On Thursday October 19, 2023, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future site of The Lodge at Potato Creek, the first new lodge construction since 1939 in Indiana State Parks’. The new lodge will sit on Worster Lake’s southern shore in Potato Creek State Park in North Liberty, Indiana.
Representatives from Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Rundell Ernstberger Associates, Hafer Design, IIG Design and BRP Architects participated in the official groundbreaking ceremony.
Established in 1969, this 3,840-acre park showcases a landscape shaped by ancient glaciers and was once home to Indigenous people, particularly the Potawatomi. In fact, the name “Potato Creek” has a historical significance, as it originates from the Potawatomi’s practice of consumer water plant tubers, which settlers aptly dubbed “potatoes.” Additionally, the park has its roots in African American history, with the presence of the Huggart Settlement and the Porter-Rea Cemetery serving as reminders of the diverse communities that settled in the area.
Potato Creek State Park is a natural haven for Hoosiers and travelers alike. Nestled just five miles from U.S. 31, a major state artery, the park offers a picturesque landscape in northern Indiana, allowing guests to experience all four seasons in style. From summer bike rides to ice fishing in winter, spring’s wildflowers, and migratory birds to the fall’s vibrant foliage, the park offers an array of year-round activities. This new lodge project aims to enhance the overall park experience and provide a welcoming haven for all who visit.
Active restoration efforts have restored a variety of habitats within the park, including prairies, wetlands, and forests. The 327-acre Worster Lake offers opportunities for low-impact water recreation. Activities like hiking, camping, biking, interpretive programming, wildlife watching, and even horseback riding make Potato Creek State Park a multifaceted gem for all who visit.
Whispering Winds Picnic Area has been selected as the site for this project. This location, not far from the park’s entrance but tucked away from the bustling main road, offers an impressive view of Worster lake. It also provides easy access to the park’s paved bike trail, a small boat launch, ample parking, and plenty of space for outdoor relaxation.
The Lodge at Potato Creek State Park will seamlessly blend modern amenities with a rustic feel that respects the natural and cultural features of the park. Designed to cater to the diverse needs of park visitors, from nature enthusiasts to event planners, the lodge is set to include 120 sleeping rooms, a full-service dining room with seating for 150, a conference center with three breakout rooms capable of accommodating 350 guests, an indoor aquatic center, various indoor and outdoor spaces for small gatherings, a mini-nature room for programs and exhibits, a café, a gift shop, and convenient access to Worster Lake and other park features.
Anticipated to be completed in 2026 or 2027, Potato Creek State Park’s new lodge is set to elevate the visitor experience, ensuring that this beautiful piece of northern Indiana remains a destination for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and event organizers alike. With a harmonious blend of modern amenities, respect for the environment, and an appreciation for the park’s unique history and landscapes, this new lodge promises to be a cherished addition to the state’s park system.
Landscape Architect: Rundell Ernstberger Associates
Interior Designer: IIG Design
Aquatic Consulting: Water Technology Inc.
Civil/Structural Engineering: JPS Consulting Engineers
Food Service: Reitano Design Group