Otterbein, Indiana

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Otterbein is a town in Bolivar Township, Benton County and Shelby Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, named for William Otterbein Brown who donated land for the town. As of the 2000 census, its population was 1,312. It is part of the Lafayette, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Originally a site known as Pond Grove, Otterbein's first 60 lots were laid out by John Levering and his wife on October 25, 1872, with an addition by Mary A. Clancey on April 24, 1883. The first home was built by Dr. John K. Thompson and the first business, a general store, by Henry H. Moore. William Otterbein Brown, the farmer and stock-dealer for whom the town was named, held the office of postmaster until his death on February 18, 1879. Otterbein High School ran from 1910-1966 when the rest of the high schools in the county were consolidated for Benton Central. The gym and most of the building burned in a fire in 1972.


Otterbein is located at 40°29′20″N 87°5′43″W / 40.48889°N 87.09528°W / 40.48889; -87.09528 (40.488919, -87.095355)[4]. It occupies mostly flat, open farm land on the eastern border of Benton County in Bolivar Township, with eastern sections of the community extending into Tippecanoe County. U.S. Route 52 passes along its north side and the Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad cuts through town to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.5 km²), all of it land.

Oxford Street, old US 52, is the central E-W street and the only blinking traffic light in town is located at its junction with Main Street. Otterbein is known for its extremely wide, block long Main Street that accommodates two rows of parallel parking in the middle of the street.

A Centennial celebration was held over the July 4th holiday in 1972. During the festivities the town elevator, located at the west end of town, burned. As of this entry on 02/27/2009 there are two churches in town; Catholic and United Methodist. A fire in the last three years destroyed Denny's Pharmacy at the corner of First and Main and damaged the adjoining building to the north, the Shoemaker Funeral Home. Students attend Otterbein Elementary School and then move to Benton Central Jr-Sr School which has an Oxford, Indiana address.

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