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Bloomington, Indiana
Kirkwood Avenue looking toward downtown
Kirkwood Avenue looking toward downtown
Official logo of Bloomington, Indiana
Location of Bloomington in Monroe County, Indiana
Location of Bloomington in Monroe County, Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
County Monroe
Townships Bloomington, Perry, Richland, Van Buren
Government
 • Type Mayor-council government
Area
 • City 23.43 sq mi (60.69 km2)
 • Land 23.25 sq mi (60.22 km2)
 • Water 0.18 sq mi (0.48 km2)
Elevation
771 ft (235 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 79,168
 • Density 3,405.08/sq mi (1,314.72/km2)
 • Metro
175,506
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
47401–47408
Area code 812 & 930
FIPS code 18-05860
GNIS ID 431207
Interstate Highways I-69.svg
Major State Roads Indiana 37.svgIndiana 45.svgIndiana 46.svgIndiana 48.svgIndiana 446.svg
Waterways Clear Creek
Jackson Creek
Lake Monroe
Lake Lemon
Airports Monroe County Airport

Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of Monroe County in the central region of the U.S. state of Indiana. It is the seventh-largest city in Indiana and the fourth-largest outside the Indianapolis metropolitan area. According to the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington is known as the "Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana". The city was established in 1818 by a group of settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Virginia who were so impressed with "a haven of blooms" that they called it Bloomington.

The population was 79,168 at the 2020 census.

Bloomington is the home to Indiana University Bloomington. Established in 1820, IU Bloomington has 45,328 students, as of September 2021, and is the original and largest campus of Indiana University. Most of the campus buildings are built of Indiana limestone.

Bloomington has been designated a Tree City since 1984. The city was also the location of the Academy Award–winning 1979 movie Breaking Away, featuring a reenactment of Indiana University's annual Little 500 bicycle race. Monroe County's famous limestone quarries are also featured in the movie.

History

Bloomington was platted in 1818. A post office has been in operation at Bloomington since 1825. Bloomington was incorporated in 1827.

The Elias Abel House, Blair-Dunning House, Bloomington City Hall, Bloomington West Side Historic District, Cantol Wax Company Building, Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, Cochran-Helton-Lindley House, Courthouse Square Historic District, Hinkle-Garton Farmstead, Home Laundry Company, Illinois Central Railroad Freight Depot, Johnson's Creamery, Legg House, Millen House, Millen-Chase-McCalla House, Monroe Carnegie Library, Monroe County Courthouse, Morgan House, J.L. Nichols House and Studio, North Washington Street Historic District, The Old Crescent, Princess Theatre, Prospect Hill Historic District, Second Baptist Church, Seminary Square Park, Steele Dunning Historic District, University Courts Historic District, Vinegar Hill Historic District, Wicks Building, Woolery Stone Company, and Andrew Wylie House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Marching band
A Fourth of July parade passes the Monroe County courthouse in Bloomington.

According to the 2010 census, Bloomington has a total area of 23.359 square miles (60.50 km2), of which 23.16 square miles (59.98 km2) (or 99.15%) is land and 0.199 square miles (0.52 km2) (or 0.85%) is water. Bloomington is the sixth largest city in Indiana, based on population.

Climate

Southern Indiana receives an abundance of rain, with a yearly average of nearly 45 inches.

Climate data for Bloomington, Indiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
(25.6)
76
(24.4)
86
(30)
91
(32.8)
97
(36.1)
103
(39.4)
110
(43.3)
104
(40)
103
(39.4)
96
(35.6)
84
(28.9)
74
(23.3)
110
(43.3)
Average high °F (°C) 38.8
(3.78)
42.3
(5.72)
53.0
(11.67)
65.0
(18.33)
75.1
(23.94)
83.2
(28.44)
87.3
(30.72)
85.9
(29.94)
79.7
(26.5)
68.4
(20.22)
53.9
(12.17)
41.6
(5.33)
64.5
(18.06)
Average low °F (°C) 21.2
(-6)
23.2
(-4.89)
32.1
(0.06)
42.6
(5.89)
52.5
(11.39)
61.4
(16.33)
65.2
(18.44)
63.4
(17.44)
56.3
(13.5)
44.8
(7.11)
34.7
(1.5)
24.6
(-4.11)
43.5
(6.39)
Record low °F (°C) −21
(-29.4)
−20
(-28.9)
−2
(-18.9)
17
(-8.3)
29
(-1.7)
36
(2.2)
46
(7.8)
41
(5)
26
(-3.3)
17
(-8.3)
−2
(-18.9)
−20
(-28.9)
−21
(-29.4)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.66
(67.6)
2.71
(68.8)
3.66
(93)
4.29
(109)
5.12
(130)
4.07
(103.4)
4.32
(109.7)
3.99
(101.3)
3.62
(91.9)
3.14
(79.8)
3.95
(100.3)
3.38
(85.9)
44.91
(1,140.7)
Snowfall inches (cm) 5.7
(14.5)
4.4
(11.2)
2.1
(5.3)
0.4
(1)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
1.2
(3)
4.7
(11.9)
18.6
(47.2)
Source #1: Weatherbase
Source #2: Noaa.gov

