Recently former Traders Point resident Mrs. Ward allowed me to photograph her collection. These photos include the pike township fire department (of which her husband was an active volunteer), 1956 flood photos, and images old and newer of the General Store.
Our good friend George Wilkins has ended his heroic journey with cancer. George was one of the youngest people I met with vivid memories of growing up near Traders Point. His father had operated a garage and Gulf gas station in the village until it was forced closed in the 1960s by the construction of Interstate 65 and the Eagle Creek Reservoir. George’s father (also George) modified and raced stock cars at IRP. This started young George’s lifelong interest in racing and model cars. George was a professional videographer and was a stringer for national media covering stories in Indiana. He was instrumental in leading Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery to a firmer foundation and helping to arrange the Asher land gift for the cemetery’s expansion. George and I became acquainted when I learned of his wonderful video interviews with folks who had grown up in and around Traders Point. First published as a VHS, George had recently converted the interviews to DVD. Although copies may no longer be available from his website, the Pike Township Historical Society, located within Pike High School, owns a copy. I believe the Pike Township Library also owns a copy.
He leaves behind a young wife with two children. Arrangements are being handled by Flanner & Buchanan’s Zionsville Mortuary with burial in Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Flanner and Buchanan’s Zionsville Mortuary will host visitation this Friday December 7 from 4- 8 p.m. Services are Saturday December 8, 11 a.m. also at Flanner & Buchanan, Zionsville.
I just received the above excerpt from the 1882 census showing several interesting facts about Traders Point at that time. The graded school was located between Moore and Lafayette Roads at the top of the hill. Recently I have found it helpful to relate dates to macro events occurring in the country at the same time. In 1882 we were emerging from the long depression, a humble reminder that recessions and depressions are always with us. Here’s an excerpt from wiki about the “long depression”:
In the United States, economists typically refer to the Long Depression as the Depression of 1873–79, kicked off by the Panic of 1873, and followed by the Panic of 1893, book-ending the entire period of the wider Long Depression. The National Bureau of Economic Research dates the contraction following the panic as lasting from October 1873 to March 1879. At 65 months, it is the longest-lasting contraction identified by the NBER, eclipsing the Great Depression’s 43 months of contraction.
The Eagle Creek Nature Preserve near Traders Point was created when the Indianapolis Colts moved to Indianapolis. But few know the full story that connects the Indianapolis Colts to a 100 acre nature preserve near Eagle Creek Park or the fact that the sensitive area was once slated to be mined for gravel.
In an Indianapolis Star article dated Tuesday April 15, 1980 we learn the Audubon Society chapter of Indianapolis demanded an immediate halt to the controversial mining operation on flood control land inside the park’s boundaries. But the headline blared: “Gravel Firm Lawyer has Warning for City”. Phillip H. Minton, attorney for U.S. Allied-Aggregates, said the firm wanted to mine gravel on some 80 acres of city-owned land north of the park along Eagle Creek. Minton said the company signed an agreement in 1967 which states that mining can occur in the “Eagle Creek Reservoir Basin”. The Indianapolis Department of Public Works had been seeking to negotiate an end to the mining but U.S. Allied had rejected the city’s proposal the previous week. Minton said that if the city halted the mining with a court order, and U.S. Allied subsequently won the right to operate, the company would seek “substantial damages” from the city and the “entire Eagle Creek Reservoir basis will be excavated.” Representatives of the Audubon Society were joined by the Sierra Club, the Indianapolis Garden Club and others critical of the existence of mining in a park, saying it is damaging to wildlife habitats as well as being an eyesore.
On January 16, 1985 the Indianapolis Star reported the designation of land at the northeast end of the park as an informal arboretum and other land in that area as a preserved section, or wildlife conservation area. In the same article the parks board approved a community park at the southeast corner of West 56th Street and Reed Road, next to the Indianapolis Colts training facility under construction. What was not mentioned in the article was that the city had experienced a net loss of parks land in order to attract the Colts and that the director of the Parks Department was furious.
