AN OUTSIDER IN EVANSVILLE
I've been there a dozen times now, a dozen times at least. And yet, I still don't know how to describe Evansville. I mean, I can tell you some things. I can tell you that it's the third-largest city in the state of Indiana. I can tell you that the downtown is constructed at an angle, on an oxbow of the wide Ohio. And I can tell you that, despite its decline in population since the '60s, the city has managed to keep several chocolate stores in business. Granted, Evansville is the hub of Southern Indiana and the tri-state area. It's just across the river from Henderson, Kentucky, and it's where accents are more like a drawl and less like a Midwestern chime. Like the city of Kokomo, Evansville has far too many stoplights. But, unlike Kokomo, drivers are perfectly comfortable going the speed limit. In fact, they're perfectly comfortable driving seven miles under the speed limit. Evansville is where the east-siders are pitted against the west-siders, and where the historic, the old, and the original find themselves caught in the middle. That said, the architecture in Evansville is varied and intriguing--there are the three-story Mansards, the brick streets, the Italianates, the cottages, the mid-century constructions. And, then, of course, there's the visitor's center, known simply, accurately, and comically as "The Pagoda." But scattered about this patchwork city are coffee shops, donut banks, nature parks, and restaurants like the Gerst Haus. And even though I don't know much, I know it doesn't matter--with or without my observations, it's still Evansville.