Wooly Worms, Allisonville Road And The Forest Park Cabin

By Paula Dunn

It’s another reader feedback week!

On the wooly worm watch . . .

My cousin, Nancy Lacy, said her great-granddaughter spotted three black and orange/red wooly worms while on a school outing in a woodsy area of Tipton County.

Ed Snyder sent a photo of a wooly worm with that same color scheme that he encountered in Tipton’s City Park. He described his worm as mostly dark orange with a black band at its “shoulders.”

I think what they’re calling orange or red would be what I think of as rusty brown. Since orange and red aren’t on Clara Hoover’s weather sign chart, I’m guessing she’d probably consider that color just brown.

Steve Owens, who’s been so good about splitting persimmon seeds for the winter forecast, wrote that his grandfather used to drive his surgeon father (Steve’s great-grandfather,) all over Howard, Tipton and Hamilton counties during the early 1900s.

Steve’s grandfather told him that back then Allisonville Road went downhill steeply at Heady Hollow. The road followed the creek for about 100 feet, then it turned and drivers had to ford the creek before climbing the steep hill on the opposite side of the hollow.

(No wonder people didn’t like traveling through there.)

Steve added that at that time Allisonville Road and Westfield Boulevard were the only two roads to Indianapolis. Keystone didn’t exist and Meridian Street stopped at White River.

I have some additional information about the fate of the Forest Park log cabin.

I know a guy who knows a guy who dug up an undated information sheet prepared by the Noblesville Parks and Recreation Department which shows a timeline of the actions park officials took regarding the cabin between 1993 and 1996.

(Apparently, there were so many inquiries about the cabin’s disappearance, they felt compelled to produce some kind of explanation.)

I stand corrected — according to this document, there WAS a “financial campaign to restore the cabin.” It was called “Cabin Fever” and its objective was to raise $40,000. That amount was needed to match a grant being sought from the state government’s Build Indiana Fund.

To achieve this goal, a sign was placed in front of the cabin in May, 1994. The sign was removed the following January “after no money was raised through public donation.”

Gee, I’m shocked no money was raised.

Seriously? They expected to collect $40,000, just by putting up a sign? No wonder I can’t remember a public campaign. If there was ANY publicity about this, even a notice that the cabin’s fate was hanging in the balance, I have yet to find it. (Believe me, I’ve looked.)

The information sheet goes on to state that it was determined that Build Indiana Funds couldn’t be used for this project because moving the cabin from its original site caused it to lose much of its “historic integrity.”

Additionally, it was noted that there were already “many” log cabins in this area. (Conner Prairie was specifically cited.)

So, to recap, Noblesville lost a historic log structure because nobody knew it was in such bad shape that it was in immediate danger of being dismantled. Moreover, it wasn’t considered important anyway since there were other log cabins in the county.

Apparently, the nearly 70 years the cabin was a significant part of Forest Park’s history didn’t count for anything.


I keep thinking about the Westfield Washington Historical Society’s recently dedicated Barker cabin. It now sports a metal roof, cement chinking and a modern floor, and has lost its loft, but they managed to find the money to restore it and they’re rightly proud of it, despite the fact it’s lost some of its “historic integrity.”

Maybe if the Forest Park cabin had needed its renovations 30 years later, we’d still have it.

– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com