Welcome to Indiana’s Territorial Past, located in Vincennes and Knox County.

Indiana’s first city is the perfect getaway for history enthusiasts.

‘History’ Category

Presidents in Knox County

In honor of President’s Day, we’ve put together a list of different Presidents that have visited Knox County.

William Henry Harrison was governor of the Indiana Territory and later the 9th U.S. President. His home, Grouseland, remains open to the public in Vincennes.

It’s said that President Abraham Lincoln stayed in two different homes in Vincennes around the 1840’s. Local attorney, Cyrus Allen was a personal friend of his and Lincoln was a guest at the Allen Mansion, now Gardner-Brockman Funeral Home. Vincennes Mayor, Abner T. Ellis, hosted Lincoln while he was in town campaigning for Henry Clay.  Today the Harmony Society occupies the Ellis Mansion.

In June of 1936, Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Vincennes to dedicate the George Rogers Clark Memorial.

In July of 1966, Lyndon Johnson came to the Memorial for a celebration designating the site as a member of the National Park Service.

Pick Your Tour in Knox County

We invite you to “Relive the Story” of Indiana’s Territorial Past. The area’s significant history presents a unique glance into the past through its showcase of historical sites. We’ve put together a list of all the historical tours available for visitors and local residents to take advantage of!

Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy

1 Hour Tour

This museum celebrates the life and legacy of one of American’s greatest comedians. This unique interactive experience will entice and entertain visitors of all ages and will continue Red’s Legacy of Laughter for generations to come.


Indiana Military Museum

1 Hour Tour

The Indiana Military Museum has one of the most outstanding displays of vintage vehicles, weaponry, uniforms and artifacts from the Civil War through current military engagements.


Grouseland, William Henry Harrison’s Mansion & Museum

45 Min. Tour

Grouseland is the former home of William henry Harrison and his family during his term as Governor of the Indiana Territory, 1803-1812, during which the house served as the focal point of social and official life of the Territory.


Old Cathedral Complex: Basilica of St. Francis Xavier & Library/Museum

1 Hour Tour

The current Old Cathedral was built in 1826 and stands on the site of three previous churches. Located across he courtyard, the library contains rare volumes dating back to 1319, historic artifacts and books.


George Rogers Clark National Historical Park

1 Hour Tour

Located on the site of the former British Fort Sackville, this park features a massive granite memorial which commemorates its capture by Colonel George Rogers Clark and his army. The moment of the fort’s surrender of February 25, 1779 marks the birth of the United States north of the Ohio River.


Vincennes State Historic Sites: Indiana Territory Capitol

45 Min. Tour

Vincennes served as the capital of the Indiana Territory and one of the buildings used by the Territory Legislature is preserved and considered the oldest major government building in the Midwest.


Make Vincennes/Knox County, Indiana your destination! Contact us for group tour information and planning services.

Loretta Day, Administrative Assistant
800-886-6443

Download a sample group tour itinerary here!

Winter Activities

It’s the middle of January, but there are still plenty of winter activities to enjoy in Knox County!

Visit 1972 for laser tag, video games, rock climbing, foot darts, and more!  Admission is charged.

Bundle up and take a stroll on the grounds of the George Rogers Clark NHP and Riverwalk or take a hike on the trails at Ouabache Trails Park.

Visit the Red Skelton Museum and you’re sure to leave with a smile.  The fully interactive Museum explores Red’s life and career as well as American Comedy.

Warm up with a coffee drink from Graze 1885, Peafections or I’Mpressed Coffee.

Take a swim at the YMCA during open swim times.  Membership is required, visit their website or app for swim times.

Feed your creative side at one of the downtown art galleries.  Exhibits are changed regularly and many pieces are available for sale.

Check out a new book at the Knox County Public Library.  Stay and read it in the sunroom or cuddle up with the book at home.

Brush up on your Indiana history by touring our local historic sites, George Rogers Clark NHP, Grouseland, and the Vincennes State Historic Sites.  George Rogers Clark has free admission.

Meet a friend at the Vincennes Brewing Company, Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room or Windy Knoll Winery for an adult beverage!  Must be 21 to visit the winery or brewing company.

Tour the Indiana Military Museum for look at military artifacts spanning the Civil War through the present day.

Stop by the Visitors Bureau, 779 South 6th Street, to pick up 2020 Indiana Festival or Travel Guides and explore our great state!

Ideas For Your New Year’s Resolution

The New Year is less than a week away, and many of us have indulged during the holidays and might be reevaluating some life choices. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to start making changes in your life! We’ve put together a list of some common New Year’s resolutions with ways you can implement them, locally!

