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May / June 2010

Evansville Living


Check out photos submitted by our readers, featuring them with a copy of Evansville Living in an interesting place...

Wild Thing

That guy in the picture? That’s me. I normally don’t look so cool, but the vehicle I’m driving makes anyone instantly more fun. The Scoop For five days in April, Evansville Living borrowed an electric low speed vehicle (LSV) from Carts Gone Wild, but despite what it looks like in the photo, an LSV isn’t a golf cart. An LSV must reach speeds between 20 and 25 mph and is equipped with headlights, turn signals, an automotive windshield, and more.

Boxed Lunch

In September 2006, Food Network star Rachael Ray arrived on the set of ABC’s Good Morning America to tell viewers about five of her favorite things. One of the novelties that made her list was a bento box, a traditional Japanese lunch box with small compartments or an assortment of dishes. Since Ray’s endorsement, bento boxes have attracted a diverse group of devotees. For dieters, they encourage portion control and variety. For picky kids, an artful bento lunch has a coolness factor far above the cafeteria special.

The Bend in the River

Last year, a multistate organization called hundreds of residents in the Ohio River basin to ask how they used the river. Then, the researchers conducted field surveys, and when they finished, the commissioners visited Ohio River cities with PowerPoint slides of information. Their findings showed how people used the river (to fish, swim, boat, and ship goods, of course) — and why they don’t (it’s polluted, muddy, and dirty).

Destination Dining

Recently, Evansville Living traveled to four cities to explore the culinary heritage of some of the region’s best-loved restaurants. From the world’s hottest shrimp cocktail sauce in Indianapolis to pie so sweet we almost wept in Chattanooga, here’s the best of what we found.

Major Move

After a two-year experience in self-proclaimed “semi-retirement,” Terry Lewis is back. Of course, his semi-retirement looked a lot like his longtime business — The Rug Merchant, a shrine to Old World-style imports — with just a few differences. For a little more than 20 years, Lincoln Avenue was home to Lewis’ store, but in 2007, he moved to Downtown’s Main Street in the ultramodern digs of the renovated Marlocon.

Inside Spaces

Evansville Living is several months into its newest Idea Home, and though the previous showcase homes featured new construction, this project, known as the 2010 Evansville Living Downtown Idea Home, is a community effort to revitalize the Washington Avenue Historic District. The once prosperous corridor of the city features large Colonial-style homes, which fell into decay after World War II. Stewart Sebree, director of the southwest field office for Indiana Landmarks, believes longtime neighbors of the 620 Washington Ave.

A Big Mac Collection

Absent from the shelves of John Nugent’s garage are paint cans, ladders, and gardening tools. Instead, the longtime collector of pocketknives and watches has a chronological arrangement of Macs — computers from Apple, a company well known for other technological successes such as a music device, the iPod, and a smartphone, the iPhone.

L is for Living

On a busy Lincoln Avenue is an area commonly known as the “state hospital grounds.” The general term includes several soccer and baseball fields, numerous walking paths, wooded trails, and a lake where visitors feed ducks on sunny days from the dock.

Sweet and Strong

When the old-fashioned debuted (circa the early 1800s) as a breakfast drink, it was strong: small amounts of water and sugar mixed with plenty of whiskey. My, how things change. Most Old-Fashioned options now are made with fruit such as orange slices or cherries. That switch has a broader appeal, though a national bartenders’ union recently went on record denouncing the changes to this classic cocktail. The taste of liquor should stand proudly on its own, without fruit and other additions, they say.

Cool Drinks

This February at the Winter Olympic Games, snowboarders flipped and twisted on the halfpipe, figure skaters landed triple axels, and skeleton racers slid face-first down an icy track at more than 85 mph. That kind of athleticism demands some serious vigor, and one of the menu items that fueled competitors this year was a new Real Fruit Smoothie from McDonald’s, which debuted at the Olympics.

Taking Flight

Previously, my sake experience involved one choice: whatever was served at the nearest Japanese restaurant. It was hot, it tasted smooth and gentle, and it barely smelled like alcohol — exactly how the Japanese rice wine traditionally is served.

