Trip Ideas

Southwest Indiana: Experience History

Experience what life was like for early American families.

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Trip Idea Summary

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Vincennes State Historic Sites , Grouseland Wm. H. Harrison Mansion & Museum , Old Cathedral Complex , Lyles Station Historic School & Museum, The Log Inn, Angel Mounds State Historic Site, New Harmony
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About this trip idea

Allow 2-3 days.

Southern Indiana was the first part of the state to be settled when French fur traders set up a trading post at Vincennes. Experience the southern part of the state through their eyes.

Visionaries in Vincennes
Vincennes was established in 1732, making it the oldest European town in Indiana. In 1800, Vincennes became the capital of the Indiana territory. Take a tour of the Vincennes State Historic Sites  and get a glimpse into this important period of the state's history. The sites include the Indiana Territory Capitol, Jefferson Academy, the print shop of Elihu Stout and the birthplace of Maurice Thompson.

Built in 1803-1804, Grouseland  was the home of William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Indiana territory who later became the ninth president of the United States. This beautifully restored home is open for tours and is furnished with pieces from the time period including some of Harrison's possessions.

While in Vincennes, stop by the Old Cathedral Complex  which includes the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier and the French and Native American cemetery. The current cathedral was built in 1826 and stands on the site of three previous churches. Bishops are buried in the church's crypt and the adjoining cemetery is the final resting place of more than 4,000 early citizens of Vincennes.

Historical Gatherings
Travel south to Lyles Station  in Gibson County. Established in the mid-1800s, Lyles Station is one of the last remaining African American settlements in Indiana. The community's heritage is preserved in the renovated Lyles Consolidated School which features a museum, gift shop, period garden and hands-on activities.

Stop for a bite at Indiana's oldest restaurant, The Log Inn , in Haubstadt. The Log Inn has been in continuous business since 1825 and was once a stop on the stage coach route between Evansville and Vincennes. Abraham Lincoln dined in the restaurant in 1844 while campaigning for Henry Clay. It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad and catered to workers digging the southern portion of the Erie-Wabash-Central Canal. Oil paintings, antiques and original relics of the period are displayed throughout the restaurant.

Near Evansville explore Angel Mounds State Historic Site , a preserved Native American site that tells the story of the Middle Mississippian culture that inhabited the area from 1000 to 1450 A.D. The site features an interpretive center and outdoor trails that lead through a reconstructed village.

Travel west to New Harmony , one of the most charming and unique towns in southern Indiana. New Harmony has been the home of two communal societies. The town was founded in 1814 by a religious group known as the Harmonie Society. From 1825 to 1827, New Harmony was the site of the Owen-Maclure Experiment, a model community where education and social equality could flourish. Tour historic buildings from the communal societies, dine at an award winning restaurant or attend a play at the Murphy Auditorium. Begin your visit at the Atheneum, New Harmony's Visitory Center. It houses exhibits, art galleries and a large theater where an orientation film on the town is shown daily.

Like this trip idea? You might also like to Interact with History in Indianapolis.

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Featured in this Trip Idea

Vincennes State Historic Sites
812.882.7422 | indianamuseum.org
Grouseland Wm. H. Harrison Mansion & Museum
812.882.2096 | grouselandfoundation.org
Old Cathedral Complex
800.886.6443 | vincennescvb.org
Lyles Station Historic School & Museum
812.385.2534 | lylesstation.org
The Log Inn
812.867.3216 | gibsoncountyin.org
Angel Mounds State Historic Site
812.853.3956 | indianamuseum.org
New Harmony
812.682.4474 | usi.edu

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