Delphi – Small Town Atmosphere and Charm in Carroll County

  • State designated Steller Community
  • Rich in historic treasures
  • Opera House
  • Canal Rides
  • Indiana Bacon Festival

Located amid the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers, Carroll County is known for their rich heritage and rural beauty. Visitors can enjoy the many different outdoor activities here and visit some remarkable historic destinations.

History is preserved throughout Carroll County. The 1845 Adams Mill, a National Historic Landmark, was used to grind corn and wheat for more than 100 years in Cutler, Indiana. Today the building serves as museum for visitors to become more educated on pioneering and milling. In the neighborhood, visitors will also find the beautifully restored Adams Mill Covered Bridge. Visitors have the chance to take part in the pioneer experience by renting primitive camp sites with three cabins that are also available on site.

The 1837 Burnett’s Creek Stone Arch is Indiana’s oldest continually used bridge. This cut stone structure is near Lockport, Indiana. Also found in Lockport are two National Register sites, The Burris House and Potawatomi Spring. This building was used as an Inn while the spring was a well-known watering place for Indians and early settlers. Carroll County’s other remaining covered bridge, the Lancaster Bridge, is found in the southern part of the county near Owasco.

Tea room food close up

At the Wabash and Erie Canal Interpretive Center in Delphi visitors can experience a “watering blast from the past.” Dan McCain, President of the Wabash and Erie Canal Interpretive Center, has lead the Carroll County and Wabash and Erie Canal Project which began in 1974. It is dedicated to preserving the stretch of original canal located in Delphi in the 1850’s. The Interpretive Center gives visitors an opportunity to take part in a hands on experience in the education of the Wabash and Erie Canal.

“Being the small community that sets outside Lafayette, we’re a quaint little quality of life community like a Zionsville outside of Indianapolis, that’s kind of our vision now,” Mayor Randy Strasser explained. Today, much of the historic atmosphere is being revived — downtown loft apartments, restored historic facades and quaint streetscapes adorn Delphi. The courthouse square was named to the National Register of Historic Places, and small quaint shops, an art gallery and restaurants like the Garden Gate Tea House with its homemade scones, specialty breads, soups and unique sandwiches and teas are taking up residence there. A former opera house on the square — Lathrope and Ruffing Opera House, closed since 1914 — has undergone a complete renovation to bring it up to modern standards. While the structure will retain its historic flavor, modern dressing rooms, elevator, a kitchen and other amenities have been added to restore it as a performance venue.

The arts have a long history with Delphi, and the city and beautiful countryside have long-served as inspiration for poets, painters and sculptors, according to Anita Werling, a director on the Opera House and Preservation Society boards. “Delphi has had a number of artists of renown — Harry Milroy, a descendant of Samuel Milroy who founded the area, a sculptor and a painter — was well-known throughout the state,” Werling said. Leroy Trobaugh, whose paintings are highly prized today, was born in Delphi and his oil paintings of Carroll County landscapes are well known among collectors. Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley was another renowned figure who made Delphi and the Deer Creek valley favorite haunts and subjects of his poetry. Visual and performance arts are thriving in Delphi today with performances held in the opera house.

Tea Room - 2 cabinets with cups

Taking a cue from its history as a major pork producing county, and a little help from its largest employer, Indiana Packers Corporation, Delphi will hold the Indiana Bacon Festival on August 29th this year. The festival brings the arts, sense of community and history together when a section of historic Main Street is blocked off, musical groups take the stage, craft beers and wines are served and restaurants from around the area compete with their best baconized foods. Another piece of the makeover is a historic iron bridge — Freedom Bridge. It is a gateway on the east side of town across the new Hoosier Heartland Highway, connect a trail system and include a plaza for special events.

For more information on Carroll County visit

Story by Kevin Howell