Sunday, May 19, 2013

Abandoned Rose Island Amusement Park - Charlestown, Indiana

This photo of the old swimming pool is from my first visit to Rose Island back in January 2009 before it was open to the public.

The Rose Island Amusement Park was once the Louisville area's premier family attraction in the early twentieth century.  The park had a wide array of attractions for its time including a swimming pool, hotel, zoo, and dance hall.  The flood of 1937 essentially wiped out most of the park and it was never reopened.  The ruins of the park sat abandoned for decades on the bank of the Ohio River, as it became part of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant.  After INAAP was shut down the land became part of Charlestown State Park.  In 2011 the trails of Charlestown State Park finally expanded into the former Rose Island Amusement Park making access to the park relatively easy.

All things considered this fountain has held up remarkably well over the years.

Some more recent shots of the swimming pool.

Compare this 1930's picture with the one above. The pool railings are clearly recognizable.

The round metal disc is a water merry-go-round toy.

The stairs are all that is left from one of the old buildings left at Rose Island.

The mighty Ohio River as seen from the landing for the amusement park.

The riverside entrance to Rose Island where people would arrive by ferry boat from as far away as Madison, Indiana.

What appears to be a foundation from another building along the hillside.
Propped up against a tree, this rusty old piano frame is all that remains of long-past joyous evenings of music and fun.  All of the wooden parts have long since rotted away, even the building it was once housed it.


  1. What I found the size of the pool interesting. I was surprised to see it so small in person. By the looks of the pictures of how it was, I was expecting it to be at least twice the size. I am sure it has to do with the camera angles, but looking at different photos, and the number of guests in the pool, I still cannot get past the small size. Looks more like a hotel pool than a large public one.

  2. Love the work, great stuff. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the posts. Sadly, vandalism is taking a toll on this place now. These pics show the better days.

  3. The pool looks very eerie to me even in the 1930's picture. Reminds me of a rock quarry. It's not very inviting. I live in Northern Ky., never heard of this place though. This article is very interesting. Too bad, there's not more left of it.

  4. BtownIndianaGirl93January 13, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    this is very neat. I wish i could visit all the old sites in indiana. Thank yu for posting! Idk what i would do without ppl like yu! I would wonder about so many things if i couldnt google everything, if only i could explore my state more!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I was lucky enough to hike out there via an overland route several times before the place was remodeled. It's ghastly now, with ridiculous loudspeakers recounting park history - and, of course, with a new influx of people. That used to be the loneliest place I'd ever been to; I wish they hadn't reopened it.