Located north of historic Vernon, Indiana Muscatatuck Park offers visitors wonderful hiking, camping and picnicking along the beautiful Muscatatuck River in Jennings county.
From the Book:
Guide to Indiana’s Historic Sites – South East Edition
Visitors to Jennings County will find this historic marker noting the beautiful Muscatuck Park. Located north of historic Vernon, Indiana Muscatatuck Park offers visitors wonderful hiking, camping and picnicing along the beautiful Muscatatuck River in Jennings county.
Title of Marker:
CR 325 N & SR 7 at park entrance, North Vernon. Hit by a car August 7, 2004. Reinstalled January 2005. (Jennings County, Indiana)
1999 Indiana Historical Bureau and Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department
Marker ID #:
Opened 1921 as Indiana’s fourth state park for its natural beauty and recreation potential. Named Vinegar Mills State Park after stone-cutting mill in park. Renamed Muscatatuck State Park 1922. Stone shelters and stairways, fire tower, trails, and retaining walls were built by Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930s.
Nearby home (built 1850) of William Read, owner of stone-cutting mill, was used as an inn by the state park. Quail were raised in park 1953-1962; park was renamed Muscatatuck State Park and Game Farm. State youth camp was started in park 1962. In 1968, park was returned to Jennings County for recreational uses. Walnut Grove Schoolhouse (1913) was moved here 1990.
Brief History by the Author
The picnic area at the Vinegar Mill Shelter offers a superb view of the Muscatatuck River below it. Hikers can enjoy Trail 1, the River Trail, in mid-April for the wealth of wildflowers. It is also an ideal hike during the cooler fall temperatures when the fall foliage in on the bluffs above the river is stunning.
The park offers seven miles of hiking trails on four trails. Many of the trails double as biking trails.
During warm days, many people enjoy frolicking and swimming in the Muscatatuck River. The park also has some shelters available for rent or on a first come, first serve basis. Viasitors will also find playgrounds and basketball courts in the park. The public pool is only two miles away.
Muscatatuck Park History
Muscatatuck Park has an interesting history. Indiana purchased the property and established the fourth State Park there in 1921 as Vinegar Mills State Park. They named it for the stone cutting mill that existed there during pioneer times on the banks of the Muscatatuck River. The State changed the name in 1922 to Muscatatuck State Park. They drew the name from the winding river that wends its way through the Indiana countryside.
During the 1930, the Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the structures in the park. These include the road leading into the park, bridges, fire tower and the stone steps at the river overlook area at the Vinegar Mill.
Too small to serve as a State Park, the State decommissioned it and used the grounds for use as quail and pheasant raising operations. This continued for a number of years until 1962. The State then used it for its new Youth Camp program. In 1967, the State offered to give the property to Jennings County to use as a park. After much discussion, the County took it. After the park deteriorated for several years, they began upgrades in the 1990’s. The County moved the Walnut Grove One-room School there in 1991. They moved the Jennings County Visitors Center to the William Read Home in 1998.
William Read Home
William Read, the owner of the Vinegar Mill, built this home in 1850. Locally cut timber make up the wooden frame. The stone foundation comes from stone cut from his stone cutting mill along the river. The brick were also made and kiln dried on the property. The State of Indiana used this home as a bed and breakfast inn during the time the park operated as a state Park. The Jennings County Visitors Center used the home for several years. The Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department uses it for offices now. The Visitors Bureau still keeps maps and other information there.
The Walnut Grove School
This school served students as a one-room schoolhouse in Sand Creek Township from the time of its construction in 1912. The Jennings County Preservation Association took up the monumental task of moving and renovating the school in 1990. They cut it into three pieces and moved it to the site it now occupies in Muscatatuck Park. It reopened in 1995 as a children’s educational facility. They use it for an annual outing in which they dress in period clothing. They also get a lesson in pioneer life as it was in Indiana during its early days. The Preservation Association will open it for group or individual tours. The school has a library with old books, and other school items from its time as a schoolhouse.
The Campground has eight pull through sewer sites and twenty-six sites with water and electric. All sites have a fire ring and picnic table. There is a campground shower facility and there is a dumpsite at the campground entrance. Most of the campground is shaded.
325 North State Highway 3
North Vernon, IN 47265
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