Mayor Hargis Park and Cannelton Riverwalk

Indiana, Perry County, Cannelton

river mile 724

River access: yes. Tree cover: somewhat open. Impervious surface: a lot. Landscape design strategy: State Park style. Information about the Ohio River: little to none.

This is a classic in-front-of-the-levee park. Here the levee is a concrete wall. The classical treatment: murals showing the history of the town. Classic in use also: someone sitting in their car, smoking, watching the river. And, as often happens when the research team appears in this semi-private, and peaceful place, soon drives off. A couple drops off their child at the playground, just the other side of the picnic shelter, and sits on a bench talking and looking at the river. He gets up a couple of minutes later and goes over to swing the child on a swing. Two women chatting at a picnic table pass a baby between them. A car pulls in, circles around, and pulls out. An elderly gentleman drives his pickup up from the boat ramp. Someone sits on a bench in the shade facing the river and appears to be writing notes on a survey form.

Like many such parks, it’s named after a local prominent person, here C. Hargis Hafele, a long-term mayor who died at age 67 in the midst of his fifth term. He was known for many civic accomplishments, including revitalizing Main Street and saving the Courthouse, and was a member of several related associations such as the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.

At the park the space between the bank and the parking is wide enough for a couple of tents. It would be easy to bring kayaks up from the river at the boat ramp. There’s no water, but there is a portapotty. The small town is right on the other side of the levee wall. There’s not much space but it would be nice if St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the oldest surviving structure in Cannelton, took it as part of their historic mission to serve the community by allowing bicycle and paddle campers to camp on their lawn and use the facilities.

Next park: Tell City, Sunset Park

Field research September 2015

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