Main Births etc
City of Jeffersonville
—  City  —
Downtown Spring Street Historical District
Nickname(s): Jeff
Location in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 38°17′44″N 85°43′53″W / 38.29556, -85.73139Coordinates: 38°17′44″N 85°43′53″W / 38.29556, -85.73139
Country United States
State Indiana
County Clark
 • Mayor Mike Moore (R)
 • Total 34.35 sq mi (88.97 km2)
 • Land 34.06 sq mi (88.21 km2)
 • Water 0.29 sq mi (0.75 km2)
Elevation 446 ft (136 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 44,953
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 45,677
 • Density 1,319.8/sq mi (509.6/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 47130,47131,and 47199
Area code(s) 812 & 930
FIPS code 18-38358[4]
GNIS feature ID 0436979[5]

Jeffersonville /ˈɛfərsənvɪl/ is a city in Clark County, Indiana, along the Ohio River. Locally, the city is often referred to by the abbreviated name Jeff. It is directly across the Ohio River to the north of Louisville, Kentucky along I-65. The population was 44,953 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Clark County.[6]


Statue at Warder Park honoring Thomas Jefferson


In 1786 Fort Finney was situated where the Kennedy Bridge is today to protect the area from Indians, and a settlement grew around the fort. The fort was renamed in 1791 to Fort Steuben in honor of Baron von Steuben. In 1793 the fort was abandoned. Precisely when the settlement became known as Jeffersonville is unclear, but it was probably around 1801, the year in which President Thomas Jefferson took office.[7] In 1802 local residents used a grid pattern designed by Thomas Jefferson for the formation of a city.[8] On September 13, 1803, a post office was established in the city. In 1808 Indiana's second federal land sale office was established in Jeffersonville, which initiated a growth in settling in Indiana that was further spurred by the end of the War of 1812.

Shortly after formation, Jeffersonville was named to be the county seat of Clark County in 1802, replacing Springville. In 1812 Charlestown was named the county seat, but the county seat returned to Jeffersonville in 1878, where it remains.[7]

In 1813 and 1814 Jeffersonville was briefly the de facto capital of the Indiana Territory, as then-governor Thomas Posey disliked then-capital Corydon, and wanting to be closer to his personal physician in Louisville, decided to live in Jeffersonville. However, it is debated by some that Dennis Pennington had some involvement to his location to Jeffersonville.[9] The territorial legislature remained in Corydon and communicated with Posey by messenger.

Civil War[]

The Civil War increased the importance of Jeffersonville, as the city was one of the principal gateways to the South during the war, due to its location directly opposite Louisville. It was served by three railroads from the north and had the waterway of the Ohio River. This factor influenced its selection as one of the principal bases for supplies and troops for the Union Army. Operating in the South, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad furnished the connecting link between Louisville and the rest of the South. Camp Joe Holt[10] was instrumental in keeping Kentucky within the Union. The third largest Civil War hospital, Jefferson General Hospital was located in nearby Port Fulton (now within Jeffersonville) from 1864–1866,[10] as it was close to the river and Louisville. The original land was seized by the Government from the Honorable Jesse D. Bright, United States Senator, a sympathizer of the Confederate cause.[10] During the war it housed 16,120 patients in its 5,200 beds and was under the command of Dr. Middleton Goldsmith. A cemetery was built for fallen soldiers down the hill, but the wooden grave markers had decayed by 1927, causing the Jeffersonville city council to build a ball field over the cemetery, and not bothering to move the graves, located on Crestview Avenue. The Jeffersonville Quartermaster Intermediate Depot had its first beginning in the early days of the Civil War, near its present location.

The Ohio Falls Car & Locomotive Company was founded at Jeffersonville on 1 June 1864. Jeffersonville is immediately across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, near what is known as the “Falls of the Ohio,” and it is apparently from this geographic that the company took its name. It was likely started because during this last full year of the Civil War inflation was rampant and the price of a boxcar that before the war had sold for $450 – 500 was up to $1,000 – 1,200. Jeffersonville was the location of an important Quartermaster supply depot and an important gateway to the South.

The company appears to have gone through bankruptcy early on.

