ArchivesFest Spotlight: Reitz Home & Willard Library

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

ArchivesFest 2019

October 14-25, 2019:  UASC on the 3rd floor of the David L. Rice Library

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) is celebrating American Archives Month with its annual event, ArchivesFest. This year’s artifacts and historical documents are from the Evansville Museum, Historic New Harmony, the Working Men’s Institute, Newburgh Museum, Reitz Home, and other museums, and will be on display in UASC.  Stop by UASC anytime Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to view these special treasures from across the Tri-State region.

Reitz Home

112 Chestnut Street, Evansville, IN 47713

1. Reitz Home Entrance

Front entrance of the Reitz Home, n.d.

This 1871 home was built by John Augustus Reitz who was born in Prussia, moved to the United States in the 1830’s, and made his fortune in lumber. “Today, the Reitz Home is noted as one of the country’s finest examples of Second Empire architecture. Authentic period furniture, much of it original, is arranged as if the family is about to return. Silk damask-covered walls soar to decorative hand-painted ceilings and delicately molded plaster friezes. French gilt chandeliers shine down on one of the home’s most beautiful features: the intricately patterned hand-laid wood parquet floors. The home has tile and marble fireplaces, walnut wainscoting in Moorish design, and glowing stained glass window panels.”  It has been open as a museum since 1974.

The two images below is the St. Mary’s Conservatory medal awarded to Laura G. Fendrich in June 1884.

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Willard Library

21 First Avenue, Evansville, IN 47710

Front side of Willard Library, n.d.

Front side of Willard Library, n.d.

Willard Carpenter was born in Vermont in 1803 and came to Evansville in 1837 to continue to pursue his fortune.  Desirous of leaving a lasting legacy, in 1876 he expressed his intention “to establish and endow a PUBLIC LIBRARY, to be located in a public park, on land owned by me, situated in the city of Evansville. I am induced to do this in the well-grounded hope that such an institution may become useful toward the improvement of the moral and intellectual culture of the inhabitants of Evansville, and collaterally to those of the State of Indiana; and also toward the enlargement and diffusion of a taste for the fine arts.” The library opened in 1885, two years after Carpenter’s death.

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