Tickets for the 21st Annual Holiday Home Tour (Dec 1-2) are now on sale and can be purchased via Eventbrite! The mid-century modern homes in the historic Thornhurst subdivision at the corner of West Main Street and Guilford Boulevard, designed by Carmel’s own Avriel Shull, will be decorated for the holidays as they provide a nostalgic look back into the 1960’s.

This year’s tour will be a self-guided walking tour through the Thornhurst neighborhood. Patrons are encouraged to park at Carmel Friends Church on Friday and Carmel Middle School on Saturday. Free shuttles will provide transportation to the tour. Only cars of the Thornhurst residents will be allowed to enter the subdivision during tour hours.

Patrons must present a printed ticket at the CCHS table at the entrance of Thornhurst Drive. Tickets will be exchanged for wristbands which will allow entrance to homes and also allow patrons to leave and return Thornhurst on the same day.

Friday December 1

Early Bird Tour ($25), 4-5pm. The Early Bird Tour is available to CCHS Members only. This is the only tour that allows patrons to drive directly to the Thornhurst homes. Members must call our office (317-846-7117) to register for the Early Bird Tour.

VIP Tour and Cocktail Party ($50), 6-10pm. This tour is open to all. Patrons will park at Carmel Friends Church (651 W. Main St.) and be shuttled to Thornhurst. Home can be toured from 6-7:30pm. Starting at 7pm, patrons are invited to a “Mad Men” themed cocktail party at the Evan Lurie Gallery (30 W Main St). Channel your 60’s vibe for this “Mad Man” themed party with delicious appetizers and drinks, smooth “Rat Pack” music, live auction, and some classic memorabilia including cars (weather permitting) for some fun photo ops. Dress like the Drapers and join us for this fun adult-only party!

CCHS Members on the Early Bird Tour can attend the cocktail party for an additional $25 (total cost of $50).

Saturday December 2

Self-guided Walking Tour, 10am-6pm. Unlike past Holiday Home Tours, Patrons can begin the tour at anytime (all tours end precisely at 6pm). Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $30 at the door. All patrons must park at Carmel Middle School (300 S. Guilford Rd.) and will be shuttled to Thornhurst. Weather permitting, patrons may choose to walk to Thornhurst.


  • – Well-behaved children are welcome on the tour with a full-priced ticket. Children one and under are free.
  • – Strollers, pets, and high heels are prohibited. No picture-taking in homes is allowed.
  • – Homes are not wheelchair accessible.
  • – Shoes will be removed or covered before entering homes.
  • – This event is rain or shine.
  • – Due to the fundraising aspect of this event, refunds will not be given. Unused tickets can be given to another person.
We are sad to report that a charter member of the Carmel Clay Historical Society has passed away. In addition to serving as president of the CCHS, Nancy Worysz oversaw the annual Christmas Bazaar for many years. She also helped to form the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A mass will be said at 11 AM on Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 in the chapel at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery, 9001 Haverstick Rd, Indianapolis. Her obituary can be found here.
We were very sad to learn that Hilda Hadley passed away this morning. She was well known to many members of CCHS. She was a past president of the society, and we recognized her dedication to Carmel’s history with our Heritage Award in 2015. She was an extraordinary person who lived an interesting and useful life. We here at CCHS will miss our dear friend.
Visitation will be at 10am on Saturday, July 8, at Carmel United Methodist Church. The funeral service will follow at noon at the same location.
OMNI Centre for Public Media released the video below about Hilda just last month. It is a fine tribute to a beloved Carmel resident. The Current recently published an interview with Hilda. You can find it here.

On Wednesday, June 14 at 6:30 pm, a video, A Conversation with Hilda Hadley, will be premiered.  Did you know that Carmel was in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not?  Hilda tells us why Carmel is included. And how on earth did Carmel come to have 1st Street SW and 1st Avenue NE? Hilda explains how that happened too and so much more about Carmel.

 Hilda moved to Carmel in 1952 and has always been active whether it was her church, the Girl Scouts, teaching or government. Hilda is an amazing woman, and you will enjoy hearing her story and seeing local history evolve. Join Hilda for the debut of this twenty minute video at Summer Trace, just northwest of Meijer.

Watch the Hilda Hadley Video Trailer

This self-guided driving tour blends the new and the old, the vibrant suburban core with the small-town farming community. By clicking on a site on the map in the app, you will be able to read or listen to the history of that location and see it in a historic photograph. In some cases, you will have the fascinating opportunity to compare a historic photo and current photo side-by-side, using a slider to watch the image change centuries before your eyes.

This self-guiding, interactive driving tour was developed by a partnership between Ball State University and the Carmel Clay Historical Society. It was made possible with support from the City of Carmel and Hamilton County Tourism. A link to the app will have a permanent home under the Local History menu of our webpage.

Access the tour here.

We are pleased to announce that Betty Estridge will be honored with the Heritage Award at the April 25th Luncheon! Betty has been an integral part of the Carmel community and Carmel Clay Historical Society for many years.

If you would like to attend the Spring Luncheon, you can purchase your tickets here.

