History of Plymouth, Indiana

...and what a fine history it is!

By a treaty with the Potowatomi Indians in 1826, a strip of land was ceded to the United States government on which to build a road that was to connect the Ohio River and Lake Michigan by way of the present day cities of Indianapolis, Plymouth, South Bend and Michigan City. This road was called the Michigan Road; in Plymouth, it is known as Michigan Street.

Plymouth was undoubtedly named by William Polk, who seems to have been the leading spirit in securing its location. Col. Polk was one of the most distinguished men in northern Indiana and the first to blaze the way to civilization in this part of the state.

Plymouth was incorporated as a town, February, 1851, with a population of 600. The corporation was changed to a city in 1873 when the increase in population was sufficient. In May of that year, Horace Corbin was elected the first mayor. All the records of Plymouth's first organization as a town were burned in a fire of 1857. In 1888 electric lights were installed for public and private use. The same year a system of water works was put in which was badly needed for the citizens' use and for fire protection.

Some of the first businesses were Lauer's Men Store, Bosworth's and in 1926, Montgomery Ward opened a "Merchandise Exhibit" in Plymouth.

The first building to serve as a courthouse was a small house on the corner of Adams and Michigan Streets. In 1840, the first courthouse to be built by the county was erected on the Courthouse Square. This building served until the completion of the present courthouse in 1872. The first jail was completed in 1938 on the southwest corner of the Courthouse Square. The two-story jail was built of hewn logs. Interestingly, there was no door on the first floor; entrance was on the second floor. A trap door was built in the floor of the upper story to let the prisoners down into the lower level for safe keeping. The building served until 1879 when a brick jail was built.

Politics played an important part in the life of the citizens of Plymouth. When a person died, his obituary would usually include the political party to which he belonged. Political feelings ran so high that a newspaper that advocated one political party would not print the obituary of a citizen of the opposite party.

In 1854, a schoolhouse was built on the ground designated for a seminary. When the old Washington School was built on this lot in 1874, the first building was sold, moved to the river at the east end of Washington Street and made into a flour mill, known as "The Eureka Mills." Several years later it caught on fire and was destroyed. When the Lincoln High School was erected in 1924, Washington School became an elementary school.

In the early part of the 20th century, the area know known as Centennial Park at the north edge of Plymouth was a fair ground. In 1973, fifty-seven acres across the river were added to the park and were joined to the original by a covered bridge. Magnetic Park, located along Yellow River, was developed in the 1930's. Through the Works Project Administration of the federal government, a club house was built in the park that is still used for many activities today.

The city of Plymouth is governed by a mayor, clerk-treasurer and city council. There are several boards to oversee special responsibilities of the city such as water and sanitation department, park board, plan commission, police, fire and cemetery departments.

In the late 1950's, a group of citizens felt that employment within the city of Plymouth should be developed. The Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation, PIDCO for short, was formed. The purpose was to secure land to build buildings and rent them to new companies, or to loan money to new companies if they would locate in Plymouth. Some of the earlier companies were: Bomarko, Young Door, Panelcraft and MidAmerica Containers. Many new jobs have been provided for Marshall County people through the efforts of PIDCO which is still growing and attracting new businesses to the Plymouth area.