Evansville, Indiana facts for kids
|City of Evansville|
Top to bottom, left to right: Evansville riverfront, Ford Center, Willard Library, Four Freedoms Monument, Reitz Home, Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse
|Nickname(s): Eville, The Ville, River City, Stoplight City, Pocket City, Crescent City|
Location in the state of Indiana
|Regions||IN-IL-KY Tri-State Area, SW Indiana|
|Townships||Center, German, Knight, Perry, Pigeon|
|• City||44.62 sq mi (115.57 km2)|
|• Land||44.15 sq mi (114.35 km2)|
|• Water||0.47 sq mi (1.22 km2)|
|• Metro||2,367 sq mi (6,130 km2)|
|Elevation||387 ft (118 m)|
|• Estimate (2014)||120,346|
|• Rank||1st in Vanderburgh County
1st in Southern Indiana
3rd in Indiana
223rd in the United States
|• Density||2,659.8/sq mi (1,027.0/km2)|
|• Urban||229,351 (US: 159th)|
|• Metro||314,280 (US: 156th)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Area code(s)||812 & 930|
|GNIS feature ID||434258|
|Major State Roads|
|Waterways||Ohio River, Pigeon Creek|
|Airports||Evansville Regional Airport|
Evansville is a city in and the county seat of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, United States. The population was 117,429 at the 2010 census. As the state's third-largest city and the largest city in Southern Indiana, it is the commercial, medical, and cultural hub of Southwestern Indiana and the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky tri-state area, home to over 911,000 people. The 38th parallel crosses the north side of the city and is marked on Interstate 69.
Situated on an oxbow in the Ohio River, the city is often referred to as the "Crescent Valley" or "River City". As testament to the Ohio's grandeur, early French explorers named it La Belle Riviere ("The Beautiful River"). The area has been inhabited by various cultures for millennia, dating back at least 10,000 years. Angel Mounds was a permanent settlement of the Mississippian culture from 1000 AD to around 1400 AD. The city itself was founded in 1812.
The broad economic base of the region has helped build an economy which is known for its stability, diversity, and vitality. Four NYSE companies (Accuride, Berry Plastics, Springleaf, and Vectren) are headquartered in Evansville, along with the global operations center for NYSE company Mead Johnson. Three other companies traded on the NASDAQ (Escalade, Old National Bank, and Shoe Carnival) are also headquartered in Evansville. The city is home to public and private enterprise in many areas, as Evansville serves as the economic hub of the region.
A popular tourist destination for the region, Evansville is home to Tropicana Evansville, the state's first casino, Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden, one of the oldest and largest zoos in the state, and a robust sports tourism industry. The city has several well known educational institutions. The University of Evansville is a small private school located on the city's east side, while the University of Southern Indiana is a larger public institution located just outside the city's westside limits. Other local educational institutions have also garnered praise and attention, including nationally ranked Signature School and the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. In 2008, Evansville was voted the best city in the country in which "to live, work, and play" by the readers of Kiplinger, and in 2009 the 11th best.
- See main article: History of Evansville, Indiana.
There was a continuous human presence in the area that became Evansville from at least 8,000 BC by Paleo-Indians. Archaeologists have identified several archaic and ancient sites in and near Evansville, with the most complex at Angel Mounds from about 900 A.D. to about 1600 A.D., just before the appearance of Europeans.
Following the abandonment of Angel Mounds between the years 1400 and 1450, tribes of Miami, Shawnee, Piankeshaw, Wyandot, Delaware and other Native American peoples were known to be in the area. The land encompassing Evansville was formally relinquished by the Delaware in 1805 to General William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana Territory. French hunters and trappers were among the first Europeans to come to the area, using Vincennes as a base of operations.
On March 27, 1812, Hugh McGary Jr. purchased about 441 acres and named it "McGary's Landing". In 1814, to attract more people, McGary renamed his village "Evansville" in honor of Colonel Robert Morgan Evans. Evansville incorporated in 1817 and became a county seat on January 7, 1818. The county was named for Henry Vanderburgh, a deceased chief judge of the Indiana territorial supreme court.
Evansville soon became a thriving commercial town with an extensive river trade, and the town began to expand outside of its original footprint. The west side of Evansville was for many years cut off from the main part of the city by Pigeon Creek and the wide swath of factories that made the creek an important industrial corridor. The land comprising the former town of Lamasco was platted in 1837 and was ultimately annexed in 1870.
