1. Evansville was originally called McGary’s Landing.
Hugh McGary began a town on the Ohio River and called it McGary’s Landing in 1812. McGary’s Landing was renamed Evansville in 1814 to sound more attractive to potential land buyers. Hugh McGary renamed the town in honor of Colonel Robert Morgan Evans.
2. The wife of Evansville’s founder is buried under the Old Jail parking lot.
The corner of Fourth Street and Vine Street was originally a cemetery. Years later, a church was being constructed over the cemetery. When digging the foundation, the construction workers found a woman buried. The locals immediately recognized the woman as Mary McGary, who was Hugh McGary’s wife. They recognized her because of her bright red hair. It was decided that Mary was to remain and the church’s foundation was built over her. The church was later bulldozed and the parking lot to the Old Jail was built over it.
3. The Fall Festival is not the second largest street festival in America.
We hate to break your little Hoosier heart. Sorry! Paul Harvey once made a remark about the Fall Festival being second only to Mardi Gras, but that wasn’t based on any facts. But don’t worry, you can still enjoy your deep-fried twinkie or brain sandwich without the Fall Festival’s untrue claim to fame.
4. Humans have lived in the Evansville area since 8,000 BCE.
Archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to 8,000 BCE. Most Tri-State residents are familiar with Angel Mounds, but those mounds weren’t built until 900 A.D. to about 1600 A.D.
5. The Old Courthouse is built on the Wabash and Erie Canal.
The Wabash and Erie Canal was a failed project that thrust Indiana into bankruptcy. The canal fell into disrepair and in 1891 the Old Courthouse was built on it.
6. Bosse Field is the third-oldest baseball stadium in regular use.
What local doesn’t enjoy a steamy summer night at Bosse Field watching the Evansville Otters play? The only ballparks older than Bosse Field still in regular use are Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.
7. Wesselman Woods is the largest virgin forest in any American city.
Wesselman Woods consists of 240 acres and contains trees that are over 400 years old. This park is the largest uncut tract of virgin forest inside any city limits in the United States.
8. The Old Jail is modeled after a castle in Lichtenstein.
Liechtenstein Castle is located on a cliff in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The architect of the Old Jail and Old Courthouse, Henry Wolters, is said to have grown up near the castle and admired its design. If you ever want to see the inside of the Old Jail, stop by Woods & Woods during working hours and we’ll give you a tour.
9. Evansville was once in Warrick County.
Warrick County was once much larger. Warrick County not only encompassed Evansville but Posey, Vanderburgh, Spencer, Perry and part of Crawford counties.
10. The first American soldier killed in WWI was from Evansville.
On November 3, 1917, the first American soldier died in World War I. Cpl. James Bethel Gresham, an Evansville native, was killed in France during a raid. Cpl. Gresham is buried in Locust Hill Cemetery here in Evansville.
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