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  • 10/12/2018 Much as I hate to say this, it’s time once again to try to figure out what the coming winter is going to do to us.
    Last year the weather signs I collected seemed to be all over the place. This year it’s a whole different ballgame, and not in a good way. Brace yourselves.
    The number of fogs in August is the first indication of what winter will be like.
    For that count I relied on WISH-TV’s morning weather forecast. I kept track of every morning Hamilton County was covered by fog on their fog map and came up with a total of nine. (However, there could be another three because on some mornings fog was mentioned, but they didn’t display the map.)
  • 10/5/2018 Continuing our journey through lost towns of the Fishers area . . . 
    I’ll bet few people have ever heard of Hadad — and with good reason. It was one of those little 19th century hamlets that disappeared in the early years of the the 20th century.
    Hadad was located “about one mile and a furlong from the very prominent city of Olio” at the intersection of State Road 238 and Olio Road.
    According to the May 31, 1889 Hamilton County Ledger, the name came from a young man who would holler over a distance for his father-in-law “in the key of high G,” by saying “Ha, Dad, come here!” (I did NOT make that up!)
    Hadad is described as having 37 inhabitants, “a lot of dogs and other things,” and streets graveled with the very best gravel. (That was a big deal then.)
  • 8/17/2018 Wow, time flies! I hadn’t realized it had been so long since we’d had a reader column.
    The Forest Park columns generated several responses.
    Pam (Gibbs) Ferber remembered the park’s old corkscrew slide being very popular. She said it was scary to climb up the tall ladder to get to the top, but once you were on the ladder, there was no chickening out because a long line of people would be behind you waiting their turn.
    She described the ride down as “bumpy.”
    Pam has a better memory of the park’s other slides than I do. She recalled two tall slides behind the corkscrew — one that went straight down and another which had one or two places where you almost stopped, then slid down at a steeper angle.
    Doug Church reminded me how Forest Park’s old cement pool was completely encircled by a drive. That made the pool a prime spot for local teens to go cruising (or as Doug said, “dragging”) during the 1950s and ‘60s.
  • 8/2/2018 After I wrote about the Noblesville Fire Department’s canine mascots a couple of weeks ago, I realized there weren’t just two Sparkys — there were actually three.

    Maybe it’s just as well I didn’t mention Sparky III before this, though. He really deserves his own column.

    Like the previous Sparkys, Sparky III was a Dalmatian.

    The tradition of Dalmatians in firehouses goes back to the days of horse-drawn fire wagons. Not only were the dogs fast enough to keep up with the horses as they sped to a fire, but they got along well with them and helped calm them while the blaze was being fought.
  • 7/26/2018 I’ve written about the kiddie rides and playground equipment Baby Boomers enjoyed at Forest Park during the 1960s, but the park’s biggest attraction during those years may have been the swimming pool.

    Back then I knew nothing of the pool’s history and didn’t realize how lucky we were that such a facility existed.

    Noblesville didn’t even have a municipal swimming area until a “bathing beach” was created on White River near Monument Street in 1925.

    The bathing beach only lasted a short time, though, because that December the land for Forest Park was acquired and plans were soon underway to add a pool to the park.

    Forest Park’s new gravel-bottomed, two acre pool opened in 1927 across White River from the old bathing beach, between the river and the Cicero Road (now State Road 19).
  • 7/19/2018 Since I featured cats in a column last month, it only seems fair to devote one to dogs, too.

    If you’re around my age, you may recall Sparky, the Noblesville Fire Department’s Dalmatian. For me, he was one of the highlights of the 1960s Christmas parades, riding on the fire engine with a big, beautiful bow tied around his neck.

    Well, Sparky wasn’t the department’s first dog-in-residence. (In fact, he wasn’t even the first Sparky).

    The earliest reference I found to a canine mascot at the Noblesville Fire Department was a dog named McKinley. McKinley popped up in the July 4, 1902, Hamilton County Ledger because the department hadn’t paid his dog tax.
  • 7/5/2018 Every once in a while I stumble across an article that’s just too good to ignore — like the July 2, 1926 Noblesville Daily Ledger story about Sheridan’s marshal, H. E. (Harmon Elemander) Newman, foiling “one of the best established chicken stealing gangs in Indiana.”

    Keep in mind, chickens were kind of a big deal then. If the ads I’ve seen are any indication, local restaurants of the 1920s were judged, above all else, by the quality of their chicken dinners.

    In the spring of 1926, the farmers around Sheridan were losing chickens right and left. Even though they banded together to patrol the area roads at night, the bandits continued to elude capture.

    Finally, around Easter Marshal Newman arrested a teenager for stealing a car. For some reason, he believed the boy also had knowledge of the chicken thefts and he decided to let the teen sweat in jail for a while “to think it over.”
  • 6/28/2018 These days Noblesville holds quite a celebration each Fourth of July, but that hasn’t always been the case. If you’ve moved to this area recently, you might be surprised to learn the city’s Fourth of July Parade and the accompanying Fireworks Festival only date back to 1997.

    Throughout most of Noblesville’s history there was no city-wide observance of Independence Day. Residents generally celebrated the holiday doing things like picnicking, fishing, attending baseball games, and setting off their own fireworks.

    I’m not sure why the city rarely sponsored activities in the 19th century, but during the first half of the 20th century, one reason could have been the fact there was sometimes a pretty big celebration just four miles up the road at Riverwood.

    In 1922 the construction of a dam at Clare created a three-mile long “lake” in White River. That area quickly became a popular recreation spot, which led to the founding of the resort community of Riverwood the following year.
  • 6/21/2018 A couple of weeks ago, when I wrote about the kiddie rides the Crask family and others operated at Forest Park, I didn’t get into any of the park’s other attractions during the 1950s and ‘60s, mainly because my memories are a little fuzzy.

    Never fear! Former Westfield resident Larry Cloud remembers them well and he sent enough details to fill this column.

    The first thing Larry mentioned was the L-shaped arcade building which held booths with open fronts like you’d see at a carnival. I wasn’t able to track down when the arcade opened, but I did find that Jim Sinders bought that concession from Raymond “Red” Meredith in 1958, the same year the Crasks took over the kiddie rides.

    In the right leg of the “L” was a booth with Skee-Ball machines, where you rolled balls up an incline and tried to get them to fall into holes with various point values. Next to that was a shooting gallery where you could shoot at targets with .22 rifles.
  • 6/14/2018 We often think of past eras as being more innocent than the times in which we live, but that’s just not true. Times change; basic human nature doesn’t.

    For example, 123 years ago this week the small village of Fisher’s Switch (Yes, SMALL— Fishers had fewer than 200 residents then!) made news around the country when the local postmaster, A. W. (Albert) Trittipo, nearly became the victim of an “infernal machine.”

    (The term, “infernal machine,” came into common use during the late 1800s to describe bombs and other death-dealing devices used for political assassinations and general terrorism).

    On June 13, 1895 Trittipo received a package through the mail marked “These are samples.” Since he operated a general store in addition to his postal duties, he naturally assumed some company had sent him samples of their product for advertisement purposes.

    Paying no heed to the other message on the package which indicated one particular end was to be opened, he absently tore into the box at the wrong end. That likely saved his life.
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

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