Nestled amongst the Tippecanoe River and conveniently located off of US 31, Fulton County will give you reasons aplenty to become a repeat visitor. Meander through the countryside taking in the beautiful old barns, new barns, and of course our famous round barns. Your rural route may be lined with miles of wild orange day lilies or beautiful fall foliage depending on which wildly diverse season you arrive. Travel into historic towns and communities and pass by quaint Amish homesteads. Come visit our charming communities and discover why you will fall in love our laid-back vibe and friendly hospitality.
Biggest and oldest festival in county
One of Indiana’s largest historic Festivals, the Trail of Courage Living History Festival was founded in 1976. The festival brings in over 12,000 people each September to learn about frontier Indiana and honor the American Indians.
Each year the Trail of Courage honors a different Potawatomi family that had ancestors on the Trail of Death or signed treaties in Indiana.
The Mission Band was marched at gunpoint down Rochester’s Main Street Sept. 5, 1838, on the forced removal known as the “Trail of Death” because 42 died on the way to Kansas. Indiana means “Land of the Indians,” and it is kept alive in this annual fall event that takes place the third weekend of September.
It features two stages with pre-1840 music, historic camps, traditional crafts, trade goods, jewelry, clothing, Indian dances, Aztec dancers, foods cooked over wood fires: buffalo burgers, Cherokee tacos and fry bread, apple dumplings, ice cream, soups in big iron kettles, candle dipping for kids, and so much you cannot see it all in one day. This event is handicapped accessible.
The Potawatomi Trail of Death, the forced 1838 removal from Indiana to Kansas, has 80 historical markers and 150 historic highway signs, stretching 660 miles.
Since 1988 this preservation project has been spearheaded by Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian, and Dr. George Godfrey, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Shawnee, Oklahoma.
It was declared a Regional Historic Trail by a vote of the four state legislatures of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas in 1994. During Indiana’s Bicentennial we celebrated that the Potawatomi has survived.
Great place for Genealogy Research
Retired Judge Wendell Tombaugh indexed the Rochester newspapers, county censuses, cemeteries, and more, making research easy. Since his death, this work has been carried on by volunteers in the Fulton County Library.
Tombaugh’s books are also available in the Fulton County Museum’s Tetzlaff Research Room.
Nickel Plate Trail
This hiking/biking trail extends 37 miles from Rochester south to Peru and on the Kokomo. A wonderful rural blacktop trail for hikers and bikers, young and old, this allows you to enjoy wildlife, birds, flowers, and rest on benches while learning some history about villages long gone but marked by signs on the former railroad.
Historical Society grounds
The Fulton County Historical Society, founded in 1963, is ranked by the Indiana Historical Society as one of the top five in the state. It's 35-acre grounds purchased for $30,000 in 1985, using funds accumulated from the Trail of Courage annual festival.
The land is a mile long, from county road 375 North of the Tippecanoe River, but only 300 feet long. The museum, round barn and village are at the north end. The 20-acre parking field used for the Fulton County Historical Power Show in June and other events.
The Trail of Courage is held next to the river at the south end the 3rd weekend of September. Many groups at this location hold various events, 4 miles north of Rochester on the west side of U.S. 31.
Fulton County had 17 round barns, more than any other county in Indiana. When the Round Barn Festival started in 1971, there were 15 round barns left.
Tours to the other round barns in the county, tents on Main Street with crafts, foods, games and shows on the courthouse square, music and dances were held in downtown Rochester and for a couple of years in the City Park.
The Round Barn Festival was last held in 2014, but visitors can obtain maps and drive to view the barns and take photos.
Art displays, DVDs and books
Fulton County Public Library is one of the best in Indiana. It is always a busy place with people borrowing books and DVDs, using computers, or meeting in the spacious rooms. The library features work from different artists each month.
The Indiana Room has a great collection of local history, including Rochester telephone books from early 1900s, Civil War Adjutant General’s report, county newspapers on microfilm, and books by local authors.
The library’s website provides access from your home computer to the old newspapers, cemeteries, and the catalog of books there.
Artists from all over the county exhibit in the library and in many other area exhibitions. Kewanna is known for its artists, led by Diane Tesler and other well-known artists. Akron has its Akron Area Arts group and newsletter.
Fulton County’s Claim to Fame
Elmo Lincoln - the first Tarzan in silent movies, Clyde Beatty – circus, wild animal trainer, Paul Spotts Emrick – Purdue band director who created the first marching band to form letters in 1907, Dr. Otis Bowen – Indiana Governor 1972-80 and U.S. Secretary of Health 1985-88 under President Reagan, John Chamberlain - world famous sculptor, and Chief White Eagle – movie actor and speaker.
The biggest and best airport around
Fulton County Airport, founded in the 1930s, is the biggest and best airport for a county of this size population. It has 27 hangars and 5001-foot-long blacktop runway and parallel taxiway, big enough for corporate jets with 13 passengers.
The airport office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The good Samaritan helicopter is based here.
Mentone Flying Club, founded in 1957, is the oldest flying club in Indiana and one of the oldest in the USA, offers flying lessons and free ground school. Flights and lessons take place at the Fulton County Airport
Numerous lakes and public fishing sites
Lots of fishing can be done across Fulton County, with a large amount of public access sites. The county is home to Lake Manitou, Tippecanoe River and smaller lakes: Lake Bruce near Kewanna, Fletchers Lake near Grass Creek, and Town Lake near Akron.
