Indiana Historical Marker - Fern Grove and Rose Island Resorts

Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South East Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums
 South East Edition
Title of Marker:
Fern Grove and Rose Island Resorts
SR 62, at the entrance to Charlestown State Park, Charlestown. (Clark County, Indiana). Charlestown State Park is just a short distance north of Charlestown on Indiana State Road 62.
Installed by:
1998 Indiana Historical Bureau and Clark's Grant Historical Society.
Marker ID #:
Marker Text: 
Side one:
Nearby is site of former popular Ohio River regional recreation area known from 1880s as Fern Grove. David Rose expanded facilities in 1923-including an amusement park and a swimming pool-and named it Rose Island. Major access was by car to swinging foot bridge over creek and by steamboats on river. Closed after extensive damage from 1937 flood.
Side two:
The peninsula at the confluence of Fourteen Mile Creek and the Ohio River near here was known as Fern Grove-Rose Island. Part of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant circa 1940. Included in Charlestown State Park, established 1993. The rugged and scenic area is rich in geological features, archaeological remnants, and habitat for wildlife. The rocky ridge that makes up the peninsula is called Devil's Backbone.

Brief History
Located within Charlestown State Park, The Fourteen Mile Creek area is the site of a former amusement park called Fern Grove and Rose Island Resorts. The park was a popular destination in the 1920's and early 1930's.
Fern Grove and Rose Island Resorts
Recreational use began as a place for church picnics and family reunions. Called Fern Grove because of the abundance of ferns that grew there the Louisville and Jeffersonville Ferry Company purchased the property to increase its ferry business. Since the area was best accessed by water, people chartered the company's ferries to visit the island. The company thrived during the 1880's through the early twentieth century as it utilized the area.
In 1923 a man named David Rose purchased the facility and named it Rose Park. He spent $250,000 improving the property. He installed a zoo, pony rides, merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, roller coaster, shooting gallery, cafeteria, swimming pool, and rental rowboats. An impressive stone fountain graced the center of the resort. Water pumped from an aquifer 200 feet deep flowed over the mortared limestone fountain. Visitors could stay overnight in the Rose Island Hotel, enjoying the grand view of the river while basking in the cool, river breeze. In reality, the park was not on an island, but a peninsula that people could access only by steamboat, swinging footbridge, ferry or steamboat. The park occupied about 118 acres. Visitors could purchase steamboat tickets to travel to the park from Madison, Louisville, Jeffersonville and other area towns. The park remained a popular destination until the 1937 flood covered the park with ten feet of water. The park never recovered.
Indiana Army Ammunition Plant
When the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant went into operation in 1941, Rose Park was on the property. Several buildings deteriorated due to disuse. The plant deactivated in 1983. The State of Indiana received the area in 1993 for a State Park.