Plate glass photos (circa 1905) of Pike Township, Marion County, Indiana life
Great news.  I have just completed the process of photographing the Stevens glass plate collection.   These plates were found in the basement of Maxine Steven’s house by her son J.K.   He recently loaned them to me so that I could “digitize ’em”.

The photographer may have been Maxine Steven’s grandfather Wiley who lived near West 71st and Zionsville Road (now Park 100).
Please forward this link  (to the glass plate negative slide show) to anyone who might enjoy seeing these pictures.   Lots of school class photos, some New Augusta buildings, and a great photo of the NEW Bethel Methodist Church on 52nd. Since it was built in 1905 that is my general guess for when these pictures were taken.
There are few “named” photos but there is a Geo. Hollingsworth barn depicted, as well as a Kissel family barn.   But I don’t know where these barns were located.   Lots of Pike School #9 photos (high school).     It would be really neat if we could identify some of these folks.   Please have people contact me at this email address if they can help.   I will be bringing a small collection of prints to the October 30 event.
This has been great fun and I am indebted to J.K. for providing me with so much entertainment.  And not a single plate broke!
In case anyone asks, the process for getting from the negative to these images did not involve traditional photo developing baths or solutions.   It was entirely dry!    I used a white screen on my computer (like a light box) and carefully laid the negative onto the computer screen in a “dark” room (just a windowless closet).      This provided backlighting that was sufficient to illuminate the plate.   I mounted my digital camera on a tripod and photographed the 4″ x 6″ plates first, then I readjusted the tripod and photographed the 5″ x 7″ images.   Then I removed the memory card from the camera, inserted it into my computer and reversed all of the images (to make them positive) using photo editing software.   This really didn’t take more than a few hours.   A lot faster than manually printing each one in a real wet darkroom with the three baths of developer, toner and fixer.   Once the images were filed on my computer it took five minutes to upload them to the internet.    They are in two separate slide shows.   There are some duplicates and that is unintentional.   The original photographer probably took about five minutes between each photo (because of the time required to remove the glass plate from the camera, carefully store it, unwrap the next negative plate and insert into the camera etc.)
One interesting observation about plate glass photography, it was on its way out in 1905.   George Eastman had invented roll film in 1885 that could be taken to a photo lab (like an apothecary) and developed professionally.    An amateur photographer taking pictures with plate glass in 1905 was a serious and devoted hobbyist or a professional.   It was not a casual device or a toy that anyone can operate (like the one I used to take the pictures of the negatives!)

Posted in Traders Point in general | 3 Comments

Dear Traders Point Area Resident:

Several years ago a group of concerned citizens living west of 465 and north of Eagle Creek Park organized an association (TPAN) to address the opportunities and threats facing residents within the Traders Point area. Meeting irregularly at the West 86th Clubhouse or the Traders Point Creamery loft introduced us to topics and interests that are not often found within a typical neighborhood association setting. So it is not surprising that our interests and concerns have spanned topics as eclectic as the personalities of our neighbors. Behind each of these accomplishments are neighbors who care deeply for this rural place in the city. Acting alone or on teams, and many times without any help or money from others, they have helped to improve the 5000 acre triangle and beyond we fondly refer to as Traders Point. I would like to recognize a few of these special neighbors (there is a special treat at the end of this letter).

1. Wendy Ford organized a second major planting at the Traders Point Gateway Project (West 71st and Lafayette Road) with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Dozens of volunteers spent a major part of their weekend beautifying government land west of Lafayette Road and north of West 71st to welcome us home and to distinguish our area to visitors.

2. Jerry and Cindy Baker led a grass roots campaign in a landmark case heard by the Indiana Regulatory Commission in which legal tree

trimming by utilities was redefined. What started as a simple request by neighbors to understand private property rights and duties by utilities has turned out to be a major victory for tree owners with a media spotlight focused on Traders Point.

