In our corner of the Midwest, we’re fortunate that spring means a wide variety of things: strolling on riverfront walking trails, navigating a kayak through inner-city creeks, birding at state parks, planting vegetable seeds, climbing ancient rock formations, or sipping away the afternoon on the porch of a winery. Memorable experiences await all over the Tri-State. Here are some of our favorite ways to greet the new season and get outside!
March / April 2022
Scenic Drive’s name isn’t just for its elevated views of the East Side. The homes on this secluded street off the crest of the Lincoln Avenue hill also are quite the sight themselves. A standout among the custom builds is 440 Scenic Drive. Designed by local architect Ralph Robert Knapp in 1955, the home is one of the most authentic examples of mid-century modern architecture in the area.
Deep in a private subdivision at the end of a winding road in the neighboring village of Darmstadt sits one of the Tri-State’s latest luxury homes to hit the market. This French Provincial house features several upscale amenities that will make any new homeowner never want to leave such as a heated concrete pool, wood decking that leads to a hot tub, sauna, tiki bar, and a private tennis court. Built in 1975, the home spans 7,141 square feet and rests on a 2.75-acre property.
Will “Lash” LaRue stands in his two-room workspace in Downtown Evansville. In his right hand is a lit blow torch. In his left is one of his hand-made beaver pelt hats consumed by bright orange flames. The burning is a crucial step in the 26-year-old’s hat-making process, removing excess hairs and creating a water-resistant seal across the material. To outsiders, it’s an intriguing sight, but for LaRue, it’s simply another day at the office.
Weekends in Evansville aren’t short on nightlife opportunities, with plenty of activities ready to work up your appetite. But when the sun goes down, where can those still awake in the River City go to satisfy their hunger pangs?
From 1924 to 1936, the Colored Speedway Association’s Gold and Glory Sweepstakes was the premier racing event for people of color barred from the segregated Indianapolis 500. In the race’s last year, one driver lost control of his car in the second lap, causing a 13-car accident that would cost one of racing’s greatest drivers his career and, later, his life.
Public libraries have long been places for people in the community to gather to interact, learn, and explore — all qualities that supplied the foundation and spurred the growth of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. Between 1886 and 1919, wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie donated more than $60 million to construct 1,689 library buildings in communities across America, including three in Evansville.
Tri-State residents are embracing the spring sun and searching for outdoor entertainment. While Evansville offers plenty of venues for live events, none accommodates an outside crowd. The city’s existing options are limited. The concrete amphitheater on Downtown’s riverfront esplanade could host casual shows, but it lacks a stage and frequently floods. Apart from passersby stopping to take in the view, the location is largely unused.
Trays of cookie sandwiches, colorful macarons, and fresh cinnamon rolls at Bea Sweet Treats are the product of four generations of passion for the craft. Stephanie Post and her daughter Ashley Corbetta opened the storefront at 4111 Merchant Drive in Newburgh, Indiana, on Dec. 1, 2021 and present a daily rotating menu of baked goods from original recipes. The building also hosts a tasting room for wedding consultations and an event space called The Hive.
Mixed with the murmur of Downtown’s lunch crowd conversations, the electric hum of the The Daily Grind’s espresso machine doesn’t just add to the cafe’s ambiance. The Rancilio brand’s Classe 9 equipment is key to creating nearly all of The Daily Grind’s popular coffees. “This is my favorite machine I’ve worked on because it’s manual,” says manager Cadey Hess. “It’s old school. When you go somewhere more franchised, normally (the machine) does everything for you.”
Manning a hibachi grill is about more than just cooking food. When customers pull up a chair at Chef Zosimo Capili’s station inside Domo Japanese Hibachi Grill, Sushi and Ramen, they expect theatrics, and he is happy to oblige. From stacking onion ring volcano towers and flipping eggs on a spatula to twisting knives and supplying the occasional joke, Capili has mastered culinary entertainment. “I never get tired of doing it,” says Capili. “When I come in here, I (give it) everything I’ve got.”
