From the Book:
Southeast Indiana Day Trips
In this podcast we visit some things to do in Jeffersonville, Indiana. We learn about three museums, a delightful candy store and learn about the Marquis de Lafayette’s almost disastrous visit to Jeffersonville in 1824. After all that, you can take a wonderful hike across the Ohio River.
Road Trip Indiana – Jeffersonville, Indiana
Greetings, in this episode I will take you on a tour of the Clark County seat, Jeffersonville, Indiana. Listeners can find complete information about Jeffersonville and other places around southeastern Indiana by purchasing my book, Southeast Indiana Day Trips from my Road Trip Indiana Series. This is the first book in the series and the only one available now. I will have the rest, there will be 9 altogether, as the year progresses. With rising gas prices many Hoosiers, including my wife and myself, are choosing to vacation closer to home. Using this podcast, I will tell you about the many places here in Indiana you can visit and have some unique and fun experiences.
Three interesting museums, the Vintage Fire Museum, Howard Steamboat Museum and the Clark County Historical Museum.
Also a delightful little shop that doubles as a candy store and museum
Visitors can stroll across the Ohio River to Louisville, Kentucky on the Big 4 Pedestrian Bridge.
Vintage Fire Museum
The nucleus of this extensive museum forms around the collection of a Jeffersonville resident Fred Conway.
Conway’s childhood dream to become a fireman
Joined the Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department, rose to become fire chief
A common problem that arose when a fire broke out frustrated him. Since there might be two or more fire departments in a given area, people many times did not know which fire department to call. Frequetly, they called one that was further from the fire than another closer one that could get to the fire quicker. Conway came up with the idea that if people had a sticker with the correct fire department listed on it stuck to their phone, they would know which company to call. Initially, Conway experimented with adhesive stickers that you had to lick. Many times these did not stick well, and would fall off. He next tried pressure sensitive lables, which worked well. In 1964 he started his company, Discount Labels , began ordering lables and selling them to fire departments to give to their customers. As the business grew, Conway bought a lable maker and began making is own labels in his basement. The business continued doing well, so the family moved to a home that had a big garage, where he made his labels. His next move was to a vacant donut shop in New Albany, Indiana. The success of the business allowed him to indulge in another passion, collecting fire fighting equipment. He collect old engines, restored them and displayed them in his office. When this collection outgrew his office, he opened the Vintage Fire Engines, Inc on Mt. Tabor Road, near New Albany in June, 1999. Three months later, Conway passed away and the collection languished behind locked doors. The building’s owners needed the building for other purposes and considered selling the collection.
The Friends of the New Albany Fire Museum purchased Conway’s collection in 2010, moving to an abandoned car dealership. They stored the collection and allowed visitors at times limited by the volunteer staff. In 2012 the group changed its name to the Vintage Fire Museum. In 2013 the museum opened in its current location with expanded hours. The group had added many items to the collection. A knowledgable guide will walk visitors to the museum back in time as they progress through a complete history of fire fighting. The museum’s exhibits include everything from the very first firefighting equipment, fire buckets, to steam powered beauties. Additionally, visitors will see one of the first fire engines in America, a hand pump engine dating from 1756. Fire extinguishing hand grenades, early fire alarms, fire extinguishers and other firefighting paraphenalia. make up the rest of the museum’s magnificient collection.
For hours and other information, contact”
Vintage Fire Museum
723 Spring Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
Howard Steamboat Museum
The old Howard family residence, a 22-room Romanesque Revival mansion, serves as the home of the Howard Steam Boat Museum. James Howard began his career of building boats in 1834 in Jeffersonville, Indiana on the Ohio River by establishing a boatyard and constructed his first boat, the Hyperion. His company would occupy three generations of his family and last 107 years. He had his home constructed next to the shipyard and used the craftsmen that worked on his boats to build his home in 1894. The work of these master craftsmen is evident throughout the home.
There are several examples of these exquisitely crafted wooden fireplaces, as well as other finely built wooden features throughout the home as it exhibits grand staircases, carved window moldings and period furniture.
The museum includes many old steamboat artifacts, including items from Robert E. Lee, the Natchez, the Howard-built J. M. White and the original paddlewheel from the Delta Queen.
Thousands of photographs, shipbuilding tools and implements ad well as many paintings compliment the collection, affording the visitor a sense of the scale and importance of these successful enterprises.
The model boat collection comprises dozens of steamboats, but includes many other types of historic watercraft that plied the waters of the Ohio, Mississippi and other of the rivers of the American interior. Water transportation was essential in the early years of the country and the Ohio was one of the major arteries, carrying passengers and freight along its course. Many of our immigrant ancestors rode boats like these to their new homes.
