George Rogers Clark Memorial
Visit the George Rogers Clark Memorial and surounding grounds. The memorial on the banks of the Wabash River. I had been reading a book called ' The Long Knife' about Clark.I went to the Memorial to ask a few questions and left with maps and all kinds of info.The ranger on duty was reading the same book at the same time!!
After parking our car and visiting the Visitor Center, we looked up and noticed an historic Mural painted on the north side of the Old Gimbel building at the corner of 2nd and Main in downtown Vincennes. After taking a few photographs, I walked up very close to the mural to see if there would be information regarding the artist and the content.
I discovered that Randall Hedden created the original mural on 10/27/78. I looked up his name and found out that he is a "self-taught artist who started in 1972 primarily working in portraiture and illustrations. He later moved on to murals, and many can...be seen on the exterior of large buildings in the midwest..." Hedden has his own gallery in Scottsdal, Arizona; it is called Hedden Gallery.
Randall Hedden is a former resident of Vincennes, and he has been hired to create a mural on the back wall of a building at 3rd and Main street facing the Municipal Parking Lot; it is a mural of hometown comedian, Red Skelton.
When the project is completed, a dedication ceremony is planned.
I also discovered that Randall Hedden did restoration work of the historical mural that he first painted in 1978. It was restored by October, 7, 2005. This large mural depicts many of Vincennes, Indiana's early "claims to fame" It features the British surrender to Revolutionary War hero, George Rogers Clark; the city's status as the capital of the Indiana Territory under Governor William Henry Harrison before Indiana's statehood; the role of historic Basillica of St. Francis Xavier.
What a great tribute to the city of Vincennes, and what a great artist Randall Hedden is!
The Pantheon Theatre
After taking the tour of the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center, my sister and I wanted to see what started his career in show business. Thus, we sought out this once grand theatre.
We found it at 428 Main Street It is being slowly restored to its original grandeur. It is a challenging task for a non-profit organization.
I was impressed with the struggle and gave a donation toward this restoration project.
For years, the Pantheon played host to some of Hollywood's most famous performers such as Duke Ellington, James Dean, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Count Basie, Sally Rand, Roy Rogers, The Diamonds, and, of course, Red Skelton.. [See Photo #2, which is a post card of The Pantheon in the winter of 1950.]
The Pantheon is where 10-year-old Red Skelton was introduced to show business by Ed Wynn.
In 1919, The Pantheon was built for $225,000.00. It was completed in 1921. It was built to seat 1,200 people in the first midwestern theatre to have commercial air conditioning. It's interior was embellished with ornamental plaster, painted details, and rich draperies. It had a large stage and eleven dressing rooms, and it was the only facility in the area that was able to handle road shows from Broadway. After TV became so popular, the Pantheon closed in 1961. At that time, it was converted into retail space. From there, it has gone down hill until not-for-profit organization rallied to restore it.
Hopefully, the restoration will be completed, and The Pantheon Theatre will become the grand theater it once was.
Vincennes State Historic Sites
What a great idea to place so many historic places together in one location. That is the concept behind the Vincennes State Historic Sites
At one time, in 1800, the Northwest Territory was divided The eastern part was what is now the state of Ohio. The western part became The Indiana Territory, and Vincennes was its capital.
Would you believe that the Indiana Territory at one time included the present states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota? The first governor of the territory was William Henry Harrison.
At the Vincennes State Historic Site, they have preserved the building that was used in 1811 for the Indiana Territory Legislature. Called "Red House" because of it's color, it was built in 1805 and first used as a tailor shop. This a structure that you can tour Photo #1.
The Stout Print Shop replica is also located at this site. He was the first printer in the Indiana Territory. He printed the laws, the newspaper, pamphlet forms for the courts. He printed the first newspaper in Indiana called Indiana Gazette  which later became "The Western Sun.
Inside this building is an original 200-year-old wooden printing press similar to the one that Stout used. See Photo #2
Photo #3 is the replica of Jefferson Academy which was established in 1801 by Governor Harrison. Jefferson was president at the time, so the Academy was named after him. At the time, when students were age 15, they came to college for 3 years of instruction in Latin, geometry, and geography. I was surprised to learn that the young kids were admitted in a primary division; thus, there was an age range of 8-18 in one room! This Academy was the "direct ancestor of Vincennes University, chartered in 1806
The last two photographs, #'s 4-5 have to do with Maurice Thompson. The modest home was his birthplace. This one-room dwelling stood in Fairfield, Indiana, near Cincinnati, Ohio when he was born in 1840.Thompson was the author of the best-selling novel of 1900 called "Alice of Old Vincennes". The book was made into a hit Broadway play that toured the nation. The Nickname for Vincennes became "Alicetown"! I learned from a neice, who lived in Vincennes for years, that there was an Alice Restaurant, Alice Soda Shop, Alice Park, and an Alice movie theater. And, would you believe that the Vincennes Lincoln High School [where her children went to school] named their sports teams, the "Vincennes Alices, which they still use.
While in Vincennes, I purchased the book, and I just completed it. I must say that it was a delightfulread in every way: educational, romantic, as well as an historic novel about Vincennes during the Revolution and Clark's capturing Fort Sackville from the British.
Not pictured is an 1850's-era log cabin that serves as the Visitor's Center
Pay at the Log Cabin:
Donations of Adult: $3.50
April through mid-November
Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Suncay 1 to 5 p.m.
Vincennes and its attractions
Vincennes is the oldest town in the state of Indiana. The official date of its settlement is 1732. There are many descendants of French-Canadian fur trappers that lived in the area at that time. St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (aka The Old Cathedral) is the oldest church in Indiana and is a beautiful place to visit. It is next to the George Rogers Clark Memorial which is another great place to visit. Vincennes was the capital of the Indiana Terrritory and William Henry Harrison was the first governor of this territory. His home, Grouseland, is a beautiful old home to visit. It is located on the campus of Vincennes University, which was organized by Harrison in 1801. It was, at that time, called Jefferson Academy. The name was not changed to Vincennes University until 1806. Vincennes was the hometown of Richard "Red" Skelton. The Old French House is another place to visit. It is one of the oldest houses in Indiana and was built in the late 18th or early 19th century by French fur trader, Michel Brouillet. The house is built in a style called poteaux-sur-sole (posts on sill.) Also, every May, is the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous. It was established in 1977 and people come from all over to attend. It is held on the French Commons back behind the George Rogers Clark Memorial area. Many re-enactors attend. There are mock battles, lots of crafts and food. It is a big event.