10 Interesting Facts About Evansville, Indiana
As someone who isn't a native resident of Evansville, Indiana, there were a lot of ins and outs about the city that I had to learn as I went. Luckily, I can now share this wisdom with other newcomers. If you're born and raised in the river city, you may even learn a few new facts.
Originally, I am from St. Louis, Missouri. After moving to Evansville in 2009 to attend UE, I was excited to live in a smaller city for a change. Of course, I love my hometown, but a city as big as St. Louis definitely felt overwhelming at times.
My college roommate, Kenzie, was also from out of town, allowing us to become fast friends as we quickly bonded over moving away from home to live in a place that felt completely foreign. Whenever we weren't in class or studying, we spent much of our time cruising around trying to learn our new home. It definitely came with its surprises including one late night accidental trip to Kentucky.
10 Facts About Evansville
Even after almost 13 years, I still find myself learning something new every so often. Most cities are constantly evolving. Businesses come and go, roads and traffic patterns may change, but here are 10 key facts about the city that every Evansville resident should know.
1. Evansville is in a different time zone than most of Indiana.
Growing up, I always found it confusing that my grandmother in the northern part of Indiana was an hour ahead of us in St. Louis. When I first chose to attend UE, I even came to the acceptance that I would live in a different time zone as my parents. To my surprise, Evansville didn't share the same time as the rest of the state.
According to the IndyStar, Indiana has a long history of dueling time zones with the state being either completely Eastern time or completely Central time. When the authority over time zones was granted to the Department of Transportation in 1967, it proposed a compromise in which most of the state remained on Eastern Standard Time while counties near Chicago and the Evansville area were on Central. Despite controversy, the compromise was signed into law in 1972.
2. Evansville was founded by Hugh McGary Jr.
Originally called "McGary's Landing," the city was founded in 1812 by Hugh McGary Jr. He purchased the original 441 acres that would become the city of Evansville for $2 an acre. In 1814, he renamed the village "Evansville" in hopes of bringing more people to the area. Evansville became incorporated in 1817 and earned a county seat one year later.
3. The city is named in honor of a General from the War of 1812
Before he became a general, Robert M. Evans lived in Vincennes. After serving in the War of 1812 where he became a war hero, he returned to Gibson County and then eventually moving to Vanderburgh County. During his time as an Evansville resident, he served as a county clerk and remained active in the town before serving as Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives. Evansville's namesake is even buried in Oak Hill Cemetary.
4. The Twin bridges were originally a single three-lane bridge.
Established in 1932, the bridge that leads into Henderson is actually owned by the state of Kentucky contrary to being seen as an interstate bridge. According to HistoricBridges.org, the bridge became a couplet in 1965 when its partner was built.
5. It is the third largest city in Indiana.
According to the World Population Review website, Evansville is one of the largest cities in the Hoosier State following Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. The city's population is 117,259 people.
6. The West side was an independent town from Evansville.
For 20 years, the west side was its own city, called Lamasco, separate from Evansville. Heavily populated by German immigrants, the town had its own culture and was completely independent separated by Pigeon Creek. Eventually in 1870, it was annexed into Evansville.
7. Angel Mounds is one of the best preserved Native American sites in North America
If you live in Evansville, one of the coolest places to visit to learn more about the area is Angel Mounds Historic Site. View the mounds built between A.D 1000 and 1450, learn about the Native American society that inhabited the land, and explore hiking and biking trails within the 500-acre nature preserve.
8. Willard Library is the oldest public library in the state of Indiana.
Established in 1885, Willard Public Library is the oldest operating public library in the Hoosier state. Not only can you find one of the most extensive genealogy collections in the Midwest, but you may also encounter the infamous ghost of the Gray Lady. Aside from the library's book collection, the beautiful Gothic Revival architecture is worth the visit to feel as if you have traveled back in time.
9. Wesselman Woods is the largest uncut forest in the United States.
With over 240 acres and trees that are 400 years old, Wesselman Woods is the largest virgin forest within city limits in the country. Founded in 1972, the nature preserve is the last surviving remnants of the original forests of Southern Indiana.
10. Bosse Field is the third oldest ballpark still in use.
Home of the Otters and known for its appearance in the movie "A League of Their Own," Bosse Field in one of the oldest ballparks in the United States after Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Opened in 1915, every Evansville resident should catch a game to see this historic field.