Pike grads remember Ropkey property . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009

An old buddy, Andy Pritchard, has been following the Ropkey House story along with Mark Montieth and several hundred Pike High School grads. They have compiled a short list of memories from growing up in the area:
1. “I remember seeing the tanks and airplanes in the backyard from the interstate, but I didn’t realize there was so much history behind the place.”
2. “Sally Vogel and Steve Kent used to ride Mr. Ropkey’s horse around the neighborhood.”
3. There was a gravel pit pond behind the house that was dug out when 465 was expanded and the county needed dirt to build up the overpass for 79th St. to cross the interstate.
4. A half-submerged single-person submarine was stuck in the pond. Mr. Ropkey had bought it from the government and hauled it to his property. He tried to drive it in the pond, but it sank.
5. A small arsenal of tanks, howitzers and other military equipment was scattered around the backyard.
6. There’s also a report of a NASA Gemini space capsule in the pond. All the toys have been moved to somewhere near Crawfordsville.
7. His tanks were used in the movies “1941” and “Tank.’
8. More than 500 working antique clocks could be found inside the home, as well as other fine furnishings.
9. Dave Todd, who provided landscaping around the home in the 1970s, recalls that Mr. Ropkey popped a champagne cork at his 80th birthday party and put out his eye. (His own eye, not Dave’s.)
Note: The Ropkey Museum is located in Crawfordsville and is open to the public.

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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