A Tale of Two Cities

Good summer day!

My family just returned from a weekend trip to Louisville, Ky., where our sons competed in a unique and fun invitational swim meet, the Lakeside Swim Club Seahawk Invitational. They were among the 27 members of Greater Evansville Aquatic Team (GREAT) who competed.

We’d heard about Lakeside Swim Club from swimmers who had swum there before. It was incorporated in 1924 as a private club for the purpose of beautifying property surrounding a rock quarry in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville. Today, the club grounds and quarry comprise two and a half acres, enclosed on two sides by 40-foot cliffs. Lakeside has four pools in addition to a large recreational lake swimming area. The competition pool is 50 meters long and has 10 lanes with the old rock quarry floor as its bottom. Parents and spectators can cheer from rafts in the roped-off lake next to the lane lines. A helpful meet volunteer explained 75 homes in the original Lakeside Corp. are “certificate” members of the club and on an annual basis can grant memberships; today, the club has approximately 9,000 members. (The club neighborhood is not unlike a number of Evansville neighborhoods with modest but tidy, German-influenced homes built in the 1920s and 1930s.)

Our family, other GREAT member families, and our coach stayed downtown at The Seelbach Hilton. Over the course of three days, we beat a trail down Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road to the swim club, dropping a nice bit of change along the way. We saw a Louisville Bats game at Slugger Field as a team. Everyone had a great, fun time, and the Evansville kids competed very well. One mother of high school-aged swimmers who had never competed at Lakeside said it was “the most fun they ever had at a swim meet.”

The quality of life and economic development benefits of youth sports and attractions sure were highlighted by this weekend trip.

Many folks in Evansville make frequent trips to Louisville. Old National and Fifth Third Banks both have a large presence there, and Louisville is Hilliard Lyons’ headquarters, so managers at these companies often head east on I-64. I know of a few managers and business owners living here who maintain apartments or condominiums in downtown Louisville because of the amount of time spent there on business. The printer of this magazine is based just south of Louisville in Shepherdsville, Ky. Louisville International Airport is the airport of choice for a large percentage of Evansville flyers. Our city has extensively studied Louisville’s successful city-county merger, voted on in 2000 and implemented in 2003. More and more, Louisville news is reported in our media market. At under a two-hour drive for most of us, it’s an easy destination for entertainment options in a city much bigger than Evansville.

We all travel to Louisville with much greater frequency than people living there come to Evansville. (Our printing technical service representative comes to see us, though he is from Evansville.) So, I was surprised to see the cover of the July 6 Louisville Eccentric Observer I picked up in a coffee shop in downtown Louisville featured a map showing Evansville prominently plotted. The cover story of the LEO, a long-published weekly alternative tabloid, promised recommendations of nearby travel destinations. It turns out Evansville wasn’t one of those destinations, though Leavenworth, Ind., was. (See our coverage of Harrison County and Corydon, Ind., in our special section, p. 47.)

LEO’s music editor wrote the feature on The Leavenworth Inn after staying there with his wife on an anniversary trip. I got the impression he enjoyed the inn. Catching my attention in the story, though, was the question this writer posed: “I am no expert on the land and culture of Indiana west of New Albany. Is anyone? (If so, why, exactly?) I didn’t come here to insult — I like driving around small towns, quiet places filled with dilapidated barns; perhaps not 24/7, but they fulfill a piece of me that needs tending, too.”


I was compelled to reply to his question. I composed an email and invited him to check out Evansville Living and EvansvilleLiving.com. I told him that our magazine(s) reflect the land and culture of the area he wrote of, which is fun, lively, energetic, and caring. I did receive a reply from Peter Berkowitz, the writer, who thanked me and offered that he appreciates that many people are both sensitive about and proud of their communities.

But should we ask ourselves a question? Why isn’t Evansville on the radar screen of people living pretty close? These people should be interested in the new Evansville arena, our first-rate zoo, or the many fun festivals celebrated here. We’ve hidden behind our Midwestern modesty too long. What’s it going to take for us to shout about the great aspects of our city? It’s what we do each issue in this magazine; though we have readers in each state, we’re largely preaching to the choir. Evansville must tell its story better to the region.

I’d love to hear from readers about what makes Evansville and Southwest Indiana special. Visit the Evansville Living Facebook page to participate in the discussion. 

We all know by now that the Evansville metropolitan area was named the most obese in the nation by a Gallup poll. My yoga teacher Nicole Tibbs is fond of saying about yoga poses, “If you can, you should.” Let’s borrow Nicole’s phrase about our obesity issue. Of course we can improve that morbid statistic; as a city, we certainly should — and must! Here in this issue of Evansville Living, we do our part by including our annual Healthy Living, beginning after page 48, in this issue. Let’s get moving; we can, so we should.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kristen K Tucker
Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor

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