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Vigo County Bicentennial: the forgotten name of West Terre Haute

Tim Crumrin is a West Terre Haute native and local historian. He wrote a book on the history of Macksville, better known today as West Terre Haute.

Posted: Feb. 23, 2018 5:21 PM
Updated: Aug. 29, 2018 4:51 PM

WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Across the Wabash river a few miles outside Terre Haute lies its younger brother. Even though the sign into town says 1894 the town has been around longer than that.

Those who call this place home and a few others know its original name. One of these locals is Tim Crumrin.

"I grew up in West Terre Haute. I spent my first 25 years here and I became a historian because of my grandparents used to tell these most wonderful stories about growing up around here. My grandfather was a coal miner," said Crumrin.

Tim Crumrin is a West Terre Haute native and local historian. He wrote a book on the history of Macksville, better known today as West Terre Haute.

"West Terre Haute was originally named Macksville for the very simple reason that the man who planted the town and founded it was a man named Samual McQuilkin," said Crumrin.

The village was formed in 1836 and its placement on the map was on purpose. The town ran right through an upcoming national road reaching from the east and as far as Vandalia, Illinois to the west.

It would be a road that would bring thousands from all over America.

"One of McQuilkin's things one was he wanted to have the city right on the national road. So it was really the reason where West Terre Haute is where it is today," said Crumrin.

Now, of course, this road has changed a little bit since then but its route still runs right through town. After that Macksville only got bigger by digging deeper.

"The single key to West Terre Hautes, Macksville later West Terre Haute growth is one word. Coal, what they called black diamonds," said Crumrin.

Eventually, the town changed its name in 1894. At one point it was the fastest growing city in the nation until the 1950's.

From there the economy from the mines and other plants declined but those like Crumrin who still call this place home will always remember those who helped put it on the map.

"These are the people that are America and I think that needs to be restated all the time," said Crumrin.

If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about Crumrins book click here.

If you have a story idea you would like to be told about your township in Vigo county please call us at (812)232-9481 or email Garrett Brown at garrett.brown@wthitv.com with the subject titled: BICENTENNIAL IDEA 

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