The first settlers came to the Converse area in 1842. Prior to that time, Converse was part of the Miami (Indian) reservation. This area used to be pristine wilderness with a forest so dense that mid-day appeared to be dusk under the trees. The growth of lumber companies coincided with the railroad boom of the late 1800s. For Converse, that would eventually mean three railroad lines passing through the town.
By 1887, the discovery of natural gas prompted the Xenia Real Estate Company to offer free land, fuel, and cash to any industry looking for a home. The area is currently home to a variety of good jobs. Our realtors can’t offer you free land, but we can help you find your dream house. There are a wide variety of homes in the real estate market, and we’d love to show them to you. Give us a call, and we can set up a convenient time to take you house hunting in this area.
Converse is just 15 minutes east of U.S. 31 and 25 minutes west of I-69 on SR 18 between Kokomo and Marion. With ease of access to nearby communities, Converse is a great place to call home even if you don’t work in the community. We can help you find a home that is conveniently located close to your workplace.
Jefferson Street BBQ is located in downtown Converse. Get there early for pork, brisket, chicken, and delicious side dishes to go with your entree. It’s so popular that latecomers might find a sign outside that reads “Sold Out This Evening.” Grab a quick meal or stay and have some fun at Marty’s Pub, also located in downtown Converse. All steaks, pork, and chicken are pre-cut and prepared on premises. The owners strive to serve the best quality product possible at a fair price.
Several specialty shops are close to the restaurants. Cahoots Soap Company soaps are handmade with ethically-sourced materials. Itty Bitty Acres gifts and home decor shop has more nooks and crannies than you will believe, and each one of them is packed with pretty things for the home. Oak Hill Winery is a few blocks away and worth the trip. Look around the 1894 carriage house where they make great sweet and dry wines, and be sure to pick out one to take home. For more shopping and dining options, most residents will head into Marion where there is a variety of locally-owned and large national chain restaurants and stores alike.
In Converse, known as "The Fair Community," the neighboring communities enjoy the festive atmosphere of the annual Converse Fair including great entertainment, delicious food, and thrilling sport activities. Many contests have remained the same over the years including lawnmower racing and garden tractor pulls as well as antique tractor shows.
Horse-drawn carriages were once a necessity in Converse. The horse still plays a part in the community but has changed its role to the exciting pastime of harness racing. In 1908, the Converse Fair produced a state-of-the-art all-weather track. Some of the famous names in racing around the half mile are Sep Palin, Bob Farrington, Gene Sears, Doug Ackerman, and Jimmy Creed. Rambling Willie was purchased in Barn #1 at the Converse Fair. This horse went on to set many records in the harness racing industry. Harness racing is still enjoyed in the area, and races are held at the Converse Fairgrounds throughout the year.
Nearby Marion has a variety of parks, movie theatres, and other local music events held throughout the community. Indiana Wesleyan University also has a variety of events that are open to the public.
Manufacturing is the most common industry in the Converse area. Other common industries include construction, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
First Farmers Bank and Trust has their main office in Converse and is the largest agricultural bank on the eastern side of the Mississippi River. Drook Medical Center offers employment to those in the healthcare profession. Converse is a great location for commuters of all professions, but healthcare workers and residents can easily travel to nearby Marion General Hospital, Dukes Memorial Hospital, and Howard Community Hospital.
Students in eight towns, including Converse, attend the five schools that make up the Oak Hill United School Corporation. The corporation has always been a family-oriented community. The mission of the Oak Hill United School Corporation is to work together with the community to empower each student with the knowledge, skills, and high standards which prepare them to be successful, contributing members of a changing global society. Those in the community are pleased that this school system has a student to teacher ratio of 16 to 1 and that the Indiana Department of Education gave the corporation an “A” rating for school accountability.
The 2004-2005 reconfiguration of the elementary schools resulted in the following Oak Hill configuration of its schools: PK-2 (Converse Elementary), Grades 3-4 (Sweetser Elementary), and Grades 5-6 (Swayzee Elementary). Oak Hill Junior High is located in Mier, which is centrally located in the school corporation's district. This school has a curriculum that encourages academic growth and uses an incentive program to motivate and reward students. Oak Hill High School strives to provide an educational environment which promotes good citizenship and responsibility and fosters lifelong thinking and learning skills.