Monon Park Dancing Pavilion
Monon Park was created in 1897 by the Monon Railroad as a way to encourage passengers to travel on the line. It ran from Chicago through Indianapolis to Louisville. Located on picturesque Cedar Lake, Monon Park was close enough to Chicago that people could easily spend a weekend and enjoy plenty of free time to fish, boat, swim, or play baseball. Other amenities included a racetrack, midway, photo booth, dancing and live music. Many of the buildings, including the dancing pavilion, were designed by railroad architects and, therefore, had many similarities to depots of the time. Families, churches, fraternal groups, and companies came to Monon Park. In 1907, the Marshall Field Company held its company picnic on the grounds.
By the 1910s, the glory days of Monon Park were beginning to fade. Pickpockets and fighting resulted in declining profits. In 1914, Monon Park was sold to Moody Memorial Bible Church. They made the park more of a Chautauqua with lectures, music, inspirational talks, and Christian evangelical sermons. This change in focus along with improvements to the grounds increased the number of visitors to 400-500 per day. The dancing pavilion was converted into a library/lounge on one end and a dormitory on the other.
Today, the park is owned by the Cedar Lake Conference. They continue to use it for conferences and camps.