Tell City Indiana... A Little History
Tell City traces its 153 year old roots to a meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio in November, 1856. A group of Swiss - German immigrants met there to organize a society known as the "Swiss Colonization Society." Its purpose was to obtain affordable homesteads for mechanics, shopkeepers, factory workers and small farmers in a location where all could live in harmony.
The Society decided to purchase a tract of land three miles square to be surveyed into a city plat. The group, which was to purchase the land, was told to keep in mind a healthful climate, fertile soil, good water, ample timber, and a location near a navigable river and a railroad, if possible.
Purchase of such a site was made in July, 1857. The tract, containing 4,152 acres, was laid out in 392 town blocks with 7,328 building lots and 294 garden lots.
Before the settlers arrived, a name for the new town was selected. For a while it was called Helvetia (a poetic name for Switzerland). Soon afterward the name "Tell City" was substituted as it was easier for English-speaking people to remember and pronounce. It was named for the legendary Swiss hero and liberator -- Wilhelm Tell.
Indicative of the foresightedness of Tell City's founders are the wide streets. They are named for great persons of arts, letters, and science: Washington, Gutenberg, Pestalozzi, Humboldt, Fulton, Schiller, Tell, Mozart, Watt and others.