Owen County is made up of a land mass of 385.2 square miles within three square miles of lakes, ponds, creeks and rivers. The county is roughly 23 miles wide and 22 miles long.
Owen County was named after Abraham Owen who served as colonel and as aide-decamp to General William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe, where he was killed in 1811.
The county is made of 13 townships each governed by a Township Trustee and three-member Advisory Board.
Owen County has no cities. Two towns, Gosport and Spencer, are governed by three-member Town Councils. Towns do not have mayors.
The county has two public school systems. Spencer-Owen Community Schools consists of 10 of the county's 13 townships. Three northern townships (Jackson, Jennings, and Taylor) are part of the Cloverdale Community School system, based in Putnam County.
The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, the collection of revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.
A seven-member county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection is the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.
The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge of the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.
The county has several other elected officials, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serve terms of four years and oversee different parts of the county government. Members elected to any county government position are required to declare a party affiliation and be a resident of the county.
Twenty entities operating within the county have budgetary and tax levying power. They are the county, two towns, two school systems, a library system, a redevelopment commission and 13 townships.
A point in Clay Township, southeastern Owen County, was designated by U.S.Census officials as the Center of Population, U.S.A. following the 1920 Census. The exact point is no longer marked. It is almost due west of the village of Whitehall, the actual spot being north latitude 39-10-21; west longitude 86-43-15. It lies approximately 150 feet west of the east line of Section 34, and approximately 2,930 feet south of State Road 43. Population following the first U.S. Census in 1820 was 838.
As of the census of 2010, there were 21,575 people, and 8,371 households residing in the county. The population density was 56 people per square mile. In 2007 Owen County.
The highest point in Owen County is about a mile south of Quincy, which it is 934 feet above sea level. The lowest, is the southwest part of the county, where the combined Fulk, Lick and Beech Creek gathering crosses from Owen into Greene County. It is 504 feet above sea level at that point. The county therefore varies in elevation by some 430 feet. The courthouse lawn in Spencer is about 60 feet or so higher than the lowest point in the county, but is about 70 feet below the surface level of Cataract Lake when it's at normal stage. A plate on the north side of the courthouse lists the elevation at that point as about 566 feet.
Remote areas of Owen County are easily accessible by roughly (no pun intended) 700 miles of county roads. In addition to county roads, there are in Owen County some 85 to 90 miles of state and federal roads, including State Roads 42, 43, 46, 67 157, 243, 246 and U.S. 231. This does not include street and alley miles in Spencer and Gosport. Interstate 70 is just a stone's throw north of the Owen / Putnam county line.
Owen County is within commuting distance of three major cities: Bloomington to the east, Terre Haute to the west and Indianapolis to the northeast.
Spencer is the County Seat. In the 2010 Census, Spencer had a population of 2,217.
The county is "bounded" (clockwise starting north) by Putnam, Morgan, Monroe, Greene & Clay counties.
Owen County observes Eastern Standard Time.
This information was compiled in partnership with our friends at the Spencer Evening World.