The island at the confluence of the Elkhart and St. Joseph rivers belonged to Charles Beardsley. As the story goes, the Potawatami tribe named it for its apparent likeness to the shape of an elk's heart and thus the name of the city--Elkhart. Members of the Beardsley family purchased the land from Charles' widow and deeded it to the city in 1887. This photograph shows the original foot bridge built to Island Park in 1882. Prior to that time, access to the island was gained only by means of boat or ferry. The Elmer Post of the G.A.R. (later the Frank Baldwin Post) was responsible for its construction. The bridge included a gate which was locked to keep individuals off the island at night. The bridge was destroyed when it was swept away in 1888. The island covers about 7 acres and is the city's oldest park.
Elkhart Public Library
No Copyright - United States;
Elkhart County (Ind.)
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