Exploring the Tri-State: Burdette Park

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Lake View, Burdette Park, Evansville, Indiana. Circa 1947. (Photograph Credit: University Archives and Special Collection, RH 033-444).

Burdette Park Postcard, circa 1947 (Credit: University Archives & Special Collections, RH 033-444).

As we continue to discover various parks and recreation areas, look no further than our backyard in Evansville. Most Evansville and Tri-State residents have heard of and spent time at Burdette Park. It is a staple attraction on Evansville’s West Side for outdoor activities in all year round with an aquatic center, shelters, BMX track, and chalets.

Aerial view of Burdette Park, circa 1980. (Photograph Credit: University Archives and Special Collections, RP 031-013).

Aerial view of Burdette Park, circa 1980. (Credit: University Archives & Special Collections, RP 031-013).

Burdette Park has an interesting history in Evansville. The park’s origin is unknown; however, the naming of park was in memory of a local solider, Everette Burdette, from Evansville, who died in combat during World War 1. Burdette received their charter in 1921. By 1935, Burdette Park hosted between three to four thousand guests a week; however, it did not become a public park until 1936. By the 1950’s, Burdette was on the verge of shutting down until Vanderburgh County Commissioner, Charles Ellspermann, stabilized the managerial position at Burdette by hiring Francis DeVoy in 1961 (Burdette Park: Our History, 2017).

There is no cost to enter the park; however, as previously mentioned, Burdette has an aquatic center, shelters, BMX track, and chalets. One of newest features of the park is the USI-Burdette Trail. Completed in 2012, a three mile paved trail connects Burdette Park and the University of Southern Indiana allowing for “… hikers, bicyclists, and runner” to experience the beauty of Southwestern Indiana.

USI-Burdette Trail Logo (Photograph Credit: USI Web Services, n.d.)

USI-Burdette Trail Logo (Photograph Credit: USI Web Services, n.d.)

If you are interested in visiting Burdette Park or the USI-Burdette Trail, the costs of using their facilities is located on the Burdette Park and USI pages.


Burdette Park: Our History (2017). Retrieved from http://www.evansville.in.gov/index.aspx?page=3551

University of Southern Indiana (2017). USI trails. Retrieved from https://www.usi.edu/trails/

Exploring the Tri-State: Clifty Falls State Park

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

As summer appears, there are beautiful parks and recreational areas located throughout Southern Indiana and Kentucky for individuals and families. Over the next couple of weeks in our newest blog series, “Exploring the Tri-State”, let us explore these stunning locations and as Levar Burton stated, “Don’t take my word for it”. Our first location is Clifty Falls State Park.

Clifty Falls at Clifty Falls State Park, 2006 (Photograph Credit: Wikipedia.org)

Clifty Falls, 2006. (Photograph Credit: Wikipedia.org)

The founding of Clifty Falls State Park occurred in 1920 in Madison, Indiana (United States Department of the Interior, n.d.). According to Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (n.d.), “Clifty Creek’s stony bed is littered with fossil remnants telling of a long vanished marine ecosystem that teemed with life that included ancient corals, ancestral squids, brachiopods and more”. There are four waterfalls: Big Clifty Falls is 60 feet, Little Clifty Falls is 60 feet, Hoffman Falls is 78 feet, and Tunnel Falls is 83 feet (Clifty Falls State Park, 2016).

Clifty Falls State Park Railroad Tunnel, 2008. Photograph was retrieved from Sean Lewis from https://www.flickr.com/photos/transluminate/3154213938.

Clifty Falls State Park Railroad Tunnel, 2008. (Photograph Credit: Sean Lewis from https://www.flickr.com/photos/transluminate/3154213938)

The other attraction at Clifty Falls State Park is an abandoned railroad tunnel. It dates to 1852; moreover, there are numerous railroad fragments located throughout the park, known as “Brough’s Folly”. Named after John Brough, he tried to create a section of railroad for the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad; however, he was not successful (United States Department of the Interior, n.d.). Visitors may view the tunnel from May to October; however, the closure of the tunnel occurs from November to April to protect the bat population and prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome (Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources, n.d.).

If you are interested in visiting Clifty Falls State Park, the admission cost is located on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources page.


Clifty Falls State Park (2016). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifty_Falls_State_Park

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (2017). Clifty Falls State Park. Retrieved from http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2985.htm

United States Department of the Interior (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/madison/Clifty_Falls_State_Park.html

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Since the previous blog got me into a bit of a photography mood, I continued looking for more great pictures. And more than that, I wanted to go beyond the USA, and see what the rest of the world had to offer! Turns out, the rest of the world offers a whole lot in the way of amazing pictures of amazing places. I have always loved traveling, and if I happened to trip and fall over a giant sack of money, I would use it for travel (or a pony) to see all the natural wonders of the world. But, until that giant bag of money pops up, I will have to settle for looking at these books filled with pictures of amazing places that I might get to actually see in person one day! Or I can just wander around Burdette Park and imagine I am in the French countryside. I’m an English major, using imagination is kinda what we do.

