Terre Haute is a city in the west-central Indiana, about 4 hours (300km) south of Chicago and 1 hour southwest of Indianapolis. The name "Terre Haute" is French for "high land" and refers to the area's history from the French colonization of the Americas as well as its geography next to the Wabash River.
Terre Haute's history reaches back to the early 1800s with the construction of Fort Harrison as a permanent settlement within Indian Territory. The city grew up primarily around industry and river traffic on the Wabash River. The growth of the railroads and a short-lived oil boom contributed to the city's prosperity, but the decline of both, along with the Depression, resulted in the city becoming a model of Midwestern urban decay up through the 1980's. Recent mayors have worked hard to reverse this image, and have begun making gains in turning the city back around.