History of Evansville, IN
While the tribes of many Native American people inhabited the area of Evansville long before it was founded, it officially became what it is known as today on March 27, 1812. The land was purchased by Hugh McGary Jr. and renamed McGary’s Landing originally, but two years later in 1814, he decided to rename it Evansville as a tribute to Colonel Robert Morgan Evans. In 1817, the city of Evansville was officially incorporated and became the county seat for Vanderburgh just the following year.
Almost immediately, the town began to thrive because of the river trade and soon found itself expanding more than it ever originally planned. It soon became an industrial hub for many factories developed alongside Pigeon Creek. In the 1830s, the city experienced an economic boost when plans were revealed to include the longest canal in the world that would connect the Great Leaks of Toledo to the inland rivers in Evansville. The state, however, would soon be bankrupted by the project.
Evansville’s greatest growth came in the 19th century after the Civil War. As steamboats traveled the Ohio River, Evansville became a popular stop as home to many companies who engaged in river trade. The major sources of the economy were lumber yards, coal mining, and manufacturing, leading to the city standing as one of the largest hardwood furniture centers in the entire world by 1900.
Evansville was home to the Graham brothers who owned a truck chassis business, Graham Brothers Trucks, until 1929. In 1921, they started selling trucks through Dodge dealers with Graham chassis and some Dodge parts soon after the Dodge brothers passed.
During World War II, Evansville Shipyard served as the largest inland producer of Landing Ship-Tanks in the nation. The city also produced 6,242 P-47s, nearly half of the total amount made during the war.
Following the war, Evansville became home to even more manufacturing, all of which benefited from the demands of home and business owners in the aftermath of the war. The city became home base for manufacturers of automobiles, appliances, and farming equipment. The more houses in the area lead to residential development plans. Not long after the growth, however, the city saw the effects of a nationwide recession that caused several businesses to close their operations. While the city almost collapsed completely from an economical standpoint, 28 businesses moved into the area, returning the city to economic growth.
As we got closer to the end of the 20th century, Evansville began to see plenty of companies and educational institutes open in the area. It became a central hub for all things in the service industry, the medical industry, and the commercial industry. The University of Southern Indiana, Tropicana Evansville, Toyota, and other businesses opening meant the growth of employment and economy as a whole.
Today, Evansville is in a great place, allowing for affordable housing and economic diversification. It provides stability, making it one of the Hottest Cities for Millennials according to Realtor.com.