Many buildings from the 19th century still stand in Metamora today.

Looking from Columbia St. south toward Main St. c.1908(?)


        Settlers were living in the area that is now Metamora as early a 1811, when the land became available for purchase.  Prior to the twelve mile purchase of 1809, this land was still reserved for the Native Americans, though traders and frontier families where already locating outside of official boundaries in the fertile river valley.  In the north central portion of  the current day Metamora township, the town of Metamora is located on the West Fork of the Whitewater River, and is a surrounded by rolling hills and tillable bottomland.

As a direct result of the proposed route of the Whitewater Canal, Metamora was platted in 1838 by David Mount and William Holland. It’s name was given to it by Mrs. John Watson, after the hero of a popular play of the time, Chief Metamora. The canal construction was completed through Metamora in the fall of 1843. The water power provided by the locks offered opportunities for a series of mills operating in Metamora, many of which met their demise by fire. A shipping business, tannery and other enterprises also operated out of Metamora during the canal era. Its location was of benefit to it during the railroad era, and it had it’s own depot.

In 1910, its population was 588, its establishments where as follows; 3 general stores, a confectionary, 1 hardware, 1 drug store, a bank, 2 barber shops, a blacksmith, an undertaker, a stock dealer, 1 hotel, 1 steam sawmill, a coal dealer, a mill, a public hall, 2 churches, an attorney and a Post office.

In the early 1930’s, the road that is now US #52 was rerouted north of town, which helped to preserve many of the older buildings. By the late 1930’s, Metamora, had a population of 250, a mill still in operation and a canning factory, four stores, one garage, a service station and a few smaller businesses. In the early

In 1947, the Indiana Department of Conservation proposed restorations along the Whitewater Canal between Laurel and Brookville, which would eventually develop into the Whitewater Canal State Historic site in Metamora.

By the late 1960’s the Indiana DNR had restored the mill and brought a reconstructed canal boat into town for tours. Metamora has 21 buildings on the National Register of Historic buildings, and is unique in that it offers 5 modes of transportation on its main street. Today, Metamora is a tourist destination, where visitors can experience a glimpse of life in a small 19th century canal town.


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