Street Address
109 WEST HUNTINGTON STREET
Montpelier, IN 05602
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 52
Montpelier, IN 05602
Museum Type(s)
Staff
Ken Neff, Historical Society Contact
phone: 765-728-2487

Description

Montpelier was born in a time shortly after the Indians were run out of the Indiana territories. The year was 1836. The state of Indiana had just been formed and admitted to the union 20 years before (1816) as the 19th state. The Indiana Governor was Noah Noble, a Whig, and the President of the United States was second termer Andrew Jackson. Martin Van Buren was erected to tee President starting 1837 Santa Anna and 3000 Mexicans had just overrun the Alamo in the newly recognized independent republic of Texas and Samuel Colt patented the pistol with a revolving chamber.

Montpelier was located on the Salamonie River and the L.E. & Western Railroad which made it an ideal location. The city was platted so that on each corner of the main street in the business district there would be a city park. These parks remain today and are maintained in joint effort to help beautify the city by the city government and various organizations. The city was incorporated in 1871 with a population of 231. Oil was discovered in 1887 and the population grew from 900 people in 1890 to 3000 in 1895 and to 5000 in 1896. The people poured into the town known as "Oil City".

In 1896 Montpelier had two Hotels, three banks, many general stores, 7 doctors, 3 dentists, eight industries, and an opera house with a seating capacity of 600. This Opera House is still in existence as are many of the other establishments of that era. Montpelier also contained an infamous reputation of having 15 saloons and 13 houses of prostitution. The most popular gaming house being a two story brick building built for the sole purpose of prostitution the "Blue Front Hotel". The Blue Front Hotel was owned and operated by a madam referred to as "Black Bess".

After the turn of the century, the gas and oil ran out. The people working in these industries left Montpelier. Industries closed one by one, and the city reverted to an agriculture community once more. Tar and cement roads lessened the need for stone and quarrying also declined. The population dropped sharply and continued to decline until after World War II. Although Montpelier's population today is less than half that of the peak reached during the boom period, the city had endured and has begun to grow again.

Today, the city has an active Chamber of Commerce, a Montpelier Coat of Arms to symbolize it's history, a song written in its name, a Historic Society to retain it's history, housing additions, seven industries providing approximately 433 factory jobs, new business, seven churches, and a modern police and fire department.

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montpelier,_Indiana