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Tell City is a city in Troy Townshipmarker, Perry Countymarker, Indianamarker, along the Ohio River, Indiana's southern border. The population was 7,845 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Perry Countymarker .


Tell City traces its 150+ year old roots to a meeting in Cincinnati, Ohiomarker, in November 1856. A group of Swiss-German immigrants met there to organize a society known as the "Swiss Colonization Society." Its purpose was to obtain affordable homesteads for mechanics, shopkeepers, factory workers and small farmers in a location where all could live in harmony.

The Society decided to purchase a tract of land three miles square to be surveyed into a city plot. The group sent out to purchase the land was told to keep in mind a healthful climate, fertile soil, good water, ample timber, and a location near a navigable river and a railroad, if possible. Purchase of such a site was made in July 1857. The tract, containing 4,152 acres, was laid out in 392 town blocks with 7,328 building lots and 294 garden lots.

Tell City water tower

Before the settlers arrived, a name for the new town was selected. Initially called Helvetia, it was soon renamed Tell City, a name easier to pronounce and remember for English-speaking people. It was named for the legendary Swiss hero and liberator, William Tell.

Indicative of the foresightedness of Tell City's founders are the wide streets. They are named for great persons of the military, arts, letters and science: DeKalb, Watt, Winkelreid, Steuben, Payne, Herrman, Reubens, Lafayette, Schiller, Tell, Fulton, Jefferson, Mozart, Franklin, Humboldt, Pestalozzi, Washington, Blum and Gutenberg.

With 100 years of recorded history, the citizens of Tell City held a centennial celebration August 10-17, 1958 in honor of the early settlers and the founding of Tell City. After the success of the Centennial, the Tell City Historical Society decided to sponsor a festival in 1959 to determine if the community would support it as an annual event. The festival, appropriately named Schweitzer Fest (Swiss Fest), was a great success. Today, the festival remains one of Indiana's longest-running community festivals.

On March 17, 1960, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710marker, a Lockheed Electra turboprop airliner flying from Chicago to Miami lost a wing due to aerodynamic flutter and crashed in southern Indiana near Tell City. All 63 on board including the crew perished. The victims were impacted in a 30-foot deep crater, which became their final resting place. A monument with the names of the victims and the date of the tragedy marks the grave.


Tell City is home to the Tell City High School Marksmen. The school is in Class 2A for football, basketball, and baseball. The Marching Marksmen band currently competes in ISSMA Class D and are 20-time state finalists.

For further information about the Tell City public schools, go to the school district's official website.


Tell City is located at .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (11.9 km²), of which, 4.5 square miles (11.8 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.08%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 7,845 people, 3,404 households, and 2,161 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,721.4 people per square mile (664.2/km²). There were 3,700 housing units at an average density of 811.9/sq mi (313.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.65% White, 0.27% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.89% of the population.

There were 3,404 households out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,045, and the median income for a family was $41,300. Males had a median income of $31,908 versus $21,232 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,443. About 8.0% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.

Famous People/Notable Natives

See also


  1. Thrasher, M. A.: A History of Tell City, Tell City Historical Society, 1989. URL last accessed 2008-12-04.

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