Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery


I serve as a volunteer on the Board of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery Inc., located at 8320 Moore Road, Pike Twp. I joined the board in 2005, when the board was offered a one acre parcel of land from the adjacent property owner, Dr. and Mrs. James Asher for the express purpose of expanding the cemetery and establishing a family burial plot for the donor’s family. In the course of completing the year-end work on the donation we discovered that neither the original cemetery nor the donation property was ever appropriately zoned for such a use. I immediately contacted Karen Terrell and she arranged a meeting which she and I attended in December 2006 with Kathleen Blackham, Senior Planner, Division of Planning, Department of Metropolitan Development, to discuss zoning both the original cemetery and the donation parcel from the current DA zoning classification to the SU10 (cemetery) classification.

The Asher’s received, in exchange for their donation, gift recognition on their 2006 taxes for the appraised value of the acre, minus the value of 2 cemetery lots, which will be used by them as their final resting place. The balance of the donated property is to be used for expansion of the cemetery. This donation has now been completed and the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery has increased in size from 2 acres to 3 acres. The cemetery helps to define this historical area and the donation is exciting and significant for a number of reasons:
1. The Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery has been largely inactive for several years as we have not had burial plots available to sell to the public.
2. The cemetery is surrounded on three sides by farm land and the donation does not change this. Both before and following the donation, the neighbors remain the same; to the south is the William Elder farm and the neighbor to the west and north is the donor’s farm. Our east property line is Moore Road. Access to the new property will be across the southwest corner of the existing cemetery with no change in curb cuts or setbacks. To the traveling public there will be no visible change at 8320 Moore Road.
3. The cemetery is one of the oldest, if not the oldest cemeteries in Pike Township that is still in operation. The cemetery dates to 1845, or earlier, and is a final resting place for Revolutionary War Veteran John Hume, nationally known Indianapolis Fashion Photographer, Noble Bretzman, and numerous pioneer families from the first generation of Indiana’s history.
4. The cemetery is independent of any church, is not-for-profit, and is open to the public. The expansion will enable us to offer affordable burial plots to anyone that would like to plan to spend eternity in this pastoral and picturesque part of Pike Township. A public hearing has been scheduled for March 1, 2007 per the attached legal notice. As a part of circulating the petition to the various governmental bodies for review, the Department of Public Works has requested an additional 40 feet of right of way for Moore Road across the front of the cemetery on Moore Road. The cemetery that has frontage on Moore Road has been in continuous operation as a cemetery since the 1820s and there is no land to donate. It is not reasonable to request that any property be taken from the historic Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery for the purpose of widening Moore Road due to the rural historic character of both the cemetery and the district.

http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/bin/rb_apps/2006/eagletownship_mpd.pdf

The link above will take you to the Rural Historic District application that was accepted in 2006 by Indiana DNR and U.S. Dept. of Interior per Frank Hurdis at Indiana DNR. The Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery and its significance to the district are mentioned within the report on pages 12,30,47,48,67,69 and 77. When I spoke with Mr. Hurdis he said that the designation protects the entire area from state and federal highway projects within the district and may have an impact on the city’s thoroughfare plan as an 80′ right of way would damage the historic integrity of the cemetery and of the district. It is very possible that the establishment of the Rural Historic Designation for this area will cause the city to revisit the thoughfare plan as it relates to Moore Road. (Moore Road is defined as one of the integral and original rural roadways that is intact in the district and it is mentioned throughout the report. Additionally the 1879 Asher home mentioned in the report refers to the residence of the donor of the land for the expansion of the cemetery, page 65. )
I am also attaching a photo of the historical marker for John Hume, (1761-1840) a veteran of the Revolutionary War, who is buried here. The text of his marker is: “John Hume 1761-1840 Revolutionary War Soldier PA. Militia Indiana Pioneer Born in PA. Moved to New York State Settled in Indiana in 1815 Lived in this vicinity until his death. Buried here.

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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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