3. Cindy Lamberjack and Fritz Kunz receive notification from the United States Department of Interior/National Parks Service that 1500

4. Former Indiana resident Sheila Fortune breaks ground on a new barn on her organic farm located on the northwest corner of West 86th and Moore Road. TPAN assisted in attracting the out of state owner when we learned that Pike Twp. Schools were considering the site for a new middle school.

5. Neighbors and Indiana Historic Landmarks attracted a buyer for the Historic Asher home on Moore Road after we learned it was slated for demolition. This 135 year old home is considered an important contribution to the Rural Historic District. New owners plan a faithful renovation for their family residence.

6. Traders Point Creamery donates its facilities and all gate proceeds to Greater Historic Traders Point at the annual Oktoberfest event. Funds will be used by Greater Historic Traders Point to raise awareness and appreciation for the area.

In the coming year we will be using this publication to widen the awareness and appreciation for the history and many distinguishing

Please accept an invitation from neighbors Patti and Dennis Smith to join them at their home, featured on the cover of this publication, on Friday, March 12th around 6:00 ~ 8145 Moore Road.

acres within Pike Twp and Traders Point has been designated a Rural Historic District. Neighbors are currently organizing a board, Greater Historic Traders Point to address the needs of the district and educate the public about it. It has been said that this is the largest Rural Historic District in the nation that is located within a metropolitan area, a fact made possible by our rural area being within the city limits of Indianapolis.characteristics of our area. We invite you to attend our meetings and to contact our officers if you would like more information about TPAN. We always have room for new ideas, and new projects. But one of our greatest pleasures is getting better acquainted with the neighbors we already have.

Please RSVP: 290-0022 – (if they answer, “Hello DLS”, that’s because they have a construction office in their home.) Patti will make

I look forward to seeing you soon.

a main dish, maybe a big pot of soup, but if anyone wants to bring anything to add to the meal or drinks, please feel free. Let Patti know what you can add. They look forward to sharing their beautiful home. We hope everyone can make it, and please feel free to bring your kids if they want to come. We have new folks in the neighborhood and it will be nice to meet them as well.

Ross Reller

Vice President


Posted in Current Events | 1 Comment

Eagle’s Edge, 8140 Moore Road


8140 Moore Road

Eagle's Edge

Eagle’s Edge ,8140 Moore Road, The Samuel Dowden House, is currently owned by Dennis and Patti Smith. It was built in 1930 for Attorney Samuel Dowden and has since been owned by several prominent Indianapolis doctors and lawyers. It is believed that Dowden originally constructed a cabin in the 1920s with a sunroom on the site which overlooks Eagle Creek. In 2004 Dennis and Patti, who are professional contractors, meticulously renovated the original structure. Their renovation took nearly every wall down to the original plaster lathe. They moved doorways, butler pantries, hallways, even bathrooms. They turned a maid’s room into a master closet. They also



installed hickory plank flooring and crown moldings as the home would have had originally and opened ceilings in the foyer and the master bedroom. It is a showplace for the Smith’s capabilities in remodeling the older home. The original house was rated by Indiana Historic Landmarks in 1990 as an outstanding example of the Colonial Revival architectural style. The property is also noted in Eliza Steelwater’s comprehensive document “National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form” that led to the recognition of the Traders Point area’s significance by the U.S. Department of Interior/National Park Service which in 2009 named a portion of Pike Township a Rural Historic District.

Posted in Area History, Current Events, Distinctives | Leave a comment

Traders Point and “the most famous man in America”: Henry Ward Beecher

view of elder farm from church school site

Many know that the first pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Henry Ward Beecher, would go on to influence Abraham Lincoln and gain world re-known fame as a leader in the temperance movement.   Son of famed theologian Lyman Beecher, Henry was also the brother of Uncle Tom’ Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe.   Beecher and his wife were, interestingly,  the first passengers on the first train out of Indianapolis.  He would later see his reputation disgraced by a scandal when he was caught in a love triangle with his best friend’s wife in the late 1800s.   But we have recently discovered that “the most famous man in America” was known to have preached before the Civil War in a long-forgotten church situated on the knoll at the corner of Moore and Lafayette Roads in Traders Point.   This church predated the establishment of the village .