Evansville's economy received a boost in the early 1830s when Indiana unveiled plans to build the longest canal in the world, a 400-mile ditch connecting the Great Lakes at Toledo, Ohio with the inland rivers at Evansville. The project was intended to open Indiana to commerce and improve transportation from New Orleans to New York City. Unfortunately the project bankrupted the state and was so poorly engineered that it would not hold water. By the time the Wabash and Erie Canal was finished in 1853, Evansville's first railroad, Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad, was opened to Terre Haute. Railroads had made the canal obsolete. Only two flat barges ever made the entire trip. The canal basin at Fifth and Court street in downtown Evansville eventually became the site of a new courthouse in 1891.
The era of Evansville's greatest growth occurred in the second half of the 19th century, following the disruptions of the Civil War. The city was a major stop for steamboats along the Ohio River, and it was the home port for a number of companies engaged in trade via the river. Coal mining, manufacturing, and hardwood lumber was a major source of economic activity. By 1900 Evansville was one of the largest hardwood furniture centers in the world, with 41 factories employing approximately 2,000 workers. Eventually railroads became more important and in 1887 the L&N Railroad constructed a bridge across the Ohio River. along with a major rail yard southwest of Evansville in a town, Howell, which was annexed in 1916 and completed the city's counterclockwise march around the horseshoe bend.
Throughout this period Evansville's main ethnic groups consisted of Germans fleeing Europe, Protestant Scotch-Irish from the South, Catholic Irish coming for canal or railroad work, New England businessmen, and newly freed slaves from Western Kentucky. By the U.S. census of 1890 Evansville ranked as the 56th largest urban area in the United States, a rank it gradually fell from in the early 1900s. As the new century began, growth in the city continued to move eastward. Manufacturing also took off, particularly in the automobile and refrigeration industries.
The city saw exponential growth in the early twentieth century with production of lumber and the manufacturing of furniture. By 1920, there were more than two dozen furniture companies in Evansville. In the decades of the 1920s and 1930s city leaders attempted to improve Evansville's transportation position and successfully lobbied to be located on the Chicago-to-Miami "Dixie Bee Highway" (U.S. Highway 41). A bridge was built across the Ohio River in 1932 and in that same decade steps were first taken to develop an airport. However, in 1937 a massive flood covering 500 city blocks proved to be a major crises. With steamboats less of a factor in the local economy, city and federal officials responded to the flood with about fifty years of levee construction that penned and hid the Ohio River behind a barrier of earthen berms and concrete walls.
During World War II, Evansville was a major center of industrial production and, as a result, it helped wipe away the last lingering effects of the Great Depression. A huge 45 acre shipyard complex was constructed on the riverfront east of St. Joseph Avenue for the production of oceangoing LSTs (Landing Ship-Tanks). The Evansville Shipyard was the nation's largest inland producer of LSTs. The Plymouth factory was converted into a plant which turned out "bullets by the billions," and many other companies switched over to the manufacture of war material. In 1942 the city acquired a factory adjacent to the airport north of the city for the manufacture of the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft, known as the P-47Ds. Evansville produced a total 6,242 P-47s, almost half of the P47s made during the war.
After the war, Evansville's manufacturing base of automobiles, household appliances, and farm equipment benefited from growing post-war demand. A growing housing demand also caused residential development to leap north and east of the city. However, between 1955 and 1963 a nationwide recession hit Evansville particularly hard. Among other closures Servel (which produced refrigerators) went out of business and Chrysler terminated its local operations. The economy was saved from near total collapse by 28 businesses that moved into the area, including Whirlpool, Alcoa, and General Electric.
During the final third of the 20th century, Evansville became the commercial, medical, and service hub for the tri-state region. A 1990s economic spurt was fueled by the growth of the University of Southern Indiana. The arrival of giant Toyota and AK Steel manufacturing plants, as well as Tropicana Evansville, Indiana's first gaming boat, also contributed to the growth of jobs. As the twenty-first century began, Evansville continued in a steady pace of economic diversification and stability.
