“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charlestown in Clark County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Rose Island

Rose Island Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 24, 2022
1. Rose Island Marker
Inscription.  From the 1880s until the 1930s, a trip to either Fern Grove or Rose Island would not be complete without either a ride on a steamboat or a walk across a suspension bridge, along with a basket of fried chicken and a dance in the dance hall.

Originally called Fern Grove, the site was the annual picnic destination of almost every Louisville church. Fern Grove offered hiking trails, picnic tables, a hotel, dance hall and a cool escape from the city's summer heat. Steamboats transported groups across the river from Kentucky.

In 1923, Mr. David B. G. Rose bought Fern Grove, changing the name to Rose Island. Twenty cabins were built on the property as well as a roller coaster, swimming pool, live animal exhibits, shooting gallery, Ferris wheel and dining hall. It was rumored that he was able to get a Kentucky liquor license by convincing authorities that his property was an island, not part of Indiana.

The building of a suspension bridge across Fourteenmile Creek allowed Hoosiers to visit Rose Island. A toll was charged at the suspension bridge.

The “Great Flood” of 1937 abruptly ended generations of fun on Rose
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Island. Ten feet of water covered portions of Rose Island. When the waters receded, the damage was too great to reopen.

The Portersville Bridge
The Portersville Bridge was built in 1912 to span the east fork of the White River between Dubois and Daviess Counties. In March, 1913, only months after the Porterville Bridge was completed, a record flood on the White River covered the bridge floor under two feet of rushing water. The hand rails were removed to allow damaging debris to pass through the bridge. Because of the flood, the bridge was raised three feet higher in May of 1913.

In 1999 the bridge was closed to traffic after 86 years of operation. Charlestown State Park acquired the bridge in 2008. It was disassembled, and each piece numbered for reassembly. At the park, pieces were inspected, cleaned and repainted. The bridge was reassembled in 2011 to serve as a pedestrian bridge onto the former site of Rose Island.
Erected by Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1923.
Location. 38° 25.63′ N, 85° 37.779′ W. Marker is in Charlestown, Indiana, in Clark County. Marker can be reached from an unnamed road
Rose Island Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 24, 2022
2. Rose Island Marker
, half a mile east of Jersey Avenue. Marker is at the trailhead to Charlestown State Park trails 3 and 4. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charlestown IN 47111, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Indiana State Parks: The First 100 Years 1916-2016 (approx. 0.9 miles away); Fern Grove and Rose Island Resorts (approx. 1.8 miles away); Downs House (approx. 2 miles away); First Masonic Capital of Indiana (approx. 2 miles away); Ohio River: the Human Story (approx. 2.1 miles away); Mary Garrett Hay (approx. 2.1 miles away); Site of Green Tree Tavern (approx. 2.1 miles away); Grave of Jonathan Jennings (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlestown.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 28, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 99 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 28, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Apr. 22, 2024