When Meriwether Lewis journeyed down the Ohio River to meet William Clark, his stopping place was a rugged area of wooded hills where the river swirled and eddied over rock formations dating back eons and containing a rich load of fossilized materials. Called the Falls of the Ohio, it was the most hazardous spot on the 981-mile river — and also where Lewis and Clark would begin their epic journey to the Pacific Northwest.
Clark was staying with his older brother, Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark, in a cabin above the Ohio, a tiny dot among the more than 150,000 acres of land Indiana awarded to the latter for his heroism during the Revolutionary War. Now a state park, the Falls has one of the largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world (dating back 390 million years) and a great interpretative center. It’s located in Clarksville — yes, there’s a reason for that name — and along with New Albany and Jeffersonville, it’s one of three delightful cities on the Indiana side of the river across from Louisville, Ky. Collectively, they’re know as the “Sunny Side of Louisville” (sunnysideoflouisville.org).