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Here’s the straight-up data on Coatesville, Indiana.
- Plotted: A few years prior to the Civil War, the first “official” plots of land were settled in Coatesville. There was a small village for several decades before that, when it became more town than village.
- Location: Putnam County - 27 miles west of Indianapolis – just off U.S. 40, The National Road.
- Population: 548 (estimated) And no, they don’t like to use the term “548 people, eighteen cows, two goats and a chicken.”
- Families: Coatesvillians like to settle down, buy a home and raise a family, with the majority of residents (68%) married.
- Income: Median family income is $47,000, right around average for central Indiana, but few below the poverty level.
- Commuting: 95% drive to work. It’s a small town without a lot of jobs in town. We’ll assume the others walk out the back door and start working?
Some towns are all about straight-up data. Not Coatesville. Coatesville is small, mellow and proud of it. People come to Coatesville because life is simpler there. It’s a quiet, front-porch kind of town – family-focused and full of life. Of course, if you want the big city amenities, “Indy” is just a half-hour down the road.
And for a small town, Coatesville also has a number of stories to tell.
Why settle a town in the middle of central Indiana, nowhere nears a river or main road? One word: railroad (or is it two words – rail road?). The Pennsylvania Railroad came through the area in the 1850s and apparently needed a place to stop for snacks and a restroom break.
Word has it that the area had been known as West Milton and even Chizzletown prior to a time when Henry Coates donated some land to the town. In appreciation, the townfolk named it after him. An early “sponsorship” deal, perhaps?
Residents tell stories of two local tragedies.
One, in January 1895, was a passenger train that derailed on the edge of town. Two were kilt and another dozen or more seriously injured. Without a hospital nearby, the injured stayed in a number of local homes until they were well enough to move on again. There’s no word on whether any of the injured were fancy, high-falootin’ folks from the East.
A tornado ripped through town on Good Friday in 1948. And ripped through is the word. Much of the town was destroyed, with 14 dead and dozens injured. Need we say that tornados are no longer welcome in Coatesville.
Today Coatesville is home to the manufacturing of Dixie Chopper ZTR lawn tractors. Dixie Chopper, you ask? Only the best. Beginning in 1980, Dixie Chopper has led the way in revolutionizing the lawn and garden industry. Family-started, family-owned, family-operated, Dixie Choppers have a reputation for performance, productivity and reliability. According to their corporate website, "One driving value we have is to produce a mower that has many years of useable life left after it is paid for. Dixie Chopper may not be the first mower you have ever purchased, but chances are it will be the last."
Another interesting point about Coatesville is the local historical home, “Rising Hall.” Located just west of town along U.S. 40, this is a beautiful Italianate home built in 1872 by Melville F. McHaffie. McHaffie earned some of the $2,500 it took to build this home by providing the Union Army with mules during the Civil War. McHaffie received a commendation from President Lincoln for his efforts. Later, the farm was a breeding and training facility for race horses. Word has it that the famous Dan Patch trained on the farm early in the 20th century. Today, this private, beautifully restored home is an excellent example of the era, owned by the Prosser family.
Looking for that quiet place to raise a family? Take a gander at Coatesville.
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