More than ten years after Minton’s threat, a very small article in the same paper (November 06, 1990), had the following notice: “On Monday the Public Works Board voted 3-0 to turn 111 acres of vacant land across from Eagle Creek Park over to the city parks department for use as a nature preserve. The site is just east of Lafayette Road near 79th Street. Eagle Creek administrator Steve D. Waltz said the city had tentatively agreed to the transfer in 1984 when the parks department gave up some land so a training center could be built for the Indianapolis Colts football team”. The article did not mention the transfer came from the Department of Public Works, the group obligated to honor the mining agreement. By transferring the custody of ownership the city had found a clever way to terminate their agreement with U.S. Allied-Aggregates.
I learned from a reliable source that Parks Department Director Art Strong was visibly upset with Mayor Hudnut when he learned the Mayor had offered park land to the Colts for their training facility. Strong had fought hard to create more parks land for use by city residents and he was appalled that some of it was being used like a political football to benefit a privately owned business. Although it took years to formally terminate the mining agreements and transfer the public works department land to the Parks Department for a nature preserve, Director Strong’s desire to have no net loss of park land was realized.
Today the nature preserve is a pristine area unknown to most park visitors and naturalists. Lacking a parking lot and direct access by trail to the primary park it is not easily accessible. The area is home to a buried petroleum pipeline dating to the 1950s when Purdue University controlled the property. The owners of the pipeline have a need for aerial surveillance of their line and this has necessitated a 50 foot wide cut of nature that visibly scars the area. But that fact is lost on the beaver, deer, foxes, coyote and hawks that frequent the preserve. Since the same pipeline extends south through Eagle Creek Park, the pipeline company will soon extend a similar swath cut through park land located on the west side of the reservoir. In order to accommodate the naturalist’s concerns about the cutting through the woods, the company has agreed to delay their cuts until later this year.
Found another Traders Point trinket on EBAY that goes in the shoebox, er website. Photographer John Pontiere did an amazing job of traveling the midwest and snapping large format negative images of scenic significance; especially covered bridges. He died in 1990 at the age of 74 but I do not have the date the photo was taken. The bridge originally spanned Fishback Creek on 86th Street and was relocated several thousand feet west prior to the construction of Interstate 65 in 1963.
You’ve probably never heard of Traders Point’s Jack White. I came across his name years ago and thought it curious that his career was so short — but I recently learned his short career gave him a bit of national historical significance. Born June 19, 1878 in Traders Point, Indiana, his first and last game in the majors was on June 26, 1904 for the Boston Beaneaters. His one at bat placed him in a unique club. That club has now been wonderfully profiled in The Cup of Coffee Club: The Ballplayers Who Got Only One Game by Rick Paulas. Here’s an excerpt: Of the 17,808 players (and counting) who’ve run up the dugout steps and onto a Major League field, only 974 have had one-game careers. In baseball parlance, these single-gamers are known as “Cup of Coffee” players. The number fluctuates slightly throughout each season as new prospects get called up to fill in for injured veterans, or when roster size expands in September. (Last year, for example, Braves rookie Julio Teheran was a Cup of Coffee player for the eleven days between his MLB debut and a spot start.) But staying on the list for an extended period of time is generally not a good sign. It’s an ominous one, an indication that something’s gone horribly wrong, that however long a person has worked to attain his dreams, all he was allowed was a brief glimpse before the curtain was yanked shut in front of him. The Cup of Coffee club is filled exclusively with people who do not want to be members. Full article
Blogger Jim Grey called a few months ago with interesting news. He had purchased a few glass plate negatives on Ebay (of all places) that were entitled Dandy Trail photos. We agreed to meet at the Traders Point Loft for lunch so that he could show me the negatives. While we waited for lunch he carefully unwrapped one of the 4″ x 6″ sheets of glass and passed it to me. There is a certain excitement known to photographers when they see a negative image. From my darkroom days I knew that conventional printing of these glass plates into positive images would be a delicate job best left to professionals. (Although I had recently used the white board of a computer screen to photograph over 100 glass plates from Pike Township’s earliest days and reversed them in Photoshop, Jim wanted these images printed and digitally saved by pros.)