Exercise

Losing weight is always one of the top resolutions. To help kick start your fitness journey, try taking part in the Good Samaritan and YMCA of Vincennes Get Fit Challenge!

Sleep

With TV’s, computers, smartphones, tablets and every other piece of technology there is out there, it can be hard to get enough sleep at night. Instead of scrolling on Facebook before hitting the hay, try decompressing by reading a few pages in a book from the Knox County Public Library.

Learn a New Skill/Hobby

Sitting in your house watching TV every day can get boring. It’s must better to use your free time in a more constructive way and pick up a new skill at the same time! Elements offers a variety of fitness classes like aerial yoga that can bring you outside of your comfort zone.

Get Better Acquainted with Local History

Whether you were born and raised here, or you’re just looking to visit, getting reacquainted with local history is something easy that anyone can do without driving hours away. Check out our blog on some different historical sites you should visit!

Spend More Time with Family and Friends

There is too little time in this life to waste it, so we should focus on the people we care about and who care about us! Find activities you can do together, like Trivia Night at the VBC, or going for a weekly walk on the Riverwalk.

Shop Locally

Did you know that when you shop at a local shop, every $1 spent, 67 cents stays in our community! Knox County has a vast array of local shops for you to choose from for anything you need!

Take the Stairs

Getting out and walking a little bit every day can be a huge help to your health. Try taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator, or go for a walk at the George Rogers Clark NHP and walk up and down the stairs at the monument for a change of scenery.

Plan a Staycation

Vacations can be time consuming to plan, so instead of traveling far away, why not plan a staycation right here in Knox County? Check out our blog on why planning a staycation at home is a great option this summer!

Save Money

A rainy day fund and some extra money that can go towards traveling, fixing up the house, or going back to school are a welcome change of pace. Reach out to one of our amazing financial advisors in town to see how they can help get the ball rolling for you.

Learn About Your Family History

Knowing your families history is an amazing way to connect with ancestors. Stop by the Knox County Public Library’s Genealogy department to check out records including birth records, high school yearbooks and family histories.

Volunteer

Devoting some of your time and energy to helping those in need is a reward in itself, but it’s also an opportunity to meet new people and learn a new skill. Contact one of Knox County’s many nonprofit organizations to see what volunteer opportunities are out there for you!

Donate Old Clothes

Going through your closet and getting rid of things you don’t wear anymore is a great way to start off the New Year! When you’ve done that, consider donating those unwanted clothes to one of our local charity organizations such as the Salvation Army instead of throwing them away.

Get Artsy

Topics like art, music and culture can be easy to comprehend if you spend time learning about them. Try checking out one of our local Art Galleries on the First Friday Art Walk, or supporting one of our local bands on the weekends.

Attend a New Event

There seems to almost always be an event happening in Knox County. Whether that’s the Rendezvous, Spring or Autumn on Main, the First City Music Fest and so much more. Get out and support these local organizations and events!

 

Where to Find Vincennes/Knox County Gear

One of our most frequently asked questions by visitors is where to find local souvenirs, so we decided to help by compiling a list of all the places in Vincennes/Knox County that you can find them!

George Rogers Clark National Historical Park

GRC pins, patches, postcards, mugs, magnets.

Grouseland, President William Henry Harrison Mansion

Postcards, Vincennes prints.

Moore & Miller Emporium & Diner

Mugs, t-shirts, postcards, magnets, keychains, shot glasses.

Vincennes/Knox County Visitors and Tourism Bureau

T-shirts, sweatshirts, postcards, brochures.

 

Local Historic Sites and Museums

Indiana Military Museum

IMM gear, historic military memorabilia.

Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy

Red Skelton souvenirs, t-shirts, mugs, postcards.

Vincennes University Book Store

Vincennes University t-shirts, mugs, school gear, etc.

 

 

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments on this post!

ABC’s of Knox County

We think Vincennes/Knox County is an amazing place to call home. This corn-filled, historic county is a wonderful place to live and is home to many of us. That’s why we thought we would create a sort of ode to Knox County.

Agritourism – the combination of agriculture and tourism. It’s having access to experience what farm life is really like. You can read more about Vincennes/Knox County’s Agritourism scene in our blog.

Blue Jeans Center – Most well known for their Blue Jeans Festival, the Blue Jeans Center is located in the heart of Monroe City and is home to basketball tournaments, graduation parties, and other local events.

County Fair – Everyone looks forward to the Knox County Fair coming around and this year promises fun, great food, activities and fun for the entire family!

