Jeffersonville, Indiana Homes For Sale

About Jeffersonville, Indiana

Jeffersonville is a city in Clark County, Indiana, along the Ohio River. Locally, the city is often referred to by the abbreviated name Jeff. It is directly across the Ohio River to the north of Louisville, Kentucky along I-65.


In 1786 Fort Finney was situated where the Kennedy Bridge is today to protect the area from Indians, and a settlement grew around the fort. The fort was renamed in 1791 to Fort Steuben in honor of Baron von Steuben. In 1793 the fort was abandoned. Precisely when the settlement became known as Jeffersonville is unclear, but it was probably around 1801, the year in which President Thomas Jefferson took office.[7] In 1802 local residents used a grid pattern designed by Thomas Jefferson for the formation of a city.[8]On September 13, 1803, a post office was established in the city. In 1808 Indiana's second federal land sale office was established in Jeffersonville, which initiated a growth in settling in Indiana that was further spurred by the end of the War of 1812.

Shortly after formation, Jeffersonville was named to be the county seat of Clark County in 1802, replacing Springville. In 1812 Charlestown was named the county seat, but the county seat returned to Jeffersonville in 1878, where it remains.[7]

In 1813 and 1814 Jeffersonville was briefly the de facto capital of the Indiana Territory, as then-governor Thomas Posey disliked then-capital Corydon, and wanting to be closer to his personal physician in Louisville, decided to live in Jeffersonville. However, it is debated by some that Dennis Pennington had some involvement to his location to Jeffersonville.[9] The territorial legislature remained in Corydon and communicated with Posey by messenger.

In 1825, General Lafayette visited Jeffersonville on his United States tour.[10]

Civil War

The Civil War increased the importance of Jeffersonville, as the city was one of the principal gateways to the South during the war, due to its location directly opposite Louisville. It was served by three railroads from the north and had the waterway of the Ohio River. This factor influenced its selection as one of the principal bases for supplies and troops for the Union Army. Operating in the South, the Louisville and Nashville Railroadfurnished the connecting link between Louisville and the rest of the South. Camp Joe Holt[11] was instrumental in keeping Kentucky within the Union. The third largest Civil War hospital, Jefferson General Hospital was located in nearby Port Fulton (now within Jeffersonville) from 1864–1866,[11] as it was close to the river and Louisville. The original land was seized by the federal government from the Honorable Jesse D. Bright, United States Senator, a sympathizer of the Confederate cause.[11] During the war it housed 16,120 patients in its 5,200 beds and was under the command of Dr. Middleton Goldsmith. A cemetery was built for fallen soldiers down the hill, but the wooden grave markers had decayed by 1927, causing the Jeffersonville city council to build a ball field over the cemetery, and not bothering to move the graves, located on Crestview Avenue. The Jeffersonville Quartermaster Intermediate Depot had its first beginning in the early days of the Civil War, near its present location.

The Ohio Falls Car & Locomotive Company was founded at Jeffersonville on 1 June 1864. Jeffersonville is immediately across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, near what is known as the "Falls of the Ohio," and it is apparently from this geographic that the company took its name. It was likely started because during this last full year of the Civil War, inflation was rampant and the price of a boxcar that before the war had sold for $450 – 500 had risen to $1,000 – 1,200. Jeffersonville was the location of an significant quartermaster supply depot and an important gateway to the South.

The company appears to have gone through bankruptcy early on.

In 1866, Joseph White Sprague (1831-1900) was asked by the stockholders to take over management of the bankrupt company. He had been engineer on the enlargement of the Erie Canal from 1854 to 1858, second assistant engineer on the New York canals from 1858 to 1862, then civil engineer on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad.

Sprague believed in standardization; his firm was soon offering standard box cars, flat cars and hopper cars. According to White,(64) Ohio Falls' advertisement in the 1868 Ashcroft Railway Directory stated they had cars on hand ready for immediate delivery. They maintained ten of each type of car ready for lettering and delivery in 24 hours. The company maintained another 120 cars framed up, and could deliver these completed at a rate of from 12 to 20 per week. They had a stock of streetcars ready for lettering, and passenger car bodies ready for trucks and interior trimmings of the buyer's choice. They guaranteed high quality and fast delivery.

