New Pekin, Indiana

New Pekin, Indiana
New Pekin, Indiana
—  Town  —
Location of New Pekin in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 38°30′13″N 86°0′53″W / 38.50361°N 86.01472°W / 38.50361; -86.01472Coordinates: 38°30′13″N 86°0′53″W / 38.50361°N 86.01472°W / 38.50361; -86.01472
Country United States
State Indiana
County Washington
Township Pierce, Polk
 – Total 2.4 sq mi (6.1 km2)
 – Land 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2)
 – Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 712 ft (217 m)
Population (2010)
 – Total 1,401
 – Density 571.4/sq mi (220.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
FIPS code 18-53388[1]
GNIS feature ID 0440094[2]

New Pekin is a town in Pierce and Polk townships, Washington County, Indiana, United States. The population was 1,401 at the 2010 census.



New Pekin is located at 38°30′13″N 86°0′53″W / 38.50361°N 86.01472°W / 38.50361; -86.01472 (38.503585, -86.014816)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), of which, 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (1.27%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,334 people, 529 households, and 365 families residing in the town. The population density was 571.4 people per square mile (221.1/km²). There were 571 housing units at an average density of 244.6 per square mile (94.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.28% White, 0.15% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.52% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.

There were 529 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,546, and the median income for a family was $34,938. Males had a median income of $26,739 versus $21,346 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,710. About 11.7% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.3% of those under age 18 and 18.4% of those age 65 or over.

Major ancestry groups reported by New Pekin residents include:

  • English - 11%
  • French - 2%
  • German - 18%
  • Hispanic - 1%
  • Irish - 17%
  • Italian - 1%
  • Scottish - 2%


The land for the town of New Pekin was first entered on August 25, 1818. The original town plat was made on December 23, 1883 by W. A. Graves. The town of New Pekin was incorporated in 1903 to provide funds to build and operate a school.

"Old" Pekin

On September 29, 1819, Isaac Davis entered section 30 in what was to become Polk Township. Several years later in 1831 Christian Bixler laid out the town of Pekin on the south side of Mutton Fork, Blue River.

Before 1831, there were several buildings at this location. As early as 1830 stage coaches were making regular runs between Jeffersonville and Salem. A wagon route between Salem and New Albany also passed through this area. Pekin was a staging stop where horses were watered and changed.

The town prospered until 1851 when the railroad was completed. The train station was built on the more level north side of Blue River. Businesses gradually migrated to the new location. In 1854 the County Commissioners declared the town vacant and the area became known as Old Pekin.

Fourth of July Celebration

The town of New Pekin claims the distinction of having the oldest consecutive Independence Day celebration in the United States of America. Pekin began celebrating Independence Day in the year 1830. Bristol, Rhode Island claims to have celebrated since 1785.

Not too many historical facts about the earliest celebrations exist. The information available comes from oral tradition. The first several celebrations were said to be neighborhood affairs. It is assumed that it did not stay that way for long. Many families lived in the surrounding townships and there were not many social activities.

Various sources recount that the celebration was held near Old Pekin from 1830 until 1856. Around 1857 the celebration was moved to near the Blue River where festivities were held until 1885. In either 1872 or 1873 the picnic was held at the farm of James Campbell where he had built a recreational area.

The fall of 1884 saw the completion of the fairgrounds. The following year (1885), the celebration was moved to the new fairgrounds. Many local residents did not agree with the celebration being moved there and held a second celebration at Tash Grove.

In 1909, the Gill brothers bought the southern part of the old fairgrounds. It became known as Gill's Grove. This became the present location of the Pekin Community Park, where the celebration has been held every year since.

Today the celebration consists of a fireworks display a parade, live bands, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, carnival, food vendors, a flea market, reading of the United States Declaration of Independence, prince & princess contest, Horseshoe Pitching Contest, a queen contest, cookouts and many other small celebrations around the town of Pekin.

Morgan's Raid

On July 11, 1863, while crossing Blue River near New Pekin, Captain William J. Davis of Morgan's Raid and some of his men were captured by 73rd Indiana Volunteers and a detachment of the 5th U.S. Regulars. Captain Davis and several other soldiers were taken to New Albany, Indiana and secured in the county jail.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  • New Albany Daily Ledger, July 13, 1863
  • American Legion Pekin Post 203, The. History of Pekin, Indiana (1959). The American Legion Pekin Post 203

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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