Downtown Architecture Tours – Walking guided architecture tours are available during various events throughout the year. Tours begin at the corner parking lot on 6th and Main Streets and guide you down our historic Main Street.

Ellis Mansion – Now known as the Harmony Society, is Indiana’s Oldest Social Club celebrating 130 years!

First Friday Art Walk – Art viewers flood to downtown Vincennes on the first Friday of every month for the First Friday Art Walk, where the art galleries in town display seasonal and new works of art!

Gregg Park – Considered the center-piece of the Vincennes Parks system, Gregg Park is full of rich history, from its early days as home of the Knox County Fair, to the building of three WPA projects in the late 1930’s. Today, Gregg Park has been recognized for its historic significance by being place on the National and State Register of Historic Places.

Harrison Mansion and Museum – Grouseland – Home of William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana territory, later ninth president of the United States. Built in 1803-1804, it was saved from destruction and restored by the Francis Vigo Chapter of the DAR in 1911.

Indiana Military Museum – Having one of the most outstanding displays in the Midwest spanning the Civil War through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and current engagements, the IMM is truly a Knox County treasure. The newly-opened Annex exhibit space displays feature tanks, artillery and aircraft and the indoor museum showcases uniforms, flags, battlefield relics, captured enemy souvenirs, WWII toys, home front items and vehicles.

Jefferson Academy – Used to interpret the first college in Indiana, the direct predecessor of Vincennes University.

Knox County Parks – Our parks include: Fox Ridge Nature Park, Knox County Dog Park, Ouabache Trails Park, and Kimmell Park.

Local: shop local, eat local, live local – Keeping things local is a recurring theme of Knox County. Businesses and Government officials encourage our community to shop, eat, and live local to support our local business community.

McGrady-Brockman House – The McGrady-Brockman House is the Knox County Public Library’s history/genealogy center and the repository documents from the Old Northwest Territory as well as the Indiana Territory.

National Historical Park – George Roger’s Clark – The park features a massive granite memorial which commemorates the conquest of the Old Northwest Territory, and is the largest national monument outside of Washington, D.C.

Ouabache Trails Park – Located on a 254-acre park on the Wabash River features 4 miles of marked trails, picnic areas & playgrounds in a beautiful wooded setting.

Parade of Lights – A true Christmas staple of Vincennes, the Downtown Christmas Stroll and Parade of Lights on Main Street offers people the chance to visit participating merchants offering special deals during the holiday season.

Quality Education: Vincennes University – The first college in Indiana, V.U. is steeped in 200 years of tradition but is definitely in the 21st century, being the State’s premier transfer institution and leader in innovative career programming. The V.U. community ensures educational access, delivers proven associate and baccalaureate programs, and offers cultural opportunities and community services in a diverse, student-centered, collegiate environment.

Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy – Celebrating the life and legacy of one of America’s greatest comedians, this 3,500 square foot, fully interactive museum focuses on Red’s life and the many characters, such as Freddie the Freeloader and Clem Kadiddlehopper, whom he brought to life through his radio and television shows.

Sieur De Vincennes – Francois Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes, founded Vincennes in 1732 and built the first fort here on the Wabash River. A statue was put up in his honor, and can be seen at the Downtown River Walk.

Theaters: Red Skelton & Old Town Players – A healthy arts society is vital to the well-being of a thriving, successful community. And a community that supports the arts reaps tangible benefits in the form of economic development, community pride, and enhanced vision for the future. Our community is lucky enough to have not one, but two amazing theaters.

USS Vincennes Monument – Located at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial Bridge on Vigo Street, commemorates the four naval ships named for our community. The first U.S.S. Vincennes launched in 1826, was the flagship of a U.S. South Seas Exploring Expedition.

Vincennes Rendezvous – Experience Revolutionary Era food, merchants, battle enactments and encampments of the Northwest Alliance, along with more than 100 booths with re-enacters demonstrating early frontier skills and merchants selling period wares. You haven’t had the full Vincennes experience until you’ve visited the Vincennes Rendezvous.

Wabash River – Used as a means of transportation in the early days of our County.  Now a days it’s a focal point of our community, the Riverwalk and Kimmell Park.

Xavier: Old Cathedral – The current Old Cathedral was built in 1826, and stands on the site of three previous churches. The first was a crude log structure built about 1732, where the first Catholic parish in Indiana was formed. Four bishops are buried in the crypt of the current Cathedral, and the adjoining cemetery is the final resting place of over 4,000 early citizens of Vincennes.

You’ll love Vincennes! – Trust us.

