Evansville's economy received a boost in the early 1830s when Indiana unveiled plans to build the longest canal in the world, a 400-mile ditch connecting the Great Lakes at Toledo, Ohio with the inland rivers at Evansville.
Manufacturing also took off, particularly in the automobile and refrigeration industries.
The city saw exponential growth in the early twentieth century with production of lumber and the manufacturing of furniture.
Throughout this period Evansville's main ethnic groups consisted of Germans fleeing Europe, Protestant Scotch-Irish from the South, Catholic Irish coming for canal or railroad work, New England businessmen, and newly freed slaves from Western Kentucky.
As the new century began, growth in the city continued to move eastward.
With steamboats less of a factor in the local economy, city and federal officials responded to the flood with about fifty years of levee construction that penned and hid the Ohio River behind a barrier of earthen berms and concrete walls.
During World War II, Evansville was a major center of industrial production and, as a result, it helped wipe away the lingering effects of the Great Depression.As testament to the Ohio's grandeur, early French explorers named it La Belle Riviere ("The Beautiful River").The area has been inhabited by various cultures for millennia, dating back at least 10,000 years.The era of Evansville's greatest growth occurred in the second half of the 19th century, following the disruptions of the Civil War.The city was a major stop for steamboats along the Ohio River, and it was the home port for a number of companies engaged in trade via the river.The 38th parallel crosses the north side of the city and is marked on Interstate 69.