As the county seat, Tell City boasts the largest population in Perry County with approximately 7,200 (2013 census) residents. Tell City was recently recognized among the top 2.5% of all non-metro towns in the nation by BOOM CITY USA. The recognition is bestowed on communities for excellent achievement and offerings in the area of healthcare, education, recreation, culture, taxes, cost of living, crime rate, environment, climate, and access to major transportation routes. All of this adds up to a great place for families to call home.
Although the smallest city in the state, Cannelton looms large in history and heritage. The city was already well-established when Tell City was founded in 1858. Cannelton was settled in 1837 by employees of the American Cannel Coal Company, who came to the area to mine coal. Known as “Coal Haven” at the time, the small mining town suffered a devastating fire in 1839. A few homes held on, the community rebuilt and was platted as Cannelburg in 1841, but it was officially named Cannelton in 1844.
The city is continuing that momentum with a grant-funded study of its downtown, with an eye toward development. City leaders have prioritized their efforts on moving forward such as a new walkway along the Ohio River that was constructed just a couple of years ago. In the heart of the city, a community center serves as home to community activities and the Cannelton High School Bulldogs. The City is also home to the oldest continuously operating public elementary school in the nation.
Cannelton’s Indiana Cotton Mill is a recognized National Historic Landmark. The mill is now an award-winning 70-unit apartment complex under the management of Lincoln Hills Development Corp. The community also contains the Cannelton Historic District, as well as the former Perry County Courthouse, which now houses a museum highlighting the county’s past. In addition, the historic St. Michael Catholic and St. Luke Episcopal churches overlook the community as well as several other churches serving Cannelton residents.
Indiana’s second-oldest community, the riverside town of Troy, is one of the three incorporated towns in Perry County. As legend has it, the town was named after a Native American maiden who reminded an early 1800s settler of the famous Helen of Troy.
It was named the county seat April 1, 1816, where officials handled the affairs of Perry County, which included current Perry and Spencer counties; however, the courthouse was moved to Rome in November 1818.
Troy’s early businesses included brick makers, a brewery, a chair company, newspaper, coal mines, and potteries and, where the Perry County Public Library Tell City branch has a collection of pottery made in Troy.
A locally well-known landmark statue, Christ of the Ohio, is located in the town at Fulton Hill, and overlooks the river. A rest area is located along Indiana 66 just west of Troy in Spencer County known as Lincoln Ferry Park, where a young Abraham Lincoln would ferry goods and peoples to boats/steamers waiting in the middle of the Ohio River.
Unincorporated Perry County Communities
Originally known as Bridgeport, this northern Perry County town was founded in 1848 near a covered bridge, later demolished, over the Anderson River.
The community was named in 1861 after the first postmaster, Andrew Adye, but the post office is no longer open. In 1873, the town was laid out in 18 lots. Today, several homes and farms form the Adyeville community.
Anderson Woods, a summer camp for disabled youngsters and adults, is located east of the town and provides several weeks of activities during the summer.
Located between Bristow and St. Croix, little remains of this community but residents still use the name to designate homes and farms in the area.
Apalona Road, which passes where the town store once stood, is a major east-west connector road in the county. The town also had a post office and dance hall. The post office closed in 1958.
Bandon is located on Old Indiana 37 in north-central Perry County near the Branchville Correctional Facility. This small community of several homes boasts a tavern and was once home to many Belgian immigrants.
Surrounded by towering cliffs, Branchville is one of the more picturesque towns in the county. It is located less than two miles east of the Branchville Correctional Facility and about four miles from Perry Central Community School.
Originally known as Oil Creek, Branchville was settled between 1810 and 1813. It currently has a conservation club, a Masonic lodge and church.
The largest community in northwest Perry County, Bristow lies along Indiana 145 on the banks of the once-navigable east fork of the Anderson River. Several roads from the east and west flow into the community and lead to St. Meinrad, Kitterman Corner and Apalona. Several churches are located in and around town. The town is home to an annual classic-car show that draws hundreds of entries – and thousands of visitors – each autumn as part of the Hoosier Heritage Fall Tour.
Located four miles east of Cannelton, Deer Creek was once a thriving farm community with its own post office, churches, schools, store and dance hall. All have since disappeared, except a marina, restaurant and store, which stand at the mouth of Deer Creek on the Ohio River.
Several new homes are being constructed in the area by residents and newcomers who are drawn to the water. The marina and surrounding campsites are a popular summer hangout for many locals and visiting families. Several homes stand along Indiana 166 southeast of the store, in a tiny community known as Dodd.
