Friday, April 9, 2010

Shelbyville, Indiana - Pride in Progress

Shelbyville is located 26 miles SE of Indianapolis at the fork of the Little Blue and Big Blue Rivers.

Shelbyville was part of the "New Purchase", which the Delaware and other tribes of Indians ceded by treaty to the U.S. on October 3, 1818.  Jacob Whetzel (who is buried in the City Cemetery) obtained permission from his Indian friend, Chief Anderson, to mark a wagon path through the forest from Franklin County in eastern Indiana to the "Bluffs" on White River, south of present day Indianapolis. Within a week after the treaty was concluded, Whetzel and a few friends began to blaze this road, know ever since as the "Whetzel Trace."

In 1820 the New Purchase was formally opened for settlement and most ot the rich farmland was speedily claimed by purchasers at the Brookville Government Land Office.  The next year, the State Legislature (which was then located at Corydon) authorized the organization of Shelby County and the establishment of a county capital.  The name Shelby was assigned in honor of Isaac Shelby, twice the governor of Kentucky and a famous Indian War soldier under whose leadership many of the settlers had served before emigrating to Indiana.  Shelbyville was chosed as the county seat on July 4, 1822 at a giant barbecue northeast of the present Fairgrounds.

The first house in Shelbyville was built by Francis Walker on the lot at the NW corner of Washington and Tompkins Streets.

On July 4, 1834, Judge William Peasley, a local RR enthusiast built the first RR this side of the Allegheny Mountains. It was experimental, being horse drawn, and ran on wooden tracks for only 1.24 miles from town to a picnic area.  It was soon abandoned.  Today the Penn Central RR serves Shelbyville.

Shelbyville was incorporated January 21, 1850 and at the last census in 2000 reported a population of 17,951.  Sunset Park, Kennedy Park, Blue River Park, Morrison Park, Sunrise Park, Clearwick Park, Pioneer Park, Sunset Park and Roger Shaw Memorial Park are all popular relaxation spots in and around Shelbyville.  You should also check out the Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center, the Grover Museum and the Greenburg Reservoir State Fishing Area.

Shelbyville has been home to many notable folks throughout the years such as:
Sandy Allen, world's tallest woman
Thomas Hendricks, the 21st VP of the U.S. under Grover Cleveland
Edna Parker the oldest living person until her death on 11/26/2008
Wilbur Shaw, 3 time Indianapolis 500 winner

Shelbyville has easy access to I-74 which can take you quickly east or west and SR 9 which runs north and south.

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