In the following story we will link his past with our neighborhood, thanks to the work of Marion County historian Berry Sulgrove and a map of the area from the 1800s.

Cows graze atop this triangular knoll today.   It’s a wedge-shaped parcel created by Lafayette Road on one side and Moore Road on the other.  By the late 1800s the Tolbert Moore Free Gravel Road was the preferred route from Traders Point to Zionsville.   Even today this winding cow path of a shoulder-less road is a popular scenic route.

So it is hard to imagine a time when a church and later a two-room brick schoolhouse stood here*.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)was once called the most famous man in America.   He preached in a church on this infamous pasture long before there was a school here and at least a decade before the creation of Traders Point, Indiana in 1855.  In 1884 Berry R. Sulgrove authored a comprehensive and well-respected history of Indianapolis and Marion County.   His account of Prospect Presbyterian Church where Beecher preached in Pike Township omitted its exact location.  A recent discovery of an 1855 map of the area included the words “Prospect Pr. Ch.” near this intersection.    All we know about Prospect Presbyterian Church is from Sulgrove:

Prospect Presbyterian Church was organized
about 1835, at Burns’ school-house, by the families of
Thomas Burns, Thomas McMannis, James Moore,
James Duncan, John Duncan, Joseph Patten, and
some others. In a few years after the organization
they built a house for worship on the northwest corner
of James Duncan’s land (where the Rural Academy
now stands), and the first preacher who occupied the
pulpit there was the Rev. Stewart, who continued to
preach for this church for a number of years. After
him the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (the noted Brook-
lyn divine) preached here, and he was followed by the
Rev. Reed, who preached for the church for a number
of years, and the Rev. Long, who was the last minister
of this church. As some of its leading members had
moved to the West, and others had died, the house
was sold for a school-house, and is now known as Rural

Who was Henry Ward Beecher and why was he once called the most famous man in America? In a review of Debbie Applegate’s biography on Beecher: The Most Famous Man in America, : “Now nearly forgotten, Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887) was an immensely famous minister, abolitionist and public intellectual whose career was rocked by allegations of adultery that made nationwide headlines. In this engaging biography, American studies scholar Applegate situates this curiously modern 19th-century figure at the focus of epochal developments in American culture. Beecher’s mesmerizing oratory and fiery newspaper columns made him one of the first celebrities of the nascent mass media. His antislavery politics, though often tepid and vacillating, Applegate argues, injected a note of emotionalism into the debate that—with his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin—galvanized Northern public opinion.”

Before Beecher was famous, and long before his fame was marred by scandal, he preached in Indianapolis for eight years.

Beecher, who was to become the subject of Thomas Nast cartoons and the idol of the thousands who each Sunday crowded into churches to hear his spell-binding preaching, first came west from New England to study at a seminary in Cincinnati and preach in Lawrenceburg, Ind. That’s where the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis discovered him and invited him to the big city, which Lyman Abbott in Henry Ward Beecher: A Sketch of His Career, said was then a town of fewer than 4,000 souls where dog fennel grew wild and pigs ran wild through the streets.

That was May of 1839 and Beecher accepted the call. Beecher brought with him his wife and two sons. His wife Eunice Beecher, according to Claudene Atkinson’s account in the November 1980 edition of Indianapolis Magazine, enjoyed poor health.

Said Atkinson: As [had been the case] in Lawrenceburg, Eunice became the object of some discussion by locals. She was known as the boyish Beecher’s ‘ailing and wailing wife,’ and no one believed it for a minute when, eight years later, the family accepted the call to Brooklyn because of Eunice’s `illness.’

Yes, Beecher was in Indianapolis only eight years, but those were important ones for him, and for journalism.

Hungering both for a wider audience and for a way to help feed his family, Henry Ward Beecher founded the Indiana Farmer and Gardener, a semimonthly journal devoted to farm life. The financial backing for the periodical came from the Whig newspaper, the Indiana State Journal, and Beecher was given permission to reprint as much of the contents of the Journal as he wished. He advised his backers he would do so only insofar as he was allowed to identify the source of the materials, for he detested and often spoke about the prevailing practice of plagiarism.

