Just fourteen miles from Louisville, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from the City of Prospect, Kentucky, sits the Charleston State Park in Indiana. This park is home to the 118 acres known as Rose Island.
Over 135,000 guests visited Rose Island every year in the late 1920's and early 1930's. With enough picnic tables to sit over 1,500 people at one time, Rose Island was the place to be during the Sumer months. However, the 1937 flood destroyed it. With flood waters reaching a record 85.4 feet at Rose Island, over thirty feet above flood stage, the rushing water of the Ohio River cleared out almost everything.
In WWII, the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant purchased the land and owned the property until 1995, when Charlestown State Park was created. The A.A.I. then donated the land to the State of Indiana, adding Rose Island to the already 2,400-acre park.
During its prime, visitors arrived at Rose Island either by vehicle or by steamboat. If you drove by automobile, you could park for free, but then had to pay $.25 to walk across the suspension bridge that crossed Fourteen Mile Creek. Piers from this original suspension bridge can still be seen along Fourteen Mile Creek today. However, the State of Indiana has made it much easier to access Rose Island as of 2011 when they built a brand new walking bridge over Fourteen Mile Creek.
If you traveled by steamboat, you arrived at the opposite side of the park, where the official Rose Island gates were located. These gates stood strong, as they were connected to three concrete columns. Sadly, the columns are all that is left of the main entrance.
Rose Island was best known for its swimming pool. The one hundred by forty-two-foot pool was the first water filtered swimming pool in the MidWest. With a four-foot depth in the shallow end and an eight-foot depth in the deep end, the pool was great for swimming, diving, or simply relaxing. Lifeguards were paid $5.00 for a 12-hour shift, which was a good rate of pay at the time.
In the early 2000's the pool was still full of water. A light green color surfaced the pool as it became its own swamp. Due to the number of fatalities at the pool, the State of Indiana drained the mosquito breeding grounds, and filled it with straight rock and gravel.
Those that would spend the entire Summer months at Rose Island would eat food delivered via steamboat, and fish caught in the Ohio River. The residents stayed in one of the twenty available four-room cottages that rested just one-hundred feet from the Ohio River. These cottages were top of the line but were no match for the mighty Ohio River in the flood of 1937. All that remains are a few pipes rising up out of the ground.
Notice where the flood marker is in the photograph above? Wow!
The view alone from the cottages was worth the extra money the residents paid each season.
Below is a map of what Rose Island looked like in its prime. Notice the green arrows...
What else we captured:
Videographer Jonathan got a couple photographs of me while I was photographing the pool and updating our Periscope account.
Our journey up the "waterfall."