July 2007


Happy… Fourth

Main StreetI’ve seen this mentioned on quite a few expatriate blogs and on non-expatriate blogs, so the fact that I am adding to the choir probably doesn’t add much, but regardless, Happy Fourth of July.

American Independence Day.

I’ve spent my day in Evansville, Indiana, a quaint city on the Ohio River.

This morning I took a walk around the city and found myself puzzled. There are parts of the city that are remarkably old and charming. The houses are older and well maintained and you can feel a vague sense of community.

It contrasts with the neighboring downtown where it appears that a number of historic buildings have been torn down and replaced with parking lots. The number of parking spaces appears to far greater than the actual need—although my exploration of the city was on a holiday. Maybe there is a far greater need for parking than appearances suggest.

BuglerIn the afternoon horse races were on the agenda—Ellis Park, the local race track had its opening day, and a bunch of races were on the agenda. Unlike Tuesday though, the weather was humid and stifling. Unfortunately the lines for food and drink were long—and I stood in line twice, first for lunch and then an hour or so later when I started feeling massively dehydrated. Opening day was well attended and, although I know little about horse racing, I had fun.

Later tonight I’ll be heading down to the Ohio River to watch fireworks—thus completing a perfect Fourth of July.

Tomorrow I return to Bloomington—something I am quite excited about: my new glasses are ready to be picked up and I am looking forward to wearing them.

5 comments to Happy… Fourth

  • Ed

    I’ve been to Ellis Park a few times. I know it is in Kentucky, but the first time I went I was surprised I never crossed the river. It seems the River has shifted south since 1792 when Kentucky became a state so now it owns land on the north shore. The Aztar Riverboat Casino is there as well.

  • There is a small piece of Iowa on the west (Nebraska) side of the Missouri river in Omaha. You drive across it going from Downtown Omaha to the Omaha airport. It’s only a quarter of a mile, but it is Iowa. You literally drive out of Nebraska, into Iowa, and back into Nebraska in 1/4 mile. It was complete with welcome signs and everything.

    I think there are many instances of this along the larger rivers in the midwest due to the Army Corps of Engineers deciding these rivers were gay and their taking it upon themselves to make them straight.

  • I have two interesting tidbits concerning state borders.

    First, along the Mississippi River, where it serves as the state border, boundaries shift as the river moves–as long as the river changes gradually. When it changes rapidly the line remains where it was before–hence there can be a bit of Iowa west of the Mississippi. This is actually quite common along the Mississippi River.

    Secondly, the Indiana-Kentucky border is a bit strange in that where the river serves as the boundary, the legal boundary is not in the middle of the river but rather it is the northern edge of the river. Of course that shifts responsibility for maintaining and building bridges solely to Kentucky, a responsibility I am sure they enjoy. As for the quirk at Evansville next to the Ellis Park race track, I have no explanation as to why the boundary is where it is. To get there we drove down a road that was the line between the two states: on the right Kentucky, on the left Indiana.

  • Actually, if it is the northern side of the river, wouldn’t that make Indiana responsible for building the anchorage on the north side? *grins*

    I know, semantics.

  • Ed

    It comes down to what I said before. Kentucky became a state in 1792 and Indiana didn’t become a state until 1816. The Ohio River was the big trade and travel artery to the west. Those forward thinking Kentuckians decided to take the whole river as their boundary. Later, after cars and trucks came along it didn’t seem that great to own so they tried to move it to the middle but the Supreme Court ruled that the 1792 boundary line can’t be moved. Sorry Kentucky!