                                                         Landscapes Without Memory  by Joan Fontcuberta

This is a book combining two great things in one: mountains and paintings. It describes various mountain landscapes that have also appeared in photographs and paintings, and compares them. And holy cow, these are the real deal and great looking. There’s a huge assortment of pictures, ranging from multicolored desert mountains to snowy peaks in the Himalayas; it’s just amazing. It makes you want to travel to these remote locations faster than you can find a passport and the sketchy pilot to take you there. The paintings are sometimes of the actual mountains, and sometimes of something that just captures the mood of the place. Either way, the pictures look amazing, like nature decided that it wanted to really go all out when creating these landscapes. The book is like flying around all these amazing places in a plane, then flying through an art gallery. None of the photos or paintings of these places have people or buildings. They simply show nature at its finest, next to art at its best. What’s not to like?

                          Through the Lens
This book’s material moves way beyond landscapes, using pictures of people and cities as well as landscapes. While I’ve been focusing mostly on landscape and the majesty of nature, I like this book so much I had to include it. After all, when you’re traveling, you’re not just looking at steep mountains and colored deserts, you’re also exploring cities and towns, meeting people, and having experiences. And this book feels like a series of experiences. Each chapter is broken into sections based on continent or area, with pictures of huge events like revolutions or national celebrations, as well as pictures of dancing and just sitting. It’s a collection from National Geographic, so it has pictures from as early as the 1920s, as well as recent ones, and they are all beautifully shot and presented. Photos of people and places show both the strange and the mundane, making both beautiful. If you like pictures or love travel, check this out. It’s full of great pictures of the earth, but also of the people who inhabit it.

                                              Wide Angle: National Geographic Greatest Places 

Want to see even more pictures? More places? This book is filled to the brim with both! Open up any page and see pictures of life from all over the world. Like the previous books, it focuses on landscapes, like sweeping shots of the deserts of Saudi Arabia, to multicolored gardens in the Netherlands, to cave paintings in Australia and dancers in Morocco. Does it make me want to travel to see these place? Oh, yes it does. Books like these remind us just how amazing the world is, and why we should try to see more of it.

If you want to see exciting places, but don’t exactly have the budget, thumb through any of these titles or others like them! Just look at the pictures, and it’s easy to imagine yourself standing right there. Want to see everyday life shown in an artistic way, that’s just as interesting as foreign locations and giant peaks and mountains? Then just lift your eyes from your smart device, and look around you.


Literary Criticism and You

When you’re reading a work of fiction, how much do you think about it? Not just the basic stuff, like:  Is the plot interesting?, or who are the characters going to eventually hook up with? I mean, how much thought do you put into what is going on in the story, what the author is trying to say, and what the themes are? Well, that is a huge part of what goes on in literary criticism. Readers examine texts to find themes, ideas, and subtexts in the work.  They may even relate the work to the world outside the story, and what the book has to say about the world. If any of that sounds interesting (and as an English major, this is the stuff I live for), then you might be interested in the four new books in Salem Press’s Critical Insights series. These books are available to Rice Library users in both print and electronic formats. They include discussions of classic literature, such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Frankenstein, rather typical literary pieces, but they also analyze more contemporary works as well. 

One volume which includes a discussion of contemporary works is entitled Technology and Humanity (REF PN56.T37T43).  As an example, one essay references the movie Tron and its sequel Tron Legacy as it examines the relationship between programs and programmers. This isn’t just about computers and robots; it’s also about how technology has changed over time. The volume entitled Dystopia (REF PN56.D94D97) contains a series of essays about works that deal with a future gone amuck, often focusing on a growing issue in contemporary life.  The Natureand Environment volume (REF PS169.E25N38)deals with how we feel about nature, and how nature has been used literature. It has essays on both poetry about nature and fictional accounts of man’s struggle with nature, or man’s interest in it. In The Heros Quest Heros Quest volume (REFPN56.5.H45H53) contributing authors investigate one of the great literary themes, in fact one of the earliest plots in literature. It often involves a hero traveling great distances to achieve amazing feats of heroism.


So take a look at the books, in print or online, and spend more time analyzing what you read every day. It will not only help you in class, but also in appreciating whatever entertainment you happen to enjoy.