This morning I received an email from Jim with a hyperlink to the professionally remastered images. With his permission I repost one of these. (To see all 7 images you’ll need to click on over to Jim’s flicker collections.) Thanks Jim, these are awesome.
Please help us identify the couple in the image. They would have been born in the 1860s – 1870s(?) and they may have been Dandy’s owners! Dandy Trail was an 88 mile roadway surrounding Indianapolis in the early 1900s. Named for a dog belonging to an executive with the Hoosier Motor Club, the roadway entered Traders Point just north and west of Eagle Creek and just south of what is now the Farm Bureau Coop and Salt Barn. Dandy Trail was the primary route into Traders Point for the valley residents south of the village.
Jim has traced the route using Google Maps! http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205165255168667637225.0004c059583b5ff6dfdc5&msa=0
With knobby tires and shock absorbers, a mountain bike peddled by a skilled rider can smite the roughest trail with a cloud of dust. Mountain bikers have salivated for years about building trails in the rolling hills of Eagle Creek Park, the city’s largest municipal park.
At the same time, environmental advocates warn such trails would lead to erosion and more sedimentation in the park’s reservoir, which is used for drinking water. Perhaps it’s no wonder Indy Parks and Recreation hasn’t been in a hurry to take up the issue of mountain bike trails. But that’s about to change.
“We are looking to schedule a public listening session,” said Indy Parks spokeswoman Jen Pittman. The session could be held late this month or early next, she said.
“This deserves to be heard. We know there’s a high level of interest” from both sides, Pittman said.
That will be welcome news to the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association, which complained in a recent e-mail to its members that park management “refused to even consider Eagle Creek” for such trails.
“I want to be very clear that HMBA is done asking nicely about Eagle Creek,” HMBA President Paul Arlinghaus told his members. “We require Eagle Creek to be on the table. [We want to see] progress toward a trail master plan that includes Eagle Creek.”
Local environmental activists, including Clarke Kahlo, are concerned about the effects.
“I hope Indy Parks will be able to resist HMBA’s apparent demanding, if not ‘strongarm,’ tactics. Eagle Creek Park is an ecological gem, but will cease to be so if mountain bike trails are permitted,” Kahlo said in a letter to city officials.
Arlinghaus told IBJ that mountain bikers have grown frustrated over Eagle Creek management’s reluctance to take up the issue in past years. Frustration came to a head recently when park management quickly approved a zip line for the park, the kind of use not even hinted at in past master plans.
Some mountain bikers said they were led to believe that features such as bike trails and zip lines needed to be included in a master plan before they could proceed.
The contract with a private zip-line operator “puts money in [Eagle Creek’s] pockets, so it just happens,” Arlinghaus said.
Mountain biking, unlike a zip line, promotes exercise and physical fitness—something sorely needed to address Indiana’s obesity problem, Arlinghaus said.
Arlinghaus disputed concerns that mountain biking trails would pose a risk to the environment. He said the trails can take up to four years to open because the effect on local plants and animals would have to be carefully considered.
“Designing a trail is a very complicated process,” he said.
Mountain bikers use trails in Indianapolis-area parks. Fort Harrison State Park has two trails. And the City of Indianapolis has them in Town Run Trail Park at 5325 E. 96th St. Bicycle paths also were built at Southeastway Park in southeast Marion County.
Pittman said that while the mountain bike trail topic has come up during various meetings over the years, Indy Parks staff couldn’t remember a meeting dedicated to the topic.
“We do want to make sure we’re getting it right and not just acting quickly,” she said.
Although Eagle Creek doesn’t have dedicated mountain bike trails, its narrow arteries often swarm with packs of on-road bicyclists. The park prohibits bicycles on its hiking trails. Some mountain bikers ride on a grass-covered service road on the northern end of the reservoir, near the 71st Street gate. But that route is relatively short.