& Clark Bicentennial
Indiana officials fought hard
to include eastern route in bicentennial celebration
(October 2003) Historian, author and distinguished
documentary filmmaker Stephen Ambrose proclaimed in his book, Undaunted
Courage, that When they shook hands, the Lewis and Clark
Ambroses statement regarding the historic journey
of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark lends credence to a part of the
story that has been left out of some history books, the part now known
as the Eastern Legacy. It also summarizes a view long-held
by many in the Louisville, Ky., and Clarksville, Ind., area where the
co-commanders joined forces.
One group in particular, the Falls of the Ohio Lewis and Clark Bicentennial
Committee, has been determined to make sure that the areas significant
role in one of the countrys greatest expeditions was not overlooked.
Pulling resources from both the Indiana and Kentucky sides of the Ohio
River, the committee formed in 1997 and launched a full-force effort
to become officially included in the nations 200th anniversary
commemoration of Lewis and Clarks expedition, which began in January
The result of the committees efforts has been the inclusion of
the Falls of the Ohio in the 2003-2006 nationally-sanctioned bicentennial
commemoration. Designated by the National Council of the Lewis &
Clark Bicentennial, it is one of 15 National Signature Events spread
across the country along Lewis & Clarks trail, and one of
only two east of St. Louis. The other is Monticello, the historic home
of President Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville, Va. Both sites were
chosen by the national council based on a number of criteria, including
their historical relevance and place in the expeditions chronological
history and the sponsoring organizations capacity.
fire their weapons.
A triumph for the areas inclusion of the eastern
leg of Lewis and Clarks expedition is especially pleasing to Jim
Keith, executive director of the Southern Indiana Lewis and Clark Commission.
When we first got involved in 1999 and 2000, said Keith,
everything connected with the Lewis and Clark bicentennial was
from 2004 to 2006. Now, the bicentennial commemoration is officially
recognized as 2003 to 2006. Thats a significant change
the recognition of the Eastern Legacy, Keith said.
The Eastern Legacy of which Keith spoke included the National Signature
Event in Monticello on Jan. 18. The date was selected because it is
the 200th anniversary of the date President Jefferson sent a confidential
letter to Congress requesting $2,500 to fund the expedition. More than
3,500 spectators gathered on the historic sites west lawn for
the event, which began a week-long series of Lewis and Clark-related
programs in and around Charlottesville.
Opening ceremonies for the second of the National Signature Events,
the Falls of the Ohio Bicentennial Commemoration, will begin on Oct.
14 at Louisvilles Waterfront Park with a reenactment of Lewis
arrival in Louisville and his meeting with Clark by the Discovery Expedition
of St. Louis, Mo., official re-enactors of the bicentennial. The Signature
Event will conclude on Oct. 27 with the expeditions departure
from the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville.
by Don Ward
In between those dates, both Indiana and Kentucky will
have plenty to offer those interested in participating in the bicentennial
commemoration and learning more about the areas role in the expedition.
Waterfront Park in Louisville and the Falls of the Ohio State Interpretive
Center in Clarksville will play host to many activities associated with
the National Signature Event. Other area groups, both in and around
the cities, will also sponsor events.
In the Falls region we have many organizations that are doing
their own Lewis and Clark events, said Dani Cummins, vice president
of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee. The committee has been
busy planning activities, most of which will be free, said Cummins.
Some organizations will charge admission. That includes the Louisville
Science Center, which will show Lewis and Clark: Great Journey
West at its IMAX Theater.
Were all very excited, Cummins said about the event,
which has been six years in the planning. Theres a lot happening,
she said. Other regional events include re-enactments by the St. Charles
group in Carrollton, Ky., and Bethlehem, Ind. Each town has activities
planned around the groups encampment, which will take place Oct.
9-11 at Carrolltons Point Park and Oct. 12-13 on the waterfront