Bursting flavors from spices such as parsley and chili peppers define Peruvian cuisine. That bold South American taste solidified the place of Inka’s Palace in Tri-State catering for years, and now it’s found a permanent spot on Evansville’s North Side.
Center of Attention
Before the EVSC Foundation and the Public Education Foundation merged in November 2021, they brainstormed joint projects and landed on a supplies shop for educators modeled after Teacher Warehouse in Bloomington, Indiana, and Teacher’s Treasures in Indianapolis. At the same time, the Area Council PTA had just turned over its Hangers clothing supply for students to the EVSC Foundation and was looking for a new project involving classroom supplies.
When it comes to spring, I prefer the meteorological definition that has the season beginning on March 1. Meteorological spring is based on annual temperature cycles; astronomical spring is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun — the spring equinox normally falls on March 20 or 21.
By advocating for preservation and patriotism, the Captain Henry Vanderburgh Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has kept local history alive for 125 years.
The tropical Florida sun shines brightly on Miami beaches all day, but the city really heats up after dark. That’s when bathing suits are shed in favor of alluring club fashions, because Miami is famous not just for its powdery beaches, but for its sultry nightlife — especially the Latin-themed variety.
As a senior in high school, Evansville native Dan Engler never saw himself making it to professional wrestling’s biggest stage. But with some encouragement from friends and family and a little push from Evansville’s rich wrestling scene, Engler has made the most of donning the black and white stripes. Engler, one of six referees for World Wrestling Entertainment’s Friday Night SmackDown, recalls his love of professional wrestling started as a preteen, when he watched his first WWE (then called the World Wrestling Federation) pay-per-view match in eighth grade.
From the moment he could walk, Tom Barrows was fiddling with a camera. Barrows’ father, George, was instrumental in piquing his son’s interest in photography. George, a reporter for the Washington Post in the 1920s and ‘30s and an early member of the National Press Club, always was holding a camera as he covered everything from transportation to the White House. “He had an old Crown Graphic for press work,” says Barrows. “Eventually (my parents) bought me a Brownie camera, and I started taking pictures from there.”
Music often is the prime companion of historic events. In Evansville, from the dedications of the Roberts Stadium renovation in 1990 to the Korean War Veterans Memorial unveiling in 1992, the Evansville Symphonic Band has provided music to commemorate the city’s legacy moments since July 1947.
The first thing the staff at Evansville Living noticed when looking at this photo from the mid-1970s was the broad smiles of those pictured. Taken in 1976, that season’s girls’ basketball team at Reitz High School had many reasons to celebrate. Louise Owen (not “Owens,” as it’s spelled in the photo’s original caption), had coached her young team to a sectionals victory; more impressive, it was the players’ very first year of basketball in the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Work was put on hold at Evansville Living on the afternoon of Jan. 18, when a four-legged friend strolled through our lobby. Sporting a hot pink “Adopt Me” bandana and matching leash, 2-year-old Zoe was on an adventure with photographer Zach Straw and me as part of It Takes a Village No Kill Rescue’s Rent-A-Dog program. “We have quite a few people do the Rent-a-Dog program every week. In the summer, it’s very popular,” says executive director Tangila Smith.
Where the LST-325 docks along Evansville’s riverfront, a riverboat named The City of Evansville took harbor on the Ohio River from 1995 to 2017 and held the title of Indiana’s first casino. Now called Riverboat Louis Armstrong and docked in New Orleans, Louisiana, the vessel is the largest boat and event space in the city.
Evansville native Jesse Sumrall stumbled upon his passion for creating intricate Styrofoam dioramas for tabletop gaming and décor completely by accident. Sumrall, who works full-time as an inventory control analyst, searched many years for “his thing” and tried his hand at other activities such as podcasting and woodworking, before harkening back to a craft he remembers doing in his youth.
