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Rensselaer, Indiana facts for kids

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Rensselaer, Indiana
Jasper County Courthouse
Jasper County Courthouse
Location of Rensselaer in Jasper County, Indiana
Location of Rensselaer in Jasper County, Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
County Jasper
Townships Marion, Newton
Platted June 12, 1839
Incorporated December 8, 1858
Named for James Van Rensselaer
 • Total 6.73 sq mi (17.44 km2)
 • Land 6.73 sq mi (17.43 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
659 ft (201 m)
 • Total 5,733
 • Density 852.11/sq mi (328.99/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 219
FIPS code 18-63792
GNIS feature ID 0441902

Rensselaer is a city located along the Iroquois River in Marion Township, Jasper County, Indiana, United States. The population was 5,859 at the 2010 census, up from 5,294 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Jasper County. Saint Joseph's College is located just south of the city limits.


Rensselaer is located at 40°56′17″N 87°9′5″W / 40.93806°N 87.15139°W / 40.93806; -87.15139 (40.938051, -87.151341). U.S. Route 231 and Indiana State Road 114 intersect in the downtown area. The Iroquois River flows through the south part of the city.

According to the 2010 census, Rensselaer has a total area of 3.86 square miles (10.00 km2), of which 3.8 square miles (9.84 km2) (or 98.45%) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) (or 1.55%) is water.


St Joseph's College Church
St. Joseph's College (church)

This settlement, first platted on June 12, 1839, was originally named Newton and was established at the rapids of the Iroquois River. By 1844, it had been renamed to Rensselaer after James Van Rensselaer, a merchant from Utica, New York, who came to the area after his business failed in the Panic of 1837. He took over the land from Joseph D. Yeoman, who had established a farm some years earlier and had begun to plan the village.

St. Joseph Indian Normal School was established in 1888 by St. Katherine Drexel, an heiress from Philadelphia, who donated $50,000 for the education of Catholic American Indian boys. The school trained 60 Indian Boys annually until 1896. The school was operated by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

In addition to St. Joseph Indian Normal School, the Jasper County Courthouse, Oren F. and Adelia Parker House, Rensselaer Carnegie Library, and Rensselaer Courthouse Square Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 241
1860 535 122.0%
1870 617 15.3%
1880 968 56.9%
1890 1,455 50.3%
1900 2,255 55.0%
1910 2,393 6.1%
1920 2,912 21.7%
1930 2,798 −3.9%
1940 3,214 14.9%
1950 4,072 26.7%
1960 4,740 16.4%
1970 4,688 −1.1%
1980 4,944 5.5%
1990 5,045 2.0%
2000 5,294 4.9%
2010 5,859 10.7%
2015 (est.) 5,927 1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census


2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 5,859 people, 2,336 households, and 1,517 families living in the city. The population density was 1,541.8 inhabitants per square mile (595.3/km2). There were 2,556 housing units at an average density of 672.6 per square mile (259.7/km2). The racial makup of the city was 95.4% White, 0.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.8% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.4%.

Of the 2,336 households 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.1% were non-families. 29.5% of households were one person and 12.6% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age was 36.6 years. 25.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.6% were from 25 to 44; 23.7% were from 45 to 64; and 16.4% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.


Humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. Precipitation is relatively well distributed year-round in many areas with this climate, while others may see a marked reduction in wintry precipitation and even a wintertime drought. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Dfa". (Hot Summer Continental Climate).


Rensselaer has a public library, a branch of the Jasper County Public Library.


Rensselaer is served by Amtrak's Cardinal, which runs three days per week, stopping at the Rensselaer Amtrak station.

Notable people

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Scientists:
Dorothy Vaughan
Charles Henry Turner
Hildrus Poindexter
Henry Cecil McBay
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