Tucked between the Hoosier National Forest and the Ohio River lies Perry County, the newest addition to Discover Southern Indiana. To welcome them to the family, we thought we’d share 5 fun facts you may not have known.


1. Hoosier National Forest

One of the crown jewels of Perry County is the Hoosier National Forest. Perry County is home to 60,000 acres of the forest, giving it the most acreage of any county. From hiking and horseback riding to camping and sandy lake beaches just made for swimming, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy. The forest is also home to an array of wildlife, making it a perfect spot for bird watching and photography.


2. Scenic Ohio River

Running along the entire southern border of Perry County is the Ohio River. Historically used as a trade route, the river now offers numerous recreational activities such as boating and fishing. Perry County’s eight boat ramps offer direct access to the river through the towns of Troy, Tell City and Derby, while the Ohio River Scenic Byway provides breathtaking views and a chance to explore those and other charming river towns.


3. Rich Swiss Heritage

Tell City, the county seat of Perry County, was founded in 1858 by a group of Swiss-German immigrants known as The Swiss Colonization Society. They named the city after their legendary Swiss folk hero William Tell, and Tell City continues to honor its Swiss heritage today with the Apple Drop at Silvesternacht every New Year’s Eve. Other nods to their deep Swiss roots include the annual Schweizer Fest that takes place in August, complete with a braugarten, marketplace, food vendors and more. 


4. Myers Grade School

The small town of Cannelton is home to what is the oldest continuously used school building in the state of Indiana (and is believed to be the oldest in the country). Myers Grade School initially opened in 1868 as Cannelton High School, serving first through eighth grades. Today, the school is part of Cannelton City Schools and retains its original slate chalkboards, staircases and woodwork alongside the modern technology students use daily.


5. World’s Largest Celtic Cross

All of Perry County’s wineries offer spectacular views, but Blue Heron Winery also offers a touch of European charm with the largest in situ (meaning “of its own stone”) Celtic cross in the world. Blue Heron’s owners commissioned local, self-taught sculptor Greg Harris to carve the cross into a 20 foot high boulder on the winery’s property. It took Harris nearly two years of battling the elements to complete the cross, and the results are truly something you have to see for yourself.


From its endless outdoor recreation activities to its festivals and wineries, Perry County truly offers something for everyone. Plan your visit to see what other fun facts you can uncover.