Located at the intersection of Indiana’s 70 and 66, the quaint community of Derby was platted in November 1835. Although many of the original lots have been lost to the Ohio River, Derby remains a bustling community, home to a number of new homes and cabins, such as Ohio River Cabins, many of them taking advantage of beautiful river views.
The community is a popular destination for visitors wanting to fish the Ohio River, and nearby creeks; hunt game, camp, or hike in local woods; or simply enjoy the scenery. Several new homes have been constructed in the Derby area, many of them affording views of the Ohio River. The river and nearby creeks are popular with anglers as well as recreational boaters.
A tavern, Hoosier National Forest fishing lake, rental cabins, a fire station, and a post office are located in or near the town, as is a boat-rental business and boat ramp. Recently, Derby opened the newly constructed Derby Community Center next to Mulzer’s Park—a community-driven project initiated by the Derby Association—to host receptions and other events for as many as 200 people.
The community hosts several annual events such as Derby’s RiverFest, packed with various events including the tractor pull, the popular river duck race, beauty pageants, talent show, vendor flea market, 5k race, and food concessions. Other annually-hosted events are Bow-fishing Tournament and Jeep Poker-runs to name a new.
Only a few homes and a former school building remain in this small farming community located along Indiana 66 north east of Derby.
The Dexter Post Office opened in 1870, and remained open until 1948.
Dexter was once known throughout the county as the home of a strong semi-pro baseball team.
Located north of Interstate 64 near the Crawford County line, Doolittle Mills was founded in the early 1800s. Numerous mills owned by the Doolittle family sprung up around town, lending the community its name.
For many years, Doolittle Mills bustled with people traveling to and from the town of Eckerty and its rail station. It boasted a saloon, grocery stores, blacksmith shop and post office. Today, it consists of a church and a cluster of homes.
A new stretch of Indiana 37 has opened up in the area to development and provides quick access to points north including English and French Lick.
Located just off Indiana’s Old State Road 37 in the central part of the county, Gatchel is a small community with an automotive garage, tractor dealership and the Lilly Dale Church of Christ with access to Saddle Lake Recreation Area— a primitive campground, a boat ramp for the lake and a hiking trail within the Hoosier National Forest.
Only a few homes remain in the area known as Gerald, located on Gerald Road southwest of Derby. Cliffs in the area often form spectacular scenery during winter.
Called Possum Junction by many in the county, this small community is located at the junction of Indiana 62 and 145. It is located just south of Indiana 145’s intersection with Interstate 64.
One of the larger communities in central Perry County, Leopold was founded by French-speaking Belgian immigrants in 1842. Originally known as Chapel Place, it is situated around St. Augustine Catholic Church. There is a statue in the church that has historical significance as well as religious interest. Only two other such statues are in existence. The original one is a village church in the Duchy of Luxemburg, Belgium and the other in Carey, Ohio. The statues in Carey and in Leopold’s St. Augustine Church are exact replicas of the original famed state, “Our Lady of Consolation” in Belgium.
The statue in Leopold church represents a sacred vow made by three young men from the town, Henry Devillez, Lambert Rogier and Isadore Naviaus. During the Civil War, while being held in the notorious Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia, these three young men made a vow that if they were released and would reach home they would return to their native land of Luxemburg, Belgium and have a replica of the state and have it brought back to America and enshrined in St. Augustine’s church.
At one time, Leopold had a high school which, along with most other county schools, was consolidated into Perry Central Community School in 1967, where the original schoolhouse is also located. The Perry Central School Corporation is located just northwest of Leopold at Old Indiana 37 and French Ridge Road.
The town currently contains a post office, general store, tavern, Central Perry Volunteer Fire Department firehouse and a vehicle-repair business. A small park sits near Leopold’s center and serves as home to numerous activities, including town fundraisers and a Christmas parade the first Sunday in December.
Founded in 1848 as Rono, this small river town took the name Magnet in 1898. A popular restaurant is located in the village and a number of homes and cabins are springing up along the river – many of them taking advantage of breathtaking river vistas. An annual fireworks show is a popular event in Magnet.
The town at one time contained a booming slaughterhouse, which explains the name of nearby Buzzard Roost overlook. Vultures gathered on the point to feed on remains left by the slaughterhouse.
On August 21, 1865, the steamboat, USS Argosy (Number 3) was returning Union soldiers of the 70th Ohio Infantry home via the Ohio River. The steamer was forced aground by a storm. Her boilers exploded and caused ten fatalities. They were buried in a mass grave one half mile from Magnet (then called Rono). Ten grave makers were raised at the site.
Local historian Bert Fenn discovered information that suggested one of the ten who was supposedly buried in the grave may have actually lived until arriving in Louisville, where he died. This could explain why one of the soldiers buried in the grave is an unknown soldier.
The Civil War Memorial Grave historical marker at the site was erected by the Indiana Civil War Centennial Commission in 1965.
Located eight miles east of Cannelton, Millstone—a cluster of homes and small farms—was in the nation’s spotlight March 17, 1960, when a Northwest Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed into a soybean field near the community, killing all 63 passengers and crew aboard. The Cannelton Kiwanis Club erected a monument to commemorate the accident.
The former Millstone School was moved last year to the Shubael Little Pioneer Village near Rocky Point. There, it is preserved as a reminder of the one-room schools that served the county for many generations and is now open to the public as a local attraction.
Settled in the 1800s by French immigrants, Mount Pleasant now consists of only a few homes. A post office was established at Mount Pleasant in 1869, and remained in operation until 1943.It is located in northeastern Perry County on Indiana 66. The area is on a popular route for drivers and motorcyclists, especially during fall months.
A post office was established at Oriole in 1890, and remained in operation until 1967. The community was named after the New World Oriole—a local bird native to the area.
Once a bustling rural community with several businesses serving local farmers, this far-northeastern Perry County town now consists of a cluster of homes along Indiana 66. Access points to the Hoosier National Forest are located nearby.
This small river town was Perry County’s second county seat from 1818 to 1859. Rome was first established as Washington. The name was changed to Franklin before finally settling on Rome in 1819. From that year until 1859, Rome was the second county seat of Perry County, after Troy. The Rome Courthouse was built in 1819 to mimic the first Indiana Capitol in Corydon. The small town located in the Hoosier National Forest was the home of former, and late, Indiana governor Edgar Whitcomb, during the final years of his life.
Rome is centered around the courthouse building, which is currently used as a focal point for various town and county festivals, such as the Dogwood Tour. For more information about the Rome Courthouse, visit http://romeindianacourthouse.com/
The town enjoyed about 40 years of prosperity in its heyday as county seat, and contained a saloon, general stores, drug store, distillery, mill and hotel. Today, a church, post office, fire department, Masonic lodge and several homes make up the town.
The town was founded by Catholic missionaries in 1855. St. Croix Catholic Church was built in 1882 but the parish roots go back 150 years. St. Croix (French for Holy Cross) is located at the intersection of Indiana 37 and 62, just south of Interstate 64.
Phil Etienne’s Timber Harvest, a wood mill, is located just outside of St. Croix and a new convenience store and restaurant offer services to residents and travelers. Landscaping improvements were completed in 2011 at the interstate interchange, creating a welcoming northern “front door” to visitors.
Located on Indiana 145 north of Tell City, the community of St. Marks was settled by German-speaking immigrants in 1847.
One of the town’s early grocery stores was converted into a Catholic church in 1860. St. Mark Catholic Church was built in 1868 and has been the focal point of the community ever since. The former Catholic school building is used as a community center for local gatherings such as family reunions and the parish rectory is used as an office and for meetings.
Settled in 1869 by immigrants, Siberia is centered around its Catholic parish, St. Martin of Tours.
Originally named Sabaria, the US Post Office misread the application for the town’s post office, instead calling the new community Siberia. A cluster of homes remain, surrounded by woodland and fields.
Resting in the large horseshoe bend of the Ohio River in the southernmost reaches of the county, Tobinsport contains two churches and a smattering of homes, cabins, and recreational campgrounds.
The area around the town has long been an agricultural center with fertile bottom farms. Indiana 166 terminates in Tobinsport across the Ohio River from Cloverport, Kentucky. A ferry crossing the Ohio connected the two towns from 1802 to 1943.
Numerous Revolutionary War veterans are buried in Lamb Cemetery east of the community. Charles Polke, one of the signers of the Indiana Constitution, is buried there and was recently honored at a ceremony.
Foster’s Ridge Christian Church, originally built in 1889, is the center of this community, which once boasted its own busy post office.
In those days, most small communities had post offices, grocery stores and gas stations. Located along Indiana 62 in Clark Township, a few scattered homes remain.
Winzerwald Winery, Perry County’s first commercial winery, is located in the area and overlooks Interstate 64.