This photograph shows the St. Joseph River with Island Park in the background. The island at the confluence of the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers belonged to Charles Beardsley. As the story goes, the Potawatomi tribe named it for its apparent likeness to the shape of an elk's heart. Thus the name of the city--Elkhart. The island could only be reached by means of a ferry or scow (a type of sailing dinghy) until the first bridge was built in 1885. The area was sold to James Rufus Beardsley and Sarah Davenport who then deeded it to the city on November 9, 1887. Over the years, additional bridges have been built to connect the island with Bicentennial and High Dive Parks. Island Park was a favorite spot for the community to picnic. It served as a training ground for the troops in Battery E during World War I. From 1919 to 1932 the annual Chautauquas were held on the island. More recently it is part of the Rhapsody in Green Festival each summer. Island Park covers about seven acres and is the city's oldest park.
Elkhart Public Library
No Copyright - United States;
Elkhart County (Ind.)
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