Thank you for visiting the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park!

The Karlan Mansion


Construction on the Karlan Mansion, originally known as Elydale, or Ely Mansion, began in 1877 and was completed in 1878 by Robert McPherson Ely. Robert began construction of the mansion in while Susan and their daughters stayed in Missouri with family. Many letters were written between Susan and Robert regarding the mansion. Those letters, some of which are preserved in a museum room inside the mansion, are how we know about the construction of Karlan.

All the fireplaces are handcrafted and include imported Italian marble. The pie safe (located in the dining room) was used for putting baked goods in to cool without being swarmed by flies. The three fireplaces and the pie safe are original to the house. One more interesting fact about the construction of Karlan is that the bricks used in this structure were made on this land.

Today the Karlan Mansion is available for weddings, reunions and other group functions. It features a full-service kitchen, perfect for caterers, two dressing rooms, three restrooms and the solarium is often used for receptions and birthday parties. Also, the park offers other venues, such as the amphitheater, Surber Cabin and Visitor Center theatre for rental. Call the park office to see which venue is right for you!


"I have been to the park for the Candlelight Ghost Tour and the Mystery Dinner Theatre. I just love these events, I wish they could have them once a month." - Ginger Sullivan

"I have watched this park grow so much over the past 10-12 years. I really enjoy the Heritage Festival and listening to all the Bluegrass bands. And the Wilderness Road Trail is perfect for walking and riding your bicycle." - Janice Lowe

"My kids love to stop by and see the Buffalo. It's so nice to have these facilities right here in our region. The kids love the playground and the Junior Rangers program. And the Indian Ridge Trail is a great location to see some of our area's prettiest wildflowers." - Melissa Jackson