Stroll along Vann Avenue in the spring, and it’s impossible not to be enraptured by the striking yard enveloping the home at the northeast corner of Gum Street. It’s evident that Tracy Stafford loves to garden, and for the past 35 years, she has cultivated a varied and vibrant collection of flowering plants, trees, and bushes that often stops passersby in their tracks.
On April 29, 2022, President Joe Biden released a proclamation renewing the country’s commitment to National Foster Care Month, which takes place each May. Three days later, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke made a historic announcement proclaiming May as Foster Care Month for the City of Evansville for the first time.
The Vanderburgh Humane Society is set to host its largest fundraiser of the year on May 21. The Going, Going, Gone to the Dogs Benefit Dinner & Auction is back in person for the first time since 2019. Guests can enjoy a plated dinner, free beer and wine for the first hour and silent and live auctions featuring nearly 500 items when the event is staged at the Old National Events Plaza next Saturday.
Note: This story appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Evansville Living. When 2009’s Kentucky Derby began, local racing fans watched with bated breath: Longtime Ellis Park jockey and local favorite Calvin Borel, a Louisiana native, was racing for his second Derby win. Borel won this year’s race riding Mine That Bird; he won his first derby in 2007 riding Street Sense.
A year of planning, 80 volunteers, and 110 brave rappelers came together to make the Over the Edge 4 Granted fundraiser a success. Granted’s event on April 30 was the first of its kind in Evansville, and it exceeded the nonprofit’s wildest expectations. Held in Downtown Evansville, fearless fundraisers rappelled down the side of the CenterPoint Energy building, all in the spirit of raising money to grant wishes for local children with terminal or life-threatening conditions.
May kicks off a month of finer weather and fun activities. From launching this year’s First Fridays in Haynie’s Corner to breaking a sweat with the local SWAT team, kick your weekend into gear with these events. Haynie’s Corner Arts District First Friday 5:30 p.m. May 6 Haynie’s Corner Arts District, intersection of Southeast Second Street and Washington and Adams avenues
The Evansville Otters are looking to come out strong for the 2022 Frontier League Championship season after narrowly missing out on the playoffs in 2021. The Otters will play their final preseason exhibition game at 10 a.m. May 10 before kicking off the regular season at 6:35 p.m. May 13. The team will face the New Jersey Jackals in the first of a nine-game homestand to begin the season.
The “pop, pop, pop” of machine guns could be heard as World War II raged on the Western Front and forever changed millions of lives. Teenaged Paul Eickhoff, a native of St. Philip in nearby Posey County, lay among those wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45. He was shot 12 times, stabbed in the back, and left on the battlefield, his injuries resulting in lost usage of his right arm.
By day, Evansville native Kevin Wiener works as senior technician for SWAT Pest Management. By night, he runs a Facebook group called All Bugs Go to Kevin, with more than 60,000 members. He sees himself as a troubleshooter and detective on the job, conducting extensive research on insects and sharing his respect and appreciation for them. But it wasn’t always that way.
The 2022 Vanderburgh County primary election is next Tuesday, May 3, and will determine which primary race candidates will advance to the 2022 general election on Nov. 8. This year’s ballot is dominated by local races, including hot-button contests for the Republican nominee for Vanderburgh County prosecutor and the Democratic nominee for Vanderburgh County sheriff. Party delegates and township board memberships are also on the ballot.
Throughout the years, West Franklin Street has hosted a variety of notable events, such as the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival and Mardi Gras Parade. Many, like the Fall Festival, have a rich history in the Evansville that span more than a century. This Saturday, organizers hope another event will enjoy the same legacy in the historic district.
Taking fundraising to new heights, local nonprofit Granted is giving people the opportunity to raise funds for local children by scaling down the side of a nine-story building. Over the Edge 4 Granted will send nearly 90 brave souls rappelling down the side of the CenterPoint Energy building in Downtown Evansville. Each participant is committed to raising a minimum of $1,000 for Granted.
Evansville has a taste for Asian cuisine of all types from Japanese sushi to classic Chinese American takeout, but there isn’t an abundance of locally owned options for fast-casual dining. On April 7, the grand opening of Teriyaki Madness at 8833 High Pointe Drive in Newburgh, Indiana, made that change.
