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

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

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.

Antiquing Shopping Guide

Knox County has a variety of unique shops, especially when it comes to antiquing. From vinyl classics to high-end collectables, make sure to check out Vincennes/Knox County’s best antique shops to score some one of a kind treasures.

104 Antiques

Cozy antique store in downtown Vincennes brimming with great finds for everyone!

Gavs Restorations, Antiques & Collectables

Features beautifully restored gasoline pumps and more. Browse through the charming array of antiques to find your perfect gift!

Kathy’s Corner Emporium

Brimming with antiques, collectibles, electronics and gently-used items on consignment. If you do not see what you are looking for, ask Kathy to put your name on her wish list and she will look for it for you! The variety of items changes weekly and booth rentals are available.

Shakers’ Landing & Old Northwest Framery

Come and browse this extensive antique mall featuring everything from primatives to military relics. In addition, Shakers’ Landing offers antique rentals for your next event or wedding. Custom picture framing is available by the Old Northwest Framery which is also located in the mall.

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.

A Harvest of Ripe Adventures

Agritourism is the combination of agriculture and tourism. It’s having access to experience what farm life is really like. It’s picking your own produce from the fields at its peak time. It’s touring the local winery and tasting wines produced right here at home.

Agritourism is an industry that gives both kids and adults a newfound respect for the unknown aspects of growing and raising the food that nourishes our bodies everyday.

Knox County has a variety of different ways to explore our Agritourism industry! Listed below are markets, orchards, food stands and centers to visit in Knox County to find fresh produce and dive into Agritourism, locally!

“Vincennes Historic Farmers Market” – Riverfront Pavilion, Vincennes

Enjoy browsing through items ranging from the season’s best fresh produce to baked goods to perennials. Food, produce and artisan vendors are on site offering everything from snacks, to fresh melons to fine needle crafts under the open-air Riverfront Pavilion.

Apple Hill Orchard – Bruceville, IN. 

This beautiful orchard features a unique trellis system offering apples, peaches, and nectarines. Watch the orchard staff press fresh apple cider on site. Enjoy their baked goods, including pies, cakes and cookies.

Atkinson Farm Yarns – Vincennes, IN. 

With four full rooms of yarns for sale, Atkinson Farm Yarns is a dream come true for the fiber enthusiast. Whether you are coming to the “open knit”, attending a “spinning” or just buying a needle, you will find friendly people there to greet you.

Halter’s Market – Vincennes, IN. 

This locally owned and operated Garden Center offers top-notch homegrown produce, beautiful flowers and a wide variety of vegetable plants all raised in the Halter’s family greenhouse.

Mayall’s Market – Oaktown, IN. 

This market features garden plants and flowers and locally grown produce including tomatoes, squash, cantaloupes, watermelon and more!

McKinley’s Orchard (Fruit Stand & Restaurant) – Oaktown, IN. 

Enjoy fresh peaches, melons straight from the field, ripe sweet corn, tomatoes and more local produce at the roadside market. Stop in for dinner on Friday or Saturday evening for a buffet of delicious home cooking!

Melon Acres – Oaktown, IN. 

The Horrall Family started Melon Acres in 1976. Sophisticated farming methods including high tunnels (greenhouses) provide some of the finest produce in Knox County. Enjoy fresh watermelon, mini watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, asparagus and sweet corn from their farm market!

Prairie Acres Farm Market – Oaktown, IN. 

This charming farm market features watermelons in red, yellow and orange meat and locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Southwest Purdue Ag Center – Vincennes, IN. 

A research farm featuring grapes, melons and other produce. The farm investigates sustainable agriculture best practices. Stop by to see agriculture in action!

The Big Peach – Bruceville, IN. 

The Big Peach is a family owned farm market that is open daily May through October. The market offers a variety of fresh produce, Ice cream, jams & jellies, local honey, embroidery items, homemade pies, gift items, fudge, and more.

The Melon Patch (Fresh Deli & CountryMark Fuel Station) – Oaktown, IN.

The Melon Patch offers fresh local produce, fudge, quick-stop items and unique gifts. You will be delighted at the variety of merchandise available at their gift shop! The Fresh Delish Deli serves breakfast and for lunch, specialty salads and sandwiches.

Windy Knoll Winery – Vincennes, IN. 

This local winery produces its wine in small batches to ensure the highest quality and flavor. Drop in this charming winery for a tasting or enjoy a slushy while you are browsing the gift shop!

July Event Review

Summer comes fast and never lasts long enough! Celebrate the blue sky, the warmth of the sun and the evening’s starlight with your family at these July events.

4th of July Celebration

Downtown, Vincennes

First Friday Art Walk

Main Street, Vincennes

Wheatfest

Wheatland, Indiana

Archaeology Day Jr Ranger event

George Rogers Clark NHP

Second Sunday Nature Walk

Ouabache Trail Park

Third Thursday Throwback Film

Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy

Red Skelton Festival

Red Skelton Museum

Knox County Fair

Knox County Fairgrounds, Bicknell

Knox County Nature Days

Community United Methodist Church Pavilion

History Hunt

Vincennes State Historic Sites

 

Weekend Happenings

This weekend is jam packed with opportunities for fun in Knox County!

Oaken Days kicks off Friday evening in Oaktown.  This three-day event offers great food including a pancake breakfast, fish fry, BBQ cook-off, hog roast and food vendors. Enjoy live music, games, garden tractor pull, parade and fireworks.  For more information visit the event website.

Gilligan’s Island the musical opens at the Old Town Players Theatre and Arts Center.  They’re all here! Gilligan, The Skipper, Thurston & Lovey, Ginger, Mary Ann, and the Professor! Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip that started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship. Show times are Friday & Saturday at 7:00pm with a Sunday matinee at 3:00pm.  Additional performaces will be the following weekend, June 28-30. For more information and tickets visit the OTP website. 