Za’: Local Pizzerias – Where you get your pizza is a local feud. But don’t worry, we have plenty of pizzerias to choose from!

Get Reacquainted with Local History

Maybe you were born and raised here, or maybe you’re looking to visit. Getting reacquainted with local history is something easy that anyone can do, without driving hours away.

Fort Knox II

Fort Knox II was built in 1803, three miles north of Vincennes on the Wabash River. The fort’s location is outlined with short posts and interpretive markers which tell the story of the site.

George Rogers Clark National Historical Park

The park features a massive granite memorial which commemorates the conquest of the Old Northwest Territory. It is the largest national monument outside of Washington, D.C. The Memorial is located on the site of the former British Fort Sackville which was captured by Colonel George Rogers Clark and his army of 170 frontiersmen and Frenchmen.

The moment of the fort’s surrender on February 25, 1779 marks the birth of the United States north of the Ohio River. Docents are available to give tours during hours of operation. The park’s Visitor Center is handicap-accessible and features exhibits, a gift shop and a 30 minute movie presentation . *Unfortunately the monument is not handicap accessible.

Grouseland, President William Henry Harrison Mansion

Grouseland is the home of William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana territory, later ninth president of the United States. Built in 1803-1804, it was saved from destruction and restored by the Francis Vigo Chapter of the DAR in 1911. Grouseland was the focal point of the social and official life of the territory. Now open for tours, it is furnished with pieces from the time period including some of Harrison’s possessions.

Indiana Military Museum

The Indiana Military Museum has one of the most outstanding displays in the Midwest spanning the Civil War through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and current engagements.

The newly-opened Annex exhibit space displays feature tanks, artillery and aircraft and the indoor museum showcases uniforms, flags, battlefield relics, captured enemy souvenirs, WWII toys, home front items and vehicles.

Exhibits include an authentic WWII Homefront and WWII barracks from George Field, military aircraft, vehicles, artillery, uniforms, related artifacts and more. The annex is included with museum admission. To begin your tour at the Indiana Military Museum, check in at the brick building.

Knox County Veteran Memorial Park

This impressive monument is dedicated to the veterans of Knox County who served in the civil war through current military engagements.

McGrady-Brockman House

The McGrady Brockman House is the Knox County Public Library’s history/genealogy center and the repository documents from the Old Northwest Territory as well as the Indiana Territory. Housed in the facility are the Library’s Historical Collection, genealogy materials from the Byron R. Lewis Historical library, the Francis Vigo chapter DAR library and original records from the Knox County Records library. The majority of Knox County’s records can be found in the building, as well as extensive published sources on other Indiana and Illinois counties, and on states such as Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina, that fed the migration to this area. When Knox County was created, it was not only a part of Indiana but also included Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and parts of Wisconsin.

Old Cathedral

The current Old Cathedral was built in 1826, and stands on the site of three previous churches. The first was a crude log structure built about 1732, where the first Catholic parish in Indiana was formed. Four bishops are buried in the crypt of the current Cathedral, and the adjoining cemetery is the final resting place of over 4,000 early citizens of Vincennes.

Located behind the Old Cathedral, is the oldest library in Indiana containing ten thousand rare volumes and documents. The oldest document in the collection is a Papal Bull issued by Pope John XXII, dated 1319. The oldest book is a 13th century illuminated manuscript volume on vellum of the Officium Sanctae Mariae. Artifacts on display include prehistoric stone tools, 18th and 19th century maps and paintings, Governor William Henry Harrison’s peace pipe, Shawnee Warrior Tecumseh’s war club, various chalices, Abraham Lincoln’s campaign banner and many other items too numerous to mention.

Old French House & Indian Museum

The Old French House is an excellent example of French Creole architecture. Home of Michael Brouillet, built in 1809, and furnished much as it would have been in that period. The Old French House is operated by the Vincennes State Historic Sites.

 

Old State Bank

The Old State Bank was the Vincennes branch of the State Bank of Indiana in 1838 and is an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture with massive Doric columns and triangular pediment.

Vincennes State Historic Sites

The original territorial capitol was used from 1800 to 1813 while Vincennes was the capitol of the Indiana Territory. It is considered the oldest major government building in the Midwest. A replica of the Jefferson Academy is used to interpret the first college in Indiana, the direct predecessor of Vincennes University.

The Elihu Stout Print Shop is a replica of the building where the first newspaper, the Indiana Gazette was published featuring an authentic Ramage press of the era.

The Thompson birthplace is a small frame house where the author of Alice of Old Vincennes was born. An 1830’s style Log Cabin serves at the Visitors Center.

