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Hartford City, Indiana
"The One And Only"
Location in the state of Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
County Blackford
Officially named 1839
Incorporated (town) 1857
Incorporated (city) 1894
 • Total 3.90 sq mi (10.10 km2)
 • Land 3.88 sq mi (10.05 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
919 ft (280 m)
 • Total 6,220
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,603.1/sq mi (619.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 765
FIPS code 18-32242
GNIS feature ID 0435826

Hartford City is a city in the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Blackford County. Located in the northeast central portion of the state, the small farming community experienced a 15-year “boom” beginning in the late 1880s. The Indiana Gas Boom was caused by the discovery of natural gas in the area, and it caused the community to transition from an agricultural economy to one that also included manufacturing. After the boom, the town lost some of its manufacturers and workforce. However, some manufacturers remained in the city, and some of the local workers began commuting to nearby cities to work in the new automobile industry.

From the 1920s to the 1980s, Hartford City was able to attract some new manufacturing companies because of its workforce and railroad facilities. During the 1980s, the economic decline of the “Rust Belt” coincided with the decline in Hartford City’s population. The recent economic difficulties for the automobile industry have also been deleterious to the economy of Hartford City, but the town continues to work to attract new businesses. The town’s population was 6,220 at the 2010 United States Census. The city is located within Licking Township in the southwest portion of the county.

Early history

Hartford City, Indiana began in the late 1830s as a few log cabins clustered near a creek. Folklore taught in local elementary schools suggested that Hartford City was originally a place to cross Lick Creek, known as “Hart’s ford.” This evolved to Hartford, and was eventually changed to Hartford City to avoid confusion with another Hartford located within the state. The community became the county seat of Blackford County. During the last half of the 19th Century, East Central Indiana consisted mostly of rural farming communities, including Hartford City. The town's population did not exceed 2,000 until after 1887, when the region began to grow because of the Indiana Gas Boom.

Hartford City’s population tripled in the next decade, as manufacturers were lured to the region to take advantage of low costs for land and the natural gas. Hartford City benefited from railroad service from two railroads in addition to a natural gas supply that was thought to be unlimited. Manufacturers such as Hartford City Glass Company, Sneath Glass Company, Hartford City Paper, Utility Paper, and Willman Lumber all located or began in Hartford City during the 1890s. Although the supply of natural gas was soon exhausted, many of these businesses continued to the 1950s and beyond.


Hartford City is located at 40°27′9″N 85°22′10″W / 40.45250°N 85.36944°W / 40.45250; -85.36944 (40.4525, -85.3693).

The area sits on top of former natural gas fields. The area also has limestone formed from silt and mud deposited from an ancient sea. The land is flat from the work of a prehistoric glacier, and the soil is excellent for farming. According to the 2010 census, Hartford City has a total area of 3.901 square miles (10.10 km2), of which 3.88 square miles (10.05 km2) (or 99.46%) is land and 0.021 square miles (0.05 km2) (or 0.54%) is water.

Major highways

  • Indiana 3.svg Indiana State Road 3
  • Indiana 26.svg Indiana State Road 26
  • I-69.svg Interstate 69 (less than 10 miles (16 km) west of city)

Adjacent cities

  • Upland (about 8 highway miles west)
  • Montpelier (about 12 highway miles northeast)
  • Dunkirk (about 14 highway miles southeast)
  • Muncie (about 19 highway miles south)
  • Marion (about 23 highway miles northwest)


Hartford City has a typical Midwestern humid continental seasonal climate. There are four distinct seasons, with winters being cold with moderate snowfall, while summers can be warm and humid. The highest average temperature is in July at 84 °F (29 °C), while the lowest average temperature is in January at 18 °F (−8 °C). However, summer temperatures can top 90 °F (32 °C), and winter temperatures can drop below 0 °F (−17 °C). Average monthly precipitation ranges from about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm), with the heaviest occurring during June, July, and August. The highest recorded temperature was 103.0 °F (39.0 °C) on June 25, 1988, and the lowest recorded temperature was −26.0 °F (−32.0 °C) on January 19, 1994.

Climate data for Hartford City, Indiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 33
Average low °F (°C) 18
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.96
Source: Yahoo!


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 250
1860 618 147.2%
1870 878 42.1%
1880 1,470 67.4%
1890 2,287 55.6%
1900 5,912 158.5%
1910 6,187 4.7%
1920 6,183 −0.1%
1930 6,613 7.0%
1940 6,946 5.0%
1950 7,253 4.4%
1960 8,053 11.0%
1970 8,207 1.9%
1980 7,622 −7.1%
1990 6,960 −8.7%
2000 6,928 −0.5%
2010 6,220 −10.2%
Est. 2015 5,992 −3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,220 people, 2,666 households, and 1,691 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,603.1 inhabitants per square mile (619.0/km2). There were 3,158 housing units at an average density of 813.9 per square mile (314.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 2,666 households of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.6% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the city was 41.3 years. 23.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 26.7% were from 45 to 64; and 18.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,928 people, 2,918 households, and 1,943 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,861.7 people per square mile (719.1/km²). There were 3,156 housing units at an average density of 848.1 per square mile (327.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.34% White, 0.09% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.61% of the population.

