Live, Learn, Play, Grow
The quiet, rolling hills, peaceful, easy rivers, and beautiful, old-growth forests of Owen County are a welcoming area of seclusion just minutes away from the busy cities of Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana. Offering plenty of room to go off-roading, hiking, or wherever the day takes you, Owen County’s small-town environment makes it a family-friendly place to live, learn, play, and grow.
Roll the windows down and take a leisurely cruise through downtown Spencer, past locally-owned businesses, and wave hello at friends and neighbors. The recently revitalized business area boasts an array of options for your dining and shopping pleasure, as well as serving other typical needs. International cuisine, interesting boutiques, and locally-crafted art are all available in the heart of the community. To your culinary delight, you will find Thai at Jitz Thai Bistro, Mexican at El Ranchero, Cantonese-style Chinese at China Wok, and tamales and gyros at Main Street Coffee.
Hike through the forest and hunt morel mushrooms in the spring. Hang out in a hammock all summer. Catch Friday night football at Owen Valley High School on chilly nights in the fall. Gather around the fire pit with family and friends in the winter. Raise your family. Grow old together.
With the lower cost of living in Owen County, a family with a combined income of $75,000 a year could save as much as $10,000 a year by moving from Bloomington to Owen County. As compared to Bloomington, Owen County ranks higher across the board in terms of housing costs, crime, and environmental health.
Cost of Housing
A home in Spencer costs, on average, $85,400, compared to $173,000 in Bloomington. Home appreciation in Spencer over the last ten years is 21% compared to just 12% nationally. The average rent cost of a two-bedroom house or apartment in Owen County is $699 vs. $786 in Bloomington.
The violent crime rate in Spencer, on a scale from 1 to 100, low crime being 1, is 48. Bloomington’s violent crime rate is 56.9. Property crime in Spencer is 48 (using the same scale) compared to 58.4 in Bloomington.
Air quality in Spencer, Indiana is 98 on a scale to 100 (higher is better.) This is based on ozone alert days and number of pollutants in the air, as reported by the EPA. Bloomington comes in at 95.2.
The Superfund index is 92 on a scale to 100; again, higher is better. This is upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. Bloomington’s Superfund index is 40. Water quality in Spencer, Indiana is 33 on a scale to 100 (higher is better), compared to 27 in Bloomington.
With its lower cost of living, lower property costs, and zoning ordinances favorable to business owners, Owen County is the quintessential bedroom community to its nearby counterparts of Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Terre Haute. You can have a better overall quality of life here, for far less. Welcome to Owen County.
Owen County citizens experience the best and highest ranking education and learning resources the state of Indiana has to offer. Through years of hard work and legislation, many school system improvements have been made to the benefit of every student in the area.
Owen Valley High School has received an A accountability grade from the Indiana Department of Education for two years running. The graduation rate in 2015 was 93.1% among both economically advantaged and disadvantaged students, and the attendance rate exceeded 93%. Owen Valley High School has significantly more teachers with over 20 years of experience than its counterparts in Bloomington and significantly fewer teachers with less than two years of experience as compared to Bloomington high schools. Studies have found that for teachers, experience does matter. The National Assessment of Educational Progress ranks the 4th-grade percent or proficiency in math at 50%, significantly better than than the national average of 40%. It ranks reading levels at 40%, which is significantly better than the national average of 36%.
Learning resources include the Owen County Public Library, where you will find a wealth of information and programs for every age, as well as the Head Start program. Head Start offers your child an excellent beginning with its focus on interests, learning styles, and developmental needs. Our residents have the option of touring state parks, local farms through the Purdue Extension, and higher education close by, including Indiana University, Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Ivy Tech Community College, and St. Mary of the Woods College.
Experiencing rural life while beginning and continuing education and acquiring knowledge throughout one’s life is a significant component of living in Owen County. Our communities take pride in remaining competitive and relevant about learning at every stage of life.
Owen County is home to state parks, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, hiking trails, golf courses, and innumerable activities to keep you entertained and make the most of your downtime. Cruise the country on your bicycle and pass painted barns and other quirky attractions, or learn how to tie flies and fish for bluegill in Cataract Lake. Check out the historic Tivoli Theater in Spencer, which offers movies and public events and can be rented for your private event.
Explore McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, Indiana, where you will find horseback riding, over ten miles of trails to hike, both electric and primitive campsites, an Olympic sized swimming pool, and a plethora of games and activities. Take in the limestone formations and rock-walled canyon formed by the Illinoian glacier 50,000 years ago. Bring your spelunking gear and go caving in Wolf Cave.
Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in nearby Cloverdale, Indiana, is the location of the state’s largest waterfall. Two falls converge to create a cascade of water measuring 86 feet, lending tranquility and peace to the natural forest setting, and providing background music to your family reunion or romantic picnic. The Cataract Bridge was restored in 1995 and is one of several remaining covered bridges in the area. Spanning Mill Creek, the bridge is 140 feet long and is open to pedestrians.
No matter your age or ability, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Owen County. Experience the Apple Butter Festival every autumn, where you can take in a rousing demolition derby, sample all kinds of wonderful apple butter recipes, and get showered with candy as a parade goes by. Browse dozens of vendor booths, have your face painted, and enjoy the all-around cozy friendliness that only small town Hoosier hospitality can offer.
Many opportunities for personal, career and spiritual growth are available in Owen County. With a future job growth over the next ten years predicted to be 39.80%, countless organizations benefiting the public, and a wealth of places to worship, the potential to grow throughout your life is boundless.
Jobs at Boston Scientific, Cook Medical, and other local employers are plentiful. For over 30 years, Boston Scientific has used meaningful science to produce a wide array of medical treatments that have transformed millions of lives. Cook Medical, founded by Bill and Gayle Cook in 1963 in nearby Bloomington, Indiana, has a portfolio of medical devices and products ranging from the areas of women’s health, IVF, to urology, to the vascular system of the body.
For the creative entrepreneur, the ability to start up and grow your own business is made easy due to the lower cost of rent and favorable zoning regulations. Have you dreamed of owning your food truck? Have you wanted the children of your community to grow up with a specialty toy shop? Those dreams are both achievable and attainable here.
Outlets for the philanthropic and those who enjoy giving back to their community are numerous. Animal rescues, the Owen County Community Foundation, Farm Bureau, Owen County Master Gardener Association, Owen County CASA, and the Owen County Learning Network are among the many organizations dedicated to service here.
The Spencer Pride Festival has been a fixture in the community for over a decade. The event is held on the courthouse lawn every year. It brings over 1,300 people to Spencer in celebration and support of rural LGBTQI people. Completely family-friendly, and pet-friendly, there are activities for everyone at this event. Spencer Pride Festival is the largest small town Pride event in the region. It helps promote the growing acceptance of the LGBTQI rural community here as well as diversity and progression.
Finding a place to worship in Owen County is simple, as the options are great. Regardless of your denomination, there is a place here for you to practice your faith, to explore your spirituality, and to find solace and fellowship.