Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County: Italian Roots Run Deep

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Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County: Italian Roots Run Deep

Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County

Beautiful architectural touches are found here.

Clinton, Indiana has an amazing, very lengthy downtown for a town with less than 5,000 people.

Here in this Vermillion County town, you’ll find block after block of gorgeous architecture, history, and neat family-owned shops.

Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County

This Central Indiana town is sharp. It’s just one awesome building after another. Clinton buildings had plenty of unique features and intricate scroll-work.

But that’s not all. There are historic sites here, too. 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.

It is a nod to Clinton, Indiana’s Italian heritage.

The Voice of the Immigrant bronze statue shares the space with a very unusual bull-head fountain and tall granite fountain.

As a coal mining town, with plenty of Italian immigrants, the fountain stands as another reminder of Clinton’s Italian roots.

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 little 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 it is quite a story.

Things to Do in Clinton, Indiana

Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County

You’d have to head to Italy for more of this style.

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! 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 to use 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. Isn’t that incredible?

Italian immigrants made up the majority of mine workers (both deep shaft and strip coal mines) 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.

While the mines have long been closed, the town has not forgotten where it came from.

Go There

Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County

Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County

Clinton, Indiana covers a wide range of interests.

This one town could make the history buff, shopper, or general food-lover pretty happy.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus. I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana.

Just don’t forget to tell them that Little Indiana sent you.

Clinton, Indiana in Vermillion County

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About the Author:

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little More than a website, Little Indiana is a book, "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" (IU Press) awarded first place in the "Best in Indiana Journalism for a Nonfiction Book" by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Little Indiana is also a bi-monthly newspaper column in a local paper and a PBS segment on the former Emmy award-winning program, "The Weekly Special."


  1. Jessica Nunemaker March 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    That is really interesting! My paternal grandmother hails from San Benedetto, Italy in the South. 🙂

    I can’t imagine picking up coal all day!

  2. Remo Baldisseri March 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Great site. Surprised about the history but learned quite a bit. My father Giuseppe Baldisseri arrived in Clinton in 1922 by way of Ellis Island. My uncle Dominic was already there working the coal mines. He was his sponsor. They told stories of that time but the most vivid one was about having to stoop over to pick at the coal. They worked that way for hours. Also the Italian immigrants there in Clinton were from northern Italy. In fact in the ship’s manifest at the end of the information line they would write a “N” or “S” to show if the person was from the North or South of Italy. My father was from Sandrigo, Vicenza, just west of Venice. Sincerely, Remo Baldisseri

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