The town was founded in 1816 by Rhode Islander John Borden and was originally named New Providence, after the Rhode Island capital of Providence. William W. Borden (1823–1906), son of John Borden, was a scholar, philanthropist and distinguished citizen of New Providence and earned his wealth in the Leadville, Colorado, silver mines, becoming one of Clark County's wealthiest citizens.

In 1884, the Borden Institute was founded by William W. Borden as a college for teacher preparation and laboratory-based scientific studies. He also established within the town a library and a museum with an extensive geological collection that later became an important and valuable collection in Chicago's Field Museum following his death. His final crown jewel within the community was his elaborate family mansion situated on a hill overlooking the town. The town honored William W. Borden by unofficially renaming the town and post office Borden because of his generosity and influence within the community his father originally founded. The Borden Institute closed in 1906 and around 1910 became used as William W. Borden High School, or simply Borden High School. The Institute served this purpose until 1955 when a new elementary and Jr-Sr High School were built adjacent to the Institute. The museum still stands and houses some of the original books from the Borden Library and is currently used as a community center. The Borden Mansion also still stands and has been occupied by the Emil Stark family since the early 1970s. Following its use as a high school, the Borden Institute fell into disrepair and was razed in 1983 even after a decade long effort by citizens to preserve it.

For more information, see The Borden Legacy in the Indiana Historian. Or contact the Borden Institute Historical Society:

P.O. Box 183
Borden, IN 47106-0183
Phone: (812) 923-5466
Contact: Paul Koffman

The Borden Institute

The Borden Museum

Professor Borden's Home

The Borden Historical Society