Last week I focused on the lost Carmel towns located within Clay Township’s original boundaries. This week, we’re going to visit Carmel’s old Delaware Township towns.

Our first stop is Gray, a community that frustrated me for a long time.

I kept encountering references to Gray in the old newspapers, but never seemed to be able to pinpoint the exact location. Finally, while researching the column on Home Place a a few years ago, I ran across a map that showed Gray at the intersection of 146th Street and (surprise) Gray Road.
Gray was originally known as East Branch because the East Branch Monthly Meeting of the Friends church met there. It became “Gray” when it acquired a post office on Christmas Day of 1889.

So far I haven’t discovered why the residents chose that as the new name. However, one local did quip that their post office had been so long in coming that it had turned “Gray.”

According to the January 24, 1890 Hamilton County Ledger, Gray had the post office (until 1902,) a church (Friends,) a schoolhouse, a nursery, a sawmill, a general store, a blacksmith and repair shop, a sorghum factory, a gas well and two milliners.

(TWO milliners? Those Gray ladies must have really loved their hats!)

Because it was situated at the point Washington, Delaware and Noblesville Townships meet, Gray’s school was operated jointly by all three townships until 1921. It then became part of the Washington Township school system.

Moving on south, we come to Mattsville, which holds the distinction of being the only one of Carmel’s lost Delaware Township towns described in any of the county histories.

Mattsville took its name from Madison Richardson who established a store there in his home around 1860. Richardson was generally known as Matt (or Mat — spelling being flexible in the 19th century,) hence “Mattsville.”

The town was located on the south bank of Cool Creek at the intersection of 116th Street and Haverstick Road. (For a long time, maps referred to 116th Street as Mattsville Pike.)

I’m not sure why Mattsville made it into the county histories when Gray didn’t. In his 1915 Hamilton County history, Haines refers to Mattsville as a “country village” and predicted that it “probably will never be more pretentious than it is at present.”

He was right — there was never much to Mattsville. In addition to the store, it had a blacksmith, a grist mill and a post office (1877-1902.)

A township school and White Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church were located about a half mile down the road to the east. (The church, constructed in 1853, still exists today with a nondenominational congregation.)

A couple of other places are worth mentioning, although they can be more accurately described as neighborhoods rather than towns.
Mulberry Corner sometimes pops up in the county roundup sections of the old Noblesville newspapers. It was at 106th Street and Westfield Boulevard.

Occasionally, maps include Northern Woods Beach. Located on the south side of 116th Street near the bridge over White River, Northern Woods Beach opened in 1921 as a summer resort, with rental cottages and facilities for swimming, boating, fishing and picnicking.

A few years later, the owners, Charlie Cook, Joe Cook and Herman Merklin, parted ways and split up the acreage. The Cook brothers platted the subdivision of Northern Woods Beach on their land along the river, while Merklin operated Northern Beach Park on adjacent ground to the west.

Today, Northern Beach Park and the Mansion at Oak Hill, which adjoined it, have become a wedding venue, Black Iris Estate.

Notable Nineties Update: Shirley Ward has added her friend, Pat (Guilkey) Paskins, to the list. Congratulations, Pat!

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