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Downtown Danville: History, Architecture, and Good Times

Danville, Indiana, a small satellite community of Indiana state capital Indianapolis, is known throughout the Hoosier State as a peaceful, historic burg full of good people and a rich tradition of home spun values and ideals. A major reason for this reputation, downtown Danville is chock full of historic landmarks, unique locally owned shops, and some really fun family oriented events.

However, downtown Danville would not be the vibrant area that it is without the assistance of the Downtown Danville Partnership, a local organization that seeks to promote and enrich the town’s courthouse square. Turning this historic area into a major Danville attraction has been a goal of the organization since its inception. The Downtown Danville Partnership holds ongoing events, endorses revitalization programs, and teams with the Danville Chamber of Commerce to support Danville businesses, all in an effort to promote and restore this burgeoning center of commerce.

Perhaps the most recognized landmark in downtown Danville and the crown jewel of the Downtown Danville Partnership is the Hendricks County Courthouse. The original courthouse, built in 1863, was destroyed in 1907 when a portion of the roof collapsed in on itself. The current building, a beautiful example of Neoclassical architecture built by Indianapolis architect Clarence Martindale, was constructed shortly afterward and still stands to this day. The Hendricks County Courthouse is a gorgeous building made entirely of finely sculpted Indiana limestone; it stands in the heart of downtown Danville and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

If visitors to Danville want more history after a visit to the Hendricks County Courthouse, they can take a short stroll to the Hendricks County Museum, a historic two story building in downtown Danville that houses many artifacts of this Hoosier city’s past. The building used to be the town’s Sheriff Residence and County Jail, but has since been converted into the museum. Visitors can see implements of Danville agriculture, military history, and artifacts from the original institution of Danville education, Central Normal College.

After your enriching visits to the Hendricks County Courthouse and the Hendricks County Museum, you may want to relax and take in a few frivolous things in downtown Danville. Well, you’re in luck, because downtown Danville is also home to several enticing Danville restaurants. Frank’s Place, an Italian dining establishment with a great wine list, Wiggles, a varied pastry shop and delicatessen, the Mayberry Cafe, an old time ode to small town America, and Bailey’s Jury Room, a charming place to eat, are all located in downtown Danville. Several other restaurants also make their home on the square, including Dairy Queen, Cross’s Corner, and Courthouse Grounds.

Video of live music at Cross’s Corner in downtown Danville, Indiana

 

Danville shopping enthusiasts also have a lot to gain from downtown Danville. Accessorize and glamorize your wardrobe at Meazles Jewelry and Gifts, tease and curl your hair at Hair Magic II, plan out your next craft project at Rader’s Fabrics, or pick up a great souvenir for your Danville children at Carla’s Creations and Gifts; all this and more is available in downtown Danville. Danville nightlife also takes place in downtown Danville: Cross’s Corner and Bailey’s Jury Room get hopping with live Danville music, and the historic Royal Theatre shows movies and also showcases area bands.

In addition, downtown Danville is also home to a myriad of Danville events that bring in residents and visitors alike from miles around. During the summer, the area holds a farmers market where growers bring their produce to the square. Shoppers can pick among the best fruits, vegetables, and homemade jams at this fun Danville event. August is also the time for the town’s classic car show and Summer Sounds on the Square, an outdoor concert event that takes place on the courthouse square. During the winter, the Winterland Lights Show, hosted by the Danville Parks and Recreation Department, holds carriage rides through downtown Danville.

Video of live music at the Royal Theater in downtown Danville, Indiana

 

Far more than a decaying commerical area, downtown Danville is a beating heart of history, Danville arts, and fun things to do in Danville. Dine at a locally owned restaurant, watch Danville sports at a downtown bar, go shopping at the variety of unique shops and botiques, or immerse yourself in the town’s long past at the Hendricks County Museum and the Hendricks County Courthouse; downtown Danville can keep you busy for weeks on end.

Downtown Danville Partnership Inc.
147 W Main St
Danville, IN 46122
E-mail: info@visitdowntowndanville.com

Mike Woods