Geology

Bloomington is an area of irregular limestone terrain characterized by sinks, ravines, fissures, underground streams, sinking streams, springs and caves. It is situated in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, resting on the intersection of the Norman Uplands and the Mitchell Plain. The relatively varied topography of the city provides a sharp contrast to the flatter terrain more typical of central to northern portions of Indiana.

Water

Bloomington is located on a comparatively high ground, the summit of the divide between the basins of the West Fork and East Fork of Indiana's White River. Accordingly, there are no major watercourses within the city, nor is much groundwater available for wells. The largest stream within the city itself is Clear Creek, with its eastern branch known on the Indiana University campus as Jordan River.

Due to the absence of either natural lakes or rivers or groundwater in or near the city, a number of dams have been constructed on nearby creeks over the last 100 years to provide for the water needs of Bloomington and Monroe County. Early 20th century damming projects occurred at a number of locations southwest of the city, the most notable of them being the Leonard Springs Dam. Unfortunately, due to the limestone formations underlying the reservoirs and the dams, water kept seeping from the reservoirs through naturally developing underground channels. Despite all efforts, the city was never able to fully stop the leakage, and had to resort to pumping leaking water back to the reservoir.

By the 1920s, a more radical solution was needed to deal with the water crisis. A new reservoir, known as Griffy Lake, was constructed in a more geologically suitable area north of the city. (It is now within Bloomington's official city limits.) Later, in the 1950s, two much larger reservoirs, Lake Lemon and Lake Monroe were created in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Monroe County. Monroe Lake was created by the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, but has since been used to supply the city and the county with water. The water pumping station at Griffy Lake has been mothballed.

Environment

PCB pollution, associated with Westinghouse's operations, long was a concern in the area. A number of sites, in particular, Bennett's Dump and Lemon Lane Landfill at the northwestern edge of the city and Neal's Landfill in the county, were listed as Superfund sites. Clean-up operations at the Bennett Quarry site, started in 1983, were largely completed by 2000., while cleanups at the other sites were completed in 2012.

Demographics

Bloomington Metropolitan Area
Location of the Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area in Indiana
Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,305
1860 2,419 85.4%
1870 1,032 −57.3%
1880 2,756 167.1%
1890 4,018 45.8%
1900 6,460 60.8%
1910 8,838 36.8%
1920 11,595 31.2%
1930 18,227 57.2%
1940 20,870 14.5%
1950 28,163 34.9%
1960 31,357 11.3%
1970 43,262 38.0%
1980 52,044 20.3%
1990 60,633 16.5%
2000 69,291 14.3%
2010 80,405 16.0%
2020 79,168 −1.5%
Source: US Census Bureau

Bloomington is the principal city of the Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Greene, Monroe, and Owen counties and had a combined population of 192,714 at the 2010 census.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 80,405 people, 31,425 households, and 11,267 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,471.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,340.4/km2). There were 33,239 housing units at an average density of 1,435.2 per square mile (554.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.0% White, 4.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 8.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.5% of the population.

There were 31,425 households, of which 16.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.3% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 64.1% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.76.

The median age in the city was 23.3 years. 11.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 44.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23% were from 25 to 44; 13.3% were from 45 to 64; and 7.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.3% male and 49.7% female.

Arts and culture

Bloomington is home to several professional and amateur theater companies, among the most notable are: the Indiana University Dept. of Theatre & Drama; Cardinal Stage Company; the Bloomington Playwrights Project; Theatre of the People; and the Indiana University Auditorium, which is a 3,000-seat performing arts venue which brings in national tours of musicals, plays and other live entertainment.

Bloomington is home to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, which is a renovated 616 seat vaudeville and movie house built in 1922. Known locally as the "Indiana Theater" or the "Bus-Chum", it was operated until 1995 as a movie theater. In 1995, the building was donated to the community for use as a performing arts center. In 2006, the theater played host to more than 260 public performances. Bloomington also offers artists and entertainers performance space at the Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center, a community arts center that has hosted hundreds of performances through the last two decades.

