In a tiny town tucked away in southern Indiana, near the border of Illinois, is one that holds huge historical value to the way of life in the 1700's. Unfortunately, not enough American history is taught in the school systems due to standards and requiring too many other subjects to be covered. It would be nice if there were other choices to study either different time periods or specific state history for students pending their individual interests. Many have not heard of Vincennes, Indiana unless they are actually from the area but one thing that anyone who drives through this tiny town will notice is the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. It's size and grandiose nature sits perched above the muddy Wabash River overlooking Illinois. Second in size only to the national monument in Washington, D.C., the massive granite contains a memorial rotunda depicting seven murals of Clark's expedition. Each oil on canvas murals stands 28 feet tall and 16 feet long by artist Ezra Winter and six assistants. In the middle is a commanding bronze statue of Clark by Hermon MacNeil. The inscription at the base reads, "If a country is not worth protecting it is not worth claiming."
The site is believed to be where Fort Sackville was. It was President Calvin Coolidge who authorized the Memorial and President Franklin D. Roosevelt who dedicated it in 1936. In 1966, Indiana transferred the Memorial and property to the National Park Service which also houses a Visitor Center to learn more, watch a film about Clark and purchase additional history books and items for children to learn.
In a celebrated campaign, Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark, older brother of William Clark, and his frontiersmen captured Fort Sackville and British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton on February 25, 1779. The heroic march of Clark's men from Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River in mid-winter and the subsequent victory over the British remains one of the great feats of the American Revolution. Clark, a Virginia native, was sent to protect the northwest territory. After capturing Fort Sackville, he learned that the British recaptured the force so his campaign began. His other campaign of 1778-1779 included the founding of Louisville, Kentucky and the capture of forts in the lower Ohio and Mississippi valleys. This allowed the United States to claim control of what would become Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin in the 1783 Treaty of Paris.
Other prominent features in the park include Johns Angel's granite statue of Francis Vigo (born Giuseppe Maria Francesco Vigo), a 4-by-9-foot (1.2 by 2.7 m) monument overlooking the Wabash River erected in 1934 that honors the Italian-American merchant who assisted the American forces to include then General Clark during the Revolutionary War. He also helped found the first public university in Vincennes, Indiana.
Born in Mondovì, Italy, he served with the Spanish Army in New Orleans. In 1772 he established a fur trading business in St. Louis. In 1783 Vigo moved to Vincennes and operated a fur trading business there.
Also adjacent to the Park's grounds is the Roman Catholic church Basilica of St. Francis Xavier that holds a 1934 bronze statue by Albin Polasekhonoring Father Pierre Gibault, another figure in the Revolutionary War. Raoul Josset designed the Lincoln Memorial Bridge across the Wabash River to compliment the memorial aesthetically. It includes relief carvings designed by a monument by Nellie Walker on the Illinois side of the bridge and celebrates the migration of Abraham Lincoln. A concrete floodwall that protects the memorial and Vincennes from Wabash flooding is also designed in a complimentary Classical style. The grounds also hold a memorial to the soldiers from Knox County who served in World War I, a marker denoting where Clark's headquarters probably stood during his siege of Fort Sackville, and the original Daughters of the American Revolution memorial, which has moved several times due to construction of the main memorial. (WIKI)
|A photograph of my father at the George Rogers Clark Park in 1938.|
1. Kentucky: Entering the great valley
2. Cahokia: Peace or war with the Indians
3. The Wabash: Through wilderness and flood
4. Vincennes: The British barrier to the west
5. Fort Sackville: Britain yields possession
6. Marietta: The Northwest, a new territory
7. St. Louis: The way opened to the Pacific
Places to stay overnight have grown thanks to the University with more modern chains being added in the last 10 years or so. My favorite place to stay was the Marriott until I've had two incidences with my daughter suffering allergic reactions to prior guests allowed to have pets in any of the rooms. Unfortunately, this particular chain of the Marriott does not have designated floors or rooms and shifts the pets around which is not too favorable to children and adults with asthma and allergies. What is nice about the hotel, it provides a kitchenette full equipped and you can choose from a regular room to a one or two bedroom suite. They also provide the Paul Mitchell brand of hair care products which is one of my favorite things about the hotel not to mention the price is right.
I have stayed at the Best Western, Comfort Suites and Holiday Inn previously which I also liked but none of those chains provided the kitchenette.