Fires destroys cabin at George Rogers Clark site in Indiana

Published 5:22 am Saturday, May 22, 2021

A fire has destroyed a cabin built 20 years ago as a re-creation of the home where Revolutionary War figure George Rogers Clark spent his retirement years in southern Indiana.

Firefighters called Thursday evening to the Falls of the Ohio State Park found the building fully engulfed in flames, said Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs. The cabin’s roof collapsed and only a portion of the exterior remained standing once the fire was doused.

“We’re sad that we lost that cabin, but right now there’s no injuries reported, firefighters or civilians. So that’s the positive,” Skaggs told The Courier-Journal.

Several agencies are investigating the fire’s cause, including the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Skaggs said the fire at the park’s George Rogers Clark home site in Clarksville was reported along with three other brush fires, including one about 150 yards (137 meters) from the cabin.

The cabin, which overlooked the Ohio River just north of Louisville, Kentucky, was built in 2001 with the same dimensions as the home where Clark lived from 1803 to 1809, according to the park’s website. The original home was destroyed in 1854.

Clark was best known for his Revolutionary War role in leading American soldiers who defeated British forces in 1779 and captured Fort Sackville in Vincennes, located in southwestern Indiana along the Wabash River.

The site of Clark’s home in present-day Clarksville has been known for nearly two centuries as “Clark’s Point.” It overlooks a sharp curve along the Ohio River and offers commanding views up and down the waterway.

The site is also where Clark’s younger brother, William, met Meriwether Lewis a year before they embarked in 1804 on an exploration of territory west to the Pacific Ocean.

Dan Bortner, the director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said Friday afternoon in a statement that the agency was “deeply saddened” by the loss of the re-created 19th century cabin.

“This is where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first met, in 1803, and began their journey of discovery together. It has long served as a peaceful place for Americans to meet, reflect, and celebrate events in their lives,” he said.