Dam & Tailwater Area

Construction on the dam at Lake Monroe began in November 1960 and the lake became operational in February 1965.  Since that time, it has prevented flood damage and the reservoir has dramatically increased recreational revenues in the Bloomington area.

All areas are handicap accessible

Visitors Center
To find out more about the history and amenities of the Monroe Lake area, be sure to stop by the Visitors Center.

Picnicking
Take in the scenic view and enjoy a picnic at the Dam & Tailwater Area of Monroe Lake.

Restrooms
Public restrooms are available for your use.

Drinking Water
Drinking water is available for your convenience.

History of the Lake Monroe area
Prior to the early 1700s, the Monroe Lake area was occupied by both the Miami and Delaware tribes.  On September 30, 1809, under the Treaty of Fort Wayne and as part of Harrison’s Purchase, the lake land was legally acquired from the Indians.

In 1815, the first recorded white settlers arrived in the area.  Typically, a landowner claimed a few acres of wooded land to farm, plus took advantage of the plentiful wild game in the area.   Alongside these thrifty and industrious original settlers, squatters and land speculators also arrived in the new territory seeking to make a fortune.

Lumber from native stands of poplar was produced from these rolling hills of southern Indiana, resulting in the development of a farming economy, which is still a local mainstay.

Shipments of grain, pork, and lumber to the southern market were supplied by the Hoosier Frontier.  During periods of high water, Salt Creek, Clear Creek, and Bean Blossom Creek carried freight via flatboat to New Orleans for the small pioneer farms.

Because of the many salt springs or “licks”, the forks of Salt Creek, which form the Monroe Lake, were named as such.  Salt, converted from the salt water, became a valuable Pioneer commodity producing about 800 bushels annually.

The first limestone quarry of the region was opened near Stinesville in 1850 and is still considered an important local industry in this area.

Completion of the area’s first railroads, the New Albany and Salem Line, resulted in a booming economy in 1854 for the local small communities such as Stinesville, Fairfax and Harrodsburgh.  The railroads provided a faster and cheaper means of transporting products from various lumber yards, grist mills, tanneries, carding mills and iron works.