February 17, 2013

OUR VIEW: Happy 175th Birthday, Logansport

— Gathered in the Canal Mansion House on Sept. 5, 1831, all the dreaming and hard work of early settlers was about to pay off. The powers-that-be were voting on incorporating as a town. With 45 for and 2 against, it was official: Logansport was a town.

But the dreaming and the hard work weren’t finished. Not even close.

More years, more people, more development.

Then came 1838. It was a year that saw Logansport really starting to come into its own. It was the year the Wabash & Erie Canal opened. The city had the state’s major north-south artery: the Michigan Road. It was all coming together for the town nestled between two rivers.

With the signature of Gov. David Wallace, Logansport became a city. It was Feb. 17, 1838: 175 years ago today.

By 1850, with a population of 2,251 people, Logansport was relatively large for an Indiana city. In that same year, Anderson’s population was 383, Marion’s 703 and Muncie’s 666.

The city’s first tax rate was 12.5 cents and generated $653.30 to operate the city annually. There weren’t as many taxes back then, but if you owned gold watches or oxen, watch out. The tax man cometh.

Yes, times were different.

Among the positions in city government was a flour inspector. The town board passed ordinances regulating bathing times in the rivers, outlawing gunfire in the town, and prohibiting horses from running at large.

Yes, times were much different.

Housed in a 20-by-40 building constructed for just $300, the city had just one school: The Seminary. Its schoolmaster was paid $100 per quarter.

There was no fire department. Rather, a bucket brigade was formed. Just as the name suggests, fires were fought with a series of buckets. It wasn’t very efficient.

Next time you pass by a city fire station and or school, take a moment to think about how it all started and how the visions of a few ignited a fire that burns today.

Our hope is that we all share that same determination and future generations look back at what we accomplished in our time.

Until then, Happy Birthday, Logansport. Here’s to many more.