Welcome to Indian Lake Park

A City Owned Park Located in Farmington, Iowa

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Cabins & Camping



History of Indian Lake Park

The history of Indian Lake Park, formerly called "Big Duck Pond," can be traced back to March 18, 1920 when P. K. Ware (Secretary of the local Park Committee) received a letter from E. R. Harland (Secretary of the Iowa Board of Education) indicating that the State of Iowa would accept the area for development of a State Park.  The offer was made to the State of Iowa by a group of local businessmen who had acquired the 100 acre site hoping that the State of Iowa would develop the area.



Thus, Farmington State Park was established on March 22, 1920 and soon became an excellent location for reunions and picnics.  It is reported that on the first Sunday on July 1931, five thousand people visited the park.  In the fall of the same year, it was reported that eagles were catching fish in the lake and were attempting to kill decoy ducks placed on the lake by park custodians.

In 1933, the Iowa Board of Conservation threatened to close the park.  A delegation of Farmington citizens traveled to Des Moines to request of Governor Herring and the Board of Conservation to keep the park open.  Their request was subsequently honored by the Governor.

In August 1936, over 200 Civilian Conservation Corps participants congregated at the park.  As a result of their efforts, a stone lodge, a picnic shelter, a stone entrance portal, a steel boat dock, and foot trails and roads were constructed in the park, along with other improvements.  It was reported that over $13,000 was spent to complete these improvements.

On January 26, 1950 the park was deeded back to the City of Farmington.  The State had determined that maintaining two State Parks (Farmington State Park and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park) in one county was not in accord with State policy.

Since the City re-acquired the park in 1950, several improvements have been made.  In the Spring of 1952, the City improved Indian Lake Dam to raise the water level of the lake by three feet, to provide a better swimming area and to improve fishing.  At approximately the same time, an additional 22 acres of land on the southwest edge of the park was purchased by the City.

In 1971, the City of Farmington and the Van Buren County Conservation Board constructed the shower house/restroom facility, and in 1979 a grant was received from the Bureau of Recreation to purchase and install new playground equipment, to improve roads, to provide additional primitive camping sites, to construct an archer range, and to provide improved access to the dam and lake for fishing.  In 1980, a retaining wall was constructed near the Stone Lodge to correct erosion problems.

During the month of June 1984, the Farmington City Council attempted to determine if the community remained supportive of maintaining and improving the park.  Over forty citizens attended the City Council meeting in support of the park, and as a result the "Save the Park Committee" was formed.  Through a variety of fund raising efforts, this committee was responsible for the construction of two rustic cabins, which opened for use in 1989.  The addition of the cabins to the park was so popular that the City eventually acquired four additional cabins.

In 1986, Rathbun Rural Water service became available at the park and full service RV camping sites were installed.  Several other improvements have occurred since 1986, including:  the purchase of a new custodians trailer in 1987; re-stocking the lake in 1989; the purchase of an additional 57 acres of land with REAP assistance giving the City complete control of the development around the lake; and the construction of a two mile multipurpose nature trail around the lake in 1990, with assistance from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The City and residents of Farmington regard Indian Lake Park as an important physical resource that satisfies a variety of local demands.  Indian Lake Park functions as a valuable recreation resource for area residents, a habitat resource for wildlife, and as a tourism related economic development resource for the community.  Over the years, the City and a coalition of local residents - the "Save the Park Committee" - have invested a substantial amount of time, effort, and money in order to maintain and improve park facilities in order to provide a quality outdoor experience.


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Last modified: 04/01/12