From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Cherokee State Park (Kentucky Lake, KY)

Cherokee State Park originally opened in 1951, the third segregated park for African Americans in the United States, the first in Kentucky and the South. It was publicized as "the finest colored vacation site in the South." The area consisted of 300 acres with a beach, cottages, boat and fishing docks, a picnic area, a bathhouse, and a dining hall that seated 200.

The land was leased from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) under a 19-year contract; the land title was to go to Kentucky when the state was financially able to take on the facility.

With the advent of desegregation, the park was closed in the 1960s and became part of Kenlake Park; only a few of the buildings remain today. 

Cherokee State Park, a Historic Restoration Project, was completed in 2010.

For more see Cherokee State Park, a flier by the Kentucky State Parks; earlier articles in the Courier Journal (Louisville), 5/11/1946 & 5/31/1951; J. Lucas, "State giving lift to former Black park," Evansville Courier & Press, 7/18/2005, Metro section, p. B1; and Kentucky's Segregated Parks and 1930 Black Population [.pdf], a University of Kentucky website. See also Friends of Cherokee State Historic Park on Facebook and K. Lough, "Cherokee Park renovation celebrated," Murray Ledger & Times website, 9/16/2010.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Marshall County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hardin, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Cherokee State Park (flier)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Evansville courier & press (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Lake Barkley African American Heritage Weekend (Cadiz, KY)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Cherokee State Park (Kentucky Lake, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-07-16 20:42:56