In 1866, Joseph White Sprague (1831-1900) was asked by the stockholders to take over management of the bankrupt company. He had been engineer on the enlargement of the Erie Canal from 1854 to 1858, second assistant engineer on the New York canals from 1858 to 1862, then civil engineer on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad.

Sprague believed in standardization; his firm was soon offering standard box cars, flat cars and hopper cars. According to White,(64) Ohio Falls’ advertisement in the 1868 Ashcroft Railway Directory stated they had cars on hand ready for immediate delivery. They maintained 10 of each type of car ready for lettering and delivery in 24 hours. They maintained another 120 cars framed up, and could deliver these completed at a rate of from 12 to 20 per week. They had a stock of streetcars ready for lettering, and passenger car bodies ready for trucks and interior trimmings of the buyer’s choice. They guaranteed high quality and fast delivery.

The records that would tell how successful this program was apparently no longer exist, as White—backed by the resources of the Smithsonian Institution—was unable to find them. Every railway seemed to have its own idea of car design, and ready-made cars would necessarily be of Ohio Falls’ design. “Standardization,” as such, was 50 years off.

The company’s shops burned to the ground in 1872, and Sprague built a new series of shops. But before the company could get going again, the financial panic of 1873 severely reduced the railroads’ buying of new cars. The shops were closed for more than two years, and the firm apparently went through a second bankruptcy.

In 1876 the company was reorganized as the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company. It built most types of railroad cars, including electric street cars, and passenger cars for the up-and-coming narrow gauge railroads.

Among the first narrow gauge cars built by Ohio Falls were excursion cars for a Kentucky railroad. These tiny cars weighed less than seven tons and seated 64, but would carry as many as 125.

We don't know whether there was another reorganization between 1876 and 1887, but the name Ohio Falls Car Co. is listed under “Car Builders” in 1877 edition, Poor’s Directory of Railway Officials.

When Sprague retired in 1888, Ohio Falls was one of the largest and most profitable of the car builders. By 1892 it employed more than 2,300, and its sales soon reached $3 million worth of cars annually. In 1898 its net earnings reached $220,000 and holders of preferred stock received a 14 percent dividend.

Whether it was ever successful in selling ready-made cars or not, Ohio Falls continued its commitment to the idea. In 1896 it surveyed the industry, asking what a 30-ton boxcar measured or “ought” to measure. It published its results early the next year,(65) but nothing ever came of the effort, because in 1899, the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company was one of the 13 independent car builders that merged to form the American Car & foundry Company.

The Jeffersonville plant specialized in freight cars, passenger cars and associated parts. An adjacent foundry produced castings and chilled iron wheels.

During World War I, the Jeffersonville plant produced escort wagons, wagon wheels and nose forgings for shells for the U.S. Army. It also produced up to 20,000 shirts a day. It also developed the first rolling kitchen and the Phillips packsaddle, a large, steel-framed and heavily padded structure designed to let mules carry howitzer components or other heavy loads.

Production of railroad cars declined during the 1920s, and the Jeffersonville plant was closed in 1930. It was reopened during World War II to supply various castings and shell forgings to other ACF plants, but was closed again in 1945. The former plant buildings are now occupied by a number of businesses known collectively as Water Tower Place.


By 1870, 17% of Jeffersonville residents were foreign-born, mostly from Germany. During the 1920s, Jeffersonville was a popular gathering place for the Ku Klux Klan, as Louisville and New Albany had strong anti-Klan laws and Jeffersonville did not.

City Hall in the Quadrangle complex

Gambling in the 1930s and 1940s was instrumental in Jeffersonville's recovery from the Great Depression and the Flood of 1937. Casinos, betting parlors, night clubs, and even a dog track were present, giving the town the nickname "Little Las Vegas". After a New Albany businessman was gunned down, public sentiment turned against gambling. On January 2, 1948, Indiana State Police raided every casino in the city before the operators could warn each other, and the judge who had devoted the past nine years to eliminating gambling from Jeffersonville, James L. Bottorff, made sure that the equipment was confiscated and the money at the casinos given to charity. This may have played a factor in keeping Jeffersonville residents from voting to approve riverboat gambling in the 1990s. In 2006, riverboat gambling was approved, but for the return of gambling to occur the Indiana State legislature would either have to approve an additional riverboat, or one of the existing riverboats in Indiana would have to relocate to Jeffersonville; presumably, it would be one of the three currently serving the Cincinnati market.

