Terre Haute: Rise & Resilience is a story of the American experience. This program takes viewers through the history of Terre Haute, starting with its French colonial origin as high ground along the banks of the Wabash River. Post-revolutionary Terre Haute played host to some of the key players in the War of 1812, including William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and the Native American Chief Tecumseh. During peacetime, the city was founded by wealthy real estate investors, and its prime location eventually turned it into one of the “gateways to the west.”
Terre Haute flourished as a boomtown during the nation’s Westward expansion. While the city gained national standing during the Industrial Age due to its status as a major transportation hub, bringing great prosperity and establishing it as a key player in the industrial revolution. It set the stage for many classic American immigrant success stories, and was the birthplace of the famous socialist and labor movement activist Eugene V. Debs, composer Paul Dresser, writer Theodore Dreiser, and poet Max Ehrmann.
Terre Haute today is a typical Midwestern city whose star has long since faded as the city has struggled to keep up with changing times. At one time a “Crossroads of America,” the city lost that significance with the advent of the interstate road system. A blue-collar community and a college town, Terre Haute has survived bouts of political corruption, labor unrest, and hard-hitting economic setbacks, and remains resilient.