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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

January / February 2016

Evansville Living

Best of the City 2016

Each year, readers cast their votes and we, editors of the magazine, share insider information — our own favorites — about the people, places, and experiences that define our city. This is the Best of Evansville. Donut Bank &

Traveling Act

Larry Miller began playing folk music at school, on front porches, along sidewalks, and in nursing homes with his classmates when he was 15 years old. He joined the Harrison High School Folk Music Club and played music similar to bands like the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan. When the Beatles came along, the now 69-year-old Evansville native transitioned from a folk lover to a Rock ‘n’ Roller and started a rock band named Coventry, influenced by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, when he began studying at Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.

History Comes to Life

In the late 1990s, the old consolidated schoolhouse in Lyles Station — situated in the midst of local farms just west of Princeton, Indiana — was completely surrounded by at least 40 trees. Many did not know the building was still there, says Stanley Madison, founder and chairman of the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corp. “Everybody was worried that story was going to get lost,” he says of the only historic African-American farming settlement still working the land in Indiana.

Break the Cycle

While practicing family law in Evansville, Kathryn Kornblum-Zelle saw a generational cycle occurring in the court system. “Teachers see parents and later see their children,” says Kornblum-Zelle, an Evansville native who helped found the Parenting Time Center. “It’s not good when you see it in the court system. I did not see where the system was helping.”

Architectural Mecca

With the opening of another length of Interstate 69 in mid-December, we can finally drive to Bloomington, Indiana, completely on interstate. This will make travel to Columbus, Indiana, a bit easier than driving over to Louisville, Kentucky, and then up I-65. Take a spin on the new interstate to Bloomington, then head east a scenic 36 miles to Columbus.

Personalized Design

While perusing the rooms of Lea Matthews Furniture and Interiors, 5611 E. Morgan Ave., many may not realize the full extent of the services offered by the company. Far from simply a retail furniture store, owner Kirk Mitchell says Lea Matthews is an untapped resource available to the community. “We’ve actually been told by representatives we have the largest collection of interior design resources between Chicago and Atlanta,” says Mitchell. “It is something special Evansville has access to that not a lot of places do.”

Brisk Boiling

A watched pot never boils. The Ferguson In-Sink-Erator FHC3300 hot water dispenser ensures you won’t be a pot watcher. It dispenses near boiling hot water at your command so you can enjoy your tea, pasta al dente, blanched vegetables, rehydrated dried foods, and more without hovering over the stove.

A Walk Along Alvord

Albert E. Stokes had a vision. It was 1909, and as the president of Progressive Reality Company, Stokes was attuned to residential development and the changing preferences of the times. On the East Side of Vanderburgh County, just west of Ewing’s Dairy Farm, 80 acres of rural land stretched north to Lincoln Avenue from Washington Avenue. Passersby in horse-drawn carriages — or the new horseless carriages — saw rolling fields. Stokes saw an addition to the city, one that would soon become known as Alvord Boulevard.

Tavern History

When a F2 tornado ripped through Posey and Vanderburgh counties in May 2011, the historic Nisbet Inn restaurant suffered serious damages. The roof needed repair and the entire second-floor front porch had to be replaced. Despite the cost, Becky and Jim Harl, owners of the 104-year-old tavern, employed the help of Fehrenbacher Wood Specialties and Vintage Woodworks in Quinlan, Texas, to return the building to its original state.

Elevated Eggs

When you work with food as much as I do, everyday fare can become a bit mundane. Some days I crave inspiration, and add some spice to an old favorite. Others, I long for soothing, soulful, comfort food, aka Grandma’s kitchen. Every so often, there is an idea that accomplishes both goals in one dish.

Drowned Delight

When the colder months stifle many frozen treat cravings, Jeanne’s Gelato & More makes the perfect winter coffee concoction by pairing its Italian ice cream in a hot mix. Owner Valerie Ewers uses an espresso blend coffee from Berries To Beans Co., made by Bill Slatter in Newburgh, Indiana, to create her affogato. Customers then choose their favorite gelato flavor. “I’ve had them all. Usually (they ask for) hazelnut, vanilla, or chocolate,” says Ewers, whose café is located at 2003 Lincoln Ave.

Sweet Deal

Christy Gibson traded blueprints for recipes and bricks for sugar.

20 Years of Tropicana

No matter the season, a flurry of nightlife revolves inside and out of Tropicana Evansville, Indiana’s first casino. Formerly known as Casino Aztar, and often referred to as “The Boat,” “The City of Evansville” riverboat has transformed tremendously since opening 20 years ago at 421 N.W. Riverside Drive on Evansville’s riverfront.

Editor's Letter

The Boulevard

Again we begin the year with the results from the Best of Evansville poll. And again this year, the results highlight so much of what’s really good here in Evansville. We always have fun producing this feature. While quite a few of the honorees might be called “old faithfuls” — mainstays in the competition — our readers surprised us by naming the same winners for several categories. A new category, the “write-in,” elicited great ideas for future stories in addition to a garnering consensus on a winner — Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve.

