Indiana: Wabash County

Wabash County (pop. 32,888) is east of Miami County. The only other Wabash County is in Illinois.

The county was named for the Wabash River, Indiana’s longest river. The word is an English spelling of a French version (“Ouabache”) of the Indian name for the river – “Wabashike,” meaning the “pure white” of the limestone river bottom.

Wabash River catfish

The county seat of Wabash County is the city of Wabash (pop. 10,666). Wabash reached its peak population of 13,379 in 1970.

Wabash County Courthouse (1879)

In 1880, Wabash became “The First Electrically Lighted City in the World,” when four huge carbon-arc lights were placed on top of the courthouse and lit the entire block.

Industrialist Mark C. Honeywell (1874-1964) founded Honeywell, Inc., in Wabash and was its first president and CEO. Honeywell International, Inc., is now based in New Jersey.

Famous for thermostats

The Honeywell Center (1952) in Wabash, operated by the Honeywell Foundation, has a theater, restaurant, art gallery, and meeting rooms.

Rebuilt in 1994

The Eagles Theatre in Wabash dates from 1906. It was purchased and restored by the Honeywell Foundation in 2010.

Still showing first-run movies

Wabash also has a drive-in movie theater – the 13-24 Drive-In, named for two highways that intersect nearby.

It opened in 1950.

Country singer Crystal Gayle (younger sister of Loretta Lynn) grew up in Wabash and graduated from Wabash High School.

The town of North Manchester (pop. 6,112), north of Wabash, is the home of Manchester University – a liberal arts school affiliated with the Church of the Brethren.

It has about 1,500 students.

The 110-foot Peabody Memorial Tower (1937) is on the grounds of the Peabody Retirement Community in North Manchester.

Renovated in 2010

Wabash County has two historic covered bridges, both dating from 1872.

North Manchester Bridge

NEXT: HUNTINGTON COUNTY

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One comment on “Indiana: Wabash County

  1. dot says:

    interesting: The First Electrically Lighted City in the World

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