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, 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 - things are close together, within blocks at times, and cheap. One can eat, drink and learn on a very cheap 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.
A car is your best bet, however, walking is good for downtown activities.
Outdoors and Landmarks
- Grouseland, 3 W. Scott St, ☎ +1 812 882-2096. 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 1st & Seminary St. +1 812 882-7886. 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, ☎ +1 812 882-7422. 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.
- The Old Cathedral & Library, 205 Church St, toll-free: +1-800-886-6443. 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. Admissions range from $.25 cents to $1. Self-guided tours, call ahead if you'd like a guided tour.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vincennes University, 1002 N. First St, toll-free: +1-800-742-9198. Vincennes is one of two of the first two year universities, and its older then the state of Indiana itself, founded in 1801. Originally called Jefferson Academy, founded 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. +1 812 882-7422. Located by the YMCA is this American Indian mound and burial spot.
- Pantheon Theatre, 428 Main St, ☎ +1 812 895-0000. 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 +1 812 882-7422. Ft. Knox II was built in the early 1800s due to the complaints of the Vincennes citizens that the soldiers were spenting 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.
- Indiana Military Museum 4305 Bruceville. +1 812 882-8668. One of the finest military museusm 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, and more. $1-$2.
Festivals and Events
- Mardi Gras The Saturday before Ash Wednesday Celebrate Mardi Gras in Indiana's oldest city! Founded in 1732, originally a French trading post and still home to many French descendants. This traditional family oriented Mardi Gras features live creole music, food, dance and fun! http://www.vincennesmardigras.org
- 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.
- Gregg Park and Rainbow Beach, 2204 Washington Avenue, ☎ +1 812 882-1140. 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, ☎ +1 812 882-4316. Ouabache is actually 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, ☎ +1 812 324-9010. 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.
- The Raspberry Cottage, 2019 Washington Ave, ☎ +1 812 882-1716. Gift and craft shop located in a cute old home selling Americana arts and crafts.
- Pea-Fections, 323 Main St, ☎ +1 812 886-5146. Popular lunch spot featuring tasty sandwiches and desserts. Their latte's, soups and flavored sodas. Vegan friendly.
- Windy Knoll Winery, 845 Atkinson Rd, ☎ +1 812 726-1600. 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!
- Bicknell Bed & Breakfast, 120 W. Third St, ☎ +1 812 735-1003. Bicknell. Quiet neighborhood b&b that runs a local realtor out of the downstairs too! Three rooms with simple classic decor, one with twin beds, two with one bed. Cable tv, wireless internet, and continental breakfast each morning.
- Doll Motel 2015 Old US 41 S. +1 812 882-0000. Locally owned by a sweet lady, the Doll offers cheap rates in a cozy atmosphere. 20 rooms, cable tv, and fridges in each room.
- Harrison Inn, 902 Buntin St, ☎ +1 812 882-3243. Located in the historic district of Vincennes, the home was built in 1902 and offers 3 rooms, one with a private bath, and the others share.
- Kimmell Park, 2014 Oliphant Dr, ☎ +1 812 882-1140. Campground with 10 RV-Hookups, countless primitive camps, boating and fishing, located on the Wabash.
- New Vision RV Park, 13552 N. US Hwy 41, ☎ +1 812 745-2125. 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, ☎ +1 812 882-4316. 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 a second area code (+1 930) was overlain onto the entire 812 area in September 2014. 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|