When Did Merrillville, Indiana Become a City?

In 1971, Merrillville, Indiana officially became a city under the statue of the state of Indiana. This incorporation was voted on by a majority of Ross Township residents who lived within a certain border line that our founding fathers set up. The town's history dates back to 1835 when American settlers advanced west to northwest Indiana and Jeremiah Wiggins bought a claim just south of Turkey Creek, naming it Wiggins Point. The settlement was later renamed to Centerville due to its location in the county.

In 1848, the post office changed the name of the town to Merrillville in honor of Dudley and William Merrill. At the time, the town included a store, a blacksmith shop, a cheese factory, and the California Exchange Hotel. Railroads crossed Merrillville in 1876 (later the Chesapeake & Ohio) and in 1880 (Chicago & Grand Trunk), opening links to Chicago markets. The 31 square miles that span the city of Merrillville were once densely covered with forest and inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians.

Originally known as McGwinn Village, the town went through several name changes before being named Merrillville. During World War II, Merrillville was a typical Midwestern farming community. In 1957, Beverly Wells became the first black person to attend and graduate from Merrillville High School. A resident writes that in Gary, many communities became unofficial cities by sundown and that there were no blacks in Glen Park at night. The area outside Gary is still quite segregated. In 1971, Merrillville officially became a city under Indiana law.

The town has since grown into a thriving community with many businesses and attractions.

Josephine Halder
Josephine Halder

Award-winning travelaholic. Freelance twitter aficionado. Subtly charming student. Evil music practitioner. Hardcore coffee scholar. Wannabe social media advocate.