For centuries, women of the Ohio River have paved the way for women’s progress and equality. Four area historical attractions are led by women whose careers involve sharing and preserving stories of great women. This includes The Carnegie Center for Art and History, The Culbertson Mansion, The Mary M. Miller steamboat, and The Falls of the Ohio.
Kadie Engstrom is the Education Coordinator at the Belle of Louisville Riverboats. She has made Louisville and SoIN river history her livelihood for 49 years. Kadie loves to answer passengers’ questions while aboard the Belle of Louisville or the Mary M. Miller, the newest addition to the Belle family.
The Mary M. (as Kadie affectionately calls her) was named after Louisville-native and first woman steamboat captain, Mary Millicent Miller. A female captain was unheard of in the mid-1800s and Mary’s license application was very controversial. Her skill, knowledge and perseverance gained national attention, and on February 16, 1884, she became Captain Mary M. Miller. Learn about the historical captain when you go on a Mary M. Miller boat cruise with Kadie Engstrom.
Learn more: The Belle of Louisville Riverboats, 401 W. River Rd., Louisville, KY; (502) 574-2992
Shawnee women held positions as leaders in this region around what we now know as The Falls of the Ohio State Park. Their purpose was to make sure the wishes of the tribe’s council were carried out. Women also tended to the crops, harvesting food for their families. The Falls of the Ohio Foundation has yielded a great harvest for the Falls of the Ohio.
Learn more: The Falls of the Ohio, 201 W. Riverside Dr., Clarksville, IN; (812) 280-9970
Jessica Stavros, Development Officer for Historic Sites, manages ten historical treasures in Indiana, including the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany. Jessica creates unique opportunities to share the history of the Culbertson family as the mansion gets restored to its original beauty.
Jessica’s zeal for showcasing this New Albany beauty lies within creative events like A Night with Agatha Christie. You can celebrate Women’s History Month by celebrating the best-selling female author of all time and reigning queen of suspense. The Culbertson will host a nighttime reading of "The Last Séance: Tales of the Supernatural" on March 13 from 8 -10 p.m.
In addition to monthly events, 2020 is a year for remembrance of women’s rights as we celebrate the 100th anniversary for the woman’s right to vote. On August 14-15, The Culbertson Mansion will partner with The Carnegie Center for Art and History to present “What Shall We Do With Our Daughters?”: The Rise of Women’s Rights in Indiana. This conference will not only commemorate the anniversary, but will focus on the history of suffrage and women’s rights in Indiana, highlighting barrier breakers, transformational stories, diverse perspectives and a broader national impact.
Learn more: Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site, 914 E. Main St., New Albany, IN; (812) 944-9600
Eileen Yanoviak began her journey as Director of the Carnegie Center for Art and History in 2018. With nearly 20 years of museum experience and a PhD in Art History, Eileen has a knack for pushing the boundary of contemporary art while showcasing the significance of local history.
One story includes Boundary Breakers: Letty Walter and New Albany’s BPW Hoosiers Softball Team. In the 1950’s, women had minimal opportunities to play sports other than swimming and cheerleading, so Letty Walter organized and coached the first women’s softball team, supported by the local Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW). The exhibition will feature highlights of their story through memorabilia that has been diligently and lovingly preserved by members of the team.
This show will be among other nods to local women in history, including Remembered: The Life of Lucy Higgs Nichols. You can hear the story of this incredible Civil War Nurse, who was formerly a slave in Tennessee and finally spent her life in freedom.
Learn more: Carnegie Center for Art and History, 201 E. Spring St., New Albany, IN; (812) 944-7336
Bonus: Listen to a narrative of the Lucy Higgs Nichols story HERE.
For more info on these and other historical attractions in SoIN and nearby Louisville, KY, click HERE.