Upcoming Society events


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

Reserve early! Before it is open to the public!

To make a reservation, download and complete the registration form and mail it, along with a check payable to "Thomson Travel," to:

Thomson Travel
5764 East Fall Creek Parkway, N. Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46226

For answers to questions, contact Sue Thomson at (317)-908- 9602 or by email at thomsontravel@gmail.com.

Archived Society events

As a service to our membership, we're pleased to make these reviews of previous Society events available here on the website:

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2017

Fall Pilgrimage 2017:
Showplace Homes on The Dunes, Michigan City and Crown Point Historic Sites

Spring Pilgrimage 2017:
Ohio River Cruise, Historic Mansions & More

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2016

Fall Pilgrimage 2016:
Abraham Lincoln and Indiana's Bicentennial

Society Centennial/Indiana Bicentennial Gala

Spring Pilgrimage 2016:
Bicentennial: Corydon, Cedar Farms & Madison

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2015

Fall Pilgrimage 2015:
State Parks & Bicentennial Heritage

Spring Pilgrimage 2015:
Interfaith and Church Heritage:
Special Insights into Faith Traditions in Central Indiana

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2014

Fall Pilgrimage 2014:
Food Heritage & Historic Mansions

Spring Pilgrimage 2014:
Benjamin Harrison & More:
Special Insights into 19th Century Indy

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2013

Fall Pilgrimage 2013:
Limberlost, Amish and Berne

Spring Pilgrimage 2013:

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2012

Fall Pilgrimage 2012:
Wabash & Erie Canal,
Tippecanoe Battlefield
and Fort Ouiatenon

Spring Pilgrimage 2012:
Fort Wayne and Rome City

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2011

Fall Pilgrimage 2011:
Brown County

Spring Pilgrimage 2011:

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2010

Fall Pilgrimage 2010:

Spring Pilgrimage 2010:

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2009

Fall Pilgrimage 2009:
French Lick and West Baden

Spring Pilgrimage 2009:
Montgomery County

Fall Pilgrimage 2008:
South Bend and Culver

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2008

Spring Pilgrimage 2008:
Historic Tippecanoe County

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2007

Fall Pilgrimage 2007:
Evansville & New Harmony

Spring Pilgrimage 2007:

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2006

Fall Pilgrimage 2006:
Bedford & Lawrence Counties

Spring Pilgrimage 2006:
The Land of Lincoln

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2005

Spring Pilgrimage 2005:
Taggart's French Lick & West Baden

Annual Meeting and Luncheon - 2004

Spring Pilgrimage 2004:
Along the Old National Road

Annual Meeting and Dinner - 2003

Fall Pilgrimage 2003:
Lewis & Clark Bicentennial

Spring Pilgrimage 2003:
History and Art of

Annual Meeting and Dinner - 2002

Fall Pilgrimage 2002:
The Lillys of Indianapolis

Spring Pilgrimage 2002:
Lincoln's Indiana and
Historic Spencer County

Annual Meeting and Dinner - 2001

Fall Pilgrimage 2001:
Oldenburg and Batesville

Fall Pilgrimage 2000:

Spring Pilgrimage 2000:
Shaker Villages in Kentucky

This page last updated on Friday, January 12, 2018 .
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