The Evansville Metropolitan Area, the 142nd largest in the United States, includes four Indiana counties (Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick) and two Kentucky counties (Henderson, and Webster). The metropolitan area does not include Owensboro, Kentucky, which is an adjacent metropolitan area about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Evansville. This area is sometimes referred to as "Kentuckiana", although the area is usually referred to as the "Tri-State" by the local media.Evansville is located at 37°58'38" north, 87°33'2" west (37.977166, −87.550566). According to the 2010 census, Evansville has a total area of 44.622 square miles (115.57 km2), of which 44.15 square miles (114.35 km2) (or 98.94%) is land and 0.472 square miles (1.22 km2) (or 1.06%) is water.
The city's southern boundary lies on an oxbow in the Ohio River. Most of the city lies in a shallow valley surrounded by low rolling hills. The west side of the city is built on these rolling hills and is home to Burdette Park, Mesker Amphitheatre, and Mesker Park Zoo. The eastern portion of the city developed in the valley and is protected by a series of levees that closely follow the path of I164-69. Notable landmarks on the east side are the 240-acre (1.0 km2) Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve and the Angel Mounds State Historic Site, located just southeast of Evansville, between Evansville and Newburgh.
For more details on this topic, see List of tallest buildings in Evansville
Evansville's original downtown plat was made on about 200 acres, with streets running parallel to the river from northwest to southeast. Other streets nearby were later laid out on the cardinal points, due north-south and east-west. Thus, anyone entering or leaving downtown finds that the street makes a confusing oblique-angle turn in one direction or another. In the 1970s, the city suffered from problems such as decreased economic activity and suburban flight, but city-sponsored revitalization has since improved downtown conditions.
The business district and riverfront features riverboat gambling, restaurants, bars, and shops, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year. Although much of the outer city's architecture is typical suburban design, the city's downtown district still retains quite a bit of early twentieth century architecture. Just a few blocks east of the main business district is the Riverside district featuring tree-lined brick streets full of turn of the twentieth century homes. The Reitz Home Museum is one of the finest examples of French Second Empire architecture in the United States. Other homes nearby feature similar character and design and include Italianate, Colonial Revival, and Renaissance Revival styles.
Evansville has thirteen neighborhoods that have qualified for the National Register of Historic Places.
Evansville lies in the northern reaches of a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), and straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6b and 7a. Summers are hot and humid, winters are cool to cold. Average temperatures range from 32.5 °F (0.3 °C) in January to 78.0 °F (25.6 °C) in July. Annual rainfall averages 45.3 inches (1,150 mm) and seasonal snowfall averages 11.8 inches (30 cm). Evansville winters can range from just 0.5 in (1.3 cm) of snowfall in 2011–12, up to 37.9 in (96 cm) in 1969–70. Extreme temperatures range from −23 °F (−31 °C) on February 2, 1951 up to 111 °F (44 °C) on July 28, 1930.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 117,429 people, 50,588 households, and 28,085 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,659.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,027.0/km2). There were 57,799 housing units at an average density of 1,309.2 per square mile (505.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.0% White, 12.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.
There were 50,588 households of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.8% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.5% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.91.
The median age in the city was 36.5 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 25.8% were from 45 to 64; and 14.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.
- See also: List of public art in Evansville, Indiana
Historic Bosse Field, a 7,180 seat baseball stadium located in Garvin Park, was built in 1915 and is the third-oldest ballpark still in regular use in the United States, surpassed only by Fenway Park (1912) in Boston and Wrigley Field (1914) in Chicago.
The Ford Center is a multi-use indoor arena downtown with a maximum seating capacity of 11,000 which will also be connected via Sky Bridge to the Evansville DoubleTree Hotel. It officially opened in 2011 as the city's premier entertainment venue and is mainly used for basketball, ice hockey, and music concerts.
A wide variety of concerts, plays, conventions, expositions and other special events are held at the 2,500-seat auditorium and convention center at The Old National Events Plaza downtown.
The Victory Theatre is a vintage 1,950-seat venue that is home to the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Each year, the orchestra presents a seven-concert classics series, four double pops performances, and special event concerts, as well as numerous educational and outreach performances. The theater also hosts local ballet and modern dance companies, theater companies, and touring productions.
The University of Evansville maintains a prestigious theater program – one of the top rated programs in the nation, which features four mainstage and two studio productions a year. The University of Evansville has been honored more times at The Kennedy Center than any other theatre institution. The University is the only institution, along with Yale, which has been asked to perform at the Kennedy Center without first going through competition. It also leads the nation in the top awards for its students as awarded by The Broadway Theatre Wing and other governing bodies of serious theatre.
