Perhaps the official town motto best sums up this small town of just 9,000 residents: “A great place to spend an hour or a lifetime.” Danville, Indiana offers a true, small-town experience, combined with all the advantages of being located right next to a major metropolitan area.
Danville is located immediately west of Avon, Indiana, and just 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis. It is a popular place to visit among Indianapolis residents in search of the occasional escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. But for town locals, Danville is more than a weekend escape, it’s a way of life.
Known for it’s excellent schools, historic downtown and small community values, Danville has become an increasingly sought-after place for home buyers in search of the quintessential “small-town” quality of life.
Attractions & Things to Do
For such a small town, Danville offers a surprising number of fun things to see and do. Here is a list of some of the more popular attractions in Danville.
Located at 2304 E Main Street in Danville, Beasley’s Orchard is one of the hidden gems of the west side, and a go-to place in the fall, with it’s pick-your-own pumpkins and tours of the orchard and mazes.
If you love apples, cider, pumpkins, hay bales, corn mazes, wine, stew, and chili, you’ll love the “Heartland Apple Festival” which takes place every year at Beasley’s in October. Hayrides are also offered every weekend in October.
This corn maze is a fun maze pattern planted into a corn field, which presents a series of markers throughout the maze. At each marker, guests answer a question on a sheet that is provided at the maze entrance, and if answered correctly, they are given a shorter direction through the maze. And since there are 4 miles of trails through the maze, answering correctly can make a big difference!
The Blanton House is located at 625 N Washington Street in Danville. The town of Danville bought this historic home in 2001, along with 20 acres of land that make up the Blanton Woods. It is an elegant Georgian Colonial Style mansion, full of superb craftsmanship and old world charm.
Various historic aspects of the home have been preserved on the inside, like the reading room (pictured above), which features an antique desk, a phonograph machine, and a collection of books in a built-in book case.
Blanton Woods woods offers a serene, wooded sanctuary that is perfect for taking a stroll, or just quiet reflection. The woods connect to Ellis Park, which offers an additional 73 acres of untouched deciduous forest.
Danville Public Library
Located at 101 S Indiana Street, the Danville Public Library is not only a rich source of knowledge, but an historic destination in its own right. Built in 1903, it is among the libraries funded through the Carnegie Foundation, also known as Carnegie Libraries.
It’s a beautiful building to behold, with its neoclassical columns and cornices. The library houses numerous historic records, books and documents of significance to the city, county and state. Included in its substantial collection are several biographies, autobiographies, and books written by Indiana writers. The library also holds a collection of genealogical documents, census records, and a host of other historic documents.
The PlayScape play area was built in 1998 by the group known as “Friends of the Park”. This sprawling playground offers a variety of fun challenges designed to test kids’ motor skills AND imagination. It is one of 3 playgrounds in the park.
An amphitheater is available for live performances. The venue offers a large gathering space with plenty of green grass, and a row of picnic tables, perfect for evening diners with live entertainment.
Shelter House 2 is a 60′ x 40′ covered shelter house equipped with electricity and picnic tables. It’s not far from Shelter House 1, which is measures 40′ x 70′ and is also equipped with electricity and picnic tables.
Gil Family Aquatic Center
Historic Downtown Danville
Danville is perhaps best known for its historic downtown area. The town was established in 1824, with the first non-Indian settlers moving to Danville in the 1820’s. Several historic attractions make this one of the most popular small towns to visit in all of central Indiana.
Hendricks County Historical Museum
The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is often cited by architecture historians as the only surviving example of the Second Empire style of architecture in the county. The Second Empire style came into vogue as the nation recovered from the Civil War, and is known for certain defining elements, like a central tower and mansard roof.
An antique phone serves as a reminder of just how far the telecommunications industry has come since the early days of Alexander Graham Bell. To place a call, the user turned the crank on the right side, which generated electricity to connect to the operator.