During World War II, the Quartermaster Depot, in conjunction with Fort Knox, Kentucky housed German prisoners of war until 1945. Now the Depot is used as a shopping center.[11][12]

Shipbuilding industry[]

Part of Jeffboat in Jeffersonville. Jeffboat is the largest inland shipbuilder in the U.S.

In 1819 the first shipbuilding took place in Jeffersonville, and steamboats would become key to Jeffersonville's economy.[7] James Howard built his first steamboat in 1834 in Jeffersonville, named the Hyperion.[7] He established his ship building company in Jeffersonville that year but moved his business to Madison, Indiana in 1836 and remained there until 1844. Howard returned his business to the Jeffersonville area to its final location in Fort Fulton in 1849. In 1925 the United States Navy assumed control of the Howard Ship Yards until 1941, after Jeffersonville finally annexed Port Fulton.[13] During World War II, the shipyards built landing vessels such as the LST. It was later established as the Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Company, later simply known as Jeffboat, which still supports the local economy.[14] The history of shipbuilding in Jeffersonville is the focus of the Howard Steamboat Museum. There was an annual festival held on the second weekend in September called Steamboat Days, but lack of participation led to its demise.


On February 5, 2008 the city of Jeffersonville officially annexed four out of six planned annex zones.[15] The proposed annexation of the other two zones was postponed due to lawsuits. The areas annexed added about 5,500 acres (22.3 km2) to the city and about 4,500 citizens, raising the population to an estimated 33,100. The total area planned to be annexed is 7,800 acres (31.6 km2). The annexed areas receive planning and zoning, building permits and drainage issues services immediately, with new in-city sewer rates which are lower. Other services are being phased in such as police and fire and will work jointly with the pre-existing non-city services until they are available.[16] One of the other two areas remaining to be annexed is Oak Park, Indiana an area of about 5,000 more citizens.

The Clark County Courts dismissed the lawsuits against the city on February 25, 2008.[17] This dismissal brings the remaining Oak Park area into the city. The population of the city is now expected to be nearly 50,000 citizens and is the largest annexation in Jeffersonville's history.

Big Four Bridge Project[]

The Big Four Bridge as seen from Jeffersonville

In February 2011, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced that the two states, along with the City of Jeffersonville, would allocate $22 million in funding to complete the Big Four Bridge project– creating a pedestrian and bicycle path to link Louisville and Jeffersonville. Indiana will spend up to $8 million and the City of Jeffersonville will provide $2 million in matching funds to pay for construction of a ramp to the Big Four Bridge. Kentucky is pledging $12 million to replace the deck on the bridge and connect it to the spiral ramp that has been completed in Waterfront Park. The Big Four Bridge reopened to pedestrians and cyclists in June 2014.[18]

In July 2012, Jeffersonville City officials unveiled plans for a plaza, named "Big Four Station", costing approximately $3 million, that will surround the new ramp, to be completed in early 2013, from the Big Four pedestrian bridge. The plaza will include a covered playground, fountain, stage, pavilion and plenty of green space. The new plaza is expected to be finished by early 2014. [19] [20]


Jeffersonville is located at 38°17′44″N 85°43′53″W / 38.29556, -85.73139 (38.295669, -85.731485).[21]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.35 square miles (88.97 km2), of which 34.06 square miles (88.21 km2) is land and 0.29 square miles (0.75 km2) is water.[1]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 2,122
1860 4,020 89.4%
1870 7,254 80.4%
1880 9,357 29.0%
1890 10,666 14.0%
1900 10,774 1.0%
1910 10,412 −3.4%
1920 10,098 −3.0%
1930 11,946 18.3%
1940 11,493 −3.8%
1950 14,685 27.8%
1960 19,522 32.9%
1970 20,008 2.5%
1980 21,220 6.1%
1990 21,841 2.9%
2000 27,362 25.3%
2010 44,953 64.3%
Source: US Census Bureau

2010 census[]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 44,953 people, 18,580 households, and 11,697 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,319.8 inhabitants per square mile (509.6 /km2). There were 19,991 housing units at an average density of 586.9 per square mile (226.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.4% White, 13.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 18,580 households of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.0% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 37.3 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.2% were from 25 to 44; 27.5% were from 45 to 64; and 11.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

2000 census[]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 27,362 people, 11,643 households, and 7,241 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,014.7 people per square mile (777.9/km²). There were 12,402 housing units at an average density of 913.2 per square mile (352.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.50% White, 13.68% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.65% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.80% of the population.

