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You Know You’re From Evansville When…

Evansville
WKDQ

From a couple guys that are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to living here, we bring you a list that hopefully makes you smile.  Eric Cornish, moved to the area 3 years ago and actually lives in Henderson.  Baby Boy was born and raised here as a product of Reitz High School and now a student at USI.  There are things we agree on, so enjoy these observations of things that make you say…

YOU KNOW YOU’RE FROM EVANSVILLE WHEN…

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…you argue about where the Westside starts

Some say it’s west of Fulton.  Others say it’s west of 41.  Hardcore Westsiders will say it’s west of St. Joe, of course if that’s true the Westside Nut Club Fall Festival doesn’t even take place on the Westside.  One thing is for sure.  Westsiders are proud of that fact.  People of Evansville say there’s a West vs. East rivalry, but I only hear people say they’re from the Westside.  Everyone else says they live in Evansville.

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Houses
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…you’re so used to the smell of sewage, you’ll buy a 1/2 million dollar home next to the water treatment plant

On any given day (especially the hot ones), you can drive across Waterworks Road or Veterans Memorial and smell the stench of moldy, musty, rotten…something.  It also emanates from the sewer grates on the corners of many Evansville roads.  You almost expect to smell it at some point during your day.  If you’re lucky enough to be near Fulton Avenue and Columbia, it may be momentarily masked by the smell of baking bread, but otherwise pinch that nose and try and bear it.  Crazy though that a view of the Ohio River is enough to make people want to buy a house that sits right next to the source of this pungent odor.

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Grippos ski
Facebook.com

…you embrace Grippos and Ski as “hometown products” even though they’re not from here

Eric: Hey Baby Boy, is that all they served in the Reitz lunch room?  Baby Boy: I Wish!
So, Ski is known as “Westside Water,” and people have come up with various ways to use Grippos other than just eating them.  Have you ever had Grippochos?  Yup Grippos, Nacho style is another delicacy in Evansville.  I’ve even toyed around with Grippos Fried Chicken.  Of course, only BBQ Grippos are REAL Grippos.  The funny thing about these items that are treated like local flavors, is that they aren’t based here.  Grippos was started in Cincinnatti, Ohio, while Ski, a product of Double Cola is based in Chattanooga, TN.

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…you know that back roads are always quicker than the Lloyd Expressway

Stoplights on an expressway?  I’m sure it sounded like a good idea at the time.  Travel east or west through Evansville and you’ll be in the stop-and-go-real-fast-and-slam-on-the-brakes kind of traffic the Lloyd offers.  Over the years, officials have made efforts to remove stop lights from the Lloyd, but that just creates more construction delays.  I know I can get from 41 to Target easier on Lincoln anyway right?
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…take away planes, boats, and concerts and people will still pay to stare at the river

Festivals don’t seem to last around here.  Big events of the past have fallen by the wayside when organizations are forced to cancel huge airshows, big time boat races, and major music concerts.  That doesn’t stop event promoters from putting the events on as (sorta) planned.  How many times do you have to buy an admission button before you realize you’re not paying for anything, except the right to walk on Riverside Drive.
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Fall Fest
WKDQ

…a week before October, you start thinking how good every food you eat would be fried

As any good Evansville native will tell you, the Westside Nut Club Fall Festival is the 2nd largest street fest in the country behind Mardi Gras.  But here in Evansville we replace world travelers, alcohol, and beads with donut burgers, chicken and dumplins, and brain sandwiches.  A week of reading a munchie map and plotting a course couldn’t prepare an outsider for the sights, tastes, and smells they will experience on West Franklin.  Who else looks for the strangest thing on the map each year just to try it?  Turkey testicles anyone?
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…you’re proud of Rosie O’Donnell and Roseanne Barr

It doesn’t matter what these two say or do to alienate every fan they’ve had, you’ll still have someone who says, “Oh, my aunt waited on Rosie while she was filming “A League of Their Own” and she was just a peach.  I love her so much!”  Then there’s that guy who swears he saw Roseanne and Dan on the front porch of 619 South Runnymeade even though that house was only used for outside shots of “Roseanne.”  These may be our biggest claims to fame on the big and small screens…but we’re gonna hold on to those for the rest of our small-town lives.
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…you can explain how Ellis Park is in Kentucky even though it’s on this side of the Ohio