The Howard Steamboat Museum represents an important cog in our nation’s history. The Howard family’s control of the shipyard ended in 1941 when the U.S. Navy purchased the yard in 1941 to construct LST’s for use during World War II. The Howard legacy and their contributions to Indiana’s rich history continues today.
Howard Steamboat Museum
1101 East Market Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
Clark County Historical Museum
Clark County in Indiana is rich in history and the Clark County Historical Museum endeavors to preserve and interpret this history. Visitors to the museum will find extensive collection of artifacts, documents and photos detailing Clark County’s history, adjacent to the Vintage Fire Museum
Clark County Historical Museum
725 Michigan Ave.
P. O. Box 749
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
Schimpff’s Confectionery and Candy Store
Bavarian widow Magdalene Schimpff dispatched her twelve-year-old son, along with his uncle, to the United States to investigate possible places to settle. Louisville had a large German community, thus the family chose to settle there. The pregnant Magdalene, with her five children migrated to Louisville sometime before the Civil War. She and her daughters established an embroidery business, while the sons opened a confectionery store. One of Magdalena’s sons, Charles, opened a confectionery store across the Ohio River in Jeffersonville around 1871. The store was successful for almost twenty years until Charles decided to close it.
Gustav A. Schimpff Sr. (1843–1918)
Gustav had worked at a local confectionery business, the C.G. Block & Company during this period. This business evolved into the Wurach & Bergreen Company. Schimpff bought a share of this company in 1871. This company closed in 1889 and Schimpff started working for the Frank A. Menne Company, another leading confectioner. After Charles closed his store in Jeffersonville, he urged Gustav to open one in Jeffersonville, as his had been quite successful. Thus on April 11, 1891 Gustav, along with his son, Gustav Jr., opened a confectionery store at the current location at 347 Spring Street. It is the only candy store in Indiana that has operated continuously for over 125 years.
In addition to the wonderful variety of candies made right in the store, the owners have on display in the store thousands of artifacts of American candy memorabilia. The collection has taken decades of work to acquire and display. Visitors will delight at the vast array of old time store displays, candy tins, dispensing machines and signage.
The signature candy is the Cinnamon Red Hots, first made by Gustav in 1891. Customers can watch as workers make Modjeskas, hard fish candy and other sweet treats behind the counter.
Interested visitors can arrange for a tour of the store conducted by Jill Schimpff. She can accommodate up to forty people on the free tour, which includes a candy making demonstration and tour of the store. Although the store, Candy Demonstration Area, Chocolate Dipping Room, and Candy Museum are always open during normal store hours, the only way to guarantee that the candy making process is in operation is to book a tour in advance.
For more information, contact:
347 Spring Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
Two notable historic markers
General Lafayette and the Civil War hospital
General Lafayette visits Jeffersonville, Indiana
Located on the South/West lawn of “Warder Park” (just behind the ‘bus stop’) on Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. marker noting a visit to Jeffersonville by the French general that provided great aid to the Americans in their struggle against Britain, the Marquis de Lafayette.
Congress invited the Revolutionary war hero, and only surviving general from the American Revolution, to visit the United States so a still grateful nation could thank him for his service to the American cause.
After Congress passed the resolution inviting the Marquis to the nation, President James Madison extended the formal invitation in January 1824. The Marquis agreed to the visit and departed France in July 1824 accompanied by his son, Georges Washington de La Fayette. He arrived at Staten Island, New York in August. During the fall and winter he toured New England, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC. In the spring he extended his tour to include the southern portion of the country.
Lafayette departed from Washington on February 23, 1825. His route included stops in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana. After a stopover at New Orleans, Lafayette proceeded up the Mississippi River, stopping at various points along the way. At every stop throngs of people gathered to greet and cheer the aging Marquis. His route turned to Illinois, Tennessee and finally to Kentucky.
On May 9 the boat, carrying him sank on its way to Louisville on the Ohio River. At a place now called Lafayette Springs a thunderstorm blew up. Driven by heavy winds, the steamboat struck a rock formation, now called Rock Island, that jutted out from the surface of the water. All passengers and crew escaped, however Lafayette lost all his papers, belongings and money in the catastrophe. Lafayette fell into the river, nearly drowning in the process. Quick thinking deck hands hauled the beloved, elderly general out of the water. The party spent the night by the springs drying their clothing out by bonfires along the river. Neighboring pioneers, hearing of Lafayette’s presence flocked to see him. The next day the steamboat, Paragon, was flagged down. The Paragon had been traveling downriver, but agreed to take Lafayette’s party to Louisville.
