Richmond /ˈrɪmənd/ is a city in east central Indiana, United States, bordering on Ohio. It is the county seat of Wayne County,[6] and in the 2010 census had a population of 36,812.

City Flag
City Flag

Situated largely within Wayne Township, its area includes a non-contiguous portion in nearby Boston Township where the Richmond Municipal Airport is located.

The city is sometimes called the "cradle of recorded jazz" because some early jazz records were made there at the studio of Gennett Records, a division of the Starr Piano Company.[7]

The city has twice received the All-America City Award, most recently in 2009.


Richmond is located at 39°49′49″N 84°53′26″W / 39.830189°N 84.890668°W / 39.830189; -84.890668.[8]

According to the 2010 census, Richmond has a total area of 24.067 square miles (62.33 km2), of which 23.91 square miles (61.93 km2) (or 99.35%) is land and 0.157 square miles (0.41 km2) (or 0.65%) is water.[9]

Richmond is located about 12 miles S of Hoosier Hill, the highest point in Indiana.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,070
1850 1,443 −30.3%
1860 6,608 357.9%
1870 9,445 42.9%
1880 12,742 34.9%
1890 16,608 30.3%
1900 18,226 9.7%
1910 22,824 25.2%
1920 26,765 17.3%
1930 32,493 21.4%
1940 35,147 8.2%
1950 39,539 12.5%
1960 44,149 11.7%
1970 43,999 −0.3%
1980 41,349 −6.0%
1990 38,705 −6.4%
2000 39,124 1.1%
2010 36,812 −5.9%
Est. 2016 35,664 [4] −3.1%
Source: US Census Bureau

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 36,812 people, 15,098 households, and 8,909 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,539.0 inhabitants per square mile (594.2/km2). There were 17,649 housing units at an average density of 737.8 per square mile (284.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.9% White, 8.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 15,098 households of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.0% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the city was 38.4 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.4% were from 25 to 44; 25.6% were from 45 to 64; and 16.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 39,124 people, 16,287 households, and 9,918 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,685.3 people per square mile (650.8/km²). There were 17,647 housing units at an average density of 760.2 per square mile (293.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.78% White, 8.87% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.09% from other races, and 2.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.03% of the population.

Richmond lies on the flat lands of eastern Indiana.

There were 16,287 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,210, and the median income for a family was $38,346. Males had a median income of $30,849 versus $21,164 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,096. About 12.1% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.8% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.


In 1806 the first European Americans in the area, Quaker families from North Carolina, settled along the East Fork of the Whitewater River. This was part of a general westward migration in the early decades after the American Revolution. John Smith and David Hoover were among the earliest settlers. Richmond is still home to several Quaker institutions, including Friends United Meeting, Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion.

The first post office in Richmond was established in 1818 with Robert Morrison as the first postmaster.[10] The town was not officially incorporated until 1840 with John Sailor being elected as the first mayor.[11]

Early cinema and television pioneer Charles Francis Jenkins grew up on a farm north of Richmond, where he began inventing useful gadgets. As the Richmond Telegram reported, on June 6, 1894, Jenkins gathered his family, friends and newsmen at Jenkins' cousin's jewelry store in downtown Richmond and projected a filmed motion picture for the first time in front of an audience. The motion picture was of a vaudeville entertainer performing a butterfly dance, which Jenkins had filmed himself. Jenkins filed for a patent for the Phantoscope projector in November 1894 and it was issued in March of '95. A modified version of the Phantoscope was later sold to Thomas Edison who named it Edison's Vitascope and began projecting motion pictures in New York City vaudeville theaters, raising the curtain on American cinema.

Richmond is believed[by whom?] to have been the smallest community in the United States to have supported a professional opera company and symphony orchestra. The Whitewater Opera has since closed but the Richmond Symphony Orchestra has continued. In 1899 Will Earhart formed the first complete high school orchestra in the nation. A later high school orchestra director, Joseph E. Maddy, went on to found what is now known as the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

In the 1920s during the national revival of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Indiana had the largest Klan organization in the country, led by Grand Dragons D. C. Stephenson and Walter F. Bossert. At its height, national membership during the second Klan movement reached 1.5 million, with 300,000 from Indiana. Records show that Richmond (home to Whitewater Klan #60) and Wayne County were Klan strongholds, with up to 45 percent of the county's white males having been Klan members. Forty percent of Richmond's Kiwanis club members, thirty percent of its doctors, and 27 percent of its lawyers were Klan members, but none of the city's bank executives or most powerful business leaders were members.[12][13] In 1923 a reported 30,000 people watched a Klan parade through Richmond streets.[14][15] In 1922, Robert Lyons introduced the Klan in Richmond, initially by recruiting at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church where his father had been pastor until his death seven years earlier.[16][17] The Klan polished its reputation by making contributions of money and goods to Protestant churches and organizations, including the Salvation Army.[18] Thomas Barr, son of Daisy Douglas Barr, nationally prominent Quaker minister and Klan official,[19] attended Earlham College and was a KKK campus recruiter.[20][21]

