Vincennes is the oldest town in Indiana. It was founded in 1732 as a French fur trading post. The British eventually moved in calling it Fort Sackville. A revolt took place in 1778, the Brits took it back under control, then, in 1779 George Rogers Clark captured the city (hence the National Park of his name). The city has a university of its namesake, also the oldest in Indiana, and was home to President Harrison in the early 1800s. It was the capital of Indiana from 1800 until 1813.
The city's history is unique compared to any other Midwestern town, and the historical relevance is plentiful. The nice thing about Vincennes is that things are close together, within blocks at times, and cheap. You can eat, drink and learn on a very small budget.
- Vincennes Sun-Commercial Local newspaper.
Just north of Evansville and south of Terre Haute, Vincennes is in the middle of two major interstates, yet connected by a few interstates. US 150 breaks off from I-70 heading south from Terre Haute to Vincennes. Heading from Evansville? Take I-64 and head north on US 41 right to Vincennes.
- Evansville Regional Airport 7801 Bussing Dr. +1 812 421-4401.
A car is your best bet, however, walking is good for downtown activities.
Outdoors and landmarks
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:03PM local time and lasts 4 min. The chances of a clear sky are 40%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Illinois, then across Indiana to Ohio and the Canada-New England border.
- 1 Grouseland, 3 W. Scott St, ☏ . President William Henry Harrison built this home in 1803. Harrison was the first governor of Indiana, national war hero, and eventually President. A National Historic Landmark, Harrison named the home Grouseland after the ruffled grouse which were prolific in the area. Tour the mansion and museum home, see personal items, tools of the trade, furniture, campaign memorbilia and more. The house was not only his home, but also territorial headquarters and bunker in times of trouble. A must-see. $2-5.
- The Old French House, 509 N 1st St (1st & Seminary St), ☏ . This home was built in 1806 and was owned by a French fur trader and interpreter named Michell Brouillet. French Creole architecture, the history of fur trade, and the life of the family that lived there is offered in this interesting look into early Indiana. $1.
- Vincennes State Historic Site, 1 West Harrison St, ☏ . Although all buildings have been moved to this site from other locations,you may visit one of the oldest government building in the Midwest, a replica of the print shop that printed the Indiana Territory's first newspaper and print shop, Maurice Thompson birthplace, and the log cabin visitor center. $1-2.
- George Rogers Clark National Historical Park The site of the American Revolution take over of Vincennes. National Park and a must see.
- 2 St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and Library (The Old Cathedral & Library), 205 Church St, toll-free: . The cathedral is from 1826, and the library is the oldest in the state. The Cathedral is a Catholic landmark, with four bishops buried here, and the nearby cemetery is the final resting place of over 4,000 early Vincennes citizens. The library contains over 10,000 rare books dating back to 1319. Historical and church related artifacts and books, and the main library focus is the history of the Catholic church in America and history of the Northwestern territory. Self-guided tours, call ahead if you'd like a guided tour. $0.25-1.
- USS Vincennes Monument (Lincoln Memorial Bridge and Vigo St.). Four ships have been named for the state, and this monument explores the history of past and present ships. Free.
- 3 Lincoln Memorial Bridge (Western end of Vigo St, carries over into Illinois.). Dedicated in September of 1933 to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Paris. A project combining citizens of Indiana and Illinois, the bridge marks the crossover point of the Lincoln Family over the Wabash a location of Buffalo Trace, which acted as a transportation route for buffalo hundreds of years ago. American and Native American statues are represented on the bridge.
- 4 Vincennes University, 1002 N. First St, toll-free: . Vincennes is one of two of the first two-year universities, and it's older than the state of Indiana. It was founded in 1801 as Jefferson Academy by future president William Henry Harrison, making it one of two colleges founded by presidents. Guided tours are available.
- Sugar Loaf Indian Mound (Wabash Avenue, south of town), ☏ . Located by the YMCA is this American Indian mound and burial spot.
- 5 Pantheon Theatre, 428 Main St, ☏ . Built in the 1920s, and eventually closed, sixty years later this museum is a landmark, and being renovated. This is where Red Skelton got his big break. Call for tours.
