The Noblesville Drive-In, The Central Canal And A Little Husky History

By Paula Dunn

After being so slow getting the last reader column together, I’m now in the unusual position of needing to do one sooner than I expected. The last two columns (the Noblesville Township quiz and the Hamilton Heights Huskies history) prompted readers to send in some good information.

Jim Macy wrote that back in 1950, he and his friends used to ride their bikes out to the site of the new Noblesville Drive-In theater to see how the construction was going. (In those days that was out in the country!)

He described the original screen as a wood-framed structure with gray cement-looking panels.

When high winds blew that screen down in 1963, it was replaced by a larger one, but just a couple of weeks later, the replacement screen was also taken down by wind and had to be replaced.

Jim has been trying to find a photo of the drive-in’s original screen. If you have one to share, let me know and I’ll put you in contact with him.

Jeanne Flanders actually emailed me regarding a reference to the Central Canal in “A Brief History of Noblesville,” the book I wrote with Nancy Massey. but since I included a question about the canal in the Noblesville Township quiz, I thought it was worth adding her information to this column.

Jeanne reminded me that the small park in Noblesville’s Meadows subdivision isn’t the only place you can find a bit of the unfinished canal in Hamilton County. Lafayette Trace Park, just east of Strawtown, also contains a visible remnant.

According to Jeanne, when you enter the park and drive north toward White River, you’ll encounter a bend in the road as you reach the bottom land. From that spot you can make out part of the old canal running east and west.

I haven’t had time to drive up there to check it out in person, but I did pull up a satellite image of the area and I think I see what she means. The satellite photo clearly shows something in the land that runs parallel to the river at that point.

Moving on to Hamilton Heights history . . .

Dr. Derek Arrowood, superintendent of the Hamilton Heights School Corporation, wrote that they have a “History Hallway” at their Student Activity Center in Arcadia.

I haven’t had time to check that out in person either, but I found a couple of videos on YouTube. The History Hallway contains photos and artifacts that trace the development of Hamilton Heights from the early Jackson Township schools to the present. It also includes a tribute to Ryan White.

Ed Snyder, “a former Red Devil/Eagle/Husky,” noted that Hamilton Heights’ school colors were originally brown, white and tan, but since tan wasn’t that impressive on an athletic uniform, orange trim was soon added.

That was followed by a movement to change the uniforms from dark brown to a jazzier orange, but the switch had to be approved by the IHSAA and that took a while. The IHSAA was afraid orange uniforms would make it harder for refs and opposing players to see the basketball.

Obviously, they eventually gave in. (Hey, orange was good enough for Syracuse University!)

Correction: Last week I wrote that the commissioned high schools of the early 1900s were different from those managed by townships. After I sent that column in, I discovered that a commissioned high school COULD be run by a township.

To be commissioned, a school just had to meet certain requirements set by the state board of education in areas such as the types of courses offered, teachers’ backgrounds, and the condition of the building itself.

Finally, August starts next week — time to begin counting fogs to see how much snow we’re in for this winter!

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