NASHVILLE — Indiana's largest state park now has another distinction — it's the state's largest historic district.
Brown County State Park was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. A listing on the register recognizes an area that has a high degree of historical integrity in its buildings, structures, and landscapes. To be on the National Register, districts must be at least 50years old and look much the way they did in the past.
"It's a great honor for our park to be listed on the National Register," Patrick Haulter, the park's interpretive naturalist, said. "It really speaks to how important this park is, not only to the people who live here, but to everyone."
Brown County State Park, located near Nashville, first opened in 1929. During the early years, several facilities were developed, including Abe Martin Lodge and overnight cabins. A large portion of the facilities work done after that was through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Members of the CCC built many of the other existing buildings, shelters, roads, vistas, trails, Ogle Lake, as well as the west lookout tower.
"Much of the CCC's legacy is what is being honored with this listing," Ben Clark, cultural resources manager for the Division of State Parks, said.
The park has nearly 16,000 acres and along with being the largest state park in Indiana is also one of the most popular.
Staff members from Indiana Landmarks wrote the nomination along with the DNR and local preservation group Peaceful Valley Heritage. The researchers documented nearly 70 buildings, sites, and structures that contribute to the park's historical significance.
"The natural and built environment blend seamlessly at Brown County State Park, making it a place that is cherished by all Hoosiers," Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services at Indiana Landmarks, said. "We greatly value our partnership with the Department of Natural Resources to recognize and preserve the park's many important historic places."
Brown County is the sixth Indiana state park to be listed on the National Register, joining Pokagon, Mounds,l Shakamak, Turkey Run and Fort Harrison state parks.