Southern Indiana offers its share of history. The best part is that most of these sites are not crowded. First up is Vincennes, a sleepy town of 18,000 on the banks of the Wabash. Our travel route brought us from Illinois to Vincennes on U.S. 50. The first thing you need to do is exit on the business Route 50 (aka the old highway). You’ll come across a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, who made his first venture into Illinois at this point. You’ll drive across the Lincoln Memorial Bridge, a scenic two-lane deck arch bridge that was constructed in 1933.
Once you cross into Indiana, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is on your right. Who was George Rogers Clark, and how did he get this awesome memorial in his honor? Well, we must have slept through that day of history class. Clark was a Revolutionary War hero, a brother of William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame, and we’ll let you learn the rest of his story in Vincennes. We were the only visitors on a quiet Saturday morning.
The Old Cathedral is adjacent to the George Rogers Clark site, so take a few steps and check it out! The building dates to 1826 and the parish is the oldest in Indiana, dating to 1734.
Vincennes continued to be a strategic post for military operations after the Revolutionary War. It became the capital of the Indiana Territory and home to William Henry Harrison. We were awake in history class to learn about “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too” and the shortest-serving U.S. President. We learned much more at Grouseland, where we received a private tour (no one else was visiting that morning).
After Grouseland, we ventured a few blocks to Vincennes University, home of the Red Skelton Museum. The radio and early television comic grew up in Vincennes, and his boyhood home is visible from campus.
Free sites: George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Lincoln Memorial Bridge, Old Cathedral
Cost attached: William Henry Harrison home at Grouseland, Red Skelton Museum
We skipped: Vincennes State Historic Site (mixed reviews on TripAdvisor)
Time allowance: One day. We arrived in the evening and walked the George Rogers Clark grounds. We toured the GRC building and the next morning, then the Cathedral, Grouseland, and finally the Skelton museum. An easy 1-2-3-4 that took from 9:00 a.m. to about 12:30.