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Destination Indiana: Touring Vincennes history

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VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In this week’s Destination Indiana, we take a step back into Indiana’s rich history by visiting the state’s first city.

Vincennes is Indiana’s first settlement. A city that prides itself on its strong roots and the city’s inhabitants encourage you to check it out.

“Just a way to get in touch with so many different types of history,” Joe Herron with the George Roger’s Clark Memorial Park said.

Also the home to the Red Skelton and WWII museums, Vincennes carries history lessons from the early 1700s up into the 20th century.

“This was a french trading post for the fur trade, right on the buffalo trace. And it goes back 1732. And, there were inhabitants here. Well, before, the rest of the … northwest territory was settled in the midwest,” Herron said.

And the sites … monumentous.

Like the George Roger’s Clark monument that sits on the site of Fort Sacksville. When George Rogers Clark claimed the territory in 1779.

“It’s the largest of its of its kind outside of D.C. It’s the largest on an American battlefield.”

Herron knows the history of the man who’s name marks the city.

George Rogers Clark, during the American Revolution, went throughout the frontier, taking these little British forts and towns and securing them for the American cause.”

The brother to William Clark, half of the Lewis and Clark expedition, George Rogers Clark’s footprint is prominent in Vincennes, but not without great company.

Right next door to the monument, you can catch a glimpse of the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Mark Hill guides us on a couple tours.

“We have, the Elihu Stout Print Shop … brought to the Indiana territory by William Henry Harrison from Kentucky … and it was the first newspaper was published in Indiana here at this site, it was also stated that’s where Lincoln saw his first printed press,” Mark Hill, marketing director and active participant in the Vincennes Rendezvous said.

The weekend-long battle re-enactment of the U.S. Revolutionary War, the Rendezvous brings in over 20,000 people to Vincennes for the event weekend.

“How do you grow up in Vincennes and not get involved in the history? And I think some of us in Vincennes really sort of take it for granted because we see it every day and maybe we don’t pay attention to it as much as we should,” Bryan Andrews, another active participant in the Rendezvous weekend said.

“We’re the ones who are sort of keeping history living, because you know, you can look at it in a museum, you can see it at the site, but when you’re with a reenactor, you can really engage with it and experience it,” Andrews said.

“History is sort of like the GPS in your car. You know, you, you use it to get places, but somebody had to go there before you to be able to map it out.”

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