Evansville, Indiana

Indiana's "River City" or Evansville, is one of those places whose identities evolved from its geographic location. Evansville stands on a spot where the Ohio River makes a dramatic horseshoe bend in the southwestern side of Indiana. This location has allowed the city to grow as a cultural and commercial hub for states within the Tri-State Area (Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky). The city is also just a short drive away from seven major cities: Nashville, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Indianapolis, and Chicago.

Settled by immigrants in 1812, it didn't take long for the city to develop and grow. By the middle of the 20th century, Evansville was already a major industrial center. Towards the end of the century, the city successfully transitioned into a commercial and medical hub.

The city is laid out over valleys and low rolling hills, covering a total land area of 40.8 square miles. This makes Evansville the third largest city of Indiana in terms of land area. Approximately 120,000 people have made the city their home. With its low crime rate, great economic stability, and cultural vitality, Evansville has earned reputation as one of the greatest American cities to live in and work. The National Civic League picked it as the "All America City" in 2004, an honor given only once every 10 years.

Evansville has a lot to offer those who enjoy city life as well as the outdoors. There are intriquing options in entertainment, education, affordable living and many other benefits the city offers its residents. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Evansville History

Evansville has had a rich native Indian history. Even before the arrival of the pioneers, Evansville was already a home to Mississippians, a community of pre-historic Native Americans for more than 5 centuries. In 1812, Colonel Hugh McGary purchased 200 acres of land from the federal government. He built a cabin on the spot (present-day Main Street) and named it McGary's Landing, and opened a ferry boat service. In 1817, with the assistance of General Robert Evans, a territorial legislator for whom the city was named three years earlier, laid out the town plots and streets. In 1818, Vanderbugh County was created after General Evans replanted a section of land sold to him by McGary.

Evansville was incorporated in 1819. The town quickly prospered owing to the large scale trade of Ohio River flatboats. Theatrical troupes came and performed in Evansville, starting a local theatrical tradition that remains very much alive today. In 1847, the town received a city charter.

In 1836, the construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal was started. Evansville was made its southern terminus, giving further boost to Evansville's already thriving economy by the time the waterway was completed in 1853. It also helped draw new residents into the city. That same year, the city's first railroad, the Evansville and Crawfordsville Railroad, was built. In 1837, the city's first university, the University of Evansville, was opened. It wasn't until 1889 though that the city's main street would become paved.

By 1890, Evansville was already populated by over 50,000 residents. When it was incorporated as a city in 1847, Evansville had about 4,000 residents only.

There are also dark periods in the early chapter of Evansville's history. In the 1820s, a milk sickness epidemic swept through the city, jeopardizing the health of the residents. In 1831, the Ohio River froze, paralyzing the river trade. When the river thawed in the spring, it flooded many areas of the town. In the summer of 1832, widespread cholera hit the city, causing the death of nearly 400 residents.

There's no stopping the economic progress of Evansville, Indiana though. By mid-20th century, Evansville had already established itself as a major industrial center. Today, the city continues to show progress in economic, cultural, and educational areas. It is a community rich in all kinds of opportunities - from business to artistic to recreational activities.

About Evansville, Indiana

Evansville is a city where urban lifestyle meets rural personality. One can still experience small town, southern charm amidst the fast-paced big city lifestyle. Evansville is also a bustling center of activity. There are all kinds of opportunities of a major metropolitan area - medical care, golf courses, art and cultural exhibits, stadium, parks, and fine range of restaurants and lively entertainment. The city has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of Evansville is the Casino Aztar, Indiana's first riverboat casino. The riverboat, a 310-foot replica of the historic Robert E. Lee steamboat, is actually called City of Evansville. The casino is large enough to accommodate up to 2700 passengers. It plies the Ohio River from the Evansville river port.

The city boasts of a long and rich history, too, and one can glimpse into its past by visiting the many historic sites and the old residential areas located in various parts of the city. Eight miles southeast of Evansville where the Green and Ohio Rivers meet lies the Angel Mounds National Park, one of best preserved prehistoric site in the country. The mounds, which date as far back as 1200 AD, are what remain of a once-thriving Middle Mississippian community. The Reitz Home Museum, on the other hand, features Second French Empire architecture. Another historic house, the 142-year old Old Post Office and Customs House, features Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style. A new city attraction, the Evansville African American Museum, gives visitors a glimpse into the struggles and successes of Evansville's African American people for the past 70 years.

Evansville has a thriving arts community as well. The most prominent site of performance arts is the Victory Theater. Built in 1921 along the cobblestone walkway of downtown Evansville, Victory Theater is the home of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Concerts, Broadway shows, and plays are also regularly performed there. The University of Evansville's New Harmony Theater also showcases the community's strong theatre tradition.

Sporting activities are typically held at the Robert's Stadium or at the historic Bosse Field. Constructed in 1915, Bosse Field is the first sporting facility in the US to be owned by a municipality. The movie "A League of their Own" was filmed here. Evansville supports three professional sport teams: the Evansville BlueCats (pro football), the Evansville Otters (minor league baseball), and the Evansville Icemen (pro hockey).

Downtown Evansville is where the shopping and dining scenes are. Shopping options are plenty, ranging from specialty stores and gift shops to large shopping malls. The dining scene is just as eclectic, filled with options that range from restaurants service ethnic and regional dishes to restaurants service Mexican, Amish, Indian, Asian, or other international fare.

Various festivals are held annually. The biggest is the West Side Nut Club Festival, an event rivaled only by the New Orleans Mardi Gras in number of spectators. Evansville also hosts boat races, BMX races, airshows, dances, and, until 2008, hydroplane races.

About Vanderburgh County, Indiana

Vanderbugh County sits in the heart of Evansville, Indiana. It sits above Evansville's Main Street, sprawling over a total land area of 236 square miles. As of 2010, the county serves as home to approximately 17,000 people, making it the 7th largest county in the country per population count. Incorporated in 1818, its county seat is Evansville.

Vanderbugh County is located within the Illinois-Kentucky-Indiana Tri-State Area, one of the several counties that make up the spot. The county comprises 8 civil townships namely: German, Knight, Armstrong, Perry, Scott, Union, and Armstrong. It is the 82nd county in alphabetical listing, which is why Vanderbugh County-issued license plates start with 82.

History: The spot where Vanderbugh County now stands was once the home of Mississippians. People can get a glimpse into the culture and unique architecture of the Native Americans by visiting the Angel Mounds Historic Site. In 1818, Evansville founder Colonel Hugh McGary sold a section of the town (Evansville) to General Robert Evans. Evans named the place Vanderbugh, in honor of Judge Henry Vanderbugh, a territorial judge and Revolutionary War Veteran.

On March 9, 1818, about three months after the county was formed, the Board of County Commissioners met at the house of Hugh McGary. For a time, McGary's house served as county court as well as meeting place of county commissioners. On March 11, two days after the first official meeting, Evansville was named the county seat of Vanderbugh.

National Historic Places: There are many historic places found in Vanderbugh County. The National Register of Historic Places currently lists 93 sites of historical value in Vanderbugh County. The most popular is the Angel Mounds State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark. Angel Mounds, which is located along the Ohio River, is the site where the Middle Mississippian community built their town. The distinctive earthwork mounds built by the community there in 1200 AD are still intact and well-preserved. Angels Mound was named after the Angel family, who owned the property in the 19th century. Other popular historic properties and districts in Vanderbugh County are the Alhambra Theatorium, Barrett's Britz Building, Bayard Park Historic District, and Gavin Park.