Also notable was the fact that Hoagy Carmichael recorded "Stardust" for the first time in Richmond at the Gennett recording studio. Famed trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong was first recorded at Gennett as a member of King Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band.[22]

A group of artists in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries came to be known as the Richmond Group. They included John Elwood Bundy, Charles Conner, George Herbert Baker, Maude Kaufman Eggemeyer and John Albert Seaford, among others. The Richmond Art Museum has a collection of regional and American art.[23] Many consider the most significant painting in the collection to be a self-portrait of Indiana-born William Merritt Chase.[24]

The city was connected to the National Road, the first road built by the federal government and a major route west for pioneers of the 19th century.[25] It became part of the system of National Auto Trails. The highway is now known as U.S. Route 40. One of the extant Madonna of the Trail monuments was dedicated at Richmond on October 28, 1928[26] The monument sits in a corner of Glen Miller Park adjacent to US 40.

Richmond's cultural resources include two of Indiana's three Egyptian mummies. One is held by the Wayne County Historical Museum and the second by Earlham College's Joseph Moore Museum, leading to the local nickname of "Mummy capital of Indiana".[27][28]

The arts were supported by a strong economy increasingly based on manufacturing. Richmond was once known as "the lawn mower capital" because it was a center for manufacturing of lawn mowers from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. Manufacturers included Davis, Motomower, Dille-McGuire and F&N. The farm machinery builder Gaar-Scott was based in Richmond. The Davis Aircraft Co.,[29][30] builder of a light parasol wing monoplane, operated in Richmond beginning in 1929.

After starting out in nearby Union City, Wayne Agricultural Works moved to Richmond. Wayne was a manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles, including "kid hacks", a precursor of the motorized school bus. From the early 1930s through the 1940s, several automobile designers and manufacturers were located in Richmond. Among the automobiles locally manufactured were the Richmond, built by the Wayne Works; the "Rodefeld"; the Davis; the Pilot; the Westcott and the Crosley.

In the 1950s, Wayne Works changed its name to Wayne Corporation, by then a well-known bus and school-bus manufacturer. In 1967 it relocated to a site adjacent to Interstate 70. The company was a leader in school-bus safety innovations, but it closed in 1992 during a period of school-bus manufacturing industry consolidations.[citation needed]

Richmond was known as the "Rose City" because of the many varieties once grown there by Hill's Roses. The company had several sprawling complexes of greenhouses, with a total of about 34 acres (140,000 m2) under glass. The annual Richmond Rose Festival honored the rose industry and was a popular summer attraction.

20th-century challenges

On April 6, 1968, a natural gas explosion and fire destroyed or damaged several downtown blocks and killed 41 people; more than 150 were injured.[31] The book Death in a Sunny Street is about the event.

On March 17, 1999, the 155-year-old family run business, Swayne, Robinson and Company was destroyed in a fire. The site is now the location of the Wayne County Jail.[32][33]


Wayne County Court House

Richmond is noted for its rich stock of historic architecture. In 2003, a book entitled Richmond Indiana: Its Physical Development and Aesthetic Heritage to 1920 by Cornell University architectural historians, Michael and Mary Raddant Tomlan, was published by the Indiana Historical Society. Particularly notable buildings are the 1902 Pennsylvania Railroad Station designed by Daniel H. Burnham of Chicago and the 1893 Wayne County Court House designed by James W. McLaughlin of Cincinnati. Local architects of note include John A. Hasecoster, William S. Kaufman and Stephen O. Yates.

The significance of the architecture has been recognized. Five large districts, such as the Depot District, and several individual buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record.

Educational institutions

Carpenter Hall at Earlham College, founded in 1847.

The Richmond Japanese Language School (リッチモンド(IN)補習授業校 Ritchimondo(IN)Hoshū Jugyō Kō) a part-time Japanese school, holds its classes at the Highland Heights School.[34][35]

The town has a lending library, the Morrisson Reeves Library.[36]

Religious groups



Richmond Municipal Airport is a public-use airport located five nautical miles (6 mi, 9 km) southeast of the central business district of Richmond. It is owned by the Richmond Board of Aviation Commissioners. It is also an exclave of Richmond.[37]


Richmond is served by Interstate 70 at exits 149, 151, 153, and 156. Public transit service is provided by city-owned Roseview Transit, operating daily except Sundays and major holidays.[38]


The daily newspaper is the Gannett-owned Palladium-Item.

Full-power radio stations include WKBV, WFMG, WQLK, WHON, WKRT, and Earlham College's student-run public radio station WECI. Richmond is also served by WJYW which is repeated on 94.5 and 97.7. Area NPR radio stations include WBSH in Hagerstown, Indiana and WMUB in Oxford, OH.

Richmond is considered to be within the Dayton, Ohio, television market and has one full-power television station, WKOI, which is affiliated with TBN. The city also has one county-wide public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable television station, Whitewater Community Television.[39]

Points of interest

Hicksite Friends Meeting House, 1150 North A Street, Richmond, Indiana, now houses the Wayne County Historical Museum.

Notable people

Sister cities


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External links