Before he became the ninth president of the United States, William Henry Harrison lived in the south central Indiana town of Vincennes with his wife Anna and their 10 children. Harrison built the home in 1804, while serving as the governor of the Indiana Territory. Harrison’s home was built on 300 acres and they named it Grouseland.
In the early days of American civilization and westward expansion, tension was flaring with the natives. William Henry Harrison was involved in drafting dozens of treaties with the Native Americans residing in what’s now the Hoosier State. One of the two famous meetings between Harrison and Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh was held at Grouseland. When visitors stand on the porch of the historic home, they can look upon the grounds where the meeting was held. Negotiations between the Shawnee and William Henry Harrison failed, and ultimately led to the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Indiana history buffs can now tour Indiana’s historic landmarks to learn about the relationship between the pioneers and the natives. Prophetstown State Park, Battleground State Park, and Tippecanoe Battlefield Park are just a few of the memorial sites found north of Indy, near Lafayette, Indiana. Grouseland and the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest are two southern Indiana attractions that educate visitors on Native American history in the Crossroads of America.
When guests stop by Grouseland, the ring the front doorbell and a tour guide comes to greet them. The tour shows visitors the three floors of Grouseland, all decorated with artifacts to replicate the time when the Harrison family resided there. Ownership of Grouseland stayed mostly within the Harrison family until 1850. It served as a hotel, storage space and residence until it had completely deteriorated. Restoration of Grouseland began in 1909, and the home was opened for tours beginning in 1911. At first, the Francis Vigo chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution only restored 2 rooms in the mansion, which was facing the wrecking ball otherwise. Eventually the group managed to bring the home to its current state, and although the D.A.R. still plays a big role, the Grouseland Foundation now operates the historic home.
Grouseland is an educational destination for field trips, family getaways and even a day trip from Indianapolis. Grouseland is open daily for tours, and a small admission fee applies. On your way south to Vincennes, be sure to stop by some other day trip destinaions. The Academy of Hoosier Heritage in Mooresville, the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute and Sullivan County Park in Sullivan are all attractions along the route to Grouseland. Escape from the Circle City and Take a day trip to Southern Indiana.