Washington County, Ind.: Large county known for history, outdoor adventure

The Salem Speedway, a paved oval motor racetrack, roars to life with upwards of 15 special events each year.

With 514 square miles, Washington County, Ind., is larger than Louisville but smaller than Jefferson County. Located 35 miles northwest of Louisville, the area is attractive to businesses, business owners, residents and tourists. Nature lovers have plenty of choices, including the 1.4-mile Veterans Trail at Lake Salinda; the 300-acre Lake John Hay in the community of Rush Creek Valley for fishing or boating; and the 326 acres of Delaney Creek Park, with a lake for fishermen and anglers, a trailhead for the Knobstone Trail for hikers, and both modern and primitive camping areas for visitors spending a night or a week outdoors.

In the county seat of Salem, there’s the Salem Depot Railway Museum, a historic walking path called Morgan’s Trail and the Veterans Memorial atop 76 pavers at the Washington County Courthouse. The courthouse itself was built in 1886 with Romanesque architecture.

Two venues in Salem bring in auto racing fans: Thunder Valley Raceway for dirt-track racing and Salem Speedway, a motorsports venue that opened in 1947. Other attractions include Beck’s Mill, a historic gristmill built in 1808, the John Hay Center and its Pioneer Village and Stevens Memorial Museum, the Piper Flight Center Museum at the Salem Municipal Airport, and the downtown Carnegie Library built in 1905.


market review coverCounty seat:
Salem
Troy Merry, mayor
cityofsalemin.com

2019 population: 28,036

No. of households: 10,721

Median household income: $44,534

Labor force: 13,771

Percentage with bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.9%

Washington County Chamber
of Commerce and Tourism:
Tara Kritzer, executive director
washingtoncountychamber.org

Washington County Economic Growth Partnership:
Sabrina Burdine, executive director
wcegp.org

River Hills Economic
Development District & Regional Planning Commission:
Cory Cochran, executive director
riverhills.cc