Upland, Indiana

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Upland is a town in Jefferson Township, Grant County, Indiana, United States. The population was 3,758 at the 2006 census. It is most notable for being the home of Taylor University, a Christian college with 1,900 students, as of 2006.



The first White resident of the Upland area was John Oswalt, who came to Jefferson Township in the early 1830s and purchased 2,240 acres (9.1 km2) including almost all the land which is now a part of Upland. He bought this large amount of land because, as a speculator, he thought that an Indianapolis to Fort Wayne canal might pass through or near his property. Jacob Bugher, who moved to the township in 1851, purchased land from Oswalt. Sixteen years later, when the first railroad (the Indiana Central Railroad) passed through the township, Bugher planned the beginnings of Upland as a depot point for the railroad. The name of the town came from its reputed location as the highest point on the rail line between Columbus and Chicago. Gradually, the town grew in population and organization. By the late 1870s, it had thirty families, 150 in total population, one grade school, two churches, three dry-goods stores, one sawmill, and a blacksmith shop.

A guest-preaching engagement in 1882 in the Upland Methodist Church afforded Taylor University president Thaddeus Reade the chance to meet the minister of Upland Methodist Church, Rev. John C. White. Because the school was having financial difficulties at its location in Fort Wayne, White and Upland citizen J.W. Pittinger worked to bring the school to Upland. In the spring of 1893 White negotiated an agreement between the Taylor trustees and the Upland Land Company, whereby the university agreed to move to Upland, and the company agreed to provide Taylor with $10,000 in cash and 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land. In the summer of 1893, Taylor University relocated to Upland. White was able to find the resources to support Taylor University because of the recent discovery of large deposits of natural gas in the area. The gas boom of central Indiana began in 1886 and continued through the 1890s before the supply began to decline at around 1900. The first gas discoveries in Upland were in 1888, and three years later the Upland Land Company came into existence to take advantage of the newly found resources by promoting the development of the town.

When Taylor University moved to the community in 1893, the incorporated town of 1,000 inhabitants could boast of improved streets and carbon street lights, water and gas lines, a major glass bottle manufacturing plant, and a zinc factory. In 1915, Taylor paid seven thousand dollars to purchase 70 acres (280,000 m2) more from Charles H. and Bertha Snyder. The university added another 80 acres (320,000 m2) to its present location in the early 1920s when the Lewis Jones farm was purchased.

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