National Wildlife Refuge
|1661 W. JPG Niblo Rd
Madison, IN 47250
Phone Number: 812-273-0783
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|White-tailed deer and other wildlife call the refuge "home."|
Continued . . . Farmers, trappers and tradesmen soon moved in and settled into small communities, clearing land for small farms and using timber and native limestone to build homes, churches, schools, roads and bridges. It was a tranquil and rural life, touched briefly in the Civil War by an invasion by General John Hunt Morgan and 2,000 Confederate cavalrymen, who crossed Indiana in the portion that is now Big Oaks Refuge. A stone monument on the refuge marks the spot where three of Morgan's men were captured.
In 1940, the U.S. Army, with war looming around the world, found the area ideal for a needed ordnance testing site. Within a few months, 400 or so families were relocated, and the Army created what became the 55,000-acre Jefferson Proving Ground. For the next 50 years, the Army maintained the site, of importance not only during World War II but the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The proving ground closed in 1995 as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Big Oaks Refuge was established in June 2000 through a 25-year real estate permit from the Army.
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