Beecher did his writing and editing early in the morning, before breakfast.

According to Jane Shaffer Elsmere in Henry Ward Beecher, the Indiana Years, Beecher’s wife had long ago taught him the habit of rising early. As a result, Beecher said, “most of my work on the paper is done before my neighbors are up in the morning. His work included mostly information about gardening and farming, but Beecher never passed a chance to preach. In one passage quoted by Abbott, he told farmers it was very shiftless to build your barnyard so that every rain shall drain it; to build your privy and dig your well close together…

After spending eight years in Indianapolis, Beecher had developed a reputation for his skill as a speaker. In his sermons he vehemently attacked drinking and slavery. He also called for more political and legal rights for women. As the North and South grew further apart during the 1850s, some ministers condoned violence to settle the differences between the two regions. Following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, he sent rifles to anti-slavery forces participating in “Bleeding Kansas.” These guns became known as “Beecher’s bibles” because they arrived in Kansas in crates marked “bibles.” During the American Civil War, Beecher’s church equipped an entire regiment of Union soldiers. The entire Beecher family opposed slavery. Beecher’s sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

“And on the day (in 1847) when the railroad came at last to Indiana’s capital, bringing with it prosperity and fortune to those who had held on through so many years of hardship and patient faith, Henry Ward Beecher left, . . . the first passenger out of Indianapolis on the new railroad.”  (from Henry Ward Beecher: An American Portrait” by Paxton Hibben and Sinclair Lewis.)

Eighteen years later, in 1865, Traders Point, Indiana, was platted in the valley of Eagle Creek, a short mile from the church where Beecher had preached atop Lafayette and Moore Roads.

*The Rural Academy, or School # 12 as it was called by the Pike Township authorities, was a two-room school house where area farmers sent their children from the 1850s to the early 1900s.   A neighbor told the writer many years ago that the school’s water well pipe, with its handle still attached, was a familiar site to motorists long after the school had come down.    Evidently the highway department had removed part of the crown on this hill where the two roads came together.   Highway 52 (as Lafayette Road was called for a while) was carrying large amounts of traffic as the main route to Lebanon.   So in the interests of safety, a hill was softened but in the removing of the crown they left behind the odd sight of a lonely towering pump.

Posted in Area History, Distinctives, Henry Ward Beecher | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Traders Point Indians- Another Story of Pioneer Life: The Stolen Horses by Jerry Reade (1822)


Artist Cassilly Adams (born 1843) died in Traders Point in 1921

(Indiana American – March 27, 1869)

Grandfather drew his chair nearer the fire and began: ” I well recollect the time.  It was in 1822 and in the month of January  that the event took place which I am about to relate.   I was living on Eagle Creek at the time, some ten or eleven miles northwest from the present site of Indianapolis.  It was the only settlement then known on the above mentioned stream.   There were still some of ‘the red men of the woods’ on the outskirts of the settlement, and, of course, were none too honest in their dealings with anything which might strike their fancies in absence of the owner; in fact, they would steal almost anything movable, if it came handy for them to do so.   They were a tribe of the Miamies, and were camped first in one place and then in another, so that they were very much of the nature of the Irishman’s flea.

At the close of one day, in the month above-mentioned, one of my neighbors, David McCurdy, came to my house and informed me that the Indians had stolen a fine horse of his, and that his object in coming to me was, that he was raising a company of his neighbors in order to go in pursuit of ‘the noble red men,’ and

 bring back the stolen animal, and that he would be glad to count me in one of his company.   I was ever ready to lend a helping hand in case of such an emergency, and so informed him that I would go.

