From Time to Thyme

By Paula Dunn

The Noblesville Township Quiz

It’s July, which means a new township is being highlighted by the Bicentennial Commission. This month the focus turns to Noblesville Township.

How well do you know the center of Hamilton County?

1. Who was the “Morse” of Morse Reservoir?

2. True or False — Horseshoe Prairie, site of the first white settlement in Hamilton County, is located just west of William Conner’s home.

3. What Riverwood structure is on the National Register of Historic Places?

4. How did the Federal Hill neighborhood of Noblesville get its name?

5. True or False — the rural community of Hazel Dell, around 169th Street and Hazel Dell Road, was named for a woman who lived there.

6. The first drive-in movie theater in Hamilton County was located east of Noblesville. What was it called and when did it open?

7. Noblesville Township once had three covered bridges. Where were they?

8. Which Noblesville Township community made news in 1929 because of a surprising archaeological discovery?

9. In which Noblesville subdivision can you find a remnant of the unfinished Central Canal?


And the answers:

1. Howard S. Morse. He was the Indianapolis Water Company executive responsible for planning Morse and Geist reservoirs.

2. False. I threw this in because many people mistakenly believe that’s true. Actually, Conner’s prairie is on the EAST side of White River about four miles south of Noblesville in Delaware Township.

Horseshoe Prairie is on the WEST side of White River, about two and a half miles south of Noblesville, across from Third Phase shelter and food pantry. (It’s where the gravel pits are.)

3. The Holliday Hydroelectric Powerhouse and Dam. Commonly called Holliday Station, it’s thought to be the only original electrical generating plant left in the state. The French Chateauesque-style powerhouse and concrete dam were constructed in 1922 and were named for Alexander R. Holliday, president and general manager of the Noblesville Heat, Light & Power Company.

Closed since 1965, it was replaced by the modern electrical plant nearby.

4. The area was laid out in 1873 by John B. Jackson and John W. Wilson as “West Noblesville,” but a young neighbor of Jackson’s who was a fan of songwriter Stephen Foster, suggested Jackson call the property “Federal Hill” after the plantation that inspired Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Jackson liked that name and it stuck.

5. False. According to a history of the old Hazel Dell township school, the name came from the fact the area was a marshy hollow covered with hazel shrubs.

6. The Noblesville Drive-In opened May 30, 1951. At that time it was outside Noblesville’s city limits on County Farm Road (now Cumberland Road,) a little north of State Roads 32 and 38.

In later years it was called the ABC Noblesville Drive-In.

7. In addition to Potter’s Bridge (you DID get that one, didn’t you?,) there was once a covered bridge over Stony Creek on State Road 238/Greenfield Avenue, and from the late 1860s to 1930, the bridge at Logan Street was a covered bridge.

Usually called “the wagon bridge” to distinguish it from the railroad bridges, that Logan Street bridge was the only way regular traffic could cross White River at Noblesville until the Conner Street bridge opened.

8. Clare. Bones thought to have belonged to the first diplodocus (a brontosaurus-like dinosaur) ever found in Indiana were unearthed on the Scearce farm. Later, it was discovered the “rare” remains actually belonged to a common old mammoth.

9. A small park in the Meadows subdivision near the intersection of State Road 37 and 191st Street contains one of the few visible reminders of the Central Canal project of the 1830s. (You’ll have to use your imagination. There’s nothing left but a big depression in the ground.)

– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at [email protected]