The Farmers Market will be open on Saturday from 8am to 1pm.  Shop for local produce, baked goods, potted flowers and more!

Visit the George Rogers Clark NHP for “Three Forts Day”, the first of four events of the 2019 Junior Rangers Series will be held on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23. On Saturday, from 10:00am – 4:00pm and Sunday, from 11:00am – 3:00pm, children of all ages will learn of the three different forts built inside what is now George Rogers Clark NHP, how the forts were constructed with 18th century tools and so much more! Prizes will be awarded for participation. For more information please contact Ranger Jason Collins at 812.882.1776, ext. 4.

The Wabash Valley Progressives will host Knox County’s second LGBTQ+ event, “Pride on the Wabash” on Saturday, June 22 on the Riverwalk, downtown Vincennes. This year features live music by Melissa Sandulo! Food booths, vendors and a photo booth will be on site as well as outreach/support organizations. Visit the WVP website.

 

 

Celebrate Patriotism with Red

Show your Patriotism at the Red Skelton Museum and Performing Arts Center this weekend.

Celebrate “Flag Day” at the beautiful, state-of-art Red Skelton Performing Arts Center on June 14. At 7:30pm, former Vincennes artist, Randy Hedden will give a 90-minute performance highlighted by a mass recital of the “Pledge of Allegiance” and coinciding with a performance painting of Red in front of the American flag. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling the Red Skelton Museum at 812.888.4184.

Sunday, June 16 at 2:00pm, local veterans from the V.F.W. American Legion and the Fort et Eight will present a short program on flag etiquette, including folding, proper flag disposal and a 21-gun salute. Directly after the program, the Red Skelton Museum invites the public to take part in setting a new world record! Register to participate in reciting the American Pledge of Allegiance in this attempt. You must be registered for the event at least one day in advance and can pre-register by following this link, http://redskeltonmuseum.org/red-skelton-and-the-american-flag/. All registered participants will receive a commemorative sticker that will provide free admission to the Red Skelton Museum that day.

“The Year of the Pledge” exhibit continues in the museum and celebrates the 50th anniversary of Red’s recitation of his iconic Pledge of Allegiance on his television show on January 14, 1969.
This new exhibit features items from the collection surrounding Red’s Pledge, including awards, recordings, paintings and letters from various congressmen and stories about Mr. Laswell and Red’s inspiration for creating this pledge. The exhibit will be on display through September 8th and museum admission is required to view it. New to the exhibit is the interactive kids’ rooms celebrating the American flag sponsored by the Harmony Society.

This Weekend’s Lineup

The weather is warming up and local events are in full swing.  Be sure to check out these events.

Friday, June 7th Spring on Main, Downtown Main Street.  Join us from 6pm to 10pm for music, cars, art, food, craft beer and wine tasting and more.  Shop participating businesses during extended hours.

Saturday, June 8th Teas at the Tavern, Vincennes State Historic Sites. Enjoy tea time treats while learning about proper tea etiquette.  Tickets are required and can be purchased by calling 812-882-7422.

The Farmers Market continues this Saturday from 8am to 1pm.  Shop local produce, baked goods and more.

Sunday, June 9th Second Sunday Nature Exploration Walk, Ouabache Trails Park.  Learn to recognize the ferns in the park, and learn more about ferns in general, “Fern Foray” Nature Exploration Walk.  Meet local Naturalist Terri Talarek King at 2:00pm at the Sacajawea Shelter house, at the back of the park’s lower loop road, to begin the Foray.

The 13th Annual Sprint Triathlon & Duathon, “TRY Knox County” hosted by the Vincennes City Parks and Recreation Department will begin at 8am on Sunday at Gregg Park.  Cheer on men, women and children, age 9 and older, as they swim-bike-run or run-bike-run.

Visit our event calendar for more information and a complete list of events.

Whatever you decide to do, have a good weekend!

 

 

 

Memorial Day Roundup

The Historic Vincennes Farmers Market opens for the season this Saturday morning May 25th.  Enjoy the market on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings through October 26, weather permitting, at the Riverfront Pavilion 102 N. Second Street.  From 8:00am – 1:00pm, the Saturday market will offer freshly picked produce from local farmers, vendors with artisan breads, fresh-cut flowers and “General Store” specialty items. On Wednesday from 4:00pm – 7:30pm, the market continues with more fresh produce, a local favorite food vendor, Bobe-B-Q and much more!

Take a step back in time and surround yourself with the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of the American Revolutionary War period during the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous held at the French Commons Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy authentic food prepared over open fires and browse through merchant tents that offer goods relative to the time period. A continuous line up of entertainment is offered and varies from year to year including battle re-enactments, period music, fire eaters, story tellers and more!

The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy will be showing a special production from the Red Skelton Hour during Rendezvous weekend. Red Skelton had a television show from 1951-1971 and every year he had a special episode for Christmas. In the 1968 episode, Red re-enacts a soldier in the Revolutionary War at Valley Forge in a sketch called “A Christmas Story 1777”. The museum will be showing Red Skelton’s sketch “Christmas 1777” on a loop in the REDucation room on Saturday and Sunday during regular business hours, museum admission is required to view the sketch.  The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy is offering a $2 discount to all visitors wearing a Rendezvous button during Memorial Day weekend.

As part of the “Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous” celebration, the staff of William Henry Harrison’s mansion – Grouseland, along with volunteers will provide tours by candlelight on the evening of Saturday, May 26 from 6:00pm – 10:00pm.

Considering visiting the Indiana Military Museum on Memorial Day and honor those lost during active military duty.   The museum is open 10am to 4pm daily.