The records that would tell how successful this program was apparently no longer exist, as White—backed by the resources of the Smithsonian Institution—was unable to find them. Every railway seemed to have its own idea of car design, and ready-made cars would necessarily be of Ohio Falls' design. "Standardization," as such, was 50 years off.

The company's shops burned to the ground in 1872, and Sprague built a new series of shops. But before the company could get going again, the financial panic of 1873 severely reduced the railroads' purchase of new cars. The shops were closed for more than two years, and the firm apparently went through a second bankruptcy.

In 1876 the company was reorganized as the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company. It built most types of railroad cars, including electric street cars, and passenger cars for the up-and-coming narrow gauge railroads.

Among the first narrow gauge cars built by Ohio Falls were excursion cars for a Kentucky railroad. These tiny cars weighed less than seven tons and seated 64, but would carry as many as 125.

It is unknown whether there was another reorganization between 1876 and 1887, but the name Ohio Falls Car Co. is listed under "Car Builders" in 1877 edition, Poor's Directory of Railway Officials.

When Sprague retired in 1888, Ohio Falls was one of the largest and most profitable of the car builders. By 1892 it employed more than 2,300, and its sales soon reached $3 million worth of cars annually. In 1898 its net earnings reached $220,000 and holders of preferred stock received a 14 percent dividend.

Whether it was ever successful in selling ready-made cars or not, Ohio Falls continued its commitment to the idea. In 1896 it surveyed the industry, asking what a 30-ton boxcar measured or "ought" to measure. It published its results early the next year,(65) but nothing ever came of the effort, because in 1899, the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company was one of the 13 independent car builders that merged to form the American Car & foundry Company.

The Jeffersonville plant specialized in freight cars, passenger cars and associated parts. An adjacent foundry produced castings and chilled iron wheels.

During World War I, the Jeffersonville plant produced escort wagons, wagon wheels and nose forgings for shells for the U.S. Army. It also produced up to 20,000 shirts a day. It also developed the first rolling kitchen and the Phillips packsaddle, a large, steel-framed and heavily padded structure designed to let mules carry howitzer components or other heavy loads.

Production of railroad cars declined during the 1920s, and the Jeffersonville plant was closed in 1930. It was reopened during World War II to supply various castings and shell forgings to other ACF plants, but was closed again in 1945. The former plant buildings are now occupied by a number of businesses known collectively as Water Tower Place.


By 1870, 17% of Jeffersonville residents were foreign-born, mostly from Germany. During the 1920s, Jeffersonville was a popular gathering place for the Ku Klux Klan, as Louisville and New Albany had strong anti-Klan laws and Jeffersonville did not. Gambling in the 1930s and 1940s was instrumental in Jeffersonville's recovery from the Great Depression and the Flood of 1937. Casinos, betting parlors, night clubs, and even a dog track were present, giving the town the nickname "Little Las Vegas". After a New Albany businessman was gunned down, public sentiment turned against gambling. On January 2, 1948, Indiana State Police raided every casino in the city before the operators could warn each other, and the judge who had devoted the past nine years to eliminating gambling from Jeffersonville, James L. Bottorff, ensured that the equipment was confiscated and the money at the casinos given to charity. This may have played a factor in keeping Jeffersonville residents from voting to approve riverboat gambling in the 1990s. In 2006, riverboat gambling was approved, but for the return of gambling to occur the Indiana State legislature would either have to approve an additional riverboat, or one of the existing riverboats in Indiana would have to relocate to Jeffersonville; presumably, it would be one of the three currently serving the Cincinnatimarket.

During World War II, the Quartermaster Depot, in conjunction with Fort Knox, Kentucky housed German prisoners of war until 1945. Now the Depot is used as a shopping center.[12][13

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 44,953 people, 18,580 households, and 11,697 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,319.8 inhabitants per square mile (509.6/km2). There were 19,991 housing units at an average density of 586.9 per square mile (226.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.4% White, 13.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 18,580 households of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.0% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 37.3 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.2% were from 25 to 44; 27.5% were from 45 to 64; and 11.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

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About Jeffersonville, Indiana

City Hall in the Quadrangle Complex

Nearby Listings

Listing information provided courtesy of the Southern Indiana Realtors Association. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use, and it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. The data is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS.

Updated: 18th February, 2020 5:17 AM.