National Rural Historic District article

Friday, July 28, 2006


Protecting history
Residents want to see area preserved


By Leslie Collins
Star correspondent

The tunnels of trees along country roads south of Zionsville are like time machines
And perfect for designation as a National Historic area, local residents say.
Farmsteads along Moore Road and 96th Street — owned by the same families for generations — still have their original crop and pasture lines.
The old haunts of the Traders Point Hunt Club remain intact, and on a crisp autumn day you might still see a two-column parade of scarlet-coated riders on their meticulously manicured mounts — in what amount to present-day hunts without the prey.
An old church stands on its original 1834 plot along Kissell Road, where members still congregate on a Sunday.
These are but a few reasons a group of residents is paving the way for pockets of Pike Township (Marion County) and Eagle Township (Boone County) to be designated a National Rural Historic District.
The area is nestled within a triangle of interstates — I-465, I-65 and I-865 on the Northwestside of Indianapolis.
The historic designation puts no actual legal restrictions on property owners or developers, but can provide a layer of protection against federal projects such as road expansions and cell phone towers, said Cindy Lamberjack, who lives along Moore Road and has worked on the project.
The theory is that country roads preserve country settings.
“Any project dealing with federal aid is subject to several reviews, including historic preservation. It’s one step beyond where we are now,” she said.
That first step was a meeting Wednesday in Indianapolis, where a state review board approved an extensive study of the 60-square-mile area. The Multiple Properties Listing Document will be forwarded to the National Park Service.
The document is not a National Register nomination, said Frank Hurdis, chief of registration and surveys for the Indiana Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.
“Once the study is approved, anyone who wants to nominate properties within the area will have an easier time. They won’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
Properties being eyed by Lamberjack and her neighbors include Moore Road between 86th and 96th streets, areas of Kissell and Hunt Club roads and the Ford Road-and-96th Street area.
“What we’re doing here is layering levels of protection,” Lamberjack said.
Her neighbors concur. Steven L. Jones was one of about 50 people who attended a meeting earlier this month, where they heard from Hurdis and Eliza Steelwater, a consultant hired to write the study.
Jones lives in a subdivision on west 86th Street, near the affected area. He’s been rallying neighbors since the Boone County Commissioners proposed widening a bridge at Ford Road and 96th Street, two years ago. The commissioners backed off the plan.
“We want growth that is constructive and conducive to the property values,” Jones said. “We want to preserve Traders Point more in the spirit Zionsville has been preserved, as opposed to letting it go the way of the rest of Pike Township.”
Steelwater has documented the historical integrity of land along Moore Road, such as that purchased during the Great Depression by William Fortune. It remains within the same family today and is the site of the Traders Point Creamery.
“They have made building changes, but the acreage maintains historic boundaries as far back as the 1930s,” Steelwater said. “Crops may change, but the same roads, field edges and similar landscape is still there.”
Fritz Kunz owns the creamery and has been in on the process from the start.
“It’s very exciting to think we might be able to influence the development of the area, so we won’t just throw the look of our area completely down the drain,” he said.
The original Traders Point Hunt Club started in the Moore Road stable of one of Kunz’s forebears, Bowman Elder.
Histories such as this have ensured the first step in the neighbors’ plan for historic preservation.
Read the 82-page application and a history of the area at: ship_mpd.doc


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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