Inn photo
Inn photo
Inn photo

About

History | Amenities | State Park Features | Local Attractions | Driving Directions

History

Snuggled into a backdrop of stately oaks and rolling scenic hills, Spring Mill Inn has been one of Southern Indiana's best kept secrets for over 60 years. Spring Mill Inn is located in one of Mother Nature's most beautiful settings; Spring Mill State Park. Literally hundreds of thousands of travelers have dined at our tables, slept peacefully in our beds and snuggled up with a good book around our fireplace.

The construction of the Spring Mill Inn began with the clearing of the site in 1936. In 1937, members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) brought in native Indiana limestone from quarries in nearby Stonington. The limestone was used to build stone walls, laying the foundation work of today's wondrous structure. The CCC's were under the supervision of the Indiana Conservation Department Engineers Henry H. Morgan and Henry Prange. Before its completion two years later, however, there were several obstacles to overcome.

Original construction of Spring Mill InnFinancial consideration was one of the early obstacles. The State of Indiana did not have sufficient funds to build Spring Mill Inn as designed, so its east wing was deleted from the original design. Financing was finally obtained when the State of Indiana sold huge quantities of sand to the City of Chicago, IL to use as fill material following it's World's Fair. This money was dedicated for the Spring Mill Inn project. Construction bids were submitted several times and the Whittenburg Construction Company of Louisville, KY was finally awarded the marvelous task of constructing Spring Mill Inn on the CCC's foundation.

Located in cavernous Southern Indiana, a small cave was discovered beneath one of the proposed wings, presenting yet another obstacle. Deep pilings had to be poured for support that was necessary to straddle the cave, measuring some 15 by 29 feet. Cooling this monstrous building was yet another obstacle. Early considerations were to pump cool air, from nearby Donaldson Cave, to cool the Inn. This did not materialize, as it was feared the damp air might contribute to excessive moisture and mildew in the structure. Air conditioning was added to the Spring Mill Inn in mid 1960's.

The original architectural design called for the building to be built of logs, so that it may blend with the Pioneer Village. A second, and more feasible design was later agreed upon using native Indiana Limestone on the façade of the building. The exterior structure remains essentially the same today as it did when it was completed in 1939. In 1976, a major renovation added a wing of 29 sleeping rooms, which was similar to the original East Wing deleted early in the project, a large conference room overlooking Spring Mill Lake, and an indoor-outdoor pool.

When Spring Mill Inn officially opened in 1939; Myron L. Rees was appointed its first manager. The dedication ceremony included such distinguished guests as Governor Clifford Townsend, Colonel Richard Lieber, State Representative E. Y. Guernsey, U.S. Congressman Eugene B. Crowe and State Entomologist Frank Wallace. Representatives from numerous local civic groups and neighboring conservation departments were present as well as the leadership of the Indian Conservation Departments. As "Father of the Indiana Park System", Colonel Lieber was an especially honored guest for his considerable effort in the creation of Spring Mill State Park.

The cost of the most expensive room, which included three meals, was $7.50 a day in 1939, and admission to the park was 10 cents per person. Many guests arrived by bus or train from Louisville, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati and were met at the depot by the Inn's station wagon, which was also available to transport them to a nearby church on Sunday. The Inn also had rental cabins that were available to guests who wished to 'rough it' in the great outdoors. The first year, from July through December there were 8,000 overnight guests who had registered at the Inn. Overall yearly attendance to Spring Mill State Park in 1939 was 189,000 visitors.

Today, Spring Mill Inn remains one of the focal points for vacationers in Southern Indiana. Seated in the midst of 1,300 beautiful acres, a visitor truly has endless opportunities they can explore; they can eat a scrumptious meal, swim in one of two pools, visit a restored Pioneer Village with working Grist Mill, take a boat ride into Twin Caves, participate in a nature program, hike on one of the numerous trails, explore Donaldson Cave, fish in Spring Mill Lake, or just sit back in front of a roaring fireplace and leave the rush of the everyday world behind them.

Return to Top | Return to Previous Page

Amenities

Return to Top | Return to Previous Page

State Park Features

Return to Top | Return to Previous Page

Local Attractions

Nearby Attractions:
Day Trip Opportunities:
Return to Top | Return to Previous Page

Driving Directions

Cincinnati, OH | Indianapolis, IN | Louisville, KY
Return to Top | Return to Previous Page

Spring Mill State Park
P.O. Box 68
Mitchell, IN, 47446
812-849-4508
Fax: 812-849-4878
Reservations:
877-LODGES-1
877-563-4371

» Driving directions

Click to Enlarge
Purchase items at the Mother Nature Mercantile e-store.