Not long ago my husband and I met a fellow swim parent, Jill, at the Old Lock & Dam Building in Newburgh, Indiana. Todd agreed to lend his PA equipment for her son’s birthday party, planned for the weekend along the river. After we completed the test run of the tunes, Jill asked, “So, are you making it an evening in Newburgh tonight? Staying for dinner on the river?”
What a pleasant thought! I wish! Newburgh is that kind of town. I have spent many memorable days and evenings gazing at the Ohio River from Edgewater Grille, poking through Rivertown Antiques or Country Gentleman Antiques, browsing the Newburgh Country Store’s annual Herb Fest, enjoying a fishbowl in front of the fireplace at Knob Hill, picnicking at the Overlook, and simply
walking the town’s historic streets.
For us these days, going to Newburgh means hustling to the Castle High School natatorium to get Jackson to afternoon swim practice and then hurrying back — during rush hour, when it seems every worker in Downtown Evansville must live in Newburgh — to pick him up. It would be nice to slow down and take time to really enjoy our favorite small town.
When I was in seventh grade, my family moved to Newburgh. It was the late 1970s and my father, a teacher at Harrison High School, thought Castle High School would better suit his three daughters. We built a house in the huge subdivision called South Broadview just as Newburgh began to swell. To clarify — Newburgh, the historic town, has remained tiny, with a population of just 3,325 (according to the 2010 census record). It was the outlying areas of Newburgh that burgeoned with families transferring for jobs at Alcoa or Mead Johnson, for example, or like us, moving from Evansville.
My youngest sister Tiffany, who was just 7 when we moved in 1977 to Newburgh, remembers the “long car rides” to watch the progress on our house. The drive was so long, she recalls bringing her Barbies along to play with on the way. (The distance from the East Side of Evansville to our new home was 6.7 miles.)
My sister Miekka recalls earlier visits to Newburgh, especially an outing with our mother’s friend and fellow teacher at Caze Elementary School Helen Jasper. She invited us to drive to Newburgh in her convertible for lunch at the Calliope Restaurant (what is now Café Arazu) on a summery Saturday. Our mother didn’t drive yet, and our father often worked Saturdays in a second job Downtown, so this was a real treat as our normal stomping grounds were Washington Square Mall, Lawndale, or the Main Street Walkway.
The Haug family lived next door to us in Evansville. My friend Denise Haug Nellis remembers her family’s outings to Newburgh. “My parents and five siblings would hop into our station wagon and spend time at the Country Store. We would go in, play checkers, and eat crackers, then we’d look at posters upstairs and buy candy from the counter. We always looked forward to going there.”
While my family now lives in Evansville, Newburgh always will be part of my home. It certainly is home to my husband, who grew up there and attended Newburgh Elementary School where his mother taught. Todd recalls a small town where, as I’ve noted in columns before, he could run a candy tab at the Country Store until his mother came in to buy gifts or whatnot and pay his tab.
I am very pleased to note Newburgh resident and retired news radio personality Randy Wheeler agreed to help us reacquaint you with Newburgh in his story, “Our Favorite Small Town.” The month of May and the upcoming summer months bring many reasons to visit Newburgh, starting with the 12th annual Historic Newburgh Wine, Art & Jazz Festival. Evansville Living has been a title sponsor of this wonderful weekend on the riverfront for each of its 12 years. We share a year’s worth of Newburgh events you won’t want to miss on page 39.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you!
Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor
Of The Issue, 21
It was, quite literally, 50 years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. To celebrate the five decades since the June 1, 1967, release of the Beatles’ masterpiece and eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I thought it would be fun to ask four well-known readers of at least a certain age to share a favorite Beatles memory. Then, we laughed ourselves silly as we head swapped our willing participants.