Charlestown, IN

This Entire Neighborhood in Indiana was totally Abandoned

Travel Maven

Indiana is home to dozens of abandoned places. As industry changes and the landscape of America transforms, many communities, buildings, and sometimes entire towns fall into decay.
Photo byAnne Mendelson/Unsplash

This is the story about the neighborhood known as River Ridge in southern Indiana near the border of Kentucky. What was once a thriving community during much of the 20th century now sits in abandoned ruins. Keep reading to learn more.

During the 1940s, the US Army decided to establish an ammunition manufacturing plant near the town of Charlestown, Indiana. The plant would manufacture things like rocket propellant, propellant charge bags, and, smokeless gunpowder.
Photo byFrank Hillson/Unsplash

Word spread quickly and people began to move to this new community in droves for the many jobs it provided. By 1942, River Ridge became a neighborhood on the premises of the Ammunition Plant. It was home to many high-ranking officials and their families. Soon, shops and amenities began appearing nearby. At its peak, the Army Ammunition complex featured more than 800 buildings, 17 of which were homes.

After WWII ended, the community was able to stay afloat by producing gunpowder for other US conflicts including the Vietnam War. However, after the war ended in 1975, the town population began to dwindle significantly. Families moved away, and one by one, homes and businesses began to close their doors forever.
Photo byMichael Wells/Unsplash

Today, 6,000 acres of plant grounds are owned by Clark County Reuse Authority. The remaining land, approximately 4,000 acres, has been donated to the Charlestown State Park. This abandoned neighborhood makes for an incredibly fascinating day of exploration however, it’s important to note that the structures here remain unstable, and should not be entered for any reason.

In 2022, the city of Charlestown announced a $9.7 million plan to reconstruct this area into an extension of Penny Martain Lane. The street will be extended past abandoned buildings and the railroad crossing and will end at 12th Street. The city's mayor says this paved road will facilitate the sale and development of five parcels of land in the city.

To learn more about River Ridge, be sure to check this site out here.

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