We were to assemble at the house of one Israel Jackson, by early sunrise next morning in order to start together.   Accordingly, the next morning, the neighbors gathered at the time and place appointed to the number of ten; these ten, including myself, comprised the whole active force of that entire region, and perhaps it would not be out of place to mention their names; they were, John Reed, John McCord, James McCord, Thomas Kearns, David McCurdy, Jesse Lane, Alexia, John and Edward Jackson.   One of the Jacksons, ‘Leck’ as he was called for short, expressed an unwillingness to comprise one of our company.   For, said he, if we were to meet the varmints, I’d be sure to kill some on ’em, and then there would be a thunderin’ muss!’   The remarks were mostly addressed to John, ‘the little wild Irishman’, as he was called, who replied, ‘sure Leck, and its meself that belaves that if yer was widtwer virgins, divil a one wud yer kill!’   It was plainly evident that the idea of meeting the ‘varmints’ as he called the Indians, was decidely repulsive to his feelings of safety; but finally he was prevailed upon to accompany us.

The next thing was to determine which course we should take in order to come up with the Indians.   A difference of opinion at first existed, but finally it was decided that we should strike for the place where the were last known to be encamped.   It was away upon on stream now known as White Lick.

There were no roads to follow, like we have now–not even paths, so that our progress was slow indeed.   After some hours, we came to the above-mentioned steam, and, by following it, we hoped to reach our destination more easily than to trust our powers of discrimination; so on, and on we plodded, until it was near noon, as well as were able to be determine, when we concluded to stop and make a draw upon our rations of corn bread and venison, as well as to rest ourselves and compare ideas.   This all done to our satisfaction, we resumed our march until near three o’clock in the afternoon, when, by the rapidly increasing number of mocassin tracks visible to in the snow, we naturally arrived at the conclusion that the owners of the mocassins could not be a very great way off.   So we halted and held a short council concerning our future base of operations.   We knew not how strong they were, or whether they would be inclined to show fight or not, but we looked to the priming of our guns, and thought, as we did so, that if any skirmishing was to be done, it would not be an altogether one-sided affair.   Leck Jackson wished to be devoted as a sort of ‘rear guard’, but unfortunately his wishes were blasted by our deciding to not have any ‘rear guard’, by which the poor fellow was compelled to face the music, and perhaps, be compelled to listen to a tune he had never heard before.   But we hardly supposed they would think of attacking us unless they were crazed by rotten whisky, which they sometimes purchased from traders, who occasionally visited them.

We were to march into the camp in an unconcerned manner, until we found some clue to the missing horse, and then we were to openly demand that the animal be given up immediatley.   We now advanced, and grouping our way through a tangled copse of underbrush, we found ourselves in the midst of the camp.   The camp was sholly deserted.   No one remained to bid us welcome, or say, ‘Go way, white man!’

From the appearance of things, it was to be seen that they had not been gone longbefore we come up.   Making a detour round the encampment, we found they had taken a northeasterly direction upon leaving, and, without further ado, we decided to take a northeasterly direction too, in hope that we might yet succeed in making known to them the fact that McCurdy could not well do without his horse, just at that time.

The evidence of a sudden departure having taken place, convinced us that they knew something of the stolen animal, so we pressed onward as rapidly as we could, in hope that we might come up with them before nightfall.   On, an on, over rough and mirey ground, over old and prostrate trees, that looked as though they might have lain for centuries, through thick jungles of brush and sometimes lacerating our hands or face so that it was anything but pleasant, that trip was.

Thinking of that time, reminds me very much of what Milton says,

“Oe’er many and a dark and dreary vale,

They passed; and many a region delorous.

O’er many a frozen ; many a firey Alpl

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens and shades

     of death;

A universe of death.’

I do not know, but it appears to me that is in reference to that part of Indiana, when he wrote the above versel but to continue.

At last it began to grow dark, and no signs of any fugitive red men.   The surrounding lend no cheerfulness to the coming night gloom, and an owl gave an occasional hoot from his home in the top of some great forest tree.

