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History of Fishers, Indiana

Fishers, located in Hamilton County northeast of Indianapolis, is home to Conner Prairie, one of the best known living history museums in the United States. This museum showcases life during three different periods of the 19th century. The land housing the present day museum originally belonged to William Conner, the first permanent white settler of the region, who arrived in 1802 and established a trading post along the banks of the White River. With the establishment of the trading post more settlers arrived. The original inhabitants of the region, the Delaware Indians, had to surrender their lands to the United States government following the Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818. At a later period, in 1872, a large portion of the land was purchased by a person named Salathial Fisher. He laid the foundation of the town and platted it as Fisher's Switch. Following the platting, the new town got its post office the same year. The town was later incorporated in 1891 by Indiana's General Assembly. The post office dropped the apostrophe from the town’s name and named it Fishers Switch. The ‘switch’ was dropped in 1908 and the town received its present name, Fishers. The first effort to conserve the origins of the town was made in 1927, when the Hamilton County Historical Society placed a marker on the site of the William Conner farm. This farm was purchased by Eli Lilly, the founder of the present day pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, in 1934. The old houses and artifacts were restored under the new ownership. Conner Prairie was thus born. Fishers saw lots of development activities in the 20th century. The Geist Reservoir was constructed in 1943. A zoning and master plan for the town was adopted in 1972. Interstate 69, which passed through the town, was completed in 1973. These developments led to the growth of the town and an exponential rise in its population. An attempt to convert Fishers into a city was thwarted in 1998, when the citizens voted against it. To meet the needs of the growing population, St. Vincents Fisher Hospital opened in 2000. Fishers experienced an accelerated population growth after 2000, owing to which a special census had to be taken in 2004. The census showed a population of 52,390, which represents a massive 38 percent increase over the figures of 2000. The Indiana Transportation Museum, home of the Nickel Plate Steam Locomotive No. 587, is in nearby Noblesville.