Editor's Letter

Our River

When my family moved from Melcher, Iowa, to Evansville in 1971, I recall my parents talking to me about the Ohio River. Moving to Evansville was very exciting to a second-grade Kristen for several reasons: We were building a new brick house on the far East Side of town (our home in Melcher — population 1,298 — was a large, old, wooden structure); I was told children of diverse backgrounds would attend my school, Caze Elementary (rural Melcher was not diverse); my grandparents were here; and Evansville had a river.

Chew On This

Chew On This

Major Munch (101 N.W. First St.) has opened in the former Chick-fil-A spot in Downtown Evansville. The hamburger joint formerly was a part of the Café Court in Eastland Mall. … Wired Coffee House has reopened at 111 N.W. Fourth St. The Downtown location offers snacks such as muffins and rice crispy treats as well as espressos and, of course, coffee. … Def Café (417 N. Weinbach Ave.) has opened with a menu of sandwiches and wraps.

Check It Out

Summertime Blues

William Christopher Handy never intended to settle in Henderson, Ky. In 1892, the Alabama-born musician was traveling south from Chicago with his band when a lack of funds stranded them in St. Louis, Mo. Unable to find work, Handy headed east to Evansville. He found a job paving streets, joined another band, and spent a decade living in Henderson after meeting his future wife there at a barbecue.

The Bluegrass Hop

The official song of Kentucky? That’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” an 1853 ballad, but appropriately enough, the Bluegrass State has an official bluegrass state song: “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Bill Monroe. Often considered a musician most instrumental in forming the current sound of today’s bluegrass music, Monroe’s 1946 “bluegrass waltz” became so popular that several artists have re-recorded it, including Elvis Presley.

Off Road Warriors

Several bright orange buoys bobbed in the 66-acre Scales Lake last summer. On the shoreline stood 75 white- and yellow-capped competitors ready for the YMCA’s Off-Road Triathlon. When the race began, those athletes swam for a half mile. Then, over the rocks, roots, and bumps in the wooded trails, they biked for 11 miles until they reached the 3.3-mile run. Their feet carried them to the finish line beneath a blue inflatable.

Encyclopedia Evansvillia

A Lasting Legacy

On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing important news from the North: President Abraham Lincoln had declared that all slaves were free. Dubbed “Juneteenth,” that triumphant occasion inspires a celebration every summer at Lyles Station, Indiana’s last remaining black settlement from the Civil War era.

Evansville Centric

Place Value

Inside the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, fierce roller derby women throw elbows at competitors, charismatic pro wrestlers drop elbows on bulked-up opponents, and businesspeople rub elbows. The Coliseum events bring a wide-ranging clientele, and this May, the auditorium with a Grecian portico facade turns 93, a seemingly insignificant year were it not the oldest currently operating entertainment venue Downtown. Here’s a look back at its history.

Digging In

Color Commentary

When summer heats up, flowers burst open. Perennials and shrubs are flowering, but Evansvillians also incorporate many annual flowers that won’t grow on a year-round basis in our climate. Plus, if ground space is minimal, annuals work great in containers on patios or front entries. For these reasons, it is possible to think summer is the most colorful season in the garden, and though we buy annuals, numerous options allow the other seasons to show color.

Tomato Catch Up

The world’s most popular vegetable actually is a fruit. For years, there was much debate on whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable, but the general conclusion now is that a tomato is classified botanically as a fruit but as a vegetable for its culinary purposes. In the kitchen, chefs may have a shortage. Earlier this year, a January freeze in Florida wiped out much of the Sunshine State’s winter tomato harvest — one of the biggest suppliers of the fruit. The shortage has increased prices within the fast-food industry and grocery markets.

Art Talk

Ballet Beauty

Tears welled up in the hazel eyes of 10-year-old Gretchen Smith as she scanned the casting sheet for the Evansville Dance Theatre’s annual production of The Nutcracker and didn’t see her name. Then her mother told her she was looking in the wrong place — her name was at the top, next to the role of Clara, the little girl who gets a toy nutcracker for Christmas that turns into a prince who takes her to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.