- Ft. Knox II, ☏ . Ft. Knox II was built in the early 1800s due to the complaints of the Vincennes citizens that the soldiers were spending more time boozing in the saloons then doing their proper duties. During the Battle of Tippecanoe injured soldiers were floated down the Wabash to Ft. Knox II which was used as a hospital and infirmary. Markers throughout the park discuss the history of the area, and picnic spots are available.
- 6 Indiana Military Museum, 715 S 6th St, ☏ . One of the finest military museum in the country, featuring indoor and outdoor displays. Countless vehicles, weapons, uniforms, artifacts, advertising and more from the Civil War up to current battles. Battlefield relics, military toys, and topics about the USS Vincennes ship, Pearl Harbor. $2-2.
Festivals and events
- Mardi Gras. The Saturday before Ash Wednesday Celebrate Mardi Gras in Indiana's oldest city! Founded in 1732, it was a French trading post and is still home to many French descendants. This traditional family oriented Mardi Gras features live creole music, food, dance and fun!
- Late-May Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous located at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. American Revolution re-enactors gather to perform. Food, drink and crafts from the time are sold and shown.
- June Vincennes Wine and Arts Festival
Held in conjunction with the Red Skelton Celebration yearly event, downtown Vincennes.
- Old Town Players, Broadway at 5th St, ☏ . Local theatre troupe.
- 1 Red Skelton Performing Arts Center.
- Gregg Park and Rainbow Beach, 2204 Washington Avenue, ☏ . City park featuring swimming pool, performance space for live music, walking trails, tennis, and greenspace. Free.
- Ouabache (Wabash) Trails Park, 2500 N. Lower Ft. Knox Rd, ☏ . Ouabache is the French spelling of the American Indian word Wabash. During warm months naturalists are on hand giving tours and discussing the nature of the park, picnic areas, shelterhouses, playgrounds, hiking trails, campgrounds, 4 modern cabins, archery range.
- Golf Anyone...?
- Visit the farmers market. 2nd & Busseron. Fresh food, flowers and organic goods as well. Saturday and Wednesday mornings during warm weather.
- Pick your own apples at Apple Hill Orchard, 6235 Ford Rd, Bruceville, ☏ . Visit this lovely trellis apple orchard and pick your own apples, peaches and nectarines. They also have a gift shop open year round!
- Cruise the farm stands Hwy 41, throughout Knox County. Hope on the highway and pack some cash, and be prepared, in season, to take your pick from the tons of farm stands that lie along the road. Knox county produces 70% of melons grown in Indy and Illinois combined. Take your choice of fresh fruits and veggies.
- Pea-Fections, 323 Main St, ☏ . Popular lunch spot featuring tasty sandwiches and desserts. Their latte's, soups and flavored sodas. Vegan friendly.
- Windy Knoll Winery, 845 Atkinson Rd, ☏ . With the majority of their grapes grown onsite, this 37-acre vineyard offers ten types of wine. Tours and tastings available.
There are plenty of chains to stay in the area, below is a list of unique and local places to sleep.
- Kimmell Park, 2014 Oliphant Dr, ☏ . Campground with 10 RV hookups, countless primitive camps, boating and fishing, located on the Wabash.
- New Vision RV Park, 13552 N. US Hwy 41, Oaktown, ☏ . 39 RV hookups, fishing lake, gift shop, shower, laundry, internet access and local tours all available.
- Ouabache (Wabash) Trails Park, 2500 N. Lower Ft. Knox Rd, ☏ . Features four cabin rentals, 35 electric sites, 9 tent sites, picnic area and shelter houses.
Most telephone numbers in Vincennes consist of +1 812 plus a seven-digit number, but the entire 812 area is now served by an overlay complex of two area codes, with 930 being the second. A local or in-state telephone call now requires all 10 digits of the local number be dialed (omitting just the leading +1 from a local landline call).
Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 812 before these if no area code is indicated.
|Routes through Vincennes|
|Chicago ← Terre Haute ←||N S||→ Evansville → Hopkinsville|
|St. Louis ← Salem ←||W E||→ Bedford → Seymour|
|Danville ← Terre Haute ←||W E||→ Floyds Knobs → Louisville|
|END ←||SW NE||→ Spencer → Indianapolis|