Stacked Rocks of Cherokee Park

My most recent photo shoot took me to an area of Cherokee Park. Cherokee is one of  Louisville’s oldest parks, developed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1891. My photo shoot concentrated on a small area in the eastern part of the 400 acre park called Big Rock. This location is marked by a large boulder in the middle of Beargrass Creek, which meanders throughout Cherokee Park.

Near Big Rock, which is long served as an impromptu diving platform for those swimming in the creek, there have developed more than two dozen stacked rock sculptures. While the stacking of rocks for sport or art has been decried by nature groups, they have been a welcome addition to this area of the park. Elsewhere, the primary objection is that the stacked rocks — technically called cairns from the Gaelic meaning  ‘a mound of stones built as a memorial or landmark’ — are often used to mark trails in the wilderness. However, that concern isn’t really applicable in Cherokee Park because all of the rock stacks are either in or on the shores of Beargrass Creek.

The area is a popular spot for people who want to ‘get away’ in the middle of the city. Nearby is a playground and picnic area. This is a very tranquil area, but surrounded by residential areas and a golf course.

Another feature which I photographed was the Belknap Memorial Bridge, built in 1901 over Beargrass Creek by Col. Morris Belknap. Belknap, son of the founder of Belknap Hardware, which I have discussed in other postings, built the bridge in memory of his deceased wife. It still carries vehicle traffic over the creek.

The park also bears damage, particularly notable in a few trees, from a devastating 1974 tornado which struck the park and decimated many large trees. For the most part, an aggressive planting strategy shortly after the tornado has resulted in vegetation nearly to the degree that existed prior to 1974.


Photos from this shoot are available to view in the Cherokee Park section of the main menu under the Around Louisville tab.

In addition to photographing the stacked rock area, I took a few street photos in the nearby Deer Park neighborhood. Those are available in the Street Photography section.

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