Northeast Indiana once flourished as a limestone mining region during the mid-19th century, however, the industry left vast artificial chasms pockmarking the landscape. While many of the over 1,000 abandoned quarries were filled to create lakes or were simply abandoned, the city of Huntington decided to take a more intensive approach to one quarry taking up nearly two acres in the middle of its burgeoning downtown.
Abandoned in the 1910s by the Keefer and Bailey Lime, Brick, Tile, and Cement Company, the abandoned quarry caught the eye of the city council as they sought a new location for a community park. The Sunken Gardens were inspired by a similar quarry-based sunken garden in San Antonio. It would become the second such garden in the United States.
As the Sunken Gardens were being built throughout the 1920s, the then-radical decision was made to integrate car-friendliness into its design. The Sunken Gardens’ tribute to motoring took the form of a fieldstone bridge that crosses directly over the park, providing a top-down view.
The park has seen two major restoration projects since its creation, one in the 1960s and again in 2010. It is currently a freely accessible park, a wedding venue, and home to an annual Christmas light display that draws thousands of visitors per year. The centerpiece of the display is a giant illuminated wreath which recently had its over 3,000 light bulbs updated into LEDs.
Know Before You Go
Admission is free to the garden when it is open; free parking is available at the Memorial Park at the top.