The Pump Organ, also known as a Reed Organ, sits the corner of the parlor room. It is a marvel of early 1900’s craftsmanship. The parlor area was close from 2012-13, as several improvements were made, including the removal of 6 layers of old wall paper.
The Hendricks County Museum offers a rare glimpse into life as it was in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It’s a fun destination for the whole family, and just one of several historic attractions in downtown Danville.
Central Normal College
The Central Normal College which was founded in 1876, moved to Danville, Indiana in 1878. It was a part of the state-wide university system, and offered traditional college courses. The college was renamed Canterbury College in 1942, and continued as a teacher training institution until it closed closed in 1951 due to bankruptcy. Many of the Central Normal and Canterbury College artifacts have been preserved digitally, and are available online. The school is currently used for Ivy Tech classes in conjunction with Danville Community High School and is referred to as Central Normal Campus.
Danville Rotary Clock
The Danville Rotary Clock stands as a testament to a much earlier time in Danville’s history, when some 50 retail, service and professional establishments called downtown Danville home. The Rotary came to Danville in 1957 with the goal of bettering the community in which they worked and lived.
Danville Courthouse Square
The centerpiece of downtown Danville is a beautiful, Neoclassical style courthouse made of Indiana Limestone. The building features Doric columns, stained glass, and a remarkable level of hand-crafted detail.
Historic “Old Town” Architecture
Located at 180 West Main Street is the Danville Christian Church. This beautiful building is roughly 100 years old, and features Neoclassical columns, overhanging eves, supported by decorative corbels, and a beautiful brick façade.
While several buildings in downtown Danville have been updated in subtle ways down through the years, the area retains much of its historic charm.
CJ’s Bar & Grill
CJ’s Bar & Grill is located at 8 West Main Street in Danville. This downtown establishment offers a variety of pub food, like burgers, sandwiches and subs, and also offers live music, karaoke, and serves alcohol.
Diesel’s Sports Grille
Frank’s Place is located at 33 S. Washington Street in downtown Danville, on the east side of Danville’s historic Courthouse Square. This is an Italian restaurant that serves pizza, pasta and a variety of wines.
They offer a decent variety of wines, including such recognized labels as Robert Mondavi and Villa Pozzi. The beer selection consists of popular brands like Honey Brown, Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, etc.
Gallery on the Square
Jane’s on the Square Boutique
Jane’s on the Square Boutique is located at 65 W Marion Street in downtown Danville. This small resale boutique sells items for women and juniors, plus designer and name brand clothing and accessories, hand made jewelry, knit wear, greeting cards, candles and hand painted purses. The decor inside features wood flooring and even a tin ceiling. This is a nice, independent establishment that offers oodles of character.
Located at 78 W Main Street in downtown Danville, Mayberry Cafe is perhaps the most identifiable establishment in downtown Danville, thanks in large part to the old-school 50’s police cruiser which is always parked out front.
This is a great place to try based solely on atmosphere and nostalgia. Owners Brad and Christine Borne opened the Mayberry Café in 1992 as a family restaurant. The menu offers traditional American food, like steak, mashed potatoes, soups, fried chicken, apple pie and other deserts.
Fair on the Square
Fair on the Square is an annual festival that has become one of the most popular events in all of Hendricks county over the past 15 years. Each year, in early September, over 100 vendors converge on the Hendricks County Courthouse Square in downtown Danville.
Mayberry in the Midwest Festival
Each year, in mid-May, the 3-day Mayberry in the Midwest festival celebrates all things Mayberry. This event is centered around the historic Hendricks County Courthouse. Celebrity guests who played on The Andy Griffith Show are known to attend. Various nationally recognized Tribute Artists also regularly performing together on stage both days.
The festival weekend kicks-off with a a pancake breakfast on a Saturday. There are Opie Taylor’s look-alike contests and many other fun activities. Stopping by the Mayberry Cafe is a popular activity. A variety of arts and crafts vendors typically attend the festival, as do many food vendors.
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