Check It Out

Go Team Go!

Nothing beats a tailgate party — especially one that raises money for a good cause. SWIRCA & More will host its 12th annual auction Feb. 27 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Ivy Room at SWIRCA & More, 16 W. Virginia St. with a new theme this year — tailgate party.

Fundraising Fun

Take down Vectren, Fifth Third Bank, and other successful Evansville businesses and corporations in a friendly competition during Aurora, Inc.’s 10th Annual Trivia Tonight on March 5. Trivia teams can have up to eight players. Teams with four or fewer players may be placed on another team. Participants also can enjoy a silent auction, delicious dinner, and cocktails at Evansville Country Club, 3810 Stringtown Road. The cost to participate is $75 per person or $600 per team of eight, making each ticket $50.


Swimming to Success

Lilly King says she considers herself a normal college student. But, unlike most of her fellow classmates at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, King holds a spot on the 2015-16 USA Swimming Women’s national team in the 100-meter breaststroke. The 18-year old finished second in the 100-meter breaststroke and won the national title in the 200-meter breaststroke in USA Swimming’s Winter National Championships Dec. 4. “I’m just doing the usual college kid stuff,” says King.

Cheap Eats

South of the Border in Southern Indiana

Ezequiel Campos is bringing the authentic taste of his home country to Southern Indiana. The former manager of the West Side Los Bravos and a native of Mexico says he and Abraham Brown decided to open their own restaurant about a year ago. In June, the pair opened La Campirana, which means “the one from the countryside.”

Encyclopedia Evansvillia

Tragedy on the Ohio

One hundred and fifty years ago, during the early morning of Jan. 30, 1866, the rattling of windows and doors woke many Evansville residents. Although few people actually saw the flash in the eastern sky, recent veterans knew from experience something had exploded.

Digging In

Making the Grade

When designing a landscape, the elevation or grade change of the site should be aspects considered to ensure the end result is a proper functioning space. The grade of the site often presents challenging factors to address, but it also can help create a unique and intimate space.  Even if you don’t plan to do any major landscaping, you will need to consider the drainage and water flow around the property. It always is important to get the water away from the house and to ensure there are no areas of standing water that can cause future issues. 


The Living Record

With each passing year we mourn and celebrate the lives lost of those members of the community who made a difference in their places of work, to civic organizations, and to their families and others. We pored through death records and obituaries to find notable men and women who helped shape the Tri-State through their contributions.

Let the Good Times Roll

It’s a city with many nicknames. “The Big Easy,” “Crescent City,” and “The City That Care Forgot.” New Orleans is complicated — a city of contrasts. Its reputation as a place to party is well earned. However, there is a lot more to NOLA than the Mardi Gras, so locals deny it is a festival of beads, boobs, and booze. Founded by the French, ruled for a time by the Spanish, and part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, New Orleans is a cultural stew of the traditional, the mystical, and the modern.


In the Limelight

All the best works of art — and people — begin with a story. It’s a lesson Henderson, Kentucky, native Greg Gibson says was one of the most important that he learned when he began his career as an Imagineer for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Today the 57-year-old works as the executive director for the Henderson Area Arts Alliance, an organization dedicated to creating a vibrant community through providing quality arts experiences.

Ride of a Lifetime

There’s nothing within a 1,000 miles of Evansville quite like the Dream Car Museum. That’s according to Jason Ailstock, a finance director with Bennett Motors and the curator of the Dream Car Museum, located at 2400 N. Heidelbach Ave. “There’s not an open museum to the public, for free, that has such a wide variety,” he says. “Nobody has put it on a scale like this before. The only place that rivals it is the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.”

Artful Living

Artistic Independence

After taking a trip to Orlando, Florida, last year, Evansville native Jesika Ellis stepped off the plane back home and sent a text message that would change her life. For years, Ellis and her close friend Amber Knight, the text recipient, shared the same dream of opening a retail shop featuring local and independent artists, but the timing never was right.

Musical Connection

Then University of Evansville alumna Kaitlin Emmert was completing her practicum as a music therapy major, she worked with a mother and her baby in the neonatal intensive-care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Behind the Bite

Word of Mouth

My love of food and appreciation for the culinary arts has led me to taste meals from the simple to the extravagant. Here I share a few varied dishes that fall under my not-so-short list of favorites.

Online Exclusives

Festive Foods

Impress your guests with a new holiday recipe this season. Whether you want something sweet, savory, or unique, these reader-shared recipes from Evansville Living's feature "Our Winter Traditions" are sure to delight.

Link Up

To show how stories in the January/February 2016 issue of Evansville Living fit into the broader world, this edition of Link Up brings the Internet to you.