September 30, 2009
Land receives historic designation
By Nick McLain/Times Sentinel writer
The pastoral countryside known as Traders Point is not only beautiful, but historic.
Two areas, totaling 2,600 acres, were recently named to the National Register of Historic Places.
The northern section, known as the Traders Point Hunt Rural Historic District, roughly encompasses the area bounded by Ind. 334, I-865, Old Hunt Club Road and County Road 850 East. It falls almost entirely in Eagle Township.
The southern zone, known as Traders Point Eagle Creek Rural Historic District, lies mostly in Marion County (Pike Township) and is bounded by I-865, I-465 and Lafayette Road.
The two districts double the amount of rural historic districts in the state, which now number four.
Cindy Lamberjack, a resident of the district in the Zionsville area, helped lead the charge to have the area designated as historic.
“We want to let people know there are a lot of real special rural characteristics to this area,” Lamberjack said.
She said that they wanted to form just one rural district, but the “powers that be” told them that it would have to be two, as it was divided by I-865.
“We want everyone to think of it as one district,” Lamberjack said. “We’re referring to both as the Traders Point Rural Historic District.”
The Traders Point area is generally described as being located within the “triangle of concrete” of I-865, I-465 and I-65, according to Ross Reller, who lives in the area and is its unofficial historian.
The name Traders Point traces back to its history, when it was a spot of trading between Miami Indians and white settlers in the early 19th century, Reller said.
Lamberjack was assisted in her efforts by Fritz Kunz, owner of Traders Point Creamery. The creamery is located within the district.
“It’s a little bit like having a nature preserve in your backyard in getting this special designation that not every area can get,” Kunz said. “It adds a bit of prestige to the area.”
The process of becoming a historic district was a difficult one and took almost five years to see through to completion. Lamberjack and Kunz were assisted in their efforts by Camille Fife, a consultant with The Westerly Group of Madison, as well as the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, a private non-profit that is the state’s largest preservation group.
Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services for Historic Landmarks, said the designation will provide some protections for the area.
“In the cases where state or federal funds are involved, anyone wishing to do something in the area must go through a Section 106 review process,” Dollase said.
In the case of a Section 106 review, they must take their proposed plans to the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology for their review.
Dollase mentioned a recent example where Section 106 review will be used for the Traders Point area. The Indiana Department of Transportation has been discussing the possibility of putting closed circuit television towers on I-865 near the Ford Road overpass, the Cooper Road overpass and one in the intersection of I-65 and I-865.
Because it is a state project and state funds are involved, INDOT must go to the DHPA. The DHPA will review the plans and decide if other alternatives exist that would be less of an impact.
“There are some neighbors who are not particularly happy about these very large towers coming up that would loom over their homes,” Dollase said.
According to Paul Diebold, team leader for survey and registration with the DHPA, the designation provides other benefits to property owners within it; namely, potential tax credits of up to 20 percent of the cost to those who want to do rehabilitation work on their historic homes, barns, etc. Any rehabilitation must retain the historic aspects of the property.
Kunz said preservation grants could also be available for some properties.
“That’s the other neat thing about this — it allows people to fix up rather than tear down, and it encourages that,” Kunz said. “Rehabbing is twice as expensive as new construction. You might have an old barn on your farm, and you couldn’t afford to fix it up, but now you can because the funds are available. It’s a huge benefit.”
Kunz added that in many other historic districts around the country, property values went up as a result of the designation.
The DHPA had to approve the rural district request at the state level, and Diebold said the area clearly qualifies as historic.
“You have a really diverse mix of architecture, from rare 19th century barns to early 20th century rural estates,” Diebold said. “It, to us, has design qualities that are pretty well-qualified and something you don’t see much of anymore.”
The costs for making the area a rural historic district were paid mostly through fundraising from the Oktoberfest event at Traders Point Creamery. Creamery Marketing Director Gail Alden said the event raised more than $20,000 in the last two years.
The third annual Oktoberfest fundraiser will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. There will be live music, hayrides, bonfires, cow milking, pumpkin patches and traditional German food, beer and wine. Advance tickets are $8 and tickets at the gate will be $10. Children younger than 10 years of age are free. Visit http://www.traderspointcreamery.com for more information,.
The money from that event, Lamberjack said, will go toward the purchases of signs to put around the district letting people know of its new status as a historic place.
Reller publishes updates on Traders Point news at http://www.historictraderspoint.org.