History of Rochester

Fulton County Formed 
Fulton County was formed by an act of legislature and approved on February 7, 1835.  Parts of the Village of Rochester were platted for Alexander Chamberlain and Lot N. Bozarth in 1835 for Cyrus Taber, William G. Ewing and George Ewing in 1836. 

County Seat Located
As provided by the act of January 23, 1836, the Commissioners (James Hutchens [LaPorte Co.]; Erasmus Powell [Shelby Co.]; Benj. McCarter [Porter Co.]; Jas. Stewart [Carroll Co.]; Jeremiah Corbally [Marion Co.]) appointed by the legislature to examine the proposed eligible sites for the Seat of Justice of Fulton County met on the second Monday of June, 1836, at the house of Ebenezer Ward.  The propositions, and inducement for acceptance, and on June 15, 1836, after have made a careful examination of the proposed sites, the Commissioners reported to the Board of County Commissioners, then in special session, that the had agreed and fixed the seat of justice of this County of Rochester. 

In May 1837, the board voted to erect a county building of oak, 20 by 24 feet, of two floors. The contract was awarded to Ebenezer Ward, and on its completion November 6, 1837, he was paid $600. Extra expenses came to $147.41. The first jail was built at about the same time, and for about the same cost. It was two stories high, the second floor being reached by an outside stairway. Elijah Barnes built a brick jail in 1851 for $2,493.

It was replaced by a combination of jail and sheriff's residence at the cost of $19935.00 completed in January 1, 1894.


A second courthouse of brick, 44 feet by 60 feet in size, was built in 1846 for $6,000. It served for 50 years. The present courthouse of Bedford limestone and steel was built from September,19, 1895 (laying the corner stone) to August 1, 1896, by contractor J. E. Gibson of Logansport for $76,073. One of the specifications was that it was to contain a $350 clock in the tower at a distance of approximately 100 feet from the ground. It was made from the plans of A. W. Rush and Son of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

Village becomes a Town

On June 11, 1853, the county commissioners began consideration of a petition to have the village of Rochester incorporated as a town. At an election July 25th that year the citizens voted 35 to 24 for incorporation. In the election of September 26, 1853, Sidney Keith was made first president of the Board of Town Trustees, and David Pershing was elected first town clerk.

Town Becomes City of Rochester

On Monday, October 11, 1909, citizens of the Town of Rochester voted 446 to 213 to reorganize as a city of the fifth class. The first city election was held on December 21, 1909, officials were chosen as follows: Mayor, Omar B. Smith; Clerk, Joseph Bibler; Treasurer, Roy Shanks; Councilmen, Perry M Shore, William P. Ross A.L. Denistion, Dr. J.L. Babcock and William Brinkman.

Lake Manitou Annexed

Lake Manitou was annexed into the City of Rochester on October 28, 1987 and the City Water and Sanitary Sewer service were extended to the annexed area.

Downtown Rochester, courtesy of Derek Jensen (Tysto) 

The City of Rochester celebrated it's Sesquicentennial (150 years) August 1st and 2nd, 2003 

Jack Overmyer's Courthouse Address

Bob Peterson's Courthouse Address


Fulton County Courthouse, courtexy of Derek Jensen (Tysto)

  Links of Interest

City of Rochester     320 Main Street     Rochester, IN 46975     Phone: (574) 223-2510     Fax: (574) 223-6509