County Profile: Vermillion County

Posted on Mar 22 2024 in County

By Nicole Thomas

Located between the Wabash River and the Illinois state border, Vermillion County was Indiana’s 50th official county. It is adjacent to Illinois’ own Vermilion County, making it one of 11 counties in the U.S. bordering a county with the same name in another state. Clinton, Indiana, is Vermillion County’s largest city. A bronze statue called “The Voice of the Immigrant” pays tribute to Clinton’s Italian immigrants who worked as coal miners in the 1800s.


Ernie Pyle
Ernie Pyle

American journalist Ernie Pyle was born in Dana, Indiana, in 1900. Pyle attended Indiana University, where he worked for the university’s student-run newspaper. He left school before graduating to pursue reporting jobs at multiple newspapers. Pyle traveled across the U.S. as a human-interest reporter before he became known for writing about American soldiers serving in World War II, capturing their everyday lives on the front lines in North Africa, Italy, and Normandy, France. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his first-person perspective writing about these infantry soldiers. Pyle died while covering the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945. To honor his work, Pyle’s childhood home in Dana was restored into the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum.


Vermillion County Jail

The Vermillion County Jail is a historic location in Newport, Indiana, for visitors to sightsee. In 1868, the prison’s two-story sheriff’s residence was built in the Italianate style with projecting eaves, corbels, and a steep hipped roof. In 1896, architect John W. Gaddis from Vincennes designed the prison’s additional jail block in the Romanesque Revival style with rusticated limestone. The prison closed in 1992, and it became another one of Gaddis’ designs added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Now, visitors can explore the jail’s museum of preserved Vermillion County newspapers and other historical items.


Little Italy Festival

Held each Labor Day weekend since 1966, the Little Italy Festival celebrates the Italian heritage of Clinton’s residents. From Friday to Monday, more than 250,000 attendees enjoy classic fair rides, a bocce ball tournament, and Italian foods, such as cannoli, mostaccioli, and Italian cream cake. There are also pizza-eating and spaghetti-eating contests. The festival’s most popular activity is its grape stomp, a traditional wine-making method where participants crush grapes with their bare feet.



NAMED FOR: The Vermillion River




Nicole Thomas is a freelance writer from Indianapolis.