A mile or more had been traversed in silence, when the wild Irishman broke the stillness with, ‘An shure, and its meself that smells a hafe stake a cookin’, and wouldn’t myself like a bit of the same!’   It was not long before we were of the same belief.   It might not be exactly a beef steak, but there was flesh of some kind being exposed to the fire, at no great distance, for the odor reached us sensibly.   Some one of the party suggested that they might be holding a feast on the flesh of some of their enemies, they probably had that day slain; whereupon Jackson proposed that we would start for home, as it was getting late.   We believe that we were in the immediate vicinity of the Indians; and our surmises were correct, for upon emerging from a thicket of hazel brush, we saw a little way off the Indian camp, and gathered round the camp fires, were a number of them, roasting venison sharpened sticks.   We were on the eve of advancing into their midst, when all at once, there came at us about a dozen dogs of all sizes, barking and roaring like an East India Tornado.  I had heard dogs bark before, but this display of theirs beat anything I had ever seen or heard tell of; it made the woods resound far and near.   One of the canines made several attempts to seize hold on Jackson’s leather unmentionables from behind, and at last succeeded, whereupon Jackson set up such a howl as frightened the dog away, which no doubt wondered what kind of an animal it had got hold of; driving the dogs before us, we entered the camp.   They doubtless knew what we were after.   Scowling at us, they asked us why we came into their camp at that time of night.   Before any answer could be given by the leader of our party, the wild Irishman yelled out’ ‘Because ye stole Mr. McCurdy’s horse, ye did so dirty pups!”   He was made to keep quiet for fear of irritating the Indians, in which case unnecessary trouble might occur.   The spokesman of the Indians was asked if he knew anything concerning the stolen horse but he replied in the negative.  It was insisted by our party that they knew something concerning the animal.   From the tinkling of the bells upon their horses, we ascertained that they were picketed on the other side of the camp, so telling them that we would go and see for ourselves, we found our way to their horses, hardly expecting to find the one we were in search of, but he was there sure enough; they had not taken the precaution of keeping him separate from the rest, or perhaps they might have baffled us. 

We immediately took the animal in charge and, although many were the threats we heard, and gestures we saw, they failed to intimidate us.   After we started for home, we could hear the rascals following us for some distance, but finally they gave it up and went back.   Continuing our march all that night, we reached home next morning at sunrise.

The places where that event occurred were wild and lonely then.   But how changed today!   There the hoot of the night-owl is seldom heard, and the howl of the prowling wolf which rang through those wild forests is hushed forever.  (Jerry Reade, Traders Point resident, published March 27, 1869 in Indiana American.

Ross Reller notes: In Sulgrove’s History of Indianapolis, Pike Township, the following is noted: Pike, like the other townships of Marion County, was laid out and erected a separate township by order of the county commissioners on the 16th of April, 1822, and on the same date and by the same authority it was joined to Wayne for township purposes (there being but few inhabitants in either), and the two together were deemed a single township, called the township of Pike and Wayne.   This continued until May 10, 1824, when the commissioners of Pike separated from Wayne (the inhabitants being sufficiently numerous) and an election was ordered to be held at the house of Alexis Jackson for the choice of a justice of the peace on the 19th of June following, David McCurdy to be inspector of election.  At this election there were but seventeen votes cast, and John C. Hume was elected the first justice of the peace by a majority of three votes, Mr. Thomas Burns being his opponent for the judicial honors of the township.   J. C. Hume at that time lived in the northern part of the township, in the Harman neighborhood (north of 86th St. and east of Eagle Creek ed. rr), on the south part of the farm now owned by Samuel Hornaday, and Thomas Burns lived in the southwestern part of the township, on the east side of Eagle Creek, on the farms now owned and occupied by his grandsons, Thomas and Oliver Reveal. (History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana by B.R. Sulgrove, 1884)

Posted in Area History, Distinctives, Historic Residents | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Henry Ward Beecher and Traders Point

