Rose Island Amusement Park was a popular destination in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Families would board steamboats in surrounding cities – Louisville KY, Madison IN, Henderson KY – and cruise down the Ohio River for a fun day at the park. A wooden roller coaster, ferris wheel, a black bear named Teddy Roosevelt – Rose Island had it all. The entire park was destroyed in the 1937 flood – 10 feet of water covered the park, and it was never rebuilt.
Today, the land is part of Charlestown State Park, and Trail 7 leads you through the Rose Island area, with educational elements along the way.
In my world Monday is known as “Manager Monday”, when I slave over spreadsheets and payroll and sales (for about an hour) and then do other stuff that goes in to managing a semi-successful shop. This past Monday was no exception. In between putting away an order updating something on the computer I stepped outside, and, well, that was it. the weather was too nice to be inside doing stuff all day, especially when it was all stuff that I could put off.
So, around 2pm, I got in my car, got Malady from the house, and went back to Charlestown State Park.
This time we went out on Trail 6, which is the newest trail in the park. It starts at the parking lot for the boat dock for the Ohio River, climbs up the bluff, and follows the river to Fourteenmile Creek, where it descends to the Ohio River. From here you follow an old service road back to the parking lot. I really like this trail – it isn’t too long (around 2.5 miles), or too rugged, but there is a lot to see and a lot to do.
One of my favorite things about Charlestown State Park is it’s past. The land was once part of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, where tens of thousands of people made smokeless gunpowder for the military starting in the 1940’s. the plant (over 10,000 acres) continued manufacturing goods until 1992. Some of the land was turned over to the State of Indiana in 1995 & 1996, when they developed it in to a state park.
The main part of the park has 6 trails, a campground, a boat dock, picnic areas, and a playground. There are still several gated areas with roads dating back to it’s former use – many of these areas have “Do Not Enter’ or “No Trespassing” signs, but some don’t. There are several abandoned warehouses scattered throughout the gated areas, as well as railroad tracks & cars.
I woke up this morning with the birds chirping, the day off of work, and the need to get out. It was still in the 20’s outside, but I knew that the high was supposed to be around 50, and the sun was shining, plus I still haven’t really been able to really try out my new camera, so I decided that I was going to spend my day at Charlestown State Park.
Charlestown State Park is special to me. I took a summer school gym class in high school (I didn’t take it during the school year because of scheduling conflicts.) and we went to the park on a field trip. I had an interest in the outdoors as a child, but I lost it in middle + high school. I reconnected with nature that day – the park was so calm, so beautiful. I’ve returned to that park every summer since, probably 20 times a year in the last 7 years even. Last spring they opened 2 new trails, and they have plans for more in the future.
Today I took Malady on Trail 3, which runs down an old service road, descends to the Ohio River and goes along the Fourteenmile Creek valley, and then returns to the service road.