused the area to undergo an economic boom period known as the Indiana Gas Boom. Manufacturers relocated to the area to take advantage of the low-cost energy and railroad facilities. The boom period lasted about 15 years, and is reflected in Blackford County's population, which peaked in 1900 at 17,213. The county's appearance was transformed during that period, and much of the infrastructure constructed during that time remains today, including Montpelier's historic Carnegie Library and many of the buildings in Hartford City's Courthouse Square Historic District.

Agriculture continues to be important to the county, and became even more important after the loss of several large manufacturers during the 20th century. Today, 72 percent of Blackford County is covered by either corn or soybean fields; additional crops, such as wheat and hay, are also grown.


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