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Benton County
Benton County Courthouse in Fowler, Indiana.
Benton County Courthouse in Fowler, Indiana.
Flag of Benton County
Flag
Map of Indiana highlighting Benton County
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Indiana
Founded 18 February 1840
Named for Senator Thomas H. Benton
Seat Fowler
Largest city Fowler
Area
 • Total 406.51 sq mi (1,052.9 km2)
 • Land 406.42 sq mi (1,052.6 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0.2 km2)  0.02%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2018)
8,653
 • Density 21.3/sq mi (8.22/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th
 
  • Indiana county number 4
  • Responsible for most of Indiana's wind-produced electricity

Benton County is located in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Indiana, along the border with Illinois. As of 2010, the county's population was 8,854. It contains six incorporated towns as well as several small unincorporated settlements; it is divided into 11 townships which provide local services. The county seat is Fowler.

Benton County is part of the Lafayette, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Fowler Ridge Wind Farm 2621903424 5fef77292d o
Wind turbines in Benton County

History

Benton County was formed February 18, 1840. It is named for Thomas H. Benton (D), U.S. Senator from Missouri. The original county seat selected in 1843 was Oxford, but after a long struggle between contending factions it was moved to Fowler in 1874.

Courthouse

The current Benton County courthouse, located in Fowler, was designed by Gordon P. Randall of Chicago and built in 1874 by Levi L. Leach at a cost of $62,257. The new courthouse was an impressive building from an architectural standpoint, but also provided much-needed improvements in security, including large fire-proof vaults. Randall had designed the Marshall County courthouse a few years earlier.

Geography

Map of Benton County, Indiana
Map of Benton County, showing townships and settlements

Benton County's western border is shared with the state of Illinois and Iroquois County; Vermilion County is to the southwest and shares a small portion of Benton County's border. Newton and Jasper counties lie to the north, with White and Tippecanoe counties to the east. The entire southern border is shared with Warren County.

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 406.51 square miles (1,052.9 km2), of which 406.42 square miles (1,052.6 km2) (or 99.98%) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) (or 0.02%) is water.

Cities and towns

Unincorporated towns

Extinct towns

Townships

  • Bolivar
  • Center
  • Gilboa
  • Grant
  • Hickory Grove
  • Oak Grove
  • Parish Grove
  • Pine
  • Richland
  • Union
  • York

Major highways

  • US 52.svg U.S. Route 52
  • US 41.svg U.S. Route 41
  • Indiana 18.svg State Road 18
  • Indiana 55.svg State Road 55
  • Indiana 71.svg State Road 71
  • Indiana 352.svg State Road 352

Railroads

  • Bee Line Railroad
  • Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Fowler, Indiana
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
1.7
 
30
13
 
 
1.6
 
35
17
 
 
3.2
 
47
27
 
 
3.6
 
60
38
 
 
4.2
 
72
49
 
 
4.5
 
81
59
 
 
3.7
 
84
62
 
 
3
 
82
59
 
 
2.6
 
77
51
 
 
3
 
64
39
 
 
3
 
48
30
 
 
2.5
 
35
19
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

In recent years, average temperatures in Fowler have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −24 °F (−31 °C) was recorded in January 1999 and a record high of 99 °F (37 °C) was recorded in July 1995. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.59 inches (40 mm) in February to 4.50 inches (114 mm) in June.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,144
1860 2,809 145.5%
1870 5,615 99.9%
1880 11,108 97.8%
1890 11,903 7.2%
1900 13,123 10.2%
1910 12,688 −3.3%
1920 12,206 −3.8%
1930 11,886 −2.6%
1940 11,117 −6.5%
1950 11,462 3.1%
1960 11,912 3.9%
1970 11,262 −5.5%
1980 10,218 −9.3%
1990 9,441 −7.6%
2000 9,421 −0.2%
2010 8,854 −6.0%
2020 8,719 −1.5%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 8,719 people and 3,432 households in the county. The population density was 21.8 inhabitants per square mile (8.4/km2). There were 3,939 housing units. The racial makeup of the county was 92.1% White, 1.1% Black or African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.3% American Indian or Native Alaskan, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 25.6% were German, 12.9% were Irish, 5.4% were English, and 5.2% were French (not Basque).

Of the 3,432 households, 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them. The average household size was 2.49. The median age was 40.5years. Of the total population, 18.5% have a visual or non-visual disability.

The median income for a household in the county was $49,488 and the median income for a family was $57,131 and $32,055 for nonfamily households. The per capita income for the county was $25,187. Additionally, 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.

Of the total 2020 population, 6.5% of were veterans. Regarding educational attainment, 42.8% earned a high school diploma or equivalent and 16.1% a bachelor's degree or higher. Of those employed, 20.4% work in education, health care and social services; 19.9% work in manufacturing, 10.1% work in retail, and 8.6% work in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting or mining. Finally, 35.4% of science, technology, engineering and math jobs are held by females.

In Benton County, there were 3,783 housing units and 74% of the population owned homes in 2020 with 23.1% of the housing stock occupied by renters.

Economy

In 2008 the Benton County Wind Farm began operating with 87 1.5 MW wind turbines. Duke Energy purchases electricity from the wind farm and sells it to customers through its GoGreen program.

In 2009 the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm opened nearby, giving Benton County one of the largest concentrations of wind turbines in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

Education

The county's four public schools are administered by the Benton Community School Corporation.

  • Benton Central Junior-Senior High School
  • Boswell Elementary School (closed at end of May 2021)
  • Otterbein Elementary School
  • Prairie Crossing Elementary School
  • Sacred Heart Elementary, the county's only parochial school
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