year round, Canyon Inn includes 75 rooms, a gift shop,
common areas, and a full service dining area, Birdhouse
Restaurant. The recreation director and the naturalist staff
can help you enjoy all of the programs and facilities in McCormick's
Creek State Park.
The Canyon Inn's proximity to Indianapolis and central
location for all of Indiana make it a frequent choice for statewide
seminars and events. Group rates include lodging, meals and
History of the Inn
The turning point in the McCormick's Creek history came in
1888 when part of the area was purchased by Frederick Denkewalter,
a physician who was interested in the scenic and restful qualities
of the site. Dr. Denkewalter felt the tranquil peace of the
canyon and its surrounding cliffs would be the perfect location
to build a sanitarium, a place for the wealthy and the weary
to "get away from it all" and recuperate. The original
sanitarium, built on the present-day Canyon Inn site,
was a white-sided structure with long porches on every side.
It offered guests plenty of access to the loveliness of the
well-landscaped grounds where Denkewalter delighted in planting
a variety of trees and shrubs. Meanwhile, local residents continued
to picnic and hike along the canyon, making the spot a favorite
of everyone for rest and relaxation.
With the death of Dr. Denkewalter in 1914, his estate went
up for sale at a land auction. Both Owen County and the State
of Indiana were interested in maintaining McCormick's Creek
in its park-like setting, and so the land was purchased. McCormick's
Creek State Park was dedicated as Indiana's first state
park on July 4, 1916, as part of the state's centennial celebration.
Canyon Inn opened its doors in the old sanitarium building.
A few years later in the early 1920's, the building was remodeled
and new brick siding was added. Subsequent changes have brought
new wings, a banquet room, swimming pool and recreation center,
but the Inn today still rests on the original foundations of
the Denkewalter sanitarium.