Opened in 1929, Brown County State Park is the largest of Indiana’s state parks. Known for many decades as the “Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, the park draws more people to it than any other in the state park system. Attracting many to the park are the vivid fall colors, viewable from several lookouts and nearly twenty miles of roads winding through the park. These spectacular landscapes drew Hoosier Group artists like T. C. Steele, William Forsyth, Otto Stark, John Ottis Adams, and Richard Gruelle to Brown County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to paint the area.
In June of 1934, the Veterans Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1557 began extensive work to improve the park. Besides planting black locust, black walnut, and various pines and spruces (to help repair badly eroded slopes due to years of farming), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers also erected many of the existing buildings and trails within the park used today. The west lookout tower, many of the scenic vistas, and the CCC hiking trail are all part of the legacy of the corp’s time in the park, as are many other projects by various CCC groups in the state park system.