County Profile: Vanderburgh County

Posted on Feb 23 2024 in County

Covering 236 square miles, Vanderburgh County is southwestern Indiana’s smallest county. Besides the city of Evansville, Vanderburgh County’s other incorporated municipality is Darmstadt, a small German-heritage town. Darmstadt’s 111-year-old International World War Peace Tree was brought over from Germany as a seedling in 1912. The linden tree was planted in 1918 on Darmstadt’s southwestern edge to honor the 1918 armistice, where Germany and the Allied Powers agreed to end fighting in World War I.

Angel Mounds

A cultural center

One of the best-preserved Native American sites in North America is the Angel Mounds State Historic Site in Evansville. The native town was built between 1000 and 1450 and served as a religious, political, and trade center for more than 1,000 people belonging to Mississippian culture. After excavators uncovered more than 2.5 million Mississippian artifacts, Angel Mounds was designated one of Indiana’s 44 National Historic Landmarks in 1964. Now, visitors can view 12 Mississippian earthen platform mounds along Angel Mounds’ hiking and biking trails. 

Bosse Field

Batter up

Home of the Evansville Otters baseball team, Bosse Field was built in 1915 and is the third-oldest ballpark used for professional baseball. Only Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field are older. Six Baseball Hall of Famers — Chuck Klein, Hank Greenberg, Warren Spahn, Bob Ueker, Bert Blyleven, and Jack Morris — played for Evansville teams during their minor league careers at Bosse Field. Actor Tom Hanks and actresses Geena Davis and Lori Petty filmed the World Series championship game of their 1992 sports comedy movie “A League of Their Own” at Bosse Field. 

Marilyn Miller

Homegrown talent

The 1920s Broadway star Marilyn Miller was born in Evansville in 1898. At 4 years old, she joined her mother, stepfather, and older sisters in their family act, “The Five Columbians,” touring the Midwest and Europe. In 1914, producer Lee Shubert discovered Miller at a London club and brought her talents to New York. Miller became known as a tap dancer, singer, and actress when she played the titular role in the 1920s musical comedy “Sally,” which ran at the New Amsterdam Theatre for 570 performances — one of the longest performance runs on Broadway at the time. “Look for the Silver Lining” was a biographical musical film about Miller released in 1949. 

County facts

Founded: 1818

Named for: Henry Vanderburgh, a Revolutionary War veteran and judge for the Indiana Territory

Population: 179,744

County seat: Evansville

Indiana county number: 82            

Nicole Thomas is a freelance writer from Indianapolis.