The Blackford County courthouse is at the center of Hartford City's town square.

There were 2,918 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,531, and the median income for a family was $39,654. Males had a median income of $29,257 versus $20,600 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,596. About 7.3% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.8% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.


Hartford City Library
Hartford City’s Library

The 2009 official web site of Hartford City shows three main pictures: Civil War re-enactors, a basketball player, and the courthouse. Those pictures summarize what is important to the city and its culture. Hartford City’s town square is a “living museum”, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Hartford City Courthouse Square Historic District. Many of the buildings were built during the gas boom in the late 19th century, and are fine examples of architectural styles used at that time. Some of the architectural styles used are Romanesque Revival, Commercial Italianate, Renaissance Revival, and Queen Anne. The Blackford County Courthouse and First Presbyterian Church are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adding to the historical atmosphere, the courthouse lawn contains war monuments on each corner. The town has a small museum and library housed in the Blackford County Historical Society building. The city’s main public library, the Hartford City Public Library, is a Carnegie library that began with funding from Andrew Carnegie in 1903.

Civil War

History comes alive for three days in Hartford City each October, as the Blackford County Civil War Re-enactment Club has staged re-enactments, exhibits, and other entertainment for over twenty years. The club is also responsible for the addition of the Blackford County Civil War Memorial that rests on one of the corners of Hartford City's courthouse square.


Sports and recreation are important to the community. The city Parks Department maintains four parks. The city has also had a public swimming pool since the 1950s. Two golf courses have Hartford City addresses, three more are located within ten miles (16 km) from the center of Hartford City, and ten more are within 20 miles (32 km). The city has some small “lakes” and reservoirs available for fishing, such as Lake Placid and the lakes around the nearby Shamrock Lakes area. A larger lake with over 2,600 acres (11 km2) of water (Salamonie Lake) offers boating, fishing, and swimming – and is located within one hour’s driving time. State Parks nearby include Ouabache, Mounds, and Summit Lake. For those willing to drive north for about 90 minutes, Pokagon State Park is located on Lake James and Snow Lake. This park features campgrounds, hiking trails, a beach, the Potawatomi Inn, and a toboggan track.

Hartford City sports leagues include baseball, softball, soccer, and football. Indiana is known for its high school basketball, and Hartford City high schools have had their share of success in the state basketball tournament. Hartford City High School won 14 sectional and 3 regional tournaments in about 60 years of action. Hartford City High was consolidated into Blackford High School in 1969, and Blackford has won 10 sectionals. The Blackford High School gym seats 4,000 for a town with a population of less than 7,000. Hartford City’s Blackford High School football team has also had some tournament success, winning the Indiana state 2A football championship in 1974-75 and 1979-80 – both teams were undefeated.


Hartford City Presbyterian Church
Hartford City’s Presbyterian Church

Agriculture has a strong influence on Hartford City’s culture. The main crops in the area are soybeans and corn. Some wheat and hay are also grown. The Indiana Farm Bureau office for Blackford County is located in Hartford City. 4-H, a youth organization associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a strong presence. The county 4-H fair is held every June, and features a rodeo, horse show, dog show, livestock, a carnival, and more. The week-long event typically starts with a mile-long parade with a marching band and other participants.


The United Methodist Church has the biggest congregation in town. Other churches include Catholic, Church of the Nazarene, Christian, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Baptist, and Presbyterian. The Methodists, and then the Presbyterians, were the first to build churches in town. The historic First Presbyterian Church and the Christian Church were both built during the Gas Boom in the 1890s.


East Central Indiana National Hwy System Map
East Central Indiana

Hartford City’s early transportation advantage was fact that two railroad lines crossed near the middle of the city, running north-south and east-west. The east-west line is now out of service as of 2008, but the north-south line is still in service. Both are operated by Norfolk Southern. Hartford City also has a good highway system. Indiana State Road 3 runs north-south through the city, known as Walnut Street. Indiana State Road 26 runs east-west through the city, known as Washington Street. Indiana State Road 22 used to run concurrently with State Road 26 through Hartford City, but that segment was decommissioned in the 1970s. Although Interstate 69 does not run through Hartford City or Blackford County, it is less than 10 miles (16 km) away and a convenient way to drive to Fort Wayne or Indianapolis. From Hartford City, drive west on State Road 26 to reach Interstate 69. Driving north from Indianapolis, the State Road 26 exit is number 255. The Interstate's northbound exit 259, at Upland, is an easy route to travel to the north side of Hartford City. Some small airports are located near Hartford City, but airports in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis have the best selection of commercial flights.

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