Face Value

After losing a substantial amount of weight, Tim Holt had more energy, felt better, and was healthier. But something was nagging at him. The more weight he lost, the older he looked. As he slimmed down, his face began to show wrinkles. His cheeks appeared hollowed, and the fine lines were more pronounced. Holt wanted his outward appearance to match the way he felt on the inside. “There was no light bulb moment when I decided to get some work done,” says Holt, an oral surgeon in Henderson, Ky. “I just knew that I wanted to look how I felt.”

The Voice of 40 Years

Mike Blake’s voice — almost Barry White deep — commands attention. The smooth, clear voice sounds like it should give directions on a GPS. It’s upbeat and friendly but somber when necessary. His voice has all the qualities to report news — straight news — and what defines his voice most is what’s missing from it: a level of cynicism and a judgmental tone.

Washington Revisited

Many people traveling to Washington, D.C., for the first time are on some middle school band, chorus, history class, or junior honor society trip. Those junkets — with a need to fill numerous activities into a small educational window — can cram a schedule with monument, artifact, document and gemstone visits in our nation’s capital. But now that I’m older, I went back and appreciated the things that I had to sprint by as a child.


First Bout

Jerry Lawler would be, well, just Jerry Lawler if it weren’t for his crown and penchant for piledriving baddies on the professional wrestling mat. That’s why Lawler’s nickname is “The King,” and he’s bringing his crown and his finishing move, the piledriver, to Evansville May 8 for Main Event Championship Wrestling’s inaugural headlining match.

Natasha Neely

Dressed in a jean skirt, a red cowboy hat, white boots, and an American flag scarf, a 3-year-old Natasha Neely stood trembling behind the microphone at Goldie’s Opryhouse in her hometown of Owensboro, Ky. Neely’s parents had brought her to perform at an open mike night, and she remembers being overwhelmed by stage fright. Still, her rendition of “God Bless America” won over the audience — and Goldie Payne, the longtime owner of the entertainment venue that closed in 2008.

Behind the Shot

Gated Community

When azaleas bloom each spring, the homeowners on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Roosevelt Drive open their backyard fence and post two inviting signs: “The azaleas are blooming. Welcome to my garden.” Anyone — and they mean anyone — is invited to wander through the space of calm-inducing reds, pinks, and purples acclaimed as Evansville’s “dogwood and azalea trail.” This is a scene few Yankees expect to ever enjoy since it’s believed Evansville is as far north as azaleas can grow.

Online Exclusives

Remembering Will

As president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., Will Koch’s career was dedicated to providing a fun, safe getaway for families. That career ended on Sunday, June 13, when Koch died at age 48 from what his family believes to be complications of Type 1 diabetes. As Koch’s family mourned, the park continued his mission by remaining open the day after his death. “We know that's what Will would have wanted,” says Holiday World spokeswoman Paula Werne.

Award Season

(Updated June 8, 2010) This spring, Evansville Living magazine once again earned a national nomination for the City and Regional Magazine Awards. Last year’s City View, our annual visitors’ and relocation guide, is among other publications praised at the 2010 awards ceremony held June 7 in Rhode Island.


This Memorial Day, we're featuring three pieces of Evansville's public art that honor those who died in service to our country and remind us what soldiers fought for. Four Freedoms Monument, 1976 Located on the Evansville Riverfront

River Myths

Swimming happily along the Ohio River like the queen of fresh water is a carp bigger than a truck. That’s how the myth goes anyway, and wouldn’t it be great if the next time the Ohio River waters receded, we’d see a one-ton carp lying on the Riverfront Dress Plaza like a beached whale? Not possible, say the biologists at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO). The biggest carp doesn’t weigh much more than 40 pounds.

Hot Brown

If you can’t make it to The Brown Hotel, try the famed recipe to experience a true Louisville original. The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe The Brown Hotel, Executive Chef Laurent Géroli 335 W. Broadway, (502) 583-1234 or www.brownhotel.com

Plaza Drive

In 1986, Robert Matthews, then executive director of the Center City Corp. (a predecessor to the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville), published an editorial in the Evansville Press that encouraged Evansvillians to “put our dreaming caps on and look at our riverfront, keeping in mind that dreams can become reality if our attitude is positive.” His lofty visions — a mini-state park! An airstrip for ultralight planes! A steamboat museum!