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Land Area in Square Miles: 422.9
Total Population: 71,235
Year Established: 1831
Population Rank: 27

County adjacent to Marion County on the northwest part of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area. Boone County's proximity to the capital has been an important factor in the areas growth and development over the years. Transportation routes between Indianapolis and the northern part of the state spurred early settlement. In 1828 the state legislature authorized construction of the MICHIGAN ROAD from Indianapolis to Lake Michigan. It passed through the eastern part of Boone County and became one of the most traveled highways in the state. White settlement began in the 1820s, though the area around Thorntown was the site of an Indian settlement and French trading post in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Eel River tribe of the Miami Indians resided there before the federal government removed most of them in the 1830s. The county was organized in 1830 with 600 residents and named after Daniel Boone, the Kentucky pioneer. A site in the areas geographic center, Lebanon, became county seat in 183l.

Railroad development in the 1850s boosted Boone County towns. The first line, the Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Lafayette Railroad, was completed in 1852. Zionsville and Whitestown sprang up along its route, and Lebanon prospered. By 1875 Boone County listed 30,000 residents and 150 manufacturing establishments, in addition to a thriving agricultural economy.

In the early 1900s interurban tracks crisscrossed the county as part of the IndianapolisLafayette-Crawfordsville lines. Lebanon was the hub of a traction network, though the lines proved unprofitable by the late 1920s. About the same time, a Lebanon native, reportedly nostalgic for his hometown, decided to relocate his business to the area. Henry Ulen, who made his fortune in an east coast construction firm, brought his company to Lebanon in 1929. North of tht city he developed the model town of Ulen, featuring elegant homes, boulevard lighting, and a country club for Ulen executives.

Another transportation route, Interstate 65 has been a catalyst for development in the 1980s and 1990s. Service establishments, including hotels and restaurants, continue to open along the route, while commuters enjoy direct access to Indianapolis. Boone County development officials predict steady growth in the area, hoping for new high-tech manufacturing facilities and satellite industries from Lafayettes Subaru-Isuzu automotive plant. They also plan for additional residential development as Indianapolis commuters are lured by small-town ambience.

In 1990 about 38,000 people lived in Boone County; a 22 percent increase over the 1970 figures. The number of farms has declined slightly yet the county ranked tenth in 1989 among all Indiana counties in market value of its crops. Although the area was a prime producer of dairy products for the Indianapolis market in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Boone County farmers today raise corn, soybeans, and hogs. Most Boone County residents now work in retail or service establishments and small manufacturing concerns. Of the working population, about 32 percent were employed outside the county in the late 1980s.

*History Data Source: The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indiana University Press, 1994) Edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows.