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.