Spring has officially sprung, and Evansville is celebrating the season by taking events outside. Looking to get back out in the community and enjoy the sunshine? Take the advice of our March/April issue of Evansville Living and get outside with these top springtime picks. Downtown Evansville Spring Wine Walk 5:30 p.m. April 22 Register in front of Southwestern Arts Council, 212 Main St.
Each year, Earth Day is celebrated internationally on April 22, and there is so much to be thankful for! Check out these ideas for honoring our planet this Earth Day.
When Evansville Living last spoke with Philip Lawrence, a River City native and eight-time Grammy Award winner, he was in Melbourne, Australia, filming a new television show for CBS. Called “Come Dance with Me,” the competitive dance show pairs each young performer with a family member who, although untrained in dance themselves, have supported the competitor’s dance dreams. Together, they will perform each week in an elimination-style competition, all the while giving audiences a look at the bonds they share.
Americans celebrate National Poetry Month in April, and the Hoosier State has found an engaging way to participate in this year’s festivities.
Alisha Wargel will start Monday, April 18 bright and early. Lacing up her sneakers and snapping on her watch, the Evansville resident will join thousands of runners from across the world competing at the 126th Boston Marathon.
The stained glass windows that shine inside the hollowed sanctuary of Immanuel United Church of Christ are not just a recreation of Bible verses, but also a symbol of the congregation’s determination and history. Located at 5812 Ford Road between Evansville and Mount Vernon, Indiana, the windows were not made by fabricators or skilled artisans, but by members of the church themselves. As the original stained glass windows dating to 1966 began deteriorating by the late 1990s, one church member decided to do something about it.
The quintessential symphonies composed by Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart are recognizable at first listen because these composers have served as the face of classical music for hundreds of years. Now, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Traditions Diversity Series is shedding light on talent outside of the mainstream. These concerts aim to give a platform to lesser-known composers whose music is often underrepresented.
Gumbert. Reitz. Koch. Igleheart. Evansville, both past and present, is marked by family names that have impacted our schools, government, roads, and our city’s history. Inspired by “What’s in a Name?” in Evansville Living’s 2014 City View issue, this series will examine names you recognize and the stories behind them that you don’t. “Willard” and “Carpenter”
Fast-talking and curious-minded Steve “The Woz” Wozniak, co-founder of the Apple Computer Company, took an awed audience on a whirlwind tour of his life as a futurist and meeting Steve Jobs, his thoughts on the environment and space junk, and his formula for life: happiness = smiles – frowns.
First responders are usually associated with fighting crime and fires. Once a year in the Tri-State, they take their fighting to the ring in front of thousands of people, and all for a good cause. Since 2008, the men and women of Tri-State law enforcement departments and fire and rescue squads square off in a boxing exhibition to raise money for 911 Gives Hope, which funds charity initiatives including raising awareness for Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a genetic condition affecting appetite and physical development.
Every March, Women’s History Month offers a special opportunity to celebrate generations of women who have strengthened our nation and paved the way for others. To honor local contributions, we are shining a light on five of the women who have helped shape the River City over time. Albion Fellows Bacon
Looking for something to do this weekend? Whether you’re a gearhead, Queen fan, fish fry fanatic, or literature buff, [Evansville Living] has you covered. Check out these five events happening this weekend in the River City. Germania Fish Fry 53:30-7:30 p.m. April 1 Germania Maennerchor, 916 N Fulton Ave.
Indiana’s strength and vitality emanate from, among several places, our many waterways. Hoosiers have diverse relationships with water, and Indiana Humanities’ Waterways Film Tour is highlighting stories of access and conservation, as well as the unique cultures that spring up around Indiana’s waterways. The Waterways Film Tour is a nine-city tour featuring six short documentaries by a variety of Hoosier filmmakers, and will be making a stop in Historic New Harmony, Indiana, on March 31.