National Register Application Meeting

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A small group gathered July 19 at the Creamery to learn more about efforts to create historic place status for Traders Point. Frank Hurdis, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology is the reviewer of the application. He explained that the identification of properties in the neighborhood eligible for being listed on the National Register issues a measure of protection for those structures but does not limit the owner’s ability to modify or convey the strucutures.

The primary benefit of National Register status is to call attention to an area’s historical significance prior to the approval of any expense involving federal monies or approvals in the area, such as cell towers (FCC) or highway spending.

The “Multiple Property Listing Document” has been completed in draft form by Researcher Eliza Steelwater. Hurdis described her draft document as one of the most comprehensive and carefully researched of any he has reviewed. He was most certain that the draft would be accepted and sent to Washington for approval by the National Register as a framework, not as a specific listing in the National Register. Steelwater’s research focused on historical properties within Eagle Twp. of Boone County and Pike Twp. of Marion County. Totaling 60 square miles, she chose a large study area using uncontestable established boundaries. She identified three distinct periods in history with examples of each located throughout the study area.

1. First Settlement Period (1820-1852). The Pitzer House in Boone County and the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery on Moore Road (which she described as outstanding) are two examples from this period.
2. Agricultural Period, (post 1852 to pre-depression). During this time Eagle Village moved en masse to Zionsville due to advent of the railroad. Homes with Queen Anne and gingerbread style ornamentation are found throughout the study area. Many farm houses that have lost their farm properties and some surviving barns and silos typify this era. The 1910 Traders Point Farm Barn (8100 Moore Road) is a great example from this era. She said a farm depression preceded the great depression by five years and transferred ownership of many farm properties and non-farm industrialists and businesspeople from Indianapolis became interested at this time in living here and buying farms here. The decision by William Fortune and Bowman Elder to move to the area in the 1920s represent this theme. Dr. Asher’s civil war era farmhouse and barn on Moore Road also typify this period.
3. Gentlemen Farms and Leisure Estates, (1920s – 1930s) typified by Normandy Farm estate of Herman Krannert on West 79th Street where the gatehouse is virtually unchanged in 75 years, and several other properties in the area, especially along Salem Church Road.

Mark Dollase, Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana spoke of the protections that are available once a property has been placed on the register and the ease of registering individuals properties once the multiple property listing for the area has been adopted. He encouraged private property owners to create and donate conservation and preservation easements to not for profits such as Nature Conservancy and Historic Landmarks to receive favorable tax benefits. He also discussed urban historic neighborhoods in the area such as Lockerbie and Irvington. He said Traders Point will be the only rural historic district in Marion County. Following questions and answers, host Fritz Kunz served ice cream to those in attendance.

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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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