Old buildings or old things in general, I love it–and Clinton, Indiana had a healthy combination of both!
This great Indiana town was busy, busy, busy. It was probably due in part to the big annual Little Italy Festival but Clinton sure had plenty of shops and restaurants.
The old Indiana town is sharp. It’s just one awesome building after another! Some of the buildings could use a little love but in general–it’s all about the details!
Clinton buildings had plenty of unique features and intricate scroll-work.
Walking around we saw shop after shop (some of which were closed, it was the day of the big Little Italy Festival) but we did get to walk through quite a few just the same.
Italian Heritage in Clinton, Indiana
The image to the left is a nod to Clinton, Indiana’s Italian heritage.
According to The Daily Clintonian Bollittino Edition that I picked up while in Clinton, the large bronze statue, the Voice of the Immigrant (North 9th St.), is found at what is known as the Piazza Del Immigrante.
But it’s not alone–the Voice of the Immigrant bronze statue also shares the spot with a very unusual bull-head fountain and tall granite fountain.
Now, the bull-head statue is unusual in that that particular style of bull is an image that is normally associated with Torino, Italy, which is a far cry from Clinton!
Two residents of Clinton, Indiana, Joe and Mary Airola, gave the face pattern to the Little Italy Festival Town (or LIFT) back in 1970 — and has quite a story!
Clinton, Indiana History
Ready for a little Indiana history? Hundreds of years ago, the poor little town of Torino, Italy fought one war after another.
The people just about lost hope and so decided to stampede their little town with bulls. Lots and lots of bulls.
The evil invaders were run down by the masses of bulls and the town then became known as Torino. Toro is Italian for, you guessed it, bull!
Bull Head Fountain in Clinton
The good people of Torino do not sell any of their bull-head fountains.
Instead, the Airola family, through a series of connections in the town, were given permission from the Mayor of Torino himself for use of the pattern of the fountain for a replica in little Clinton, Indiana.
At one point, so I have read, this fountain contained the only piped water in the town for years!
You may be wondering why all the “Italy” talk. Well, back in the day, Italian immigrants made up the majority of mine workers (both deep-shaft and strip coal mines) there in Clinton, Indiana. Who knew there was a mine around here?
As a lasting tribute to Clinton’s Italian heritage, the Airola family made another contribution, this time commissioning a statue by Italian sculptor Carlo Avenati. The Airola’s also brought this one back in 1970.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The first project , also made possible by the Airola family, is the large black granite fountain. As a coal mining town, with plenty of Italian immigrants, the fountain stands as another reminder of Clinton’s Italian roots.
While the mines have long been closed, the town has not forgotten where it came from.
Italian Roots Run Deep
Bottom line: A return trip is definitely in order! Yes, Clinton, Indiana could make the history buff, shopper, or general food-lover pretty happy!
Check out photos of Clinton, Indiana and other Pictures in Indiana on my Flickr Photostream.
Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County
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