Monticello was founded by the White County commissioners in 1834 on a bluff above the Tippecanoe River. They named it after the mansion of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. It was incorporated as a town in 1862. The county seat grew more rapidly when the railroads came to town before the Civil War. Then the town grew large enough to become a city in 1909, and a mayor was elected. The area around the city became a tourist destination in the 1920s after dams created the twin lakes--Shafer and Freeman--and Ideal Beach was conceived. It was renamed Indiana Beach in the 1950s and became the largest entertainment park in the state. In 1974, a devastating tornado roared through downtown Monticello, killing eight people and destroying a large part of the city. However, the people of Monticello banded together to reconstruct a stronger community. Today the city of Monticello is a thriving, progressive community growing in population and size. About a million tourists come to the area each summer to relax and have fun.