During the Civil War, the Indianapolis Arsenal supplied munitions to federal troops. Located near the State House from 1861 to 1865, the War Department later moved the arsenal east of downtown to Woodruff Place. By 1901, the War Department planned to close the arsenal.
In March of 1901, Lieutenant Colonel Russell B. Harrison came back to Indianapolis to bury his father, President Benjamin Harrison. Russell felt strongly that some military presence should remain in the city to honor the tradition the arsenal played in fighting slavery and maintaining the Union.
On June 28, 1904 the War Department issued General Order No. 117 officially announcing the purchase of land for “military purposes…about nine miles north-easterly from Indianapolis.” In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated Fort Benjamin Harrison, in honor of our 23rd President and city resident.
The post represents the first effort to create a “national” army out of a collection of state militias. The post served multiple roles as troop reception center, classroom, and soldier support facility during all major military conflicts from WWI to Desert Storm. The park includes the Camp Glenn Historic District which housed the Citizens Military Training Camps from 1935 to 1940, and hundreds of prisoners of war in 1944-1945.
Rumored shutdown of Fort Benjamin Harrison Military Reservation became reality in 1991 through the Base Realignment and Closure process. In 1995 the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the State of Indiana’s request to convert 1700 of the 2500-acre post into a state park and nature preserve.
The existing golf course was modified and redesigned by Pete Dye and Tim Liddy and subsequently named in the “Top Ten Public Courses” by Golf Magazine. Golf Advisor reviewers in 2018 rated The Fort the #1 Course Layout in the country (beating out Bethpage Black) and is considered one of Indiana’s best public golf courses. We look forward to seeing you here.