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History in Our Own Back Yard

Murals in Jeffersonville, IN

Photos by Jim Cummings


The City of Jeffersonville, Indiana was named for Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson also spearheaded The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery in 1803 that launched their westward exploration to the Pacific Ocean in nearby Clarksville, IN


The first fort along the Ohio River near the falls of the Ohio was Fort Finney was constructed in 1786. In 1787 it was renamed Fort Seuben after Revolutionary War Hero Barron Von Steuben.

 It was a small square-shaped timber and earthen work fort with blockhouses at the southern corners, a guardhouse/bastion in the center of the northern wall, barracks forming part of the walls, and a deep trench ("covered way") leading to the river. it was garrisoned by territorial militia from 1791 - 1793. and then garrisoned by Federal troops until finally abandoned in 1797.


The Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot saw service from 1871 to 1957. After the Civil War the many quartermaster facilities in the area were brought together as one facility. It started as 4 city blocks and was expanded to 10, housing and manufacturing goods needed by soldiers. It served throughout the Spanish American War (1898 ), World War II and the Korean War.producing thousands of goods (especially shirts) until it’s was slated to close in 1957. The present day revision was undertaken by the City of Jeffersonville to preserve the structure and now houses offices and retail establishments.


This mural depicts the Civil War activities in Indiana. Although a Northern State their were Southern Sympathizers in the counties closest to the Ohio River.

Like all towns along the Ohio River, Jeffersonville thrived during the steamboat age. In addition to trade and travel blossoming along the river, Jeffersonville contributed mightily with the Howard’s Steamboat Company.

Arrivals and departures of steamboats was always a big event for riverside towns. 


The Howard Steamboat Company produced boats in a factory just along the Ohio River. When the boats were finished they would be slid down ramps and directly into the river.

The modern day plant - Jeffboat - still uses the same means for launching the boats built there.


The Howard Shipyard had a 107 year history and put over 3,000 vessels in the running waters of the Ohio and established the largest inland shipyard in America. It was purchased by the US Navy during WWII.

Later the transformation was complete with Jeffboat, Inc., a subsidiary of The American Commercial Line Barge Service still in production today.


The Howard Family built their home nearby. The mansion today houses the Howard Steamboat Museum.

Much of the interior wood work was done by woodworkers from the company who carved interiors on the elegant boats that plied the rivers.


Another Jeffersonville landmark depicted in a mural is Schimpff’s Candies It opened on April 11, 1891. Started by Gus Schimpff, Sr. and Jr., the business has survived wars, floods, depressions, and recessions through four generations. Today it is still run by a Schimpff descendant. In 1990, Warren Schimpff, and his wife, Jill Wagner Schimpff, bought the candy business in order to be able to celebrate the centennial anniversary and to maintain the Schimpff family's candy legacy.


Family fun in downtown Jeffersonville.

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The murals were painted in 2006 by Dafford Murals. Robert Dafford has painted murals all over the world.

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