If there’s one thing our forefathers of this great country taught us, it’s that rivers make great natural barriers.  For some reason, the Kentucky/Indiana border is a little off.  You cross the bridge, pass Ellis Park and then you’re in Indiana.  It was either a strategic measure by the pioneers who noticed Stateline Fireworks and said…”huh, this seems like a good place for a state line,” or they saw what we saw in April where the river was much larger than we think, therefore making Ellis Park more of a gambling boat than a horse track.

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evansville map
Google Maps

…you refuse to believe you’re in the south, because you’re in Indiana

Let’s not kid ourselves, Evansville is almost in Kentucky, and anyone who’d argue that Kentucky isn’t in the south is talking crazy talk.  Evansville is actually farther south than a good chunk of Kentucky including Louisville.  Evansville is part of the south, and we should embrace that.  We still serve sweet tea and BBQ, and we still have a southern twang.  When you’re away from home, you may be fooling strangers by telling them you’re from Indiana, but that doesn’t mean you have to drive all the way to Indy for a good time when you know Nashville is much closer. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

…you only go to Kentucky to buy cigarettes, gas, and cars

These billboards know what you want.  I mean what else in Kentucky is any good.  Eric: Hold up!  I’m from Kentucky!  Baby Boy: But where do you go to eat dinner and shop?  Eric: Good point.  So, if the bridge into Kentucky is the “Money Saving Bridge” (copyright Henderson Chevrolet Buick GMC), does that mean when I cross the bridge into work each day, I’m losing money?
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…you can look out your window and see an orange barrel

From, extending interstates, to widening lanes, to changing directions of downtown, one-way roads, to taking stop lights out of our expressway, there’s always some kind of road construction happening in Evansville.  You could probably steal one of the barrels and use it as your nightstand and no one would ever know.  There will be plenty left over if you do. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

…it floods so much, we have built in gates ready to close when it does

If you ever travel Waterworks Road, you know you won’t be able to for at least 5 weeks out of the year.  That road is on more than just a flood plane…it’s part of the river, that just stays dry part of the time.  If you live near Burdette Park, you might want to know all the different routes back to town, just in case a quick storm comes through and turns your street into a creek.

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Gerst Haus - Pizza King…if your dinner isn’t German, it’s a Stromboli

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Evansville and southern Indiana are full of Catholic folks with a German heritage.  Many restaurants offer German Slaw, German Fries, German Potato Salad, German Sausage, German Beer, and a choice of Rye Bread on the side.  That makes sense.  What doesn’t is the abundance of Strombolis in Evansville.  Not sure we have a huge Italian influence, but the folks around here sure do like ground up Italian sausage on a hoagie roll.  Not complaining because they are AMAZING!

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Old Courthouse…they make the scariest place in town less scary at Halloween

Turn me loose in the basement of 100 year old building and I’m pretty freaked out.  Put me in there with teenagers dressed as vampires, with strobe lights and pop music, andI feel oddly comforted.  The Old Courthouse Catacombs comes to life every October as one of the top haunted houses in the area.  While it’s a great production, I can only imagine how scared its patrons would be, having to find their way out of the dark and dirty underground tunnels without all the pomp and circumstance.  I’ve heard the tunnels lead under the street to the old jail and the Coliseum.  I’m freaked out just typing about that tour.

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Railroad Crossings
Tim Boyd / Getty Images

…you’ve listened for a train whistle before you turn onto a road

I’m sure other towns have more railroad crossings than Evansville, but I don’t know of many who have so many in the middle of major roads and intersections.  The good news is if you see a train coming, you can usually beat it to the next intersecton, or maybe hit the next block where there’s an overpass.  Westsiders, you know what I’m talkin’ about!

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While Evansville does have its quirks, I know we wouldn’t like living here if it didn’t, so embrace it and let us know if there’s any we missed!

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