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Historic Structures of

Evansville, Indiana

Public Buildings

Evansville (pop 126,272) is the seat of Vanderburgh Co. in southwest Indiana. Incorporated in 1847, it is an important transportation hub and a regional cultural and industrial center.

Settled in 1812, the community grew as a river port, especially after the completion in 1853 of the Wabash and Erie Canal linking the Ohio River at Evansville with Lake Erie. It is named for Robert M. Evans (1783-1842), who mapped the area.

The city is the seat of the University of Evansville (1854), the University of Southern Indiana (1965), and the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science.

Evansville, Indiana - Art Deco Central Library

Central Library, 1931

22 S.E. 5th St.

This building shows elements of the Art Deco style. Art Deco was a style of design popular in the 1920s and '30s with its sleek, streamlined forms and elegantly geometric aesthetic. Art Deco grew out of a conscious effort to simplify the elaborate turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau style, to make it more responsive to the new machine-age ideals of speed and glamour.

Says Funk and Wagnall's New Encyclopedia: "It found expression in objects as diverse as locomotives, skyscrapers, roadside diners, radio cabinets, jukeboxes, and advertising displays.

"Primary examples of Art Deco in the U.S. are the interior of Radio City Music Hall (1931) in New York City, designed by Donald Deskey (1894-1989); and William van Alen's (1882-1954) Chrysler Building (1930, New York City), with its sleek aluminum- banded facades and arched and pointed spire."

 Zion Evangelical Church, 1855

415 N.W. 5th St.

This church is a fine example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture, characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. This broad style of architecture stemmed from a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries aimed at reviving the spirit and forms of Gothic architecture.

Landmarks of Evansville, Indiana - Public Buildings - Gothic Revival

Landmarks of Evansville, Indiana - Public Buildings YWCA Building

YWCA Building, 1924

118 Vine

One-Part Vertical Block

Landmarks of Evansville, Indiana - Public Buildings

YMCA Building, 1913

203 N.W. 5th St.

Three-Part Vertical Block. This was the dominant style of tall buildings of the period. The facade is divided into three main "zones" that, though separated, are nevertheless closely related to one another.

Landmarks of Evansville, Indiana - Public Buildings - Soldiers & Sailers Memorial Coliseum

 Soldiers & Sailers Memorial Coliseum, 1917

350 Court St.

Classic Revival

The Classic Revival style is distinguished by the presence of one or more (but not necessarily all) of the following characteristics:

  • Greek inspired columns and pilasters (decorative features which imitate columns but are not load-bearing)
  • Bold and unadorned exterior moldings
  • Heavy cornices (overhanging projections at the top of a roof)
  • Horizontal transoms (bars or openings) above entrances

The Classic Revival style can be distinguished by the Federal or Jeffersonian styles by the absense of any fan or arch-shaped windows, since the ancient Greeks did not use arches.

This building is made truly unusual and striking by the brick "wings" on either side of the poured concrete front, the curved corners of which give the building an Art Deco flair.

Landmarks of Evansville, Indiana - Public Buildings - Evansville Post Office, 1869 - Richardsonian Romanesque

Evansville Post Office, 1869

100 block of NW 2nd St.

Richardsonian Romanesque

This architectural style is marked by round arches over window and door openings, extensive use of stone masonry and, in some cases, towers. Richardsonian Romanesque was a popular style of architecture for institutions of stability such as churches, universities and public buildings such as train stations and courthouses.

Landmarks of Evansville, Indiana - Public Buildings - Old Vanderburgh Co. Courthouse - Beaux Arts

Old Vanderburgh Co. Courthouse

400 Vine St.

Beaux Arts

Beaux Arts is truly design on a monumental scale, and incorporates elements from a variety of architectural styles.It is the style of rich decorative detail taught in the 1800s at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, the world-famous school of fine arts in Paris, which is especially noted for its department of architecture.

These terrific photos are courtesy of the photographer, Mike Habeck ( Mike is with EcoIndiana and, in addition to being concerned about historic architecture, is also looking out for the state's natural environment. Our thanks to Mike for sharing these photos with us, as well as for donating the server space to store them!

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