(narrative from 1983, Indianapolis Landscape Architecture book)
Eagle Creek is one of the nation’s largest city parks. Of its 4574 acres, over thirteen hundred make up the reservoir. The creation of this expansive city park was the combined effort of many public and private individuals over several years. Kennedy Brown Associates generated the Eagle Creek Park Master Plan that was officially adopted December 4, 1974 and amended October 20, 1976. The plan addressed issues such as flood control, recreational potential, site analysis of vegetation, soils and topography, transportation to and within the park, and future land uses in this primarily undeveloped area of Indianapolis. Also identified within the plan are excellent examples of the Beech-Maple Climax Forest that at time covered 80% of the state.
The interest in retaining the natural resources of the park land for the public’s enjoyment has directed subsequent development within Eagle Creek.
Recreational activities include picnicking, hiking, bicycling, cross country skiing, swimming, sailing, boating, fishing, horseback riding, and archery. No motorized boats are allowed on the reservoir. At the time of the purchase, the park land included several residences. Some have been removed, while others have been retained and renovated. One of these remaining homes is known as the Lilly Lodge. Originally a Lilly residence, this property now serves as a center for park programs and conventions. Another is the former residence of Edward Block which is now Eagle’s Crest. This facility is used for seminars and meetings and is available for public use. Also within the park one can find the 27-hole Eagle Creek Golf Course, and the Indian Museum (moved in 1989 to the Eitlejorg Museum in downtown Indianapolis, http://www.eiteljorg.org/) containing an extensive collection of original Indian artifacts. Ross Vogelgesang, landscape architect in the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development at the time the city purchased the land in 1968 says: “without landscape architects on its staff, Eagle Creek Park never would have materialized. It took approximately 11 years from the day we first suggested the park until there was water in the lake. I’m biased of course, but I really believe that landscape architects are the only professionals equipped to carry through a project of such scope from concept to construction.”