The city of Ligonier was founded in 1835 by Isaac Cavin, who built a settlement along the banks of the Elkhart River, in an area known as Strawberry Valley. He named the town after his hometown of Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
The town experienced slow growth until the railroad was constructed in 1852. At about the same time, Solomon Mier and Jacob Strauss, two Jewish immigrants from Prussia, settled in the area and other Jewish people began to follow. Between 1852 and 1866 the town's population grew from 50 to 1,100.
Following the Civil War, the town thrived and dozens of new businesses were opened. Mier and Strauss each owned banks, and had some of the largest real estate holdings in the Midwest. By 1900, about 300 of Ligonier's 2,000 inhabitants were Jewish, and the town had become known as "Little Jerusalem."
As the younger generation of Jewish settlers began to grow up however, they looked to larger cities like Detroit and Chicago for schooling and business opportunities and by 1940, most of the Jewish influence was gone. The last Jewish resident died in 1985. Like many small towns, Ligonier waned in the new era of easy transportation following World War II.
In 1952, a group of local businessmen formed an industrial development committee, and began transforming Ligonier into an industrial city. Today, the city boasts a large industrial park, with several large employers. In fact, there are enough jobs to cover every man, woman, and child in the city.
Ligonier continues to be a safe, thriving town with a low crime rate and outstanding public utilities, as well as respected police and fire departments.
The City of Ligonier has a rich history which matches the beauty of the City and the spirit of its people. Ligonier is a hidden jewel of the State of Indiana and we hope you enjoy your visit here.