Indiana: Martin County

Martin County (pop. 10,334) is east of Daviess County. It’s the fifth-smallest county in Indiana, in population.

It’s one of six Martin counties, which are named for six different people named Martin. This one was apparently named for Maj. John Martin of Kentucky.

Fog over the White River

From about 1915 to 1947, Martin County was a center of button-making, with buttons made from mussel shells dug up from the White River.

Mussel-button factory in Shoals

The county seat of Martin County is the town of Shoals (pop. 756), fourth-smallest county seat in Indiana. The former courthouse is now the county historical museum.

Built in 1876

The Shoals area has been a center of gypsum mining since the mid-20th century.

Shoals is best known for Jug Rock, the largest free-standing table rock formation in the U.S., east of the Mississippi River.

In Jug Rock Nature Preserve

The sports teams at Shoals High School are called the Jug Rox.

In the city of Loogootee (pop. 2,751), the yard of Bill Larkin has more than 3,000 colorful birdhouses. The derivation of the city’s name is uncertain.

Free birdhouses for visitors

About one-fourth of Martin County is in Hoosier National Forest, and about one-third is in the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division.

About 3,000 employees

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