Round Barn Golf Club
Situated on the former federal fish hatchery, Mill Creek Golf Course has informal landscaping and interesting historic sites, 18 holes on 160 acres. Golfing events include school tournaments and large golf contests, as well as local fund raising for Senior Citizens and other groups. It has a driving range, pitching area, fully-stocked pro shop, 50 golf carts, tours in summer, lessons and club fitting by a PGA professional.
The golf course is located on Rochester’s East 9th Street has a restored red round barn for its pro-shop, with a snack bar and beer.
Elks Country Club
9 hole golf course with tournaments and lake view member restaurant.
Historic Power Show
The Fulton County Historical Power Association produces an antique power show the third weekend of June. Sometimes this is a national show, such as The Gathering of the Orange in 2016.
The show features tractor pulls, tractor games, food, parades around the grounds, music, and exhibits of all colors of tractors and garden tractors and antique trucks and farm implements. The Historic Power Show also hosts a toy show inside the museum.
This exciting Fulton County event attracts over 5,000 people.
This large lake was created in 1827 by the U.S. Government building a dam that flooded 5 small lakes. Cottages around the lake have changed from summer rentals to year-around living. The lake has 775 acres and is about 25 to 45 feet deep in places. The name Manitou is a Potawatomi word meaning “evil spirit” or “devil.”
The Manitou Monster, a sea monster, was seen in the lake. Frontier artist George Winter sketched it from eyewitness accounts and the picture was published in the Logansport Telegraph in 1834. Down through the years, several huge fish, “buffalo, carp,” were caught and displayed on the courthouse lawn. In early 1900s, Long Beach Amusement Park and the Dam Landing brought crowds from Indianapolis and Chicago.
Large hotels, Fairview and Colonial and West Side, attracted thousands of visitors to dance to famous bands. Fires destroyed or damaged the hotels and they were not rebuilt. The former Colonial Hotel is now a condominium. The former West Side Hotel is now the Moose. The Elks Country Club has a restaurant and golf course. The Dam Landing is a restaurant with seating next to the water.
With no public beaches left, Rochester built a beach and boat landing next to Indiana 14 and East 9th Street. The dam has a historical marker about Lake Manitou and Tiptonville. The mill race, which brought water to power the mills in Rochester, has been filled in and is named Race Street. Today Lake Manitou is a great fishing site and fun place for boating and jet skiing.
The Lake Manitou Association holds a parade of boats, historic tours, and other events.
One of Indiana’s major rivers and acknowledged for its clear water. (You can see the clear water of Tippecanoe pouring into the muddy Wabash in Battle Ground, Indiana.)
This river is great for canoe rides, fishing, swimming, floating, and picnics. Germany Bridge campground has a building for rent for reunions and meetings. Leiters Ford offers riverfront walks.
A canoe rental and several bait shops are close. L&B Oasis in Delong offers groceries, gasoline, restaurant, hardware and other essentials. Talma area is replete with riparian views, campgrounds, antique shops and several historical markers. The Trail of Courage Living History Festival annually offers canoe rides.
Parks and/or nature preserves
Fulton County boasts multiple parks ranging from river side to downtown. These parks include: Bob Kern at Lake Manitou, Ruth Kern nature preserves, Judy Burton preserve, Manitou Wetlands, Germany Bridge park, town parks in Rochester (4 parks and Blacketor Sports Complex, Fansler field with basketball and tennis courts), Akron, Fulton, Kewanna and Leiters Ford.
Visitors can hike, fish, collect leaves or butterflies, and enjoy nature, spring to fall with its lovely autumn colors.
Rochester City Park has Manitou Mountain play area, play equipment, ball park, picnic shelters for rent, and nearby tennis courts at Rochester High School.
Wellness Center in Rochester
The Wellness Center provides visitors with exercise equipment, Senior Sneakers program, racket ball, competitions, diet information, pedicures and manicures.
Rural scenery, drives
Nothing is more relaxing to modern drivers than a slow tour of farm land and the beautiful trees, lakes and flowers found on Fulton County’s roads.
The Round Barn Cyclists made maps of scenic rides for bicyclists on public roads, which are available on www.rochsent.com.
Interesting history and news
The Rochester Sentinel is our oldest business, having begun publishing in 1858. Many small towns have lost their local newspapers.
The Sentinel continues as a useful and interesting record of the county’s activities, with weekly features of history, schools, Purdue Extension, local police, fire, town and county reports and beautiful prize winning photos.
Superb modern communication
Rochester Telephone Company, founded in 1895. A superb communication system that provides telephone, internet, cable and a local television channel. RTC goes to events and video tapes them for Channel 4.
You can watch athletic contests, school programs, city and county government meetings, festivals, and history.
Interns working at RTC learn to video and edit, and use a drone with camera for sky views.
Radio programs, news, and music
WROI is Rochester’s own radio station. The ROI stands for Rochester, Indiana but it covers all of Fulton County and neighboring Pulaski County.
Some features are weekly sports talks, First Federal program interviews, daily trading post, reports from county and city government, schools, more.
Place for outdated electronics
Fulton County Recycling Center or Solid Waste District is one of the best of any county.
Bigger towns and counties do not have a recycling center that accepts as many diverse materials. Old computers, radios, batteries, tires, paint, as well as the usual paper, plastic and metal cans are bundled to be sold and reused.
Trash converted to electric
You’ve heard of it – well, here we do it. We may have a big trash mountain, but lots are being saved and recycled.
A nearby plant just across the Marshall County line converts methane gas to electricity, making a safer greener community.