Sunday, July 27, 2003

Inland shipbuilding

Some of you heathens haven't heard of Evansville, IN. It is kind of isolated - a small outpost of civilization between Indianapolis, St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis and Nashville right where US 41 crosses the Ohio River.

That corner of Indiana has more history than you might have suspected. Abraham Lincoln spent some time in the area in his childhood. The much-hooted initiative to decree the value of pi originated just to the west in Posey County. That naive old socialist Robert Owen tried and failed to set up his utopia nearby in New Harmony, IN. Some Japanese automaker (Toyota?) has a huge plant just a few miles north of town on US 41 - I think it's in Princeton. The first capital of IN, Corydon, is a ways to the east upriver. It is the home of the University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville, the latter of which lost their entire Purple Aces basketball team to a plane crash in 1977. Evansville area jocks include Andy Benes, Don Mattingly, Calbert Cheaney, Edd Roush, Gil Hodges, Scott Studwell, Bob Griese and Jerry Sloan.

Alright, I know some of this stuff because I did some consulting work down there a few years ago, and I'd learned that there was more to this stereotypical Middle American area than I had expected to find. But they still have surprises - now another proud son of the area, Dave Worley, notes that Evansville once had a shipyard that build LSTs.

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