Grouseland, presidential home and territorial governor’s mansion of William Henry Harrison in Vincennes, Indiana, will dedicate its new commemorative historical park, “Walnut Grove,” on Saturday, August 21, 2010. The dedication ceremony will begin at 1:00 PM, and the accompanying educational event, “1810 Camp Fire ‘Council at the Grove’” will run from 7:00 – 10:00 PM.
Grouseland is located at 1st and Scott Streets in Vincennes, just south of the Vincennes University campus.
Walnut Grove is a small park area that was given to Grouseland through the generosity of Vincennes University to commemorate the bicentennial of the meetings between Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, and then-territorial governor William Henry Harrison, beginning in August 1810. The two leaders met again a year later, which ultimately led to the Battle of Tippecanoe, an important pre-cursor to the War of 1812 and a defining moment in the westward expansion of the United States.
The park area is being landscaped with walnut trees and native species of plants and grass by Dallas Foster. In addition to adding much needed green space, Walnut Grove also provides Grouseland with a focal point from which to tell the story of Indiana’s development from a Native American perspective.
The dedication ceremony and evening educational event, “Council at the Grove,” will include an encampment of Native American, pioneer and soldier reenactors, period music, storytelling, and cultural demonstrations life in the Indiana Territory. Both events are free and open to the public.
We are currently reaching out to Native American groups, dignitaries and other historical reenactors, who may be interested in attending and participating in our dedication week-end festivities. Our mission is to objectively preserve and teach all facets of our history, maintaining mutual respect for the diversity of cultures. It is our sincere hope that we can promote greater awareness and study of our common history, so that we can continue to grow as a community of peace and learn from the lessons that history teaches us.
At the dedication ceremony, Harrison and Tecumseh will meet again through a dramatic reenactment and recitation of their famous speeches. Throughout our evening camp fire event, families and visitors will be transported back to 1810, where they can hear music and stories from that time, as well as visit with the reenactors. Our cultural demonstrations will include a Native American trading tent and family household.
A lot of people in Indiana and Illinois outside of the immediate Vincennes area don’t even know about Grouseland, which is only one of three presidential sites in Indiana, a beautiful and unique brick home dating to 1804, and a National Historic Landmark, where so much of our early Midwestern history took place. We hope that Walnut Grove will encourage people to discover for the first time or rediscover Grouseland and all of Historic Vincennes.
The Indiana Territory once included all of the Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. In fact, the fife and drum corps who will perform at the dedication is coming all the way from Wisconsin, and that is so appropriate.
The scheduling of the events over the course of a whole day is designed to encourage families and visitors to really explore the great many treasures in Vincennes, including Grouseland, the territorial capitol, George Rogers Clark Memorial, Red Skelton Center, Old Cathedral, Indiana Military Museum, our wonderful Main Street, architectural tour and so much more.
These events are co-sponsored by Vincennes University and the Vincennes State Historic Sites and are part of the Vincennes War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, whose theme is “Harrison and Tecumseh: Final Decision in the Old Northwest.”
 Grouseland, Benjamin Harrison Home (Indianapolis), and the Lincoln Boyhood Home (Spencer Co.)