Today during a visit to the Pike Township Historical Society Archives I was researching the history of the two-room brick school house that had once stood within the northeast corner of Lafayette and Moore Roads.   I had recently been shown a photo of the school that Traders Point native Eddie Hightshue had donated to the archives and I wanted to learn more.   While reviewing a copy of a Marion Count Pike Township Map dated 1855, I had noted  the words: Prospect Pres Ch. near the intersection of Moore Rd. Lafayette and West 79th St  I asked Barbara Copeland, the archivist, if she knew anything about the Prospect Presbyterian Church.   She returned with a letter dated 5/15/1978 and signed by Jesse F. Philliffe (sp) in which he shared the following typed history from Sulgrove’s History of Indianapolis: 1884:

Prospect Presbyterian Church:    This church was organized about 1835 at Burns School House by the families of Thomas Burns, Thomas McMannis, James Moore, James Duncan, John Duncan, Joseph Patten, and some others.   In a few years after the organization they built a house of worship on the northwest corner of James Duncan’s land (where the Rural Academy now stands) and the first preacher who occupied the pulpit there was the Rev. Stewart, who continued to preach for this church for a number of years.   After him Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (the noted Brooklyn divine) preached here, and he was followed by the Rev. Reed, who preached for the church for a number of years, and the Rev. Long who was the last minister of this church.   As some of its leading members had moved to the west, and others had died, the house was sold for a school house, and is now known as Rural Academy. (1884).   Below this double spaced information is the following single spaced note:  As I recall, some of the folk used to talk about the Traders Point school  was known as the Academy.   I trust this information will be of some interest and help to you, and he signed his name.   Beneath his name was another single spaced typed note: Since writing the above I learned that this land ws where the church was built was owned by a Mr. Abraham Busenbarrick.   It is also the same location where the Pleasant Hill cemetery is located on the Moore Road about one mile north of Traders Point.

Could this be true?   According to many published sources, the chronology makes this highly possible. 

Henry Ward Beecher, the fourth son of Lyman Beecher (whose mantle, reputation, and personality he inherited), (and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe) was born on June 24, 1813, at Litchfield, Conn. Though an undisciplined student with a greater gift for speaking than studying, he graduated from Amherst College in 1834 and Lane Theological Seminary in 1837. He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church (New School) in 1838, serving first a small parish at Lawrenceburg, Ind., and then the larger Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis after 1839. Here he developed the oratorical style – a singleness of aim which sought to achieve a moral response and change in his hearers – that enabled him to become the most conspicuous preacher in the nation for several decades.   In 1847 Beecher moved from Indianapolis to Brooklyn, N.Y., to become pastor of the newly formed Plymouth Church. He remained there the rest of his life and made it one of the most renowned and influential American pulpits, attracting crowds of 2, 500 regularly every Sunday. His striking appearance, dynamic delivery, and ability to speak directly on topics of popular interest gained him a national audience. A stenographer recorded his sermons, which were regularly published and widely read.  

   And a confirming note from “Anecdotes of Henry Ward Beecher” by N. A. Shenstone, p. 62: “(while in Indianapolis) He always preached twice on a Sunday, and in various districts of the city held an average of five other meetings a week.   During three months of every year, by consent of his people, he devoted himself to missionary work throughout the State,  making the journeys on horseback and preaching at some place every day.  His fame spread throughout the whole country, until finally his arrival in any town was sufficient to attract a multitude of people to hear him.   And from page 65: “There was then a feeling in the church, almost throughout the country, which was especially strong in Indianapolis, against discussions on slavery from the pulpit.  Some of Mr. Beecher’s most prominent parishoners were bitterly opposed to the subject being even publicly named by a Christian minister.  But he emphasized his position by early introducing into the synod a resolution declaring that every minister should preach a thorough exposition and condemnation of slavery.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), American Congregational clergyman, was an outstanding preacher and lecturer. He was probably the best known and most influential Protestant minister in the United States between 1850 and 1887. 

So yes, Henry Ward Beecher was in Indianapolis from 1839 to 1847 and he could well have preached here on a regular basis.   But one of the most interesting facts of this timeline is that while the church was here at the time Beecher preached in Indianapolis, the village of Traders Point was not platted until 1864.   

