West Terre Haute, Indiana

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West Terre Haute is a town in Sugar Creek Township, Vigo County, Indiana, on the western side of the Wabash River near Terre Haute. The population was 2,330 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Terre Haute Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Originally called McQuilkinsville, then simply Macksville or Maxville, West Terre Haute was laid out by Samuel McQuilkin on November 22, 1836. The first building had been put up in 1833, and in 1834 McQuilkin opened a general store on the National Road between present-day Third and Fourth Streets. The store proved useful to those working on the National Road and made McQuilkinsville an important town in the area. Because of the town's fertile soil, soon people became settling there as vegetable farmers.[3] John Griggs and his son Edward put up a flour mill in 1867, but the structure was burned in 1870.[4] The town expanded quickly, with Smith Hinch building a tavern on the National Road and Richard McIlroy building a brick general store and post office in 1872.

In 1894 citizens of the town voted to change its name to West Terre Haute.

Growth of industry

By 1878, industries included a lumber mill, a cigar factory, and a shingle manufacturer, and the town had grown to a population of 250.[3]

With coal-bearing bluffs immediately to the town's north and west, coal mining became a major industry in the town. By 1906, West Terre Haute had eleven mines in operation, served by both railroads and wagon roads. These mines averaged a daily output of 2,000 tons.[3]

Clay deposits in the town led to the production of clay products including building brick, paving brick, sewer pipe and drain tile. Four separate companies in the area worked in this industry, including the Vigo Clay Company, the Miller Brick Company, Terre Haute Brick and Pipe Company (also known as the Vitrified Brick Company), and the National Drain Tile Company.

Just north of West Terre Haute was a large gravel pit a mile in length at its widest point. The gravel was mainly used in railroad grades.

Due to increased employment opportunities, the population of West Terre Haute increased from several hundred in the 1880s to approximately 3500 by the mid 1890s. To accommodate these new residents and commuters, in 1905 a new bridge was built to cross the Wabash River including tracks for the city's streetcar and interurban line. The Bank of West Terre Haute was established that same year.

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