Lafayette Road Bridge History

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The name “Traders Point” refers to an old Indian Trail
crossing where Eagle Creek meets Lafayette Road.
The first parcel purchased
in Pike Township
was a small 80 acre parcel
and it included this
crossing.
• The parcel was first purchased by a speculator. He
neither settled nor farmed the site, (at a time when most
parcels in central Indiana were being purchased by
settlers and farmers).
• The year was 1823.
The speculator was William Conner; a fur trader, husband of an Indian
Chief’s daughter, and namesake of Indiana History museum Conner
Prairie.
William Conner would have known this route as an
Indian trail
• Miami Indians lived throughout this area at the time of Mr. Conner’s
purchase. Conner worked first for Canadian fur traders establishing
commerce with Indians, and later with William Henry Harrison, first
governor of the Indiana Territory, negotiating treaties with the
Indians.
Painting by Traders Point artist Cassilly Adams (1920)
• This 80 acre parcel was Conner’s first land
patent and his only land purchase in
Marion County. (He later acquired, by
patent, over 1000 acres in many other
counties throughout Indiana.)
• Lafayette Road was the first public road
through Pike Township, (followed a year
later by Michigan Road).
• Lafayette Road was surveyed and cleared
in 1831. The commissioners chose the
route because it was the most traveled
horse trail between Indianapolis and
Lafayette.
• Lafayette Road’s construction was funded
by tolls collected at a tollhouse located
one mile south of the bridge
The toll house is still standing today
at 6475 ½ Lafayette Road
• The original bridge over Eagle Creek at
Lafayette Road was likely the first public
bridge in Pike Township.
A small hamlet of homes and businesses
was platted a few feet north of this crossing
in 1864 by the operators of a grist mill
located on the west bank of Eagle Creek.
. . . they named it Traders Point
They named it Traders Point.
• The founder’s three story grist mill would
have been visible from the bridge.
Photo of similar mill
An iron bridge preceded the current concrete
structure.
( A similar iron bridge to the Lafayette Road iron bridge is located over Eagle Creek near Girl’s School Road in Wayne Township.)
A new bridge over Eagle Creek is
An opportunity to celebrate the
Historic Traders Point area.
As the gateway to our
neighborhood, we welcome the
Improvement, and will work to insure
that it is
Complementary to its heritage.
• Source materials available upon request.
• Ross Reller is a resident of the area and has been compiling its history for over five
years. He is the Vice President of TPAN, Traders Point Association of
Neighborhoods.
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About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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