Princeton is a city in
Patoka Township, Gibson County, Indiana, United States. The population was 8,175 at the 2000 census, and it is part of the
Indiana metropolitan area.
The city is the county seat
of Gibson County.
Princeton is located at (38.353617, -87.570541) .
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of , all of it
Princeton's Post Office, erected
As of the census
of 2000, there were 8,175
people, 3,451 households, and 2,146 families residing in the city.
The population density
1,703.1 people per square mile (648.8/km²). There were 3,806
housing units at an average density of 792.9/sq mi
(302.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.36% White
, 5.36% African American
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 0.39% from
, and 1.44%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 1.13% of the
There were 3,451 households out of which 28.9% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples
living together, 13.8% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families.
33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age
of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to
64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
38 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.
Population by year
The median income for a household in the city was $26,689, and the
median income for a family was $37,308. Males had a median income
of $28,076 versus $19,825 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$15,049. About 15.0% of families and 15.8% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 23.2%
of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.
Princeton is a largely blue-collar community; most non-industrial
companies simply provide services directly to residents of
Princeton and its surrounding towns. Major employers
include Toyota Motor
Manufacturing Indiana, located 3 miles to the south, nearly
halfway between Princeton and Fort Branch, where the Toyota Sequoia and Sienna are manufactured; and Hansen Corporation.
suppliers have manufacturing facilities between the plant site and
the city. These suppliers include EnovaPremier, Vuteq, TISA,
Millennium Steel, Gibson County Quality Assurance, and Product
Action International. All of these facilities were either built or
converted from other uses to furnish supplies, part and services to
TMMI. Siemens AG
at one point had
research and manufacturing facilities in Princeton, but the factory
was closed in the early 1990s and the research facility was closed
soon after. In 2008 the former Siemens property was acquired by
and demolished. The Menard's Store
now sits where the Siemens factory was.
announcement in late 1995
that it would be building a $1 billion
manufacturing facility in Princeton created an economic boom, as
many of Toyota's suppliers also built plants in or near Princeton
to minimize shipping and logistical expenses. Additionally, many
service businesses located in town to satisfy the needs of the
employees, many of whom would be relocating to the Princeton area
from elsewhere. However, the arrival of Toyota was not without
controversy. Many objected to the ten-year tax abatement
offered as part of the incentive
package to induce Toyota to locate in the area, and others were
worried by the fact that it would likely not be unionized (as of
2008, it is not).
More recently, many chain stores more typically associated with
significantly larger towns, such as Applebee's
, have chosen to locate in
Princeton. Additionally, in mid 2006, plans to expand
the current Wal-Mart store into a
Many analysts believe that much of this is due to
the Interstate 69
the time many of these businesses moved to town, the leading
proposal for the project was to upgrade U.S.
41 (it was later decided to build Interstate 69 over
a new-terrain route, which would travel through nearby Oakland
the Indiana Territory was created with Vincennes (Knox County) as its capital.
farmlands in the southwest of the territory with access to the Ohio
River attracted many pioneers and settlers to the area, one of whom
was an Irish immigrant named William Prince
. Born in 1772, he
immigrated to America 22 years later. He would become a Gibson
County Commissioner and the namesake for the county seat of
1813 saw the move of the territorial capital east from Vincennes to
Corydon and the
creation of Gibson County.
Gibson had previously been part
of the vast Knox County which covered all the land of southwestern
Indiana, bordered by the Wabash and Ohio Rivers. By early 1814,
settlers to this area were asking for a “seat of justice,” or
county seat. Captain William Prince was one of four commissioners
who located the seat at the half-way stand on the Evansville and
Vincennes stage line. By drawing of lots, commissioners decided to
name the town after Captain Prince.
symbol of Princeton is the Gibson County Courthouse.
It has been featured as a collectible
figurine by the Department 56
Snow Village. A post office was established in Princeton as early
as 1816. The local newspaper, the Princeton Daily Clarion, was
first published in 1846. Lyles Station, a small community just west of Princeton, was
founded by freed Tennessee slave Joshua Lyles in 1849.
served as a haven for runaway slaves who braved the Ohio River on a
northern trek towards freedom.
Wabash and Erie Canal ran
through the nearby towns of Francisco and Port
Gibson, providing a means of reaching distant markets with
goods from Princeton.
The 1850’s saw the advance of the
railway system through Indiana, spelling doom for the canal system.
The Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad line was run through town
in 1852 and the Princeton Depot was constructed in 1875. The
railroad became a boon to Princeton’s industry as the Southern
Railway Shops were constructed on the edge of town in 1892. Other
industry included the Heinz plant (because of the area’s famed
tomatoes good for ketchup making) and Princeton Coal Mine.
In 1925, half of Princeton was devastated by the Great Tri-State Tornado
deadliest tornado in US history claimed 70 lives in Indiana with
over half of those in Princeton.
Toyota Motor Company
truck manufacturing plant in Princeton in 1998 to build a new
full-size pickup and SUV. Toyota significantly increased production
at the plant in 2000.
April 18, 2008,
Princeton was shook by the 2008 Illinois earthquake, epicentered approximately away near West Salem,
Government and politics
Princeton Municipal Building
Princeton is governed by a mayor
five-member city council
, all of whom
are elected for four-year terms. The current mayor is Robert J.
Hurst; he was selected as mayor by a Democratic
Shirley Robb, his predecessor, died in office at age 85. City
functions are divided among the Police Department, Sanitation
Department, Parks and Recreation Department, Street Department,
Sewer Department, Water Department, Water Treatment Plant, and the
Princeton Fire Territory (formed from a merger between the
Princeton Fire Department and the Patoka Township Fire Department
in early 2006).
Like most Midwestern small towns, Princeton's citizens are
generally socially conservative. However, its largely blue-collar
population—including factory workers, skilled tradesmen, and coal
miners—and significant union membership means that there is no
general bias towards either the Republican
Party; however, Princeton's Democrats tend to be considerably more
in other parts of the country.
Princeton has three main city parks, administered by the Department
of Parks and Recreation. Lafayette Park, on the city's north side,
is the largest. It features a fishing pond, shelter houses, a
playground, an open general-purpose recreation area, and a stage
for public performances. The city swimming pool is adjacent to
Lafayette Park, as is Kiddie Land, a playground for very young
children. Gil Hodges field, where the Princeton
Community High School baseball team plays its home grounds, is also
located on the park property.
The other two city parks are South Side Park, located on the south
side of town and featuring softball diamonds used by recreational
softball leagues; and Dorothy "Deda" Young Park, near the center of
town, with a playground and skateboard park.
In addition to the public parks, Princeton is home to many
privately-owned recreational facilities. The Gibson County
Fairgrounds, located on the north side near Lafayette Park, is the
site of Indiana's oldest county fair
started in 1852. East of town, YMCA Camp Carson
over 1,000 youth each summer in summer camp programs ranging from
two days to two weeks. The Gibson County Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Club owns several acres just outside of town with a
fishing lake, camping, and a banquet hall for members.
Notable natives and residents
- Broadway Avenue Indiana State Road 64 for east half,
Indiana 64/65 for west half where it becomes a
- Brumfield Avenue Runs parallel to Broadway one
to four blocks north, depending on location. Site of one of the two
rairoad overpasses over the CSX/Norfolk Southern junction running through
- Embree Street Though
obscure at its beginning at Broadway, Embree Street is one of the
major throughfares used in reaching Princeton
Community High School. At the junction of Embree and Brumfield
there is a roundabout expected to be
complete by September 20, 2009. Embree is also frequently used to
bypass the railroad to get to the Brumfield Ave. Overpass. The
Gibson County Fairgrounds are also located along Embree Street
immediately before the high school.
- Main Street Signed as
Indiana State Road 65 north of
County Courthouse Square, Main Street is the main north-south
throughfare in Princeton. Main Street was also once signed
as US Route 41 for nearly all of its
length through Princeton. A two-year widening and rehabilitation
project was completed in 2008, making what was once one of the most
unpleasant-looking streets in Princeton the most presentable. Main
Street is the site of the other rairoad overpass in Princeton.
- Mulberry/Spring Street Bypass often used to
get to Princeton's South Side without having to fuss with the
stoplights on the Courthouse Square. A overpass was considered for
Mulberry in 2007, but was rejected due to the costs involved.
Mulberry and Spring Streets meet on a sometimes hazardous curve
that sits almost 15 feet over surrounding terrain.
- Richland Creek Drive Used mainly to reach the
new Menard's hardware store. Around a curve
from Menards are two new townhouse projects and a new Deaconess Hospital Clinic as
well as a possible new strip mall. Richland Creek meets U.S. Route 41
about 200 feet south of the Broadway (State Roads 64/65) - US 41 Cloverleaf.
- The first Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant was held in
1958 when Carol Parks of Montgomery County was crowned