Last Minute Summer Fun with Kids

With trails, playgrounds, and museums made for kids, we’ve got everything you need to have a fun day with your kids before school starts back up!

WALK OR BIKE THE RIVERWALK

If you’re looking for a relaxing walk or bike ride location, the Downtown Riverwalk is the perfect place to go. Spanning Main Street to Hart Street with access from either street, the walk is perfect for kids to let out some energy.

Also check it out on Monday nights for Food Truck Monday’s.

TRY FARM-FRESH FOODS AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET

With colorful produce, the smell of freshly baked pastries and various artisan vendors, there’s something to captivate all your senses at every turn at the Vincennes Historic Farmers Market.

GET IN-TOUCH WITH KNOX COUNTY’S HISTORY

Take the kids to learn about the history of WWII at the Indiana Military Museum, featuring displays with tanks, battlefield relics, captured enemy souvenirs and more.

Next, visit the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy to let the kids do what they do best: touch everything! This fully interactive museum focuses on Red’s life and the many characters whom he brought to life through his radio and television shows.

Your kids will be begging to return to these two historic sites, even when school is back in session.

SPLASH AROUND 

When the dog days of summer become too much, head over to Rainbow Beach for some fun at the pool! With water slides and a splash pad area, this family-fun space has something for kids of all ages!

Also be sure to check out the Splash Pads around town located at various parks.

When play time at the pool is over, be sure to stick around Gregg Park and go to one of the many playground areas.

TAKE A HIKE

4 miles of marked trails, picnic areas and playgrounds are what’s in store at Quabache Trails Park. If you’re looking for an overnight adventure, check out their modern rental cabins and RV sites, complete with a full service shower house facility, laundry service center and a whole lot of fun.

If you’re interested in bringing your furry friends along, the Knox County Dog Park is a great place to take them and let them explore.

 

Rainy summer day? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out our Rainy Day blog for things to do while you wait for the storms to pass.

The 14th Annual Red Skelton Festival

The 14th Annual Red Skelton Festival is this Saturday, July 20th at the Red Skelton Museum. Join us in celebrating the comedy genius that was Red Skelton. Festivities begin on Friday at 7pm.

Friday

7 pm – Red Skelton impersonator, Brian Hoffman will perform with an opening act by J.J. Jones, a world-renowned mime!

Tickets: $15/adult; $5/students 13 & under

 

Saturday

11 am – 3 pm – Kids can enjoy bounce houses and carnival games with prizes, food vendors will be serving up special treats for all!

11 am – Be sure to get your seat for one of the funnest parades that Vincennes has to offer! The parade will run down 5th & Main Street down Second Street to finish up at the Red Skelton Museum and Festival.

12 pm – Clown Follies on the outside stage with guest clowns and JJ Mime! 

12:30 – 2 pm – Tribute to Tim Conway, the 2019 “Red Skelton America’s Clown Award Winner” with sketches of Tim Conway on the Red Skelton Hour.

1 pm – Take a seat and catch the Circle City Clown Band!

1:30 pm – Do you love donuts? Join in on the Donut Eating Contest!

2 pm – Be amazed by the Magic of Chippo the Clown at the outside stage!

2:30 pm – A crowd favorite, the Bath Tub Race will take place on the festival grounds.

2:30 – 5 pm – The day ends with the showing of “Du Barry was a Lady,” Hosted by Dr. Annette Bochenek.

You may purchase a festival button for $5, which is good for museum entry on Saturday the 20th.

Weekend Happenings

Kickoff the Easter weekend at Bicknell’s Friday Night Flashlight “Eggstrvaganza” located at Northside Park in Bicknell. This FREE event is open to children ages 10 – 17 and will begin at dark around 8:30pm. Participants must bring their own basket and flashlight. Enjoy candy and prizes! For more information, please call 812.381.4583.

On Saturday April 20th hop on down to Gregg Park and join the fun at the Community-Wide Easter Egg Hunt! Children will be divided into four age groups, registration begins at 10:00am and the hunt starts at 10:30am. Register for great prizes and bring your camera for photos with the Easter Bunny! For more information please call the VPRD Office at 812.882.1140.

National Parks Week will be celebrated at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park on Saturday as well.  From 11am to 4 pm Park volunteers will be offering a variety of demonstrations throughout the day including historic weapons demonstrations, cooking, and many more. The day also serves as National Junior Ranger Day and Junior Rangers are invited to the park to complete the parks Junior Ranger activity sheet and earn a badge.