Photographer / Michael Durr
Traveling through the bustling urban areas of Lawrence Township, people may not even realize there is a getaway oasis nearby. The Fort Harrison State Park Inn and Golf Resort, located at 5830 N. Post is a hidden gem that offers visitors access to nature, golfing and history. With facilities that can accommodate honeymooners to entire extended families, it has several options to suit a variety of guests.
The buildings of the Inn campus had a past life as part of Fort Benjamin Harrison, once a major military facility named after the 23rd United States President, an Indianapolis native. Besides the main lodge, which has 27 rooms, there is the Harrison House with 16 rooms and two former officer homes, each with three bedrooms. The fort’s officers’ club is now the Garrison, a dining and conference center as well as home to the pro shop for the 18-hole Fort Golf Course.
According to Dylan Allison, Interpretive Naturalist at Fort Harrison State Park, the lodge was originally the post hospital when Fort Harrison opened in 1906. In the early 50s it became post headquarters. When the fort was decommissioned in 1991, the building was sold. It was a private hotel for only a couple of years before being purchased by the state.
“It’s really a unique spot in terms of the history it has,” Allison says. “One of the elevators in the building is interesting. It’s not very wide and quite narrow, just perfect for a stretcher. Although they are updated, the rooms have a historic feel. The inn has all the amenities found in modern hotels including an exercise room.”
Admission to the park and all it has to offer is included during the guests’ stay. Hikers can enjoy 14 miles of walking paths and seven miles of trails dedicated to mountain biking. There are four reservable picnic areas. The Visitors’ Center has exhibits that highlight nature and the history of the area plus animal displays such as frogs, snakes and turtles. Fall Creek runs through the north side of the park which makes fishing and canoeing accessible. For horse lovers, there is a saddle barn operated by an independent contractor.
“In the winter, the sledding hill is very popular,” Allison adds. “It’s possible to see 100 to 200 people come out after the first snowfall of the season.
“Many people stay at the inn for the history. The Museum of 20th Century Warfare is a nonprofit organization that sits within the park’s borders. There is also the former Citizen’s Military Training Camp which is a historic site near the park office.”
“There is always a good mix of people,” Allison adds. “I see families running around and enjoying the inn’s green space as well as retired couples walking outside. And certainly, a lot of weddings are held at the Garrison Conference Center and the dining facilities. They have a beautiful stone patio and ballroom. Often the wedding party stays at the inn and enjoys the suites.”
For more information and current room rates visit in.gov/dnr/parklake/inns/ftharrison. The Fort Harrison State Park Inn is located at 5830 N. Post Road in Indianapolis. Give them a call at 317-638-6000.