Past and Present at Lake Monroe
Until the early 1700s, the Monroe lake area was undisputed Miami Indian Land, and was home to both the Miami and Delaware Indian tribes. This changed on September 30, 1809, when the lake area was acquired from the Indians as part of Harrison’s purchase by the Treaty of Fort Wayne. Although there were surely hunters in the area, the first white settlers were not recorded until 1815. The land proved to be rich and profitable, producing plentiful game and a wealth of native lumber such as ash, cherry, maple, poplar, and walnut. Forest clearing allowed for the development of a farm community – a local mainstay to this day.
Lake Monroe is a reservoir – the largest lake in Indiana! It has 10,760 acres of water, is about 538 feet above sea level and is situated in Monroe, Jackson and Brown counties in south central Indiana. Surrounding it are 13,202 acres of protected forest. It is home to Fairfax, Hardin Ridge, and Paynetown recreational areas. The Fourwinds Resort and Marina has over 800 boats, with everything from paddleboats and pontoons to waterskis available for rental. The reservoir provides abundant fishing throughout the warmer seasons, and limited ice fishing during colder winters. Located to the south of Lake Monroe is the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, which is Indiana’s only federally protected wilderness area, and which spans 13,000 acres. Limestone abounds, excavated from a number of local quarries.
Lake Monroe is located approximately 50 miles south of Indianapolis and 6 miles south of Bloomington.