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Saturday, February 4, 2023

March / April 2018

Evansville Living

Sacred Spaces

Religious buildings — among the most historic, architecturally distinguished, lavishly ornamented structures in a community — belong not only to the people who worship in them, but to the neighborhoods they anchor. The Historic Evansville website (historicevansville.com) lists 247 historic churches in Evansville; dozens have been razed. Still, dozens remain, physically connecting us to our past while serving as centers of faith and community.

Sealing their Fate

Jake and Janell Bessler believe it was fate that brought them to their Lincolnshire home. After moving into the house in July 2014, the couple found the original drawings from the architects Anderson and Veatch at Willard Library. The date the drawings were started was April 30, 1931, exactly 80 years before the Besslers were married on April 30, 2011.

In Bloom

Spring has sprung in Evansville and nothing shows off the season better than the blooming tulips outside the Visitor’s Center in the Downtown Pagoda. The property is maintained by the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau, who donates several hundred bulbs at the end of the season each year to the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association.

It’s a Zoo

Erik Beck describes himself as a wanderer, whether it’s meandering the wildlife refuge at Blue Grass Fish and Wildlife Area or traversing the sights Downtown. However, he hasn’t wandered far from his hometown. A 1989 graduate of Reitz Memorial High School, Beck initially traveled out of town for college but returned to Evansville to finish his biology degree at the University of Southern Indiana.

Weather Wise

As the tail end of winter leaves the Ohio River Valley, cool air often wrestles with warmer temperatures. For residents of the Tri-State, this means March begins a typical spurt of weather phenomenon — the potential for severe thunderstorms and flooding.

Friendly, Fashionable, and Fun

It’s almost impossible to miss the big yellow house on the corner of Michigan Street and Wabash Avenue. Built in 1892 as a family home, it served as a rest home and later a fraternity house for Tau Kappa Epsilon at the University of Southern Indiana. Today, it has a new identity as the storefront for Schön Boutique, which moved in last fall, relocating from Franklin Street. Owner Kelley Borman takes credit for the bright, eye-catching color of the house. “Who can drive by a house painted yellow and not smile?” she says.

Hungry for Hospitality

When deciding where to go for brunch, a long list of restaurants probably pop in your head; but some of the best brunch options in Evansville often go overlooked. At the Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard Marriott on the East Side, the staffs are proving hotel food is more than the typical buffet.

Boiling Over

Kimberly Hinton and Ava Demps can’t have visitors in their home without feeding them a meal before they leave, and this southern hospitality is the same approach they bring to customers at their restaurant Mary & Martha’s Place, located at 6840 Logan Drive, Ste. A.

Golden Opportunity

Granola Jar owner Nealie Anthony was knee-deep in her holiday rush of gift baskets and catering orders when she received a call from the owners of Café 111. “It was the end of November, and one of the Brinkers called to see if we were interested in the space,” says Nealie. “I’ve wanted to move to the East Side for a long time, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

So Long Sears

On Jan. 4, 2018, Evansville was notified Sears would leave the city after more than 92 years. Over the decades there has been a special connection between Sears and Evansville. In 1902, the Hercules Buggy Company began making buggies for Sears, Roebuck & Company. In 1908 and 1909, they built the initial run of Sears Motor Buggies and continued to make bodies until 1912. In 1912, the Hercules Gas Engine Company was formed to supply engines to Sears. These ventures cemented a relationship between William McCurdy of Evansville and Sears President Robert E. Wood.

Center of Attention

On Air

Jason Burton admits talking has never been his forte. But after four years of hosting the Evansville Podcast, talking with local business owners and community leaders has become, he has found, a new niche. “It’s a lot easier now. I’m coming a little out of my shell more. We’re almost to 300 episodes, so I figure at some point I’ll know what I’m doing,” he says with a laugh.

Editor's Letter

Church Goer

One of the things I most enjoy while traveling is visiting churches. A trip to New York City should include a stop at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, just as a visit to Washington, D.C., should include a visit to the National Cathedral. On our first trip to California years ago, my husband and I visited the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. (It was designed by Philip Johnson, also the architect of the Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana.) In Nashville, a visit to the Ryman is a must. It is, after all, a church.

Check It Out

On the Ball

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ohio Valley is hitting the bowling lanes to raise money for one-on-one mentoring programs in the area. The annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ biggest fundraiser each year with more than $47,000 raised last year through the event.

Doggone Good Time

Not all heroes wear capes, but at the Vanderburgh Humane Society’s 23rd annual Going, Going, Gone to the Dogs benefit dinner and auction, guests will tap into their inner powers for this year’s theme “UnLEASH Your Inner Hero” to raise awareness and funds for the organization.

Encyclopedia Evansvillia

The West Side Pond

Few people on the elevated section of the Lloyd Expressway west of Pigeon Creek realize they are crossing a former lake. Fewer still know of the association of that lake to the enigmatic Nelly Sweezer or the reasons for its demise.


Programmed for Success

William Wooten, MD, founded Youth First in March 1998 with just his checkbook in his back pocket. Twenty years later, the local nonprofit has placed 41 master’s level social workers in seven area counties, boasts 60 employees, and receives help from more than 1,000 donors, 150 volunteers, and more than 70 schools. The mission of the organization is to strengthen youth and families through evidence-based programs to prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success.


Behind the Scenes

Stephen Plunkett enrolled in the University of Evansville’s Department of Theatre in 1999 counting on close encounters with talented actors. The Texas native never imagined, however, they would include an audience with Meryl Streep. “That was not something you expected to happen in Evansville, Indiana,” recalls Plunkett.


Don’t Eat the Soap

Sara Rhoades wasn’t supposed to be in a soap making class — she had purchased the spot for someone else as a gift, but instead she found herself taking the course in 2017. “I didn’t even know what soap was made of. I mean, it just never occurred to me to even think about it,” the Evansville native and mother of two young daughters says with a laugh. “It’s soap; I can’t believe you actually can make it. I was just buying it from other people.”

Anatomy of a Dish

On a Roll

  It’s human nature to stick with flavors you know you like, but at D-Ice, trying something new is highly encouraged. Located in the food court of Eastland Mall on Green River Road, D-Ice is known for serving up delicious and unexpected flavors of rolled ice cream.