Indiana’s First Parish

My oldest son, Ian, completed most of his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University with the conclusion of the first semester. But now that he’s on the employment trail, he’s returning to Baltimore to begin the hopefully short interview process before landing his first job.

Thus, the Christmas holiday provided one last opportunity for a father-son travel adventure, the kind we both enjoy (one heavy on seeing historical and other sights, rather than things to do).

We used this chance to make our first real visit* to Vincennes, Indiana, the Hoosier State’s first city. Our chief destination was George Rogers Clark National Historic Park, a nifty little place on the shore of the Wabash River.

We thoroughly enjoyed our too-brief stay, even with the government shutdown that kept the inside of the impressive memorial closed to visitors (if you have way too much time on your hands, you can see our thoughts on the shutdown here, as we were interviewed by a Terre Haute news channel that was reporting on the local effects of the “Closed. Be Back in Who Knows How Many Minutes” signs on all of our federal buildings).

A delightful side benefit to the trip was the fact the Memorial sits side by side with the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, Indiana’s first Catholic parish. Old Cathedral, as it’s also known, doesn’t necessarily wow you from the outside, but the interior was drop-dead gorgeous, which I hope is reflected in the photos Ian shot.

*I’d been to Vincennes twice 30 years prior to play in college soccer games, though the city’s charms didn’t register at the time. To be fair, I wasn’t looking.

The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes, Ind. In the background is the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park. The granite memorial building is the highlight of the riverside location, a key site in the Revolutionary War as well as the location where Abe Lincoln left his boyhood home state of Indiana to enter Illinois for the first time.

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