Evansville, Indiana: The Long History in Short

Evansville Indiana is a charming city along the bend of the Ohio River that is brimming with beauty and a long history most can appreciate. The history of this city spans over hundreds of years, being founded in 1812 and named by its founder Hugh McGary after Colonel Robert M. Evans. Although the city was just founded in 1812, there is evidence of human presence in the area since 8,000 BCE (talk about popular settlement, am I right?)

The area’s first most significant settlers were the Native Americans, including some of the “Mound Builders”—given their name due to forming their homes atop high ground near the river–to groups of the Shawnee, Miami, and other tribes. By the time European settlers came around, the Shawnee people were still inhabiting the area.

French hunters and trappers were the first Europeans to settle in the area, who would trade with the Shawnee people until around 1804, until High McGary Jr. purchased a lot of the land. The Colonel which the city was named after eventually purchased a third of the interest in Evansville, and soon after the city became a county seat.

The city continued to grow to include new churches as America’s evangelical movement reached westward, and the city established a Presbyterian Church in 1821, a General Baptist Church in 1823, and the Roman Catholic parish was established in 1836. The city continued to make leaps and bounds in growth and in the early 1830s was determined to boost their economy by building the longest canal in the world. But the plans failed, bankrupted, and were obsolete due to the railroads that had been engineered and opened. But the canal’s history still lives on through the first courthouse being built upon its basin in 1891.

The city grew even further by annexing its west side brethren cities of Lamasco and Independence, which created the still confusing downtown streets we know today because of the difference in lay outs of the cardinal points back before these cities were annexed. And eventually, Evansville annexed another town by the name of Howell that was created after their economic boom with the railroads, completing the city’s land around the horseshoe bend of the Ohio River.

The city continued to grow throughout the twentieth century through manufacturing and the production of lumber. But, as with the rest of America, the city experienced a downfall in the 1920s and 30s during the Great Depression and was even more devastated during that time by a massive flood of 500 city blocks. But the city bounced back with an oil discovery just before World War II, and industrial production afterwards. The city continued to climb the economic ladder and has now become diverse and well, through all the tragedies and hardship it has faced. But if you’re living in the area, remember to keep your precious belongings safe in a safe from www.dependablesafes.com for when floods or tornadoes to come knocking once again.

Featured Image by Lori SR (CC)

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