Shades State Park

"Designation"State Park
"Location"Indiana USA
"Nearest Cities"Waveland, Indiana
"Area"3,082 acres
"Date of Establishment"1947
"Governing Body"Indiana DNR

Shades State Park is a state park in Montgomery County, Indiana. It is located 47 miles west-northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana. In the last decades of the 19th century, the area was a resort with a forty-room inn. In the 1930's a man named Joseph Frisz acquired the land in order to protect it, and purchased more land around. His heirs sold the land in 1947 to the holding company "Save the Shades", who in turn gave the land to the state to create Indiana's 15th state park.

Originally, the area was known as the "Shades of Death". There is debate as to why it got that name. Some say it was due to the way the trees cast their shadow on the ground below, making it look like a black forest. Others say it was because of a settler's death, although sources disagree if the settler in question died due to Indian attacks, or was killed by an angry, axe-wielding wife.

Steep sandstone cliffs within the park were formed when Indiana was covered by an ocean hundreds of millions of years ago. Fossils can be found on the nearby sandbars.

Sugar Creek, which runs through the park, is too unsafe for swimming, but canoeing is available. Sugar Creek also runs through Turkey Run State Park which is nearby. The two parks share similar features including steep ravines, slate and sandstone valleys, and small waterfalls.

Indiana State Road 234 winds through the park, though not signed as such. It has much lower speed limits than a State highway normally would, due to its narrow width in some places and hairpin turns in others.

Shades is also notable for having a small airfield called Roscoe Turner Flight Strip, where visitors can land their plane and then visit the park. It is 1,000 yards long and 120 feet wide. No other state park has this feature. Indiana DNR never went out of its way to promote the strip. The airfield is closed. No information as to when, if ever, it will reopen is available.


"My Indiana:101 Places to See", by Earl L. Conn (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2006). pg.126-7.

* [ Official web page]
* [ Official guide to the park]

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