Pennsylvania: Potter County

Potter County (pop. 17,457), east of McKean County, is Pennsylvania’s fifth-least-populous county. The only other Potter counties are in Texas and South Dakota.

The county was named for James Potter (1729-1789), an Irish immigrant and Pennsylvanian who was a brigadier general in the Revolutionary War.

With the Pennsylvania Militia

The heavily wooded county contains eight state parks. The five-acre Prouty Place State Park is the state’s second-smallest.

Prouty Run

Cherry Springs State Park is popular with astronomers and stargazers because it has some of the darkest night skies on the East Coast.

Pennsylvania’s first “dark sky park”

Cherry Springs also has Pennsylvania’s largest picnic pavilion constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (1939).

The county seat of Potter County is the borough of Coudersport (pop. 2,546), at the intersection of the Allegheny River and Mill Creek.

Potter County Courthouse (1853)

The Coudersport Theatre dates from 1923. It’s still showing movies.

The world’s only Coudersport Theatre

The annual God’s Country Marathon goes from Galeton to Coudersport.

Elliot Ness (1903-1957),  the legendary Prohibition agent who was credited with the downfall of Al Capone, died at his home in Coudersport.

As portrayed by Robert Stack

A major tourist attraction in Potter County is the Coudersport Ice Mine, with large icicles in the summer that melt in the winter. The cave was discovered in 1894.

Closed in winter, when there’s no ice

The Scottish Rite Consistory of Coudersport is one of Potter County’s largest buildings. The Consistory has about 3,000 members – more than the population of Coudersport.

Originally a private home

The Austin Dam Burst Site commemorates the site of the Austin Dam, which burst in 1911, resulting in the deaths of 78 people.

The dam served a paper mill.

NEXT: TIOGA COUNTY

Indiana: Posey County

Posey County (pop. 25,910) is in the far southwestern corner of Indiana, across the Ohio River from Kentucky and across the Wabash River from Illinois. It’s the only Posey County.

The county seat of Posey County is the city of Mount Vernon (pop. 6,687).

Posey County Courthouse (1876)

Port of Indiana-Mt. Vernon, on the Ohio River, is the seventh-largest inland port in the U.S.

Four silos on a farm near Mt. Vernon are labeled Tea, Coffee, Sugar, and Flour.

The town of New Harmony (pop. 789) was originally named Harmonie. It was purchased in 1825  by social reformer Robert Owen, who planned a utopian community called New Harmony.

New Harmony attracted scientists and scholars in its early years; many of the early buildings are still standing.

New Harmony today

Posey County was named for Revolutionary War Gen. Thomas Posey, who later served as governor of the Indiana Territory.

Not for the 3-time World Series champion

NEXT STATE: PENNSYLVANIA

 

Indiana: Vanderburgh County

Vanderburgh County (pop. 179,703) is south of Gibson County. It is Indiana’s seventh-largest county in population, and eighth-smallest in square miles.

The only Vanderburgh County in the U.S., it’s named for Henry Vanderburgh (1760-1812), a captain in the Continental Army and later a Territorial judge for the Indiana Territory.

Buried in Knox County

The county seat of Vanderburgh County is Evansville (pop. 117,429), third-largest city in Indiana.

The University of Evansville is a private university, founded in 1854 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

About 2,500 students

The old Vanderburgh County Courthouse was built in 1890 in Beaux Arts style. It is now available for receptions and other special events.

The Victory Theatre (1921) is now the home of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Moorish-style Alhambra Theatre was built in 1913. It is currently being renovated.

The Children’s Museum of Evansville is in the city’s former Central Library.

The museum opened in 2006

The Willard Library is a private library, built in 1877 in the Gothic Revival style.

Rumors of a ghost named “Lady in Grey”

Bosse Field (1915) is the third-oldest baseball stadium in the U.S. (after Fenway Park and Wrigley Field) that is still in regular use for professional baseball. It’s home of the Evansville Otters.

In the independent Frontier League

Bob Griese, quarterback for Purdue and the Miami Dolphins, and Yankee great (and current Miami Marlins manager) Don Mattingly are natives of Evansville.

The University of Southern Indiana, a public university founded in 1965, is just west of Evansville. It has about 11,000 students.

NEXT: POSEY COUNTY

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Indiana: Gibson County

Gibson County (pop. 33,503) is west of Pike County. Its population has been growing every decade since 1830. The only other Gibson County is in Tennessee.

Gibson County in 1908

The county seat of Gibson County is the city of Princeton (pop. 8,644).

Gibson County Courthouse (1884)

Dave Niehaus (1935-2010), longtime announcer for the Seattle Mariners (1977-2010), was born in Princeton. He received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2008.

Statue at Safeco Field

Toyota has a large plant just south of Princeton. The plant, which opened in 1996, makes Highlanders, Sequoias, and Siennas.

More than 5,000 employees

The plant has a Visitor Center, open weekdays.

Tours are also available.

The Henager “Memories and Nostalgia” Museum, in the community of Buckskin, has exhibits on Smokey Bear, western movie stars, and Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.

It’s been called “The Loneliest Museum in America.”

Hipp Nursery, in the town of Haubstadt (pop. 1,577), has a martini-drinking pink elephant, suitable for photos.

The Gibson Generating Station, near the Wabash River, is Duke Energy’s largest power plant and one of the largest coal power plants in the world.

NEXT: VANDERBURGH COUNTY

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Indiana: Pike County

Pike County (pop. 12,845) is north of Warrick County. It reached its peak population of 20,486 in 1900.

Pike County in 1908

It’s one of 10 Pike counties in the U.S., all named for explorer and brigadier general Zebulon Pike (1779-1813), who died in the War of 1812.

From 1959 to 1963, both of Indiana’s U.S. senators were Pike County natives – Vance Hartke (1919-2003) and Homer Capehart (1897-1979).

The county seat of Pike County is the city of Petersburg (pop 2,383).

Baseball great Gil Hodges (1924-1972) starred in baseball, basketball, football, and track at Petersburg High School. He was an eight-time All-Star for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hodges mural in Petersburg

The Patoka Bridges Historic District includes two historic bridges in Pike and Gibson counties.

NEXT: GIBSON COUNTY

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