LaGrange County is a
county located in the U.S. state of Indiana and in the
Northern Indiana region known as Michiana.
As of 2000, the population was
34,909. The county is located about east of South
Bend, west of Toledo, Ohio, and northeast of Indianapolis.
The area is well known for its large
population. For that reason, the
county teams up with neighboring Elkhart County to promote tourism by referring to the area as
Northern Indiana Amish Country. The county seat is LaGrange, Indiana
settlement of LaGrange County was founded about a half mile west of
Over the next four years, settlers flocked to parts of
Lima, Springfield, and Van Buren Townships. Finally in 1832,
LaGrange County was carved out of neighboring Elkhart
County and established with Lima as the county
seat. The town of LaGrange was platted
in 1836 and settled in 1842 as the new county seat, closer to the
center of the county. Lima's name was changed to Howe in 1909.
In 1837, the government removed Chief Shipshewana and the
Potawatomi Tribe from the northwest corner of the county. Several
years later the Chief was allowed to return and died in Newbury
Township in 1841. A town named Georgetown had been platted in 1837
but was abandoned due to lack of development. In 1844, the first
Amish came from Pennsylvania to settle around the old town.
village continued not to grow and the town of Shipshewana was platted nearby in 1899 and incorporated in 1916
in Newbury Township.
County was named after the home of Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de la
Fayette, outside of Paris, France.
The county is lead by a board of three elected commissioners that
serve as the executive branch of county government. The county
council is made of 7 elected members - four from each council
district and 3 at large. Also, one assessor serves the entire
county as opposed to one for every township.
The current county commissioners are:
- North District: Phillip D. Curtis
- Middle District: George R. Bachman
- South District: Roger W. Boots
The current county council members are:
Accurate as of August 2008.
- District 1: Charles F. Ashcraft
- District 2: Ryan Riegsecker
- District 3: Jac Price
- District 4: Kay Myers
- At-Large: Fred Brown
- At-Large: Steve McKowen
- At-Large: Larry N. Miller
County's 11 townships are Bloomfield, Clay, Clearspring, Eden, Greenfield, Johnson, Lima, Milford, Newbury, Springfield, and Van Buren.
LaGrange, Shipshewana, and Topeka are LaGrange
County's three incorporated towns. Neighboring Noble
County's Wolcottville also exists partially in LaGrange
Forty unincorporated communities also exist in the county.
Beach, Brighton, Brushy Prairie, Eddy, Elmira, Emma, Gravel Beach, Greenfield Mills, Greenwood, Hartzel, Honeyville, Howe, Indianola,
Lakeside Park, Lakeview, Mongo, Mount
Pisgah, Northwood, Oak Lodge, Ontario, Plato, Ramblewood,
River Oaks, Scott, Seyberts, Sha-Get Acres, Shady Nook, South
Milford, Star Mill, Stony Creek, Stroh, Tall
Timbers, Timberhurst, Twin Lakes, Valentine, Webers Landing, Witmer Manor, Woodland Hills,
Woodland Park, and Woodruff.
County borders St. Joseph County, Michigan to the northwest, Branch
County, Michigan to the northeast, Steuben
County to the east, Noble County to the south, and Elkhart
County to the west.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total
area of 387 square miles (1,002 km²), of which
380 square miles (983 km²) is land and 7 square
miles (19 km²) (1.85%) is water.
The county is mostly made up of rural farm land but also some
rolling hills and several lakes.
The economy is based mainly on agriculture and small shops but
tourism also plays a big role, especially in Shipshewana.
Indiana Toll Road, Interstates 80 and 90, passes through the northern fringes of the
county and serves Howe, LaGrange, and Sturgis, Michigan by means of exit 121. The Toll Road
Ohio and Chicago. U.S.
20 runs through the county and connects
Shipshewana and LaGrange to Elkhart and Angola.
Indiana State Highways 3
, and 120
also pass through the
Motorists have to share the roads with Horses and Buggies
used by the county's
Population by year
Approximately 37% of the population of LaGrange County is Amish
, and the county is home to the third largest
Amish community in the United States. This is reflected in the
linguistic situation in the county: 28.45% of the population report
, Pennsylvania German
at home. A further 2.85% speak
As of the census
of 2000, there were 34,909
people, 11,225 households, and 8,856 families residing in the
county. The population density
was 92 people per square mile (36/km²). There were 12,938 housing
units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13/km²).
The racial makeup of the county was 96.74% White
, 0.19% Black
or African American
, 0.15% Native American
, 0.26% Asian
, 1.92% from other races
, and 0.74% from two
or more races. 3.14% of the population were Hispanic
of any race. 32.3% were of
German, 23.8% American, 6.0% English, 5.3%
Irish, 5.2% Swiss and 5.1% Pennsylvania German ancestry according to
There were 11,225 households out of which 40.60% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 68.20% were married couples
living together, 6.90% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 21.10% were non-families.
18.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.50% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.54.
In the county the population was spread out with 33.80% under the
age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from
45 to 64, and 10.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median
age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 102.6 males. For
every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $42,848, and
the median income for a family was $46,885. Males had a median
income of $33,872 versus $23,395 for females. The per capita income
for the county was
$16,481. About 5.40% of families and 7.70% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 9.20%
of those under age 18 and 9.10% of those age 65 or over.
68.5% of the total population and 61.29% of the children in 5-17
age group used English as their home language, according to 2000
Census. The Amish languages (German, Pennsylfaansch and Dutch) were
used by 28.47% of the total population and 35.77% of the children.
The county has three public school districts and the Howe Military School
The Lakeland Community Schools
serve the central
part of the county. The system includes three elementary schools
(Lima-Brighton, Parkside, and Wolcott Mills), one middle school,
and one high school both named Lakeland.
The Prairie Heights School Corporation
east side of the county as well as parts of Steuben County. The
system includes two elementary schools (Milford and Prairie
Heights) and one junior-senior high school named Prairie
The Westview School Corporation
serves the west
portion of the county. This system consists of four elementary
schools (Meadowview, Shipshewana-Scott, Topeka, and Westview), and
one junior-senior high school named Westview.
In addition to the public schools, Howe Military School
exists in Howe and
several Amish schools are located across the county.