Mitchell got its start as a railroad town in the mid-19th century as a stop along the New Albany to Chicago route of the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railroad, known later as the Monon. Located south of Bedford, the Lawrence County city is the birthplace of astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom. The Purdue graduate flew on both the Liberty Bell 7 and Gemini 3. As of the 2000 census, 4,567 people, 1,884 households, and 1,235 families resided in Mitchell. The city is home to the annual Persimmon Festival – a week-long celebration held every year in September.