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home : columnists : columnists September 20, 2017

Lucky Teter, Acorn Farm, telephones and a mystery solved

By Paula Dunn
From Time to Thyme

Time to catch up with readers again!

Remember Paul Coverdale's question about the unfinished limestone ranch home on State Road 19, just north of 206th Street? I think we finally have an answer to that mystery.

It all boils down to legal trouble.

Mike Reed discovered that the owner, a man named Binkley, apparently neglected to file the proper paperwork before he started building his home.

According to Mike Dellinger, the house is in Noblesville Township and is therefore covered by Noblesville's planning and zoning ordinances. Since no certificate of occupancy was issued for the house by the city, there can be no occupancy.

Mike added that the case was "successfully litigated by the City of Noblesville years ago."

As Deborah Van Ness pointed out, however, you have to wonder why the city didn't stop the construction before it got so far. The exterior appears to have been completely finished.

Mike Reed also shared additional Lucky Teter information.

Mike said local film maker Dan T. Hall included an interview with Mike's father (and Lucky's NHS classmate,) Pat Reed, in a documentary Hall made about Lucky a few years ago. Mike also mentioned that two local men, Charlie Williams and Spider Mills, used to work as stuntmen for Lucky.

One interesting, if odd, bit of Lucky Teter trivia I doubt you'll read elsewhere - Mike's dad, Pat, said Lucky's right arm was noticeably more muscular than his suntanned left arm because Lucky steered with his right arm and waved to the crowd with the left!

Nancy Reid and Jack Hittle both emailed to say they were Acorn Farm Camp alumni. Jack even proved it by providing the first words to one of the camp's songs ("Do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro like Poe?") He also divulged that campers sometimes jokingly referred to the camp as "A Farm Corn Camp."

Former Westfield resident Larry Cloud wrote that the distraction young Edgar Joseph posed to NHS students in the early 1900s was nothing compared to what Westfield pupils faced during the 1950s.

In those days only the local baseball field stood between Westfield's school and a slaughterhouse. Since the school building had no air conditioning, teachers often left windows open in hot weather during the late summer and fall. (Yikes! Just imagine the noise and smells.)

Jeanne Flanders supplied a little rural telephone history.

Years ago people in Jeanne's area weren't able to get phone service from "Ma Bell" because the company believed the farmers couldn't afford to pay the bills. However, a Lapel family offered to provide the farmers with phone lines if they erected the poles and strung the lines to their own homes.

Jeanne said she and her husband used that Lapel service after they were married in 1959. Their phone bill was $48 for the entire year and they had 16 other homes on their party line!

She added that during the horrible blizzard of 1961 (you may have heard, or even remember, how people got stranded at the sectionals that year,) she and her neighbors on the party line could still talk to each other even though service to the central office in Lapel was out.

The Flanderses were switched-over to dial telephones in 1965, but continued to be on a party line with four other homes until the mid-1980s.

Speaking of blizzards, Pam (Gibbs) Ferber says that while Noblesville school superintendent Dale Swanson didn't believe in starting school before Labor Day, he also didn't believe in snow days. She remembers walking to school in nearly a foot of snow when she was in 5th grade!

Paula Dunn's From Time to Thyme column appears each Friday in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com

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