The Evansville Civic Theatre is Southern Indiana's longest running community theater, dating from the 1920s when the community theater movement swept across the country. From its humble beginnings at the old Central High School auditorium, Evansville Civic Theatre has had many homes – Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, Bosse High School, the Rose Room of the McCurdy Hotel, the Elks Ballroom, and the Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences. In 1974, Evansville Civic Theatre acquired the historic Columbia Movie Theater as its permanent home.
The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival is a street fair held in the area west of downtown Evansville. It is held on the first full week of October and draws between 100,000 and 150,000 people each day. The main attraction of the festival is the food, with offerings of standards like elephant ears and corn dogs to the more unusual, such as chocolate-covered crickets, brain sandwiches, and alligator stew. Paul Harvey once remarked that only Mardi Gras in New Orleans is larger than the Fall Festival.
Each June the city plays host to the annual ShrinersFest. Frequently the United States Navy's Blue Angels have been an attraction at this event, along with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. Previously, from 1979 to 2009, Evansville hosted Thunder on the Ohio as part of the Freedom Festival, which was a hydroplane boat race in the H1 Unlimited season.
The Germania Männerchor Volksfest is a three-day German heritage festival which takes place every August in the historic Germania Mannerchor building on the city's west side. The festival includes food, drink, dance and music. Many of the city's residents with German ancestry also wear historic German attire. On the last weekend of August, the popular 4,000 street rods converge on the Vanderburgh County 4-H fairgrounds north of the city for "Frog Follies."
Angel Mounds State Historic Site is nationally recognized as one of the best preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the United States. From 1100 to 1450 A. D., a town near this site was home to people of the Middle Mississippian culture. Several thousand people lived in this town protected by a stockade made of wattle and daub. Because Angel Mounds was a chiefdom (the home of the chief), it was the regional center of a large community.
The Children's Museum of Evansville opened its doors to the public in September 2006. The museum is the result of two years of planning and was constructed in the historic Central Library downtown. The Art Deco building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum offers visitors three floors of interactive exhibits and galleries.
The Evansville African American Museum was established to continually develop a resource and cultural center to collect, preserve, and educate the public on the history and traditions of African American families, organizations, and communities. The museum is located in the last remaining building of Lincoln Gardens, the second Federal Housing Project created under the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1938.
The Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science is home to one of southern Indiana's most established and significant cultural centers. It holds the Koch Planetarium, the oldest in Indiana. Also on the campus is the Evansville Museum Transportation Center, which features transportation in southern Indiana from the latter part of the Nineteenth Century through the mid-Twentieth Century.
The Reitz Home Museum is Evansville's only Victorian House Museum. It is noted as one of the country's finest examples of Second French Empire architecture. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
In October 2005 the USS LST 325 moored in Evansville and was turned into a museum (USS LST Ship Memorial) in recognition of the city's war effort. During World War II, Evansville produced 167 LSTs (and 35 other craft), making it the largest inland producer of LSTs in the nation. The USS LST 325 is the last navigable tank landing ship in operation.
Mesker Park Zoo
The Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden opened in 1928 and is one of the oldest and largest zoos in the state. Set in a 50-acre (200,000 m2) park, the zoo features 200 species and more than 700 animals roaming freely in natural habitats surrounded by exotic plants, wildflowers, and trees, including the Amazonia exhibit which opened in 2008. An estimated 3 million people visit the zoo between April and August every year. Mesker Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo regularly hosts events such as Boo at the Zoo, Breakfast with Santa and Fun in the Forest throughout the year.
Evansville has a long and rich history supporting athletic teams and events, with a number of notable professional athletes coming from the city. High school athletics are a frequent source of local patronage, and the University of Evansville (UE) and University of Southern Indiana (USI) regularly draw thousands of spectators to NCAA Division I and Division II sporting events, respectively. The UE Purple Aces basketball team plays at the Ford Center. USI plays on campus at the USI Physical Activities Center.
