I was so happy when I saw in the literature about Vincennes that there was an Old French House & Indian Museum. On another trip that I made to Missouri, I had toured a French House and found it fascinating. With that in mind, my sister and I went looking for it.
The Old French House and Indian Museum is located at the corner of First Street and Seminary Street.
A French fur trader and Indian interpreter, Michel Brouillet, built this home about 1808, and it is an excellent example of French Creole architecture. This small cottage uses "poteaux sur sole [posts on sill] construction. This architecture uses fourteen-foot upright posts, spaced about a foot and a half apart and fitted into a horizontal beam [sill]. The posts are capped by another horizontal beam [plate.]" Also, the walls are insulated with a mixture of mud and prairie grass daubed over wooden stakes jammed between the posts at six-inch intervals.
This home is partitioned into two small rooms and a living room [centered around a large hearth]. It also has a double chimney with a fireplace in the living room for winter cooking/heat and another fireplace facing into the lean-to summer kitchen for summer cooking.
Photo #1: The outside of the Old French House
Photo #3: The back side of the house with the lean-to summer kitchen
The Indian Museum is located in a structure in the backyard. This is appropriate because Michel Brouillet was an Indian trader and interpreter. Artifacts from all four periods of local Indian prehistory are represented. There are mastodon bones found near Vincennes.
Photo #2 pictures the outside of the Indian Museum..
This home is owned by a non-profit corporation: The Old Northwest Corporation.
The admission Fee: $2.00 adults
It's a great tour for such a small amount of money.
Be sure to see all four of the photographs of Vincennes University
Vincennes University was founded in 1801 and was Indiana's first college Also, it's the only college in the USA that was founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States, William Henry Harrison. He founded the university while he was Governor of Indiana.
Today, the university is a state-supported college with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as the Indianapolis International Airport! VU serves students from all 92 counties in Indiana; 28 of America's states, and 37 foreign countries.
Vincennes University has 130-acre Campus located along the Wabash River. It has modern academic and recreational facilites; it has six residence halls; and its curriculum is comprehensive and quite modern.
The Pamphlet pictures is about the Indiana Military Museum, Inc. Because of time restraints, we were unable to visit it. That is a shame because it is reputed to possess one of the best overall collections of military memorabilia in the country!
They display military vehicles, uniforms, insignia, artillery, and related artifacts that span the Civil War to the Desert Storm
They also have a This museum has the General Officers collection that's one of the best outside of West Point.
The Indiana Military Museum is "dedicated to fostering the memory, understanding, and appreciation of U.S. military history, by maintaing, operating, and preserving the vintage vehicles, weaponry, uniforms, and artifacts which represent the strength and freedom of our American heritage" [a direct quote from the museum's literature]
Spring, Summer, Fall: 12:00 noon-4:00 p.m. Daily
Winter by appointment
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.
Across the street from the Old State Bank on North Second Street in Vincennes, Indiana, you will see an impressive mansion with four huge columns. A historical marker indicates what its history is:
The Marker's Information:
"Abner Turner Ellis, a Borough President, Probate Judge, and State Senator, promoted the charter of Ohio & Mississippi Railroad [later a part of B&O] and was its first president. His stately home was built by John Moore about 1838. Abraham Lincoln visited in this home during Henry Clay's campaign in 1844."
If you are a lover of architecture, as I am, you would enjoy seeing this marvelous mansion.
When traveling around the USA, I love to see Courthouses. So, I was pleased to see the the Knox County Courthouse I tried to discover as much about this structure as possible. Well, it was impossible for me to find anything. It's as though it didn't ever exist!
I do know that the Soldiers' Monument is located in front of this mammoth structure. See Photos # 2,3 and 4. I did find that this was not the first courthouse. The Old Courthouse is now an American Legion Home.
Many cities in Indiana have Soldier and Sailor Monuments concerning the Civil War; Vincennes is no exception. This monument is called the Soldier's Monument and was done by artist Schwartz [who did several such monuments in Indiana]. The purpose the the monument was to commemorate the soldiers who served in the Civil War and helped to preserve the Union. It was dedicated in 1914.
The final photograph is of a cornerstone that is dated June 24, 1873.
I'm very surprised that information about this attractive courthouse is not available.
The Old French House requires another tip about the unique inside and the furniture.
I think the most unusual thing that I learned on this tour was about the "lit clos" or enclosed bed. These beds were popular in the eighteenth century; they protected the sleeper from drafts. When they became out of fashion, they were converted into armoires. My sister and I discussed how claustaphobic it would be to sleep here with the doors closed. The tour guide said this one was for a child! [Scary]
These are pictures of the living room which features the fireplace as the centerpiece of the cottage.
This is a feather bed with robe Mattress used in one of the bedrooms upstairs. Note how small it is. People were much smaller at the time, and smaller beds were the "norm".
We noticed how small this place was for Michel Brouillet and his large family
Cross into Illinois over the Wabash River on the Lincoln Memorial Bridge to see memorial commemorating Abe Lincoln's move into Illinos. Dedicated in 1938, the monument features a bronze statue of young Lincoln amist a bas-relief of the traveling party. The incriptions reads:
"In the late winter of 1830, a few weeks after his 21st birthday Abraham Lincoln passed this way with his father's family, entering the state of Illinois for the first time."
On the northeast side of town, along Wabash Avenue stands an important religious site for the Hopewell people who populated the area starting around 300 BCE. "Sonotabac" was the son of a local Indian chief who aided George Rogers Clark in the campaign against the British at Fort Sackville in 1779.