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Learn about Salt Creek valley history

What was life like before Monroe Lake was made? Learn about this and more during a history open house Sunday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Paynetown Activity Center in Paynetown State Recreation Area.

Jill Vance, interpretive naturalist at Monroe Lake, is documenting and mapping the history of the Salt Creek valley area. This is a large area that includes most of southeast Monroe County, southern Brown County, northeast Lawrence County, and northwest Jackson County. Monroe Lake was created in the 1960s with a dam at the western end of Salt Creek.

Vance’s research focus is on the period before Monroe Lake was built, as well as the actual construction of the lake and the land acquisition. The open house will be a chance to learn about the project, view some of the resources compiled thus far, and contribute information and stories.

Maps, books, and other resources will be on display, and there will be a slideshow of historic photos. Visitors with a family connection to Salt Creek can search a genealogy database for information about their ancestors.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own information, knowledge, and stories about the Salt Creek valley area to add to this research project. A portable scanner will be available so that most photos, maps, and other documents can be copied on site. Visitors will be able to mark the location of historic sites on a master map.

People with a lot of stories or family history information, or large quantities of photos or documents can sign up to do an oral history interview at a later date.

Paynetown State Recreation Area is located at 4850 S. State Road 446, Bloomington. Entrance to Paynetown SRA is free during the winter months. Cancellations will be posted at

Location Information:
Monroe Lake  (View Map)
4850 S. State Road 446 
Bloomington, IN 47401

Monroe Lake - Paynetown State Recreation Area

Contact Information:
Name: Jill Vance
Phone: 812-837-9967

Later Event: February 23
Adopt-A-Shoreline Clean-Up Day