Transportation and trade routes often had a major impact on these small communities. They connected them to the wider world. When routes shifted, small communities just as easily were isolated. When the Evansville, Mt. Carmel, & Northern Railway was built in 1910, it passed through Armstrong Township, an agricultural area in the northwest corner of Vanderburgh County. The rail was operated by the Cleveland Cincinnati Chicago & St Louis Railway (CCC & StL RR), who were sometimes nicknamed the Big Four.
A log building stood near where the railroad crossed Nisbet Road. A small depot and a grain elevator operated by famous Evansville millers Iglehart Brothers were built soon after the railroad in the location that would eventually house the Nisbet Inn.
The present roadside tavern building was erected in 1912 by George Maurer. It contained a bar and a grocery store on the main floor. Upstairs were six big rooms that would be rented out to travelers. The building would rattle every time a train went by.
Nisbet Inn claims to have the second oldest liquor license in the State of Indiana. This would have been convenient for railroad workers to spend their money on drinks on payday. Stories exist that these men would drink, turn to fighting, and then lay down in the road to sleep off their drinking.
For many years, Nisbet Inn was the hub of Armstrong Township. Farmers from the nearby area would come in to check on how much rain everyone had, or what field was going to be planted or harvested that day. In the winter, the farmers would come to play cards. In addition to the bar, grocery store, and inn, it also served as a post office for the area.
Passenger rail on the Big Four stopped in 1942, and the last freight train ran in May 1971. Much of the old railroad tracks have since been removed, but sections still remain. Under the ownership of the Sunderman family, Nisbet’s grocery store was converted into a family room in the 1970s. Since individuals under 21 cannot enter a "bar" under Indiana state law, a "family room" is a an area of the establishment separated from the bar and able to admit patrons under 21 years of age.
During renovations, murals painted by a French traveler were rediscovered and are now proudly on display. In the 1990s, the hardware store was closed. It was converted into additional restaurant seating.