Any historical references to Beecher preaching at this church will be cited as Prospect Presbyterian Church, (which was less than one mile north of the village).   It is also quite possible that the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery on Moore Road was affiliated with Prospect since we know that it was not affiliated with the other churches of Traders Point.  We also know, based upon dates on graves, that the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery predates the establishment of Traders Point.

1889 Map showing School No. 12 Rural Academy

Rural Academy site

site of church where Beecher preached
Posted in Area History, Distinctives, Historic Residents, Traders Point in general | Tagged | 3 Comments

Fortune Farms breaks ground for new barn

A new barn will soon appear on Moore Road as part of Fortune Acres, a new organic farm in the Traders Point area. The barn will house equipment and livestock and will have office space in one end. The structure, which will face Moore Road, will be built on the west side of the street between 86th and 88th Streets.

Fortune Acres reunites the old Gakstatter farm properties, which consist of the home at the southwest corner of 88th Street and Moore Road and 40 acres of adjoining fields. The property has already produced organically grown pastry flour and animal feed.

Speaking to a group of about 20 who turned out for the groundbreaking, landowner Sheila Fortune spoke about the heritage of the farm and told the crowd that “many yummy things” would be produced there. She also noted that the barn, though new, would be constructed largely of reclaimed materials and that very few trees would be harmed in the construction process. posted by Katzenfinch at 11:44 PM

Posted in Area History, Current Events, Distinctives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Growing up in Traders Point – 1880 to 1895 – The autobiography of Bertha Lee Redden Shaw

The Life of an Octogenarian  by Bertha Lee Redden Shaw (written in her hand about 1962)   This manuscript is now available for purchase by clicking on the link beneath the masthead (flood photo) on the home page of this website.

Posted in Area History, Distinctives, Historic Residents | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 3 Bridge Photos

Friday, March 20, 2009


Posted in Area History, Current Events | 1 Comment

Archivist from Fermilab responds to my inquiry

Following the discovery last week that Purdue University had proposed in the 1950s the land now known as Eagle Creek Park for a Nuclear Particle Accelerator, I wrote to and received a reply from the Archivist for Fermilab. At some point I may research further why the Indianapolis area site was not suitable but for now I am just filing the following for future research.:

My reason_for_request: Area History Project

request: Adrienne, it has recently been brought to my attention that Purdue and the State of Indiana originally proposed a site for your facility in central Indiana in the 1950s. This is chronicled in R.B. Stewart and the History of Purdue University and I have written about it at Do you know how/why sites were considered, evaluated, and chosen? I am interested in knowing more about the procedures leading up to the selection of Batavia (and the elimination of Indiana). Thanks so much.

Thanks for your inquiry. Your blog entry was quite enjoyable and interesting to read. I’ll try to answer your question briefly. I don’t have the Indiana proposal for the 200 BeV accelerator (that ultimately became Fermilab) so I don’t know much about the Indiana site that was submitted in the proposal. Your local library or state archives might have newspaper articles about the subject c1965-66. There are a few books that deal with the site selection: Poliscide (Lowi and Ginsberg), Science Policy Making in the US and the Batavia Accelerator (Jachim), and The Politics of Pure Science (Greenberg). I have also co-authored a recent book entitled Fermilab, which has a chapter about the site selection issue. The Atomic Energy Commission prepared a press release explaining the selection of the Weston site in Illinois in late 1966. I could send you a copy of the press release but it might not mention Indiana since that site didn’t make it into the finals. Some of the selection criteria were: a sufficient amount of land, a large enough airport located close enough to the selected site for physicists from around the world to reach it in a reasonable time, good/stable geology, necessary water sources, etc. I think proximity to Chicago was a plus, even though Argonne National Lab was already here. The MURA effort did make a difference. The chapter in our book explains much more. You’ll be glad to know that Purdue physicists have conducted research at Fermilab since the 1970s.

Please let me know if you’d like more info,

Adrienne Kolb
Fermilab Archives

Posted in Area History | Leave a comment