By EVPL Staff

Throwback Thursday, or #TBT on social media platforms, is an opportunity to highlight local history, reflect on past events, and spark curiosity about our yesterdays. EVPL shares #TBT posts weekly, pulling from our archives to share with history-loving library users.

Here’s what we shared in January 2023.

#TBT to January 12, 1984

#TBT Throwback Thursday: This week, we are throwing it back to 1984!

On January 12, 1984, Indiana State University-Evansville (ISUE) students and supporters marched through the Indiana General Assembly to support a bill to grant the school its “freedom” from Indiana State University. Supporters chanted and carried signs reading “Free the Eagle,” which is about the Screaming Eagles mascot for the university. This bill would set the stage for creating the University of Southern Indiana in 1985 and be endorsed by then-Indiana Governor Robert D. Orr.

Indiana State University-Evansville opened as a regional campus on September 15, 1965. Classes were initially held at the old Centennial School on Evansville’s west side before moving to its current location. Following the 1984 movement and dream for independence from Indiana State University, legislation was officially signed to make it happen on April 16, 1985. Effective July 1, 1985, the campus was independent and is now known as the University of Southern Indiana.

#TBT to January 16, 1977

Throwback Thursday: This week we are throwing it back to a significant fire in Evansville’s history.

Located on the corner of Locust and First Streets, the Elks Home was originally constructed as a lodge for the Evansville Chapter of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, a large fraternal organization at the time. The lodge was dedicated on July 4, 1906, and featured several party rooms, billiard and reading rooms, and a basement bar.

Due to dwindling membership and the high maintenance cost for such an elaborate building, the Evansville Elks were forced to sell the building in 1973. In 1974, the building reopened as the Upstage Dinner Theatre and was an immediate success in the Evansville community. The Stage Door Night Club was also operated out of the basement of the Upstage Dinner Theatre.

On January 16, 1977, a large fire destroyed the theatre during an extremely cold snap of weather in Evansville (even the Ohio River froze!), with temperatures reaching 21 degrees below zero. As firefighters battled the blaze, water used to fight the fire froze and encased the remains of the building in a sheet of ice. The 4-alarm fire suspiciously started in the liquor store room basement and nearly $1,000 in cash was found to be missing from the cash box. Investigators deemed the fire arson, but no charges were ever filed in the case of the Upstage Dinner Theatre fire.

#TBT to the 1800s

#TBT to the historic Sterling Brewery on Fulton Avenue.

The Sterling Brewery complex has a long and storied history in the Evansville community, including various names such as the Fulton Avenue Brewery, Evansville Brewing Association, Sterling, Heileman, and the Evansville Brewing Company. The origin of Sterling Beer dates back to 1863 in Louisville, Kentucky, while the origins of Sterling Brewery complex in Evansville, Indiana dates to the early 1880s. The brewery in Evansville declared bankruptcy and closed on October 1, 1997, and was followed by the complex being partially razed in December 1998. Remnants of Sterling Brewery still dot the landscape of Sterling Square at the Northwest corner of Fulton Avenue and the Lloyd Expressway.

The first photograph showcases Heilman Brewery on January 26, 1988, who purchased Sterling Brewery in 1972, but continued to produce Sterling Beer. The next two photographs showcase the brewery under the Sterling Brewery name and the last photograph displays one of Sterling Beer’s marketing brochures featuring Sterling Bell in 1959.


EVPL Staff

EVPL Staff

With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.

#TBT Feb. 2023
WHM 2023