top of page

Northern Indiana’s Charley Creek Gardens: Six Acres of History

What’s better than spending your afternoon exploring nature? Whether it’s sunflowers in the summer, tulips in the spring, changing leaves in the fall, or a snowy winter stroll, there’s nothing quite like soaking up the fresh air among blooming flowers and flourishing plants.

Located in the heart of Wabash between Miami and Wabash Streets, the Charley Creek Gardens consists of six acres of naturalized gardens. Open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk, the venue is a great daytime activity for visitors of all ages.

As a resident of the region, you may have spent a few hours at the Gardens for a field trip, special event or afternoon in the sun. But, did you know the venue holds an abundant history beyond the sprawling acres of plants?

Read on to learn more about the history of Charley Creek Gardens.

A Mission to Protect Urban Green Space

The concept for the Gardens grew from Wabash native Richard Ford, who utilized his private estate garden to form the Charley Creek Foundation.

Ford was a fourth-generation Wabash native, and had a passion for the outdoors and nature conservation. He built his career around his passion when he began working for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. When he returned to Wabash, Ford’s interest and passion for historic preservation grew, inspiring him to travel across the U.S. and Europe to uncover the best environmental protection practices.

While traveling, Ford discovered that communities with a central green space increased resident commitment to community success. From there, the vision for Charley Creek Gardens was born.

Wabash Welcomes Nature Education and Preservation

Prior to the Gardens’ public opening in 2008, a learning center was built and completed in 2007. The building, known as the Education and Resource Center, hosts school groups, adult workshops and cultural events.

In addition to educational workshops, the venue also offers free, self-guided walking tours. Excursions provide information about historic details, botanical definitions and exhibits throughout the gardens. The tour path is approximately a half-mile long and extends over a varied terrain. Self-guided walking tour brochures are available to all visitors at no charge.

For large groups, guided tours, or rental information, contact Kelly Smith at (260) 563-1020 or