Moment of Indiana History

Beyond The Pale, To Roselawn: Nudists In Indiana

In the early 1930s, the Zoro Nature Park in Roselawn was billed as the largest nudist club in the country, attracting visitors from throughout the Midwest.

Straddling the Newton and Jasper County line, the small town of Roselawn could be called the nudist capital of the state. The town of about four thousand is home to two campgrounds catering to people who prefer to sunbathe au naturel.

In the early 1930s, Chicago lawyer and nude recreation proponent Alois Knapp opened Zoro Nature Park. At the time, the club was billed as the largest nudist club in the United States and attracted visitors from throughout the Midwest.

It was in the 1960s that the park began to gain national notoriety. New owner Dick Drost renamed the park Naked City and began hosting a Miss Nude Universe pageant. Drost is responsible for one of the club’s most notable landmarks, a giant sundial in the shape of a woman’s leg.

But the publicity turned negative in 1985 when Drost was charged with molesting a 13-year-old girl at the camp. He pleaded guilty, was given a ten year suspended sentence, and ordered out of Indiana for ten years. Drost moved to California and never returned to Roselawn.

After sitting abandoned for several years, the club has since reopened as Sun Aura Resort.

Another nudist campground, the Ponderosa Sun Club, sits about a mile east of Sun Aura. It hosts the current incarnation of the Miss Nude Universe Pageant and boasts that 600 residents live inside its compound.

Roselawn isn’t the only Hoosier town where nudists congregate. Nudist camps can also be found in Valparaiso, Granger, Bloomington, and Centerville.

  • Anonymous

    a really cool place

  • Serhiy Kolyada

    “Serhiy Kolyada got in hot water with Kyiv’s art establishment with his ballpoint-on-construction paper productions, portraying Kyiv as a melancholy zone of shadows.
    Check out his Web site (www.kolyada.com) to see his nude or semi-nude women depicted against shadowy backgrounds of corporate slogans.
    It’s art as social commentary: gutsy reflections on money, power and gender issues in Ukraine.” ( “50 Great Things About Kyiv” KYIV POST, Oct 20, 2004)

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Moment of Indiana History:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Moment of Indiana History

Search Moment of Indiana History

WFIU is on Twitter