Falls Park – Pendleton

I’ve always loved Fall Creek that flows through the east side of Indianapolis, so when passed through Pendleton on our way to Summit Lake SP, I took the opportunity to check out the falls of Fall Creek.

The falls of Fall Creek are located in Falls Park, the town park of Pendleton. While Pendleton is a relatively small town at just over 4,000 people, Pendleton has set aside a rather large 150 acres for their town park.  They take such pride in their park, that the town motto is: “Huge park. Small town. It’s a matter of priorities.”

Green steps on the opposite bank lead down into a pool between the falls and a dam just downstream.
Green steps on the opposite bank lead down into a pool between the falls and a dam just downstream.

Nominally we stopped in Pendleton to eat our PB&J sandwiches, but the park was too inviting not to explore. In addition to most of the normal small town amenities (playgrounds, picnic shelter, ball fields, pool), the park included a fishing pond, hiking trails, and a local history museum.

The hiking trails begin just above the falls and follow a former rail right-of-way (the “Bee Line”) along Prairie Creek through the woods. They then cross creek into the low ground between Prairie Creek and Fall Creek. Some trails cross Fall Creek, flirt with a current (and active!) railway, and loop through the remainder of the park.

trails

Some of these trails can be wet, especially between the creeks. When we were there,  one of the bridges over Fall Creek was closed due to a large Sycamore that had recently come down on the bridge. Even if the bridge was still structurally sound, there was simply no way through the tangle of branches.

While signs warn of swift currents and the dangers of the falls, this wading pool above the falls was constantly occupied with families.
While signs warn of swift currents and the dangers of the falls, this wading pool above the falls was constantly occupied with families.

There is a bit of historic importance to the park. In 1824 nine native Americans were murdered by seven white men. Four of the men were convicted and hanged about 100 feet from the falls. Sadly, no precedent of equal justice under the law for native Americans was set. A marker commemorates the event now known as the Fall Creek Massacre.

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