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Turkey Run State Park

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Title: Turkey Run State Park  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Indiana state parks, Indiana State Road 47, List of nature centers in Indiana, Houses in Parke County, Indiana, Waterfalls of Indiana
Collection: 1916 Establishments in Indiana, 1916 Establishments in the United States, Biographical Museums in Indiana, Canyons and Gorges of Indiana, Houses in Indiana, Houses in Parke County, Indiana, Houses on the National Register of Historic Places in Indiana, Landforms of Parke County, Indiana, Museums in Parke County, Indiana, National Register of Historic Places in Parke County, Indiana, Nature Centers in Indiana, Protected Areas Established in 1916, Protected Areas of Parke County, Indiana, State Parks of Indiana, Waterfalls of Indiana
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park is located in Indiana
Map of the local area
Type State park
Location Parke County, Indiana, USA
Nearest city Marshall, Indiana
Area 2,382 acres (964 ha)
Created 1916
Operated by Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Website Official Website

Turkey Run State Park is an

Map of the local area


  • History 1
  • Locale 2
  • Trails 3
  • Park Geology 4
  • Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve 5
  • Lusk Home and Mill Site 6
  • Lieber Log Cabin 7
  • Gallery 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The heart of Turkey Run was owned by the Lusk family until 1915. The State Park Commission, run by Richard Lieber, had acquired $20,000 for the purchase of the area, but the Hoosier Veneer lumber company acquired it for $30,000. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway gave the commission enough money to buy the land from the lumber company for over $40,000.[2]


Turkey Run State Park is located about 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of sandstone bedrock. Mansfield sandstone is the specific type seen at Turkey Run, named after Mansfield, Indiana. This makes the two parks all the more interesting, since travel to them crosses a flat glacial till plain, and suddenly the traveler enters the gorge system.


Ladders of Trail 3

A system of trails offers hikers plenty of outing opportunities during the summer months when the drainage is relatively free of water, and the suspension footbridge across Sugar Creek, the main drainage for both parks, provides access to trails on the far side. Trail 3 is particularly noted for its ruggedness, including ladders and narrow but deep gorges. Floating down Sugar Creek through the park in either inner tubes, canoes, or kayaks is very popular in the summer months. There are 3-mile (4.8 km), 8-mile (13 km), or even 11-to-15-mile (18 to 24 km) trips down Sugar Creek. Also, in the spring when heavy rains and snow melt flood the narrow gorges, many more adventurous hikers will go "creek stomping" through the narrow gorges. However, the fast moving current, steep gorge walls, and unpredictable contours of the creek beds make this activity dangerous if the water level is high.

Park Geology

Sandstone gorges are a common sight at Turkey Run

The major features of the park are formed from erosion in Mansfield sandstone from the Mansfield formation.[3] This formation was deposited during the Carboniferous period at the mouth of the ancient where sediments collected and compacted. This swampy environment formed many coal deposits which were mined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collapsed entrance to a coal mine is still a major feature of the park.

During the Pleistocene Epoch the Mansfield sandstone bedrock was carved into the current distinct formations by glacial meltwaters and their associated erosion. Turkey Run features many common features of glaciation, including glacial erratics, till, and scoured canyons from erosion by melting glacial waters.

Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve

Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve

The Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve is a series of canyons cut into the sandstone. Rocky Hollow is the longest and Falls Canyon has the only existing waterfall (seasonal) in the park. There are six designated trails through the preserve, each with its own unique micro-climate. Depending on the season, these trails may be impassable or muddy, or refreshing on a hot afternoon.[4]

Rocky Hollow begins at 680 feet (210 m) above sea level on the northeast border of the park (County Road 280E) and drops to 540 feet (160 m) at Sugar Creek just above the swinging bridge. Boars Hollow and Falls Canyon drop a similar distance but in half or a third (respectively) of the length. The preserve was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974.[5]

Lusk Home and Mill Site

There are two sites within the park which are on the National Register of Historic Places. The first was the Lusk Home and Mill Site. The initial area for Turkey Run developed around this home.

Lieber Log Cabin

Richard Lieber Log Cabin
Turkey Run State Park is located in Indiana
Location Marshall, Indiana
Architect Gay, Daniel; Lieber, Richard
Architectural style Other
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 01000403[6]
Added to NRHP May 4, 2001
Lieber Cabin, Turkey Run State Park

The second Turkey Run locale on the National Register is the Lieber Log Cabin. It was built in 1848 from the native tulip trees, the oldest of its kind in Indiana.[7] It is named in honor of Colonel Richard Lieber, the first director of the Indiana State Parks system and the man who instigated Indiana's creation of its park system. During a thunderstorm in 1918 he discovered the house. He liked it immediately, and convinced the owner to have it moved 3 miles (4.8 km) so it could serve as the administration building for the state park. All but the chimney was salvageable. Fortunately, an elderly man familiar with the chimney's "cat and clay" style gave directions for making a new one, using stone from an old bridge. The supports were originally of butternut, but are now of sassafras. The cabin is now used as a museum honoring Lieber and the entire Indiana state park system.[8] Lieber died in 1944 and his ashes were buried within the park.


See also


  1. ^ Official (Indiana) DNR Historical Timeline Archived March 26, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Indiana and Indianans: A History of Aboriginal and Territorial Indiana and the Century of Statehood By Jacob Piatt Dunn pg.51.
  3. ^ "Mansfield Formation". Indiana Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  4. ^ Turkey Run State Park map, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  5. ^ "Rocky Hollow-Falls Canyon Nature Preserve".  
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  7. ^ [2] Archived March 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ My Indiana:101 Places to See, by Earl L. Conn (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2006). pg.124-5.

External links

  • Turkey Run State Park by The Technological Edge, Inc.
  • Turkey Run Online
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