CCHS – in an exciting new partnership with Ball State University history and technology students – will unveil a new interactive “historic walking tour app” to make it even easier for fans of local history to connect with our past.


The new app will be launched April 20 at an interactive press conference at 3 p.m. in front of Bub’s Burgers at Main Street and the Monon Greenway. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard will be the first person to inaugurate its operation.


The new app uses GPS coordinates to indicate the location of historic sites throughout Carmel, and users can turn on their own location as they walk through the Arts & Design District and Old Town areas. Phase I of the app focused on sites in Old Town, but Ball State students are already working on Phase II, which will feature sites all over Clay Township – including historic farms like Lynnwood Farm, street views of residential neighborhoods, and historic homes like the McShane home that was saved from demolition four years ago.


“One of the most fascinating elements of the app is the overlay of a historic photo of a structure with a contemporary photo of it. People can literally slide the photo back and forth to compare the structure’s appearance 100 years ago with what it looks like today,” said Carmel Clay Historical Society Executive Director Emily Ehrgott. “We can add to the app at any time, incorporating local sites on the National Register of Historic Places or even the stories behind the statues in the Arts & Design District. The possibilities are endless.”


Those on the walking tour will be able to see at each site a historic photograph, a written narrative of the site’s significance and an audio recording of that narrative. This allows people walking the trail to appreciate the history without having to stop and read.


The partnership with Ball State is a new one for the Historical Society and was made possible by generous grants from the City of Carmel’s Arts Grant program and the Hamilton County Tourism office.


Students from different disciplines researched and wrote the histories of the sites, photographed them, recorded the audio component, and wrote the computer code to create the app itself.


 “This project meant a lot to me, because it was a great opportunity to use what I’ve learned through my degree, as well as to learn new skills that I could utilize in my future career,” said BSU student Braydon Fox, who worked extensively on the project. “Prior to this project, I had no real web programming experience. I only knew what I had researched on my own in my free time. Throughout this project, I’ve learned many useful web development skills while building an application for a real-world client, which is something future employers will love to see on my resume.”


Professor Ron Morris is teaching the class that initiated the project and approached the CCHS about the partnership.


“I think that the experience of getting to work with the Carmel Clay Historical Society and the City of Carmel will help the Ball State students create multiple ways for the people in the community to discover their heritage,” said Morris. “The mobile experience allows students, visitors, or community members explore the history of their community through their phone, tablet, or lap top from their school, walking in the community, or driving to explore the history of their home.”


After Mayor Brainard launches the app, it will be available free on the CCHS website.

While researching forgotten places and communities within Clay Township, we found a set of records that could potentially tell us a great deal about Bethlehem/Carmel and Clay Township in their earliest years. The Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations 1837-1950 is a set of microfilm held by the National Archives. The reports were created by local postmasters to aid the Topography Division in determining the location of existing post offices in relation to mail routes and facilities, as well as potential locations for new post offices.

As the reports often contained maps, geographic information, and information on the number of families or individuals served by a post office, we are eager to learn about forgotten communities in Clay Township, like Eldorado, Gray, or others of which we are unaware. The maps included in the reports may also inform us of the existence of old roads and landmarks. We are currently researching the Native American trail near the Cool Creek crossing at Mattsville. If a map is included in the Mattsville’s location report, it may very well indicate the path of this and other trails.

The National Archives does not lend these microfilms, but they will reproduce them for $125. We are seeking donations to purchase the roll that includes Hamilton County. If you would like to help us obtain this roll, please consider making a small donation ($5-25) via PayPal here or by sending a check. Be sure to indicate in the memo line that your donation is for the NARA microfilm roll. Donations received in excess of $125 will be used to purchase archival records in the future.


CCHS is kicking off 2017 by exhibiting the rich history of Carmel High School basketball! In 1977 our basketball team won a state championship in the final seconds of the game with an undesigned play! The victory was thrilling!

We invite you to relive the excitement of our first basketball state championship 40 years ago. With 11 seconds left in the final game, East Chicago Washington’s star, Drake Morris, put his team ahead by one point with two successful foul shots. Carmel guard Bart Burrell passed to forward Jon Ogle with 4 seconds left. Ogle sunk a baseline jump shot to seal a Greyhound victory 53-52 in front of a packed crowd in Market Square Arena.

Join us on March 21 at Flix Brewhouse as we bring former players to share their memories of the tournament and watch an edited video of the championship game and the community pep session. This event has sold out. Tickets cannot be purchased through Flix Brewhouse or their website. Please contact us at 317-979-4236 for more information.

Our first exhibit of 2017 will celebrate Carmel High School boys and girls basketball from 1900 to the present. Memorabilia from the Shepherd family, the Heady family, and the 1977 championship team will be on display. The exhibit will also highlight the girls 2008 championship as well as the boys back to back wins in 2012 and 2013 with video segments of games and interviews with past coaches. Interactive displays have been designed for younger visitors.

CCHS Members are invited to preview the exhibit on Friday, March 24 from 6-8pm. Refreshments will be provided. The exhibit opens to the public during regular museum hours on March 25. If you have any CHS basketball memorabilia you would like to loan us for the exhibit, please email us at