Facts and Fun Information

History, general information, fun facts, trivia - whenever you need to know details about Wayne County, Indiana, we invite you to check here first! And since we're all Hoosiers, we'll share some history and trivia about Indiana too!

About Indiana

Wayne County Fun Facts

  • Hoagy Carmichael recorded Star Dust in Richmond, Indiana. Others who did their recording at the Gennett Recording Studio were Bing Crosby and Jelly Roll Morton.
  • The first high school orchestra in the nation was organized at Richmond High School.
  • Richmond High School has the only Art Museum housed in an operating high school.
  • The National Road (U.S.40) was built through the center of Wayne County and played a large role in the early success of our communities.
  • Richmond, the county seat of Wayne County, is 966' above sea level.
  • As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Wayne County had 68,917 citizens.
  • Weeb Eubank, famous NFL coach who directed the Baltimore Colts to a NFL championship in 1959 and guided the upstart New York Jets and quarterback Joe Namath of the old AFL to the world title in 1969 was a Richmond, Indiana native.
  • John Finley, Richmond, Indiana mayor from 1852 until his death in 1866, wrote the poem "The Hoosier's Nest", which is often cited as the first written reference to the word "Hoosier".
  • Barry Manilow began his career playing piano at the Holiday Inn in Richmond, Indiana.
  • Singin' Sam, the Barbasol Man, (Harry Frankel) who was the highest paid radio performer in his time was a Richmond, Indiana native and retired to Richmond.
  • Hagerstown native, Ralph R. Teetor, respected automotive engineer and former president of Perfect Circle, was the inventor of the "Speed-O-Stat", now known as cruise control.
  • Dr. Mary F. Thomas, who practiced medicine in Richmond during the mid-1800's, was the second female physician to be admitted to the American Medical Association.
  • Wilbur Wright, co-inventor of the airplane with his brother, Orville, attended school in Richmond, Indiana. His family moved to Dayton, Ohio in June of 1884 just before he would have received his diploma from Richmond High School. The diploma was awarded to him posthumously on April 16, 1994.
  • William Jennings Bryan recorded his "Cross of Gold" speech in Richmond, Indiana at the Gennett Studios in the Whitewater Gorge.
  • Richmond native, C. Francis Jenkins, is recognized as the inventor of the first motion picture projector and was a pivotal inventor in early television.
  • Centerville served as the county seat of Wayne County, Indiana from 1818 to 1873 when it was moved to Richmond.
  • Johnny Ringo, a famous outlaw who became the chief antagonist of Wyatt Earp, was born in Greens Fork, Indiana (then known as Washington).
  • Richmond was once known as "the lawnmower capital" because of the lawn mowers manufactured here from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. Manufacturers included Motomower, Dille-McGuire and F&N.
  • Fossiliferous limestone of the Ordovician Period in the Whitewater Gorge is 425 Million years old. It is one of only two places in the United States where this type of limestone is exposed to the surface.
  • Wayne County, Indiana is home to three universities. Indiana University East, Earlham College, and Ivy Tech State College as well as two seminaries, Earlham School of Religion [Quaker] and Bethany Theological Seminary [Church of the Brethren].
  • Geographically, the Wayne County Courthouse's latitude is 39°:49:44.292 North with a longitude of 84°:53:50.910 West.
  • The Levi Coffin House in Fountain City is recognized as the "Grand Central Station" of the Underground Railroad. Levi and Catharine Coffin were legendary, helping more than 2,000 former slaves escape to freedom in the North.
  • Richmond is home to TWO Egyptian mummies. One is located at the Wayne County Historical Museum and one is located at the Joseph Moore Museum on the Earlham College campus.
  • The highest point in Indiana is located in Wayne County, northwest of Bethel. At 1,257 feet, it is known as "Hoosier Hill", but that title is a bit ironic.
  • Wayne County was formed in 1811. It was named for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who was an officer during the Revolutionary War. Wayne is mainly remembered for his service in the 1790's in the Northwest Indian War, which included many actions in Indiana and Ohio.
  • The first county seat in Wayne County was located in Salisbury, a town that no longer exists. The county seat was moved to Centerville in 1818 and finally to Richmond in 1873.
  • Oliver P. Morton, who served as the 14th Governor of Indiana during the American Civil War, was a Wayne County native. His family home still stands along the National Road on the west side of Centerville.
  • Cambridge City, Indiana was once home to a wild west show, headed by Buckskin Ben Stalker.
  • Engineer, entrepreneur and inventor, the long-time President of the Perfect Circle Corporation in Hagerstown, Ralph Teetor, changed the way America drives with his invention of cruise control.
  • John M. Westcott started the Hoosier Drill Company in Milton, Indiana in 1858. The company grew and expanded into Richmond and eventually became part of the American Seeding Machine Company, which, in turn, became part of the International Harvester Company.
  • Richmond was long known as "The Rose City" due to being home to Hills' Roses. Founder, E. G. Hill, was a gifted rose hybridizer, and introduced countless roses to the world. Hills' was once known as the largest grower of roses under glass. Hill Floral Products stopped growing roses in 1995.

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Wayne County History Facts & Fun
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Richmond High School is home to the only public Art Museum housed in an operating high school.