There were 11,643 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.90.

The age distribution was 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,234, and the median income for a family was $45,264. Males had a median income of $32,491 versus $24,738 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,656. About 6.9% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.

Dining and bars[]

Mick's Lounge where Papa John's Pizza began

Jeffersonville has a mix of restaurants that range in popularity along the river front and downtown. The city is scattered with smaller scale bars, restaurants and fast food chains in areas such as Quartermaster Station in which the Town Hall is now located and other shopping centers.[22] Jeffersonville is most known for its being the birthplace of the national pizza chain Papa John's Pizza. The pizza chain started in Mick's Lounge, a local bar in Jeffersonville. Another restaurant chain that started in Jeffersonville is Rally's.

National Processing Center[]

Jeffersonville is home to the United States Bureau of the Census's National Processing Center, which is the bureau's primary center for collecting, capturing, and delivering data. The facility is one of southern Indiana's largest employers.[23]

Notable people[]

  • Jeffersonville is the birthplace of major league pitcher Walt Terrell, NFL wide receiver Jermaine Ross and professional wrestler Nick Dinsmore.
  • Musicians Travis Meeks of Days of the New and Duane Roland, a guitarist and founder of Molly Hatchet.
  • Former New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan spent part of his childhood in Jeffersonville and actress Natalie West lived in the city at one time.
  • Businessman John Schnatter graduated from Jeffersonville High School and started Papa John's in Jeffersonville.
  • Jeffersonville politician Richard B. Wathen represented the city in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1973-1990. Wathen Park and the Wathen Heights neighborhood are named after his family.
  • Evangelist William Branham lived in Jeffersonville for much of his life, and the Branham Tabernacle still stands on the corner of 8th and Penn Streets.
  • Musician Nicole Scherzinger lived in Louisville, Kentucky and attended a private, Catholic school briefly in Jeffersonville.
  • Admiral Jonas Ingram, Medal of Honor recipient and United States Atlantic Fleet commander during the later years of World War II, was born in Jeffersonville, and attended Jeffersonville High School for a short time prior to attending Culver Military Academy.

See also[]

  • Howard Steamboat Museum
  • List of cities and towns along the Ohio River
  • List of mayors of Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • Waterfront Park
  • Big Four Bridge


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Official History of Jeffersonville". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  8. ^ Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott, and Washington, Indiana. Chicago Printing Company. 1889. pp. 29. 
  9. ^ Life of Walter Quintin Gresham, 1832-1895 By Matilda Gresham (Rand, McNally & company 1919) page 23-23
  10. ^ a b c "Camp Joe Holt and Jefferson General Hospital Photographs, 1865, Collection Guide". Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  11. ^ "Jeffersonville Quartermaster Intermediate Depot - History and Functions". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  12. ^ "The German Prisoner of war camp in Indiana". Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. 
  13. ^ "The Howard Ship Yards & Dock Company". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  14. ^ "Clark County, Indiana - History". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  15. ^ Jeff absorbs 4 annexed areas (by Harold J. Adams) Courier Journal February 8, 2008
  16. ^ Parts of Jeffersonville annexation official (by David Mann) The Evening News February 8, 2008
  17. ^ Jeffersonville annexation challenge is rejected (Ben Zion Hershberg) Courier Journal February 26, 2008
  18. ^ "New Funds Will Complete Big Four Bridge Project". 
  19. ^ "Plans unveiled for Big Four plaza in Jeffersonville". July 20, 2012. 
  20. ^ "City of Jeffersonville along with the Estopinal Group unveiled its preliminary plans for Big Four Station.". July 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  22. ^ "Dining". City of Jeff. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  23. ^ "National Processing Center". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Jeffersonville, Indiana. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.