In January of this new year, Brown County State Park was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The park was established in 1924, and is the largest park in the state of Indiana and one of the larger state parks in the United States. The park also includes the historic Abe Martin Lodge, large swimming pool, and cabins built in the early 1930’s.
“Nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges and fog-shrouded ravines. Glaciers from the most recent ice ages stopped short of the “hills o’ Brown,” but their meltwaters helped create the narrow ridges, steep slopes and deep gullies of Brown County State Park. Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall color hot spot, with nearly 20 miles of tree-lined roads and many scenic vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forestland”.1Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Visitors arriving at the north gate will pass through a covered bridge, which crosses Salt Creek. Built by Henry Wolf in 1838, it is the only double tunnel covered bridge in Indiana and one of four in the United States.2
The Park Offers
- Rustic Abe Martin Lodge, cabins + camping
- Nature center + amphitheater
- Large outdoor swimming pool
- Hiking + mountain biking trails
- Saddle barn for guided horse rides and separate horseman campground with 70 miles of horse trails
- Two lakes for or warm weather or ice fishing (Strahl Lake, 7 acres + Ogle Lake, 17 acres)
- 90’ fire tower – visitors permitted to climb for a specular view
- The state park is also a stop on the Indiana Birding Trail
T.C. Steele and his wife Selma moved to Brown County, Indiana in 1907 and established a home, studio and gardens on 211 acres of scenic terrain. They named their home “House of the Singing Winds”. This home and property is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is an Indiana State Historic Site. The property and its artifacts remain essentially unchanged from the way it was during their time here. The picturesque landscape of this area, and Steele’s prominence, drew in other artists, establishing an Art Colony of the Midwest. The growth of Brown County’s art colony over the past 100 years, coupled with the area’s natural beauty, has provided the Brown County town of Nashville to become a destination site with a well-established tourism-based economy.
1“Brown County State Park.” Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm.
2“Endless Outdoor Activities: Beautiful Brown County Blog.” Brown County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://www.browncounty.com/.