Several weeks ago I devoted a column to the small towns/villages/hamlets (I’m never sure what to call them) that once existed on land currently occupied by the city of Fishers.
This week we’re moving down the road to explore communities that used to be found on real estate that’s now part of Carmel.
Today, all these locations are in Clay Township, but that wasn’t always the case. Some were originally in Delaware Township. The change came on August 1, 1955 when Delaware Township was divided at White River and everything west of the river was officially annexed by Clay Township.
Eldorado was one of the small communities located within Clay Township’s original boundaries. Laid out by Cyrus Carey in 1854, it sat at the intersection of 136th Street and Ditch Road.
According to the January 26, 1883 Republican-Ledger, Eldorado was previously known as Sockum or Sockem. It’s not clear if that was a legitimate name (I did find two other Indiana communities called Sockum,) or if it was a nickname like Toadlope (Aroma) or Lickskillet (Olio.) If it was some kind of nickname, the meaning seems to have gotten lost in time.
In any case, when the residents of Sockum petitioned for a post office in 1883, they requested that the post office be called Eldorado.
Eldorado was the name of a fabled South American city of gold, and according to my dictionary, it’s defined as a “place of great abundance.” The locals undoubtedly thought that had a more appealing ring than Sockum.
Besides the post office, which lasted until 1896, Eldorado boasted a store, a saw mill and a blacksmith shop, as well as a few homes. The Poplar Ridge Friends Church was nearby, as was the Poplar Ridge township school.
To the south and a little east of Eldorado lies Home Place. Home Place isn’t exactly lost since it was annexed by Carmel only last year, but I’m including it because it may well be forgotten eventually.
The area around Home Place was originally known as Pleasant Grove. First settled in 1825, Pleasant Grove had a few homes, a couple of sawmills, a township school and the Pleasant Grove Methodist Episcopal Church.
After the interurban arrived in 1903, the Orin Jessup Land Company bought 30 acres of farmland on the interurban line in the Pleasant Grove area. Eleven years later, the company platted a new suburb of Indianapolis there.
Because Indiana already had a Pleasant Grove post office, Jessup had to come up with a different name for his community. When he described his plan to create “a place of real decent, clean living, modest homes” to Judge John F. Neal, Neal suggested the new town be called “Home Place.” Jessup decided that was perfect.
(Jessup was serious about the “clean living.” A clause in each deed banned alcohol sales.)
It took a while to get the interurban conductors to substitute “Home Place” for “Pleasant Grove,” but eventually Home Place prevailed and Pleasant Grove disappeared.
Home Place’s original plat was bounded by 106th Street on the north, McPherson Street on the east, 104th Street on the south and Jessup Boulevard/the interurban tracks on the west. Additions were made in later years.
In the beginning, Home Place’s businesses were confined to a general store and the office of Jessup’s company, but later years saw more commercial development.
Next week we’ll explore Carmel’s old Delaware Township towns.
Notable Nineties Update: We have new Notable Nineties! Don McMahon added Earl E. McMahon, Diane Crossley Whelchel added her aunt, Phyllis Crossley Crickmore of Fishers, Paula Monroe added her mother, Ruby Sanders Randall Mendell, and Mary C. Waltz added her neighbor, Charles Smelltzer of Arcadia.
Congratulations!
- Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Friday in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com