Find out more about the history of Pokagon State Park.


During an age when the climate was approximately 10 degrees cooler, more snow fell in the winter than melted in the summer. As an accumulation piled up over thousands of years, it formed an ice sheet that flowed from Canada over northern Indiana. That glacier began melting 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. The landscape we enjoy today resulted.

That glacier was the last one of four to cover Indiana and has been named the “Wisconsin”.  The Saginaw lobe of this massive, one-mile thick ice flow was the last to leave a lasting impression on the face of the land of Pokagon State Park. 

While walking on many of the park trails, you will notice piles of rocks, and individual rocks, that seemingly came from nowhere. These are known as glacial erratics . They are part of the total mass of earth brought down from the north, which is known as glacial debris or glacial till.

There are more lakes in Steuben County than in any other county in the state. All are natural and all were formed from the massive earth-moving and gouging glaciers. Where sunken blocks of ice broke away as the glaciers melted, sit today’s kettle-hole lakes. Lake Lonidaw on Trail 3 is a perfect example.

The variations of plant and animal species, and the topography that they cover, are typical of glaciated regions. For this reason, Pokagon, in many ways, resembles parks you may expect to find farther north. Although relatively small, Pokagon has a tremendous variety of ecotypes, including lakes, marshes, fens, swamps, deciduous woodlands, pine groves, old fields, and meadowlands. Take time to explore and enjoy this ice age legacy.

History By Years


In early 1926, the Steuben County Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea to purchase nearly 600 acres of land to form a State Park.  The stars aligned and Pokagon State Park was born.  The Potawatomi Inn was built two years later.

During the 1980’s, a partial renovation of the interior took place as well as the addition of the Inn’s first elevator. In 1982 the Indoor Pool and Sun Deck were constructed.

In March of 1994, construction began on the $7.5 million expansion of the Potawatomi Inn. The expansion added 59 rooms, 10,000 square feet of banquet space along with a new lobby, office space, Courtyard Café and Gift Shop. Dedication of the new space took place on December 1, 1995.

  • December 1925: 580 acres of land is purchased by the citizens of Steuben County for $35,000.00 and deeded to the Department of Conservation, State of Indiana 1926: Two additional tracts of land (127 acres) are added to make a total park acreage of 707.
  • 1927: Colonel Richard Lieber, State Conservation Commissioner suggested the names Pokagon State Park and Potawatomi Inn.
  • In May of 1927, the twenty unit hotel (Potawatomi Inn) was completed, costing $3500.00 per unit, formal dedication took place on June 17, 1927.
  • May 1927: 20 room Potawatomi Inn hosts the Lake James Cottage Owners Association as its first guests.
  • June 17, 1927: Dedication ceremonies for the Inn are held.
  • Circa 1940: The alcove addition was completed and the sun room is enclosed.
  • Circa 1950: Individual restrooms are installed and the motel unit is converted.
  • 1968: The Hoosier wing is added.
  • 1980’s: Partial renovation of the interior of the building and installation of the elevator is done.
  • 1982: Indoor pool area is constructed.
  • March 1994: Construction begins on $7.5 million expansion of Potawatomi Inn. 59 additional rooms bring the total number of overnight rooms to 137. Expansion included a full service Conference Center and additional facilities.

  • July 1995: Construction continues as the Conference Center is completed and offices and Front Desk are moved to a new area.

  • December 1, 1995: Dedication of the newly renovated Potawatomi Inn

Stay At Pokagon State Park

Take your time exploring all that Pokagon State Park has to offer