By Paula Dunn
Fall Creek Township is the Bicentennial celebration’s featured township for September. That means it’s time for the Fall Creek Township Quiz!
1. What year was Fall Creek Township first settled and who was the first settler?
2. Who is the “Geist” in Geist Reservoir?
3. What old Fall Creek Township community now lies beneath Geist Reservoir?
4. What three schools merged in the mid-1960s to create the Hamilton Southeastern school district?
5. Today, the city of Fishers spreads across two townships — Fall Creek and Delaware. In which township was Fishers originally located?
6. What old Fall Creek Township community was nicknamed “Lick Skillet?”
7. The Cyntheanne Christian Church and Cyntheanne Road are the only physical reminders of the former village of Cyntheanne. Where exactly was Cyntheanne?
8. What year did Hamilton Town Center open?
9. In the 1970s, the Indianapolis Water Company had plans to build a second reservoir in Fall Creek Township. What was its name?
And the answers:
1. That’s up for debate. According to most of the county histories, the first permanent white settler was either Francis Kincaid or Hiram Coffee. Kincaid is known to have arrived in 1821, but it’s believed Coffee probably did as well.
To add to the confusion, Augustus Finch Shirts states in his 1901 county history that the first permanent settler was an Irishman named James McNutt. He doesn’t provide a date to back up that claim, however, and I couldn’t find anything to confirm it.
2. Clarence H. Geist. Geist was an Indiana native who made a fortune in public utilities. He bought the Indianapolis Water Company in 1912 and owned it until 1938.
Anticipating the need for an additional water source for Indianapolis in the future, Geist bought up several thousand acres of farmland in the Fall Creek Valley in the 1920s and ‘30s with the intention of constructing a reservoir.
He didn’t live to see the project through, however. The reservoir didn’t open until 1943, five years after his death.
3. Germantown. Founded in the 1830s, Germantown was a small village straddling the Hamilton County/Marion County line on Fall Creek’s north bank. Once a thriving community, by the early 20th century it had dwindled to just a few homes.
Clarence Geist bought that land and when Fall Creek was dammed to create Geist Reservoir, what was left of Germantown was flooded. It now lies under water near the Indianapolis Sailing Club.
4. Fishers, Durbin and Fall Creek. (Only Fishers had a high school.)
5. Delaware Township. The tiny original village of Fishers was situated along 116th Street in the general area of Lantern Road and the Nickel Plate Railroad.
6. Olio. In 1899, a Hamilton County Ledger correspondent described Olio as a place “where they fry razor-back hog meat and then let the cats lick the skillet” — hence the nickname.
Olio was located at the intersection of Olio Road and 126th Street, about where Hamilton Southeastern High School is today.
7. Cyntheanne was on the east side of Cyntheanne Road, south of 126th Street, near the current location of the Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate/Junior High School.
9. Highland Lake Reservoir, or just Highland Reservoir. Had it been constructed, it would have expanded Geist Reservoir to over twice its current size, flooding a large part of Fall Creek Township and smaller sections of Marion, Hancock and Madison counties.
The controversial project was kicked around for most of the 1970s before being abandoned near the end of the decade due to a lack of federal funding.
Note: Nancy Massey and I will be signing copies of “A Brief History of Noblesville” from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church during the Historic Homes Tour this Saturday, September 16th. Come see us!
– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at [email protected]