Paul Dresser gained notoriety both nationally and internationally as a songwriter. His early career started with a part in a medicine show in Indianapolis. From there he worked as an actor, playwright, songwriter, producer, and music publisher. His career spanned the late 1800s and early 1900s. Of the hundred or so songs he wrote, the Indiana state song “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” is one of the most well known here. Despite being the number one songwriter in the late 1890s, when Dresser died in 1906 he was practically a pauper. The publishing house he started was a financial failure and he was overly generous with his money.
The Vigo County Historical Society owns the Paul Dresser Birthplace, located in Fairbanks Park (corner of 1st and Farrington Streets), and runs it as a house museum.