On May 12, the Marquis de Lafayette, upon prior invitation by the Indiana General Assembly, crossed the Ohio to visit Jeffersonville, Indiana. He spends the greater part of the day there, visited by large, admiring crowds. By evening he returned to Louisville and continued his tour on May 14.
His visit was the subject of much press coverage during his visit. He covered over 6,000 miles using nearly every mode of transportation available at the time. He concluded his visit at Washington DC, after a stop at Mount Vernon to honor his friend, George Washington, who had died twenty-five years earlier. On September 7, 1825 Lafayette departed Washington on the USS Brandywine.
Civil War Hospital 1864-66
At 301 Park Place at Crestview, Jeffersonville visitors will find a marker noting the location of the Jefferson General Hospital.
This was the third largest hospital in the United States during the Civil War
The United States Army built Jefferson General Hospital to care for Union soldiers wounded during the American Civil War. The hospital replaced a smaller facility built on the grounds of nearby Camp Joe Holt.
Camp Joe Holt was one of the major staging areas for Union troops during the Civil War. Located across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky on farm land donated by Blanton Duncan to the Army for that purpose. The camp drew its name from President Buchanan’s Secretary of War, Joseph Holt. Colonel Lovell Rousseau opened the camp originally as a recruiting station for Kentucky residents that wanted to join the Union cause. By September 1861 over 2000 Kentucky men had volunteered for service and formed the Fifth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This regiment bore the nickname “Louisville Legion.” the camp housed a military hospital until Jefferson General Hospital opened in 1862.
Indiana Senator Jesse D. Bright owned the land until his expulsion from the Senate in 1862 when he acknowledged Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy. Shortly after, the Army confiscated his land to use to house the new Jefferson General Hospital. The facility fronted the Ohio River and had twenty-seven buildings. A corridor that was one-half mile in circumference circled the buildings. Twenty-four of the buildings served as hospital wards. Each ward housed fifty-three patients and one ward master. A chapel with reading rooms, post office, drug andinstrument house, and “dead house” occupied were also in the facility.
Soldiers that died at the facility were interred at nearby Meijer Fields. During its operation the Army considered it the best of its military hospitals.
Visitors to Jeffersonville may take a relaxing stroll across the Ohio River on the historic Big 4 Walking Bridge. Located in Big 4 Station Park, it is approximately a one mile walk across the bridge. Of course, it will be a one mile hike back.
Big Four Railroad
Formed on June 30, 1889, by the merger of the merger of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway rail companies, the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railways, the company bought the Indiana, Bloomington and Western Railway in 1890. The New York Central acquired the line in 1906, but ran it as a seperate entity until 1930. In 1925 the Big Four operated 2,391 route-miles and 4,608 track-miles. It carried 8180 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 488 million passenger-miles.
In February 2011 Indiana and Kentucky commenced a joint venture to convert the former railroad bridge into a pedestrian bridge that connected the two cities.
Consructed in 1895, the a six-span former railroad truss bridge carried trains of the Big Four Railroad across the river. The Kentucky side opened on February 7, 2013. A year later the Jeffersonville ramp opened on May 20, 2014. The bridge connects Waterfront Park in Louisville with the Big 4 Station Park in Jeffersonville. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy scenic views of the Ohio River on the mile long route.
Play ground area
Paved sidewalk 0.45 miles
Big 4 Station Park
304 Mulberry Street
Jeffersonville, In 47130
Find out more about these Indiana day trip destinations and many more by purchasing the book. You can find it on my web site, http://www.mossyfeetbooks.com on the Road Trip Indiana category. Just scroll down to categories, click the Road Trip Indiana Series. There are links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and other online book sellers. You may choose to purchase the book in ebook or softbound versions. An audio book version is available on Google Play. You can also order the book direct from me, the author, on the web page. If you wish me to sign the book, just send me an email to email@example.com requesting a signed book and instructions on how you want me to address it. Note, if you send me an email, I will add you to my contact list. Readers on the list will receive an email from me announcing when I publish a new book. If you do not want me to add you to the list, tell me and I will not add you. Listeners to this podcast that want email notification of my new releases can just send me an email requesting addition to the list. You can choose to have your name removed at any time. If you browse the web site you will find dozens of sample chapters, one for each of my books. I hope you enjoyed this podcast and thank you for listening.
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