Hoosier Heritage Spring Pilgrimage 2018
Willkie Home, Covered Bridges, Historic Mansions and More
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Rushville and Aurora, Indiana
Join us for a Spring Pilgrimage to southeastern Indiana that will feature a visit to the Civil War-era Rushville home where Wendell Willkie lived during his rollicking 1940 presidential campaign against FDR; his grandson, David Willkie, will be our host. The trip also will include visits to the picturesque town of Aurora and to two famous mansions perched on bluffs overlooking the Ohio River: ornate Hillforest and Veraestau, a portion of which dates to 1810. Historic reenactors and musicians periodically will greet us during the day, which also will include a visit to – and presentations about – covered bridges in Rush County.
Enjoy commentary from pilgrimage chairman Nelson Price on the motor coach on the drive south.
In the Ohio River town of Aurora, meet a Civil War physician re-enactor at City Hall.
Explore the windows of Aurora on a short walking tour of the historic downtown. With one of the town’s primary muralists as our guide, we will learn the stories “behind” the window murals. They include painted scenes of life during the early 1900s, a community arts project.
Savor a “progressive luncheon” beginning at Hillforest, a lavish Italian Renaissance-mansion built in the 1850s overlooking the Ohio River. Luncheon will be followed by tours with period-costumed docents of Hillforest, the mansion of wealthy industrialist Thomas Gaff. With flourishes like arched windows, graceful balconies, and spectacular porches, Hillforest is a< National Historic Landmark.
Travel to Veraestau, a mansion owned by Indiana Landmarks. Built beginning in 1810 above the Ohio River, the Greek Revival-style mansion is the setting for elegant weddings and receptions; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We will enjoy a dessert buffet at Veraestau.
Journey to Rush County, where we will be greeted by a historic reenactor at a legendary covered bridge near the tiny town of Moscow. Struck by a tornado, the Moscow Covered Bridge was rebuilt after its original wood was salvaged from the Flatrock River by local residents. The award-winning restoration of the covered bridge was unveiled amid much fanfare in 2008.
Enjoy a presentation by Larry Stout, past president of the Covered Bridge Society of Indiana.
With David Willkie, visit historic East Hill Cemetery, the burial site of Rush County notables including Wendell Willkie (1892-1944), the Elwood native and maverick businessman who became the unexpected GOP challenger of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election.
Visit the Rush County Courthouse. Circuit Court Judge David Northam will speak briefly about the courthouse and open his courtroom.
At the Civil War-era, ancestral home of David Willkie’s family – where his grandfather lived while campaigning for U.S. president – enjoy a light dinner reception. We also will enjoy a presentation from David about his family and the home, where much Rush County history unfolded.
Price: $165 (Includes transportation, luncheon, light dinner reception, admissions,
gratuities & donations to sites and driver)
Deadline: January 31, 2018 for Pioneers and their guests (After that, also opens to the public.)
Guests are welcome; number may be limited.
Minimum: 25 travelers; Maximum: 54