Bloomington also has a large folk punk music scene. The town is home to Chris Clavin who runs the DIY punk rock record label Plan-It-X Records and is in the folk punk band Ghost Mice who frequently sing about Bloomington. Every other year Plan-It-X Records organises Plan-it-X Fest, a large DIY punk music festival held in Bloomington. Bloomington is also home to the record labels Eradicator Records, Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar and BlueSanct. The Grammy Nominated band The Fray recorded their Triple Platinum debut album How to Save a Life at Echo Park Studios in Bloomington. Bloomington is also the hometown of dark folk rockers Murder By Death. The "Zine" publishing company, Microcosm Publishing, is also located in Bloomington, as is the Lotus Festival of World Music, which occurs each fall.

Much of Bloomington's music originates in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, its Opera Theater and public performances numbering more than a thousand each year.

Traditional music is popular in Bloomington due to the presence of the Archives of Traditional Music and Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Bloomington has been home to a number of musicians and "scholars" over the years, including Strawberry McCloud, Lotus Dickey, Miles Krassen, Anthony Seeger, Bob Lucas, Caroline Peyton, Mark Bingham, Willy Schwartz, Jessica Radcliffe, Hawk Hubbard, Linda Higginbotham, Brad Leftwich, Ruthie Allen, Grey Larsen, Cindy Kallet, Bruce Anderson, Pete Sutherland, Malcolm Dalglish, Sam Bartlett, Jamie Gans, and Ken Perlman. From 1985-1993 Bloomington was home to the one-time Drum Corps International champion Star of Indiana. In 1993, the corp moved to musical theatre which created the group Blast!.

Downtown Bloomington is typically referred to as the area between First to Eleventh Streets and Madison to Lincoln Streets, with the vast majority of the dining, shopping and drinking establishments being located on the two main north/south thoroughfares of Walnut Street and College Avenue, which run parallel on either side of the courthouse. Portions of this one-way pair, along with segments of the east/west Sixth Street and Kirkwood Avenues, comprise Bloomington's historic courthouse square.

Bloomington and Monroe County's B-Line walking trail, on the site of a former railroad line, bisects the downtown area as well, providing an area for walking, biking, running and hiking.

One community service based organization, Habitat for Humanity, provides opportunities to help build hope in families, while Mother Hubbard's Cupboard provides free food to families in need.

Transportation

Airports

  • Monroe County Airport (No Commercial flights)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (Nearest commercial airport 50 miles (80 km) away)

Bicycling

Bloomington is a gold-rated bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists. There are several significant bike trails in and around the city, most notably the B-line trail which runs north to south for almost four miles through the core of Downtown Bloomington and south through Switchyard Park. An east to west version is in the works along the 7th street corridor.

Bloomington and Indiana University briefly ran a dockless bikeshare program called Pace, launched in June 2018. The program was cancelled after less than a year.

Highways

  • I-69
  • SR 37
  • SR 45
  • SR 46
  • SR 48
  • SR 446

Bloomington, for many years was one of the largest cities without an interstate or freeway. However, interstate access finally occurred in December 2015 when the Interstate 69 expansion between Evansville and Indianapolis was completed to Bloomington.

The upgrading of SR 37 from a 4 Lane Highway to Interstate standards for the next section of I-69 between Bloomington and Martinsville was originally scheduled for completion in August 2016. As of November 2018, the construction was substantially complete. The last section between Martinsville and Indianapolis is scheduled for completion in 2024.

State Road 45 (SR 45) and State Road 46 (SR 46) run through Bloomington together on a four-lane highway known as the "bypass".

State Road 48 (SR 48) starts as a four-lane highway on the city's west side before narrowing to two-lanes at Oard Rd outside the city limits.

Public transportation

Local bus service is provided by Bloomington Transit.

Bus service to Indianapolis is provided by regional bus lines. In addition, Campus Commute provides shuttle service between IU Bloomington and IUPUI/downtown Indianapolis, but only Monday-Friday.

Sister cities

Bloomington has four sister-city relationships.

  • Nicaragua Posoltega, Nicaragua
  • Cuba Santa Clara, Cuba
  • Republic of China Luzhou District, New Taipei, Taiwan (ROC) inactive.
  • People's Republic of China Jiaxing, Zhejiang, People's Republic of China inactive.

Points of interest

Economy

The Bloomington and Monroe County region is home to major employers representing a diverse collection of fields, including education, the life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology.

Bloomington is a regional economic center anchored by Indiana University and home to a diverse business community involved in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, technology, health care, and the arts. Bloomington's concentration of employment in the life sciences is six times greater than the U.S. average, and employment in the technology sector has grown by over 80 percent in recent years. Companies based in Bloomington include Cook Group, Author Solutions, OneWorld Enterprises, BloomingFoods, Bloomington Tutors, and Singota Solutions.

Bloomington has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of "America's Best Cities for Doing Business" and as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 50 "Hottest Small Cities for Entrepreneurs". Additionally, Forbes Magazine ranked Bloomington No. 3 in its "Best Places for Business Careers" feature.

