Old Clarksville Site
Home of George Rogers Clark, and beginning place of the lewis and clark expedition
+38.28711, -85.7762538°17'14" N, 85°46'34" W
Quadrangle map:New Albany
On January 2, 1781, the general assembly of Virginia passed a resolution that not more than 150,000 acres of land northwest of the Ohio River be granted to officers and men in Clark's force. This land, known as the Illinois Grant, was selected at a meeting of the officers on February 1, 1783, at Louisville. Probably chosen on Clark's recommendation, it ran from below the Falls of the Ohio to a spot up the river at a distance as would make the width not exceed the breadth. At an early meeting the commission chosen to distribute and administer this land set aside 1000 acres for a town that came to be known as Clarksville. George Roger Clark preferred Clarksville to all others as a place of business and residence. In 1803, Clark grew tired of living with his sister and brother-in-law at Locust Grove across the river in Kentucky and moved to his cabin on a rocky point above Clarksville. Clarksville failed to thrive and Clark moved back to Locust Grove in 1809.
William Clark was living in Clarksville while gathering recruits to form the Corps of Discovery. In October 14, 1803, George Rogers Clark hosted Lewis when he arrived in Clarksville and the two explorers made final preparations for their historic journey. On October 26, Lewis and Clark left Clarksville with their chosen men, heading down the Ohio River for their westward journey. Today, the Old Clarksville Site includes the site of George Rogers Clark's two-room cabin which he occupied from 1803 until 1809, the site of a mill that he built on Mill Run, and the sites of the cabins that once composed Clarksville--the first American town in what was to become the Northwest territory. The best description of Clarksville as a town is provided by several travelers and observers who visited early in the 19th century. In 1805 Josiah Espy wrote in his journal, which was later quoted in Ross F. Lockridge's 1927 book, George Rogers Clark, that "At the lower end of the falls is the deserted village of Clarksburg (Clarksville) in which General Clark himself resides. I had the pleasure of seeing this celebrated warrior at his lonely cottage seated on Clark's Point. This point is situated at the upper end of the falls, particularly the lower rapid, commanding a full and delightful view of the falls particularly the zigzag channel which is only navigable at high water. The general has not taken much pains to improve this commanding and beautiful spot, having only raised a small cabin but it is capable of being made one of the handsomest seats in the world."
- July 9, 2016: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
- August 6, 2010: Added by J.P.