Right At Home

Henderson residents enjoy the city’s varied neighborhoods – and national accolades

No doubt about it, Henderson is a friendly town.

When a riverboat tourist visited in 2021 and started meeting local folks, she immediately bought a house and moved here.

She apparently wasn’t imagining things. A Southern Living magazine poll published in June 2024 named Henderson No. 19 on a list of “Top 20 Friendliest Towns in the South.” A separate list of superlatives titled “The South’s Best” published in the magazine’s April 2024 issue ranked Henderson No. 8 in its “Best Small Towns” in Kentucky.

Central Park Fountain by Zach Straw

A lot of the city’s charm comes through the large number of buildings accented with Evansville- rooted Mesker Steel architectural details and Victorian-era homes concentrated in and around the central business district.

Downtown is a mixture of professional offices, locally owned restaurants – there are now 10 concentrated near Second and Main streets at the primary downtown crossroads – and a vibrant collection of boutique shops.

A new events center called The Vault takes up residence in a renovated former bank building and hosts weddings, receptions, community banquets, and other events.

Downtown is the seat of both municipal and county government, as well as judicial proceedings. The Elks and Moose lodges are perched Downtown. There’s also an abundance of green spaces.

The Henderson Tourist Commission offers a self-guided walking tour allowing folks to stroll the historic streets and learn community history, including stories about ghosts that may still be loitering. (Find it at hendersonky.org.) Architectural styles include Georgian, Queen Anne, Victorian, Châteauesque, Federalist, and Italianate.

On North Main Street is the home that stood in as the boarding house for the Rockford Peaches in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna. It can be found at 612 N. Main. Downtown’s former Soaper Hotel also served as a filming location for the movie.

On the opposite side of Downtown at 232 S. Main stands the residence of an originator of Mother’s Day. While teaching at Center Street School in 1887, Mary Towles Sasseen Wilson organized a Mother’s Day celebration and in the early 1890s published a pamphlet used to promote the holiday as a national observance.

Perhaps the oldest home in town, built around 1820 by Wyatt Ingram, is found at 124 S. Elm St. Ingram was a tobacco merchant who transported his goods to New Orleans, Louisiana, by flatboat, then walked home. Local lore says he made that circuit 13 times.

Did You Know? 

>> Central Park is believed to be the oldest municipal park east of the Allegheny Mountains. A 27-foot-tall replica of the original 1892 fountain was installed in 2003.

Photo by Zach Straw

>> Opened in 1904, Henderson County Public Library is the oldest public building in the city and has gone through three major renovations, including a 2020 expansion that added community meeting rooms overlooking the Ohio River. The library collection includes 10 original Audubon prints. In Classical style, the name engraved in the original building’s stone is “PVBLIC.”

>> Henderson’s other distinctive neighborhood – once called Audubon and now known as the East End, about a mile southeast of Downtown – currently is the focus of revitalization through a targeted project by city government and community partners.

>> Jagoe Homes, a large Owensboro, Kentucky-based housing developer, announced plans to construct up to 300 single-family homes in a new $35 million, 86-acre housing community off U.S. 60-East. Jagoe intends to build the homes over the next seven to 10 years, with prices ranging from $200,000 to $400,000, averaging around $250,000. It is the largest residential development in decades and perhaps ever in Henderson.

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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