Cities Near Evansville, IN
Local city information for Evansville, IN
is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the largest city in Southern Indiana. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 121,582, and a metropolitan population of 342,815. It is the county seat of Vanderburgh County and the regional hub for Southwestern Indiana, the Evansville, IN-KY Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky Tri-State Areas.
Settled in 1812, the city is situated on a gentle horseshoe bend on the Ohio River and often referred to as "River City." One of the most popular attractions in the region is Casino Aztar, the first riverboat casino in the state of Indiana. Evansville is also home to both the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana.
The broad economic base of the region has helped to build an economy which is known for its stability, diversity, and vitality. In 2004 Evansville was named an "All-America City" by the National Civic League and in 2008 it was voted one of the best cities in the country by the readers of Kiplinger.
Settled by immigrants some 200 years ago, the city of Evansville is situated on a gentle horseshoe bend on the Ohio River. The first cabin built in Evansville was built in 1809, home of George Miller. As testament to the Ohio's grandeur, the early French explorers named it La Belle Riviere ("The Beautiful River"). Initially settled in 1812, the city was laid out in 1817. It was named in honor of Robert Morgan Evans (1783-1844), one of its founders, an officer under then General William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812.
It soon became a thriving commercial town, with an extensive river trade. It was incorporated in 1819 and received a city charter in 1847. The completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Ohio River, greatly accelerated the city's growth. Evansville's first railroad company, Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad, was built in 1850. By the U.S. census of 1890 Evansville ranked as the 56th largest urban area in the United States, a rank it gradually fell from in the early 1900s.
The first highway bridge to cross the Ohio River and connect Evansville with Henderson, Kentucky, was built in 1932. After the devastating Ohio River flood of 1937, the city established the Evansville-Vanderburgh Levee Authority District. It built a system of earth levees, concrete walls, and pumping stations designed to protect the city.
During World War II, Evansville was the largest inland producer of LSTs (Tank Landing Ships). Evansville also produced a specific line of the P-47 Thunderbolt known as the P-47Ds. These planes were also produced in Farmingdale on Long Island, New York. The Evansville craft were given the suffix "-Ra" while the Farmingdale planes were given the suffix "-Re". Evansville produced a total 6,242 P-47s and 167 LSTs during the war.
In the early 1950s, industrial production in the city expanded at a rapid pace. Culturally, Evansville evolved in the 1950s with the construction of subdivisions on the outer reaches of the community. This shift in population led to other developments as shopping started to shift from the downtown area into suburban shopping centers. In 1963, Washington Square Mall became the first enclosed mall in the state of Indiana.
During the final third of the 20th century, Evansville became the commercial, medical, and service hub for the tri-state region. A 1990s economic spurt was fueled by the growth of the University of Southern Indiana, which now has 10,000 students. The arrival of giant Toyota and AK Steel plants, as well as Casino Aztar, Indiana's first gaming boat, also contributed to the growth of jobs.
On November 6, 2005, an F3 tornado struck the Evansville area and killed 25 people. The tornado began in Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River. It struck Ellis Park Racecourse, East Brook Mobile Home Park, and then Newburgh, leaving a of path of destruction for more than . Nearly $85 million in damage was done. Following the Evansville Tornado of November 2005, the coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency noted, "I don't think I've ever seen a community of people come out so quickly to help each other. All communities come together after a disaster, but this one is exceptional."
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