Evansville is home to several semi-professional and professional teams as well. The Evansville Otters are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League and have played at historic Bosse Field since 1995. The Evansville Thunderbolts are a minor league professional ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League and play at the Ford Center. The Evansville Crush is a semi-professional soccer team in the PASL. The Evansvile Enforcers are a semi-professional American football team in the Kentucky Football League League. There is also a junior hockey team named the Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts in the NA3HL and play at the Swonder Ice Arena. The Evansville Coliseum is home to the WFTDA league, the Demolition City Roller Derby.
|Evansville Otters||Baseball||1995||Frontier League||Bosse Field|
|Evansville Thunderbolts||Ice hockey||2016||Southern Professional Hockey League||Ford Center|
|Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts||Junior ice hockey||2015||NA3HL||Swonder Ice Arena|
|Evansville Crush||Soccer||2010||Premier Arena Soccer League||Metro Sports Center|
|Evansville Enforcers||American football||2011||Kentucky Football League||Romain Stadium|
|Evansville Esports||Esports||2015||Of Legends||UE|
From 1957 to 1975, and then again in 2002 and 2014, Evansville hosted the NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Championship (Elite Eight). From 1999 to 2007, Roberts Stadium hosted the Great Lakes Valley Conference basketball tournaments, and in 2013 the same event was held at the Ford Center. A number of Division I NCAA events have been hosted by the city as well. In 1983 Roberts Stadium hosted the first round of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, and in 1980 and 1983 it hosted the Midwestern City Conference men's basketball conference tournament.
Evansville used to play host to the top tier boat racing circuit of H1 Unlimited when it hosted Thunder on the Ohio along the Ohio River in downtown Evansville, which was hosted continuously from 1979 to 2009. Evansville had also previously hosted Thunder on the Ohio from 1938 to 1940. The 2 mile Evansville tri-oval was known as one of the fastest hyrdroplane courses in the world, as various world records were set on the Evansville course.
Evansville offers modern sports facilities for both soccer and ice skating events. The Goebel Soccer Complex is on 70 acres (280,000 m2) of land and features nine Olympic-size irrigated Bermuda grass fields and one Olympic-size AstroPlay turf field. Additionally, EVSC Fields provide twin soccer fields and stadium seating for high school regular season and postseason matches. Swonder Ice Arena is a double-rink facility that opened in the fall of 2002 and features a fitness center, a skate park, and party rooms. The schools of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation use. Lloyd Pool for all of their swimming and diving meets in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference.
Parks and recreation
Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve is a National Natural Landmark with nearly 200 acres (0.8 km2) of virgin bottomland hardwood forest. It is the largest tract of virgin forest located inside any city limits within the United States. The Nature Center features exhibits, events, wildlife observation areas, meeting rooms, library, and gift shop. Adjacent to the Nature Preserve, Wesselman Park features a Par 3 golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, softball fields, and a playground; and Roberts Park is a proposed, adjacent park on the former site of Roberts Stadium, though funding for Roberts Park and an expansion to the parks system remains unresolved.
Evansville has an extensive municipal park system with 65 parks and 21 special facilities encompassing more than 2,300 acres (9 km2) of land in the city of Evansville and Vanderburgh County. A growing bicycle and pedestrian trail extends into adjacent counties and ties into the American Discovery Trail. This trail system includes the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage, a 42-mile trail that encircles the city. Access to the completed portions of the trail are found at Garvin Park (N. Main Street and Heidelbach Ave.) and at the downtown Riverfront. The city's parks department also operates two Par 4 18-hole public golf courses, 1 Par 3 18-hole course, one Par 4 9-hole golf course, two disc golf courses, Garvin Park, Lloyd Pool, the Goebel Soccer Complex, Swonder Ice Arena and the C.K. Newsome Community Center.
Anchored by the Four Freedoms Monument and the Tropicana Evansville, Dress Plaza along the riverfront offers a brick paved walkway above, and tiered seating below provide a view of the Ohio River. Convenient driving access with parking is available along the lower plaza that is the scene for numerous summer concerts and festivals.
Located on nearly 200 acres (0.8 km2) of rolling hills in western Vanderburgh County well outside of the city limits, Burdette Park features an aquatic center with water slides, three pools, and a snack bar. It also offers a BMX racing track, batting cages, softball diamonds, miniature golf, tennis courts, and locations for fishing.
Evansville has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):
For further reading, see Lawrence M. Lipin, Producers, Proletarians, and Politicians: Workers and Party Politics in Evansville and New Albany, Indiana, 1850-87. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
Images for kids
Barges, like the one seen in the photo, can often be seen traveling up and down the Ohio River.
Evansville, Indiana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.