Join us Sunday, October 29, from 2-4pm at the Carmel Clay Public Library’s Program Room for a free screening of OMNI Centre for Public Media’s Historical Farms of Clay Township documentaries about Twin Walnut Farm and Schwitzer Farm. Twin Walnut Farm received its name from the two stately walnut trees that rest on the side of the driveway of the farm. Bob Huber, owner of Twin Walnut Farm, was born and raised in Clarksville, Indiana. His grandfather, a tenant farmer, moved from Clarksville, Indiana to Clay Township, where Bob’s father was born. His father later returned to the farm in Clarksville.

Bob’s maternal great grandparents, the Browns, walked from North Carolina to Carmel and settled where John Kirk’s Furniture store sits today on Pennsylvania Avenue in Carmel. They farmed oats, corn, and various livestock on an 80-acre farm.

Bob Huber began his obsession with farming when he received his first pig in 4H at the age of 10. He was a highly involved, energetic 4H’er, later raised 2-3 thousand hogs per year at and served as President of the Indiana Pork Producers Association. Today, he remains a shining example of a successful hog operation. At one-time Bob farmed 3,000 acres in Clay Township  In the video, you will hear his wife, Judy, a city girl who had never lived on a farm, tell pig stories about getting stray pigs out of their pool and having pigs chew her clothes at the state fair. Follow Bob’s inspirational story and career in agriculture in the premiere presented by the Clay Township Trustee and The OMNI Centre.

Twin Walnut Farm – Trailer

The Schwitzer Farm, located on 116 Street in Carmel Indiana, consisted of 500 acres and had a 3400‘ air strip running from 116 Street to 106 Street.  The Schwitzer Family owned Schwitzer Corporation, originally Schwitzer-Cummins, and it was the first corporation in Indianapolis to have corporate aircraft. The farm airstrip stayed busy serving corporate needs.

Lou Schwitzer lll traces how Grandfather Lou Schwitzer came to the US, won the opening event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 before it was named the 500, started Schwitzer Corporation, and his relationship with pioneers in the early automotive industry such as Henry Ford.  He talks about his father purchasing the farm in 1949 and stories of Willie Jessup a Carmel pioneer. The Schwitzer house sat where the Lucas Oil estate on 116 Street sits today. The farm grew corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and had Black angus, French Charolais, Hereford cattle.

Lou’s childhood memories at the farm include stories of attending Clay Center School, descriptions of Thanksgiving Fox Hunts at the neighboring farms of Frenzel, White/Hamilton, and Gregg.  his mother serving as a “whip” for the fox hunts, raising thoroughbred race horses, having a skeet range built for his father and the shooting enthusiasts who came to visit and enjoy the skeet range.

Schwitzer Farm – Trailer

Holiday Home Tour Review

September 20, 2017

The Holiday Home Tour was a huge success! Just under 550 people toured homes in Thornhurst Addition, raising over $14,500 for the CCHS!  By limiting the tour to homes in one subdivision, we were able to move away from shuttled tours and accommodate a larger crowd.  The feedback on this new come-and-go-as-you-please format was resoundingly positive!  Our numbers were significantly boosted by the appeal of these spectacular homes! People came from all over the state to see Avriel Shull’s midcentury modern gems!

The “Mad Men” themed party at the Evan Lurie Gallery was a lot of fun! Artist Sean Sheppard floored us with his recreation of a photo of Avriel on her wedding day. For pictures of the tour and VIP after-party, visit our Facebook page.

Click here to view an Indianapolis Star photo gallery of the after-party!

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.