Evansville, Indiana

Evansville is a city in Indiana, United States. The population was 119,477 (2010 census); including suburbs, the population is 315,948. Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana, behind Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. It is the capital of Vanderburgh County.

The city is located on the north bank of the Ohio River, which forms the southern border of the state of Indiana. Evansville is a regional transportation hub, largely due to its proximity to the states of Kentucky and Illinois.

Evansville was founded in 1817 and soon became a center of commerce because of its port on the Ohio River. In 1932 the first bridge was built across the Ohio River, connecting Evansville to Henderson in Kentucky. Today Evansville is the cultural and economic center of southern Indiana.

Attractions in Evansville include the Casino Aztar (a boat with an onboard casino), the Fall Festival (second largest street festival in the US) and the local Mesker Park Zoo.

Evansville is the seat of the Diocese of Evansville.



The site consists of the remains of a prehistoric settlement established by Native Americans of the Middle Mississippian culture around 1200 AD. on a natural terrace along the right bank of the Ohio, just upstream from the confluence of the Green River. The site, about 100 acres in area, was protected by a semicircular palisade on the east, north, and west sides, while on the south side, before the main Ohio, was a narrow island separated by a channel from the shore. Within the protected area were several earthen mounds in the shape of truncated pyramids, eleven of which have survived, although many were damaged before the site was preserved. The excavations of the site were carried out between 1939 and 1964 by the American archaeologist Glenn Albert Black on behalf of the Indiana Historical Society. Currently the archaeological site is part of the state park called Angel Mounds State Historic Site, and is managed by the Indiana State Museum. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.


The Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden opened in 1928 in Evansville, Indiana. It is one of the largest and oldest zoos in this state. Occupying an area of about 20 hectares, it exhibits about 200 species, composed of more than 700 animals inserted in habitats similar to the natural ones, including both exotic and spontaneous vegetation. The Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden belongs to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


The Ford Center is an indoor arena located in Evansville, Indiana. The arena is mainly used for ice hockey, basketball and concerts. It has been the home rink for the Evansville IceMen of the East Coast Hockey League since 2011. It has a capacity of 9,437 seats for ice hockey, 10,000 seats for basketball, and a maximum seating capacity of 11,000 for concerts. The Ford Center was inaugurated in November 2011 at a construction cost of $127.5 million.



According to the US Census Bureau, the total area of the city is 123.83 km² (47.81 sq. miles), of which 0.2 km² (1 sq. mile) is water (0.15% of the territory). The city is located on the Ohio River, which is its southern border. Most of the city is in a valley surrounded by low rolling countryside. The western part of the city is located on this hilly area, where Burdett Park, Mesker Amphitheater and the city zoo are located. The eastern part of the city, located in the valley, is protected by dams, which are located near Highway 164. A well-known landmark of the East Side area is the 240-acre (1 km²) Wesselman Tree Nature Reserve.

The Evansville metropolitan area is the 160th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States. It includes four Indiana counties (Gibson, Posey, Vanderburg, and Warrick) and two Kentucky counties (Henderson and Webster).



Founded by immigrants approximately 200 years ago, the city of Evansville is located in a bend in the Ohio River. The first house built in Evansville was built in 1809 (George Miller House). As a testament to Ohio's grandeur, early French explorers named it La Belle River ("Beautiful River").

The city was named after Robert Morgan Evans (1783–1844), one of its founders, an officer under General William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812. It soon became a prosperous commercial city, with extensive river trade. The city received city status in 1847.

The completion of the Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Ohio River, greatly accelerated the growth of the city. In 1850, Evansville's first railroad company, the Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad, was built. The 1890 census ranked Evansville as the 56th city area by population in the United States. This rank has been gradually falling since the early 1900s.

The first Ohio River Bridge connecting Evansville with Henderson, Kentucky was built in 1932. After the devastating flood of the Ohio River in 1937, the Evansville-Wanderbero Dams and pumping stations were built, designed to protect the city. During World War II, Evansville was the largest domestic manufacturer of LSTs (Large Landing Craft). Evansville also produced a considerable number of P-47s, known as P-47Ds. These aircraft were also manufactured at Farmingdale on Long Island, New York. Evansville production was given the "-Ra" suffix, while aircraft manufactured in Farmingdale were given the "-Re" suffix.

In the early 1950s, industrial production in the city began to grow rapidly. Evansville also began to develop culturally. During the final third of the 20th century, advertising and medicine began to develop in Evansville. The economic boom of the 1990s was fueled by the growth of the University of Southern Indiana, which now has 10,000 students. The opening of the giant Toyota plant and AK steel mills also contributed to job growth. On November 6, 2005, an F3 tornado hit Evansville and killed 25 people. The tornado started in Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River. The cost of damage was nearly $85 million.