Education

Post-secondary education

Elementary schools

  • Arlington Heights Elementary School
  • Bloomington Montessori School
  • Childs Elementary School
  • Clear Creek Elementary School
  • Clear Creek Christian School
  • Ellettsville Intermediate
  • Ellettsville Primary
  • Fairview Elementary School
  • Grandview Elementary School
  • Harmony School
  • Highland Park Elementary School
  • Lakeview Elementary School
  • Lighthouse Christian Academy
  • Marlin Elementary School
  • Pinnacle School (K–12)
  • Prep Academy
  • The Project School (K–8)
  • Rogers-Binford Elementary School
  • St. Charles Catholic School
  • Summit Elementary Schools
  • Templeton Elementary School
  • Unionville Elementary School
  • University Elementary School
  • Seven Oaks Classical School

Middle schools

  • Batchelor Middle School
  • Edgewood Jr. High
  • Harmony School
  • Jackson Creek Middle School
  • Lighthouse Christian Academy
  • St. Charles Catholic School
  • Tri-North Middle School

High schools

  • Bloomington High School South
  • Bloomington High School North
  • Edgewood High School
  • The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship
  • Bloomington Graduation School
  • Harmony School
  • Lighthouse Christian Academy

Others

Notable people

Note: This list does not include students attending Indiana University except for locals. Please see List of Indiana University (Bloomington) people for famous alumni.

  • David Anspaugh, director of Hoosiers and Rudy
  • Kenny Aronoff, drummer
  • David Baker, symphonic jazz composer
  • Tony Baldwin, college softball coach
  • Dee Bradley Baker, voice actor
  • Arija Bareikis, actress
  • Paul Baribeau, folk punk singer and musician
  • Joshua Bell, violinist
  • Abraham Benrubi, actor
  • Kent Benson, basketball player
  • Diane Bish, organist, concert and recording artist, composer and conductor
  • Lil Bub, famous cat, internet sensation
  • Joseph O. Butcher, Major General in the Marine Corps
  • Meg Cabot, author
  • Hoagy Carmichael, singer-songwriter
  • Calbert Cheaney, basketball player, assistant coach for the College Park Skyhawks
  • Chris Clavin, singer-songwriter, Plan-It-X Records owner
  • Terri Conn, actress
  • William Cook, founder of Cook Inc.
  • James Counsilman, US Olympic swimming coach
  • John Merle Coulter, former president of Indiana University
  • Malcolm Dalglish, hammered dulcimer player, composer, and choral director
  • Grey Damon, actor
  • John Darnielle, singer-songwriter
  • Krista Detor, musician
  • Joe Dowell, singer-songwriter
  • Wilson V. Eagleson II, U.S. Army Air Force officer, decorated Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilot; raised in Bloomington. Son of IU's first African American woman graduate
  • Andy Fillmore, Canadian Member of Parliament for Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Mick Foley, former professional wrestler and author
  • Karen Joy Fowler, author
  • Rex Grossman, former NFL quarterback
  • David F. Hamilton, Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Jordan Hulls, basketball player
  • Douglas Hofstadter, cognitive scientist
  • Elaine Irwin Mellencamp, model
  • Jared Jeffries, basketball player, Retired
  • David Starr Jordan, former president of Indiana University and Stanford University
  • Kraig Kinser, an ARCA driver
  • Sheldon Kinser, Indy car driver
  • Steve Kinser, race car driver
  • Amelia Laskey, ornithologist
  • Brad Leftwich, musician
  • Ross Lockridge, Jr., novelist, author of Raintree County
  • Austin Lucas, singer-songwriter
  • Cory Martin, shot putter
  • Sean May, former NBA basketball player
  • John Mellencamp, musician
  • Maurice Mierau, writer
  • Denny Miller, actor
  • Carrie Newcomer, musician
  • Thubten Jigme Norbu, brother of Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
  • Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize–winner, political scientist
  • Jeff Overton, PGA Tour golfer
  • Angelo Pizzo, screenwriter and producer of Hoosiers and Rudy
  • Kevin Pritchard, NBA front office executive
  • Scott Rolen, former Major League Baseball player
  • David Lee Roth, lead singer of band Van Halen
  • Alfred Ryors, former president of Indiana University
  • Jeff Sagarin, statistician for sports, contributor to USA Today
  • Ronnie Schneider, ATP tennis player
  • Frithjof Schuon, philosopher and mystic
  • György Sebők, pianist
  • János Starker, cellist
  • John Strohm, singer, guitarist, and lawyer
  • Jill Bolte Taylor, neuroanatomist
  • Herman B Wells, former president and chancellor of Indiana University
  • Camilla Williams, opera singer
  • Andrew Wylie, first president of Indiana University
  • Max Zorn, mathematician

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