Carmel Clay Historical Society historian examines forgotten places

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By Mark Ambrogi

Carmel Clay Historical Society historian Andrew Wright has been on a search for forgotten places and communities in Clay Township.

Wright has been studying Post Office Dept. Reports of Site Locations from 1837-1950 on microfilm.

“Most residents have never heard of the eight additional unincorporated communities that used to exist,” Wright said. “There are likely others we are unaware of, especially in the West Carmel area. It may be that whether we know about a community or not has to do with whether or not the area was given a name. I was surprised by how quickly successive generations forgot or changed place names. For instance, Mulberry Corner used to be an important travel stop at the intersection of Blue School Road (106th Street) and the Indianapolis-Peru Pike (Westfield Boulevard) in the 1830s. It was named for a large mulberry tree on the northwest corner of the intersection. The tree was cut down around the turn of the 20th century. In 1924, the Carmel Standard published an article about how the name was only in use by the older residents. Most Carmelites had never heard of it by that point.”

Wright said it is interesting the three communities that survived the longest were the only three to have a post office.

“The post offices in Gray, Mattsville and Eldorado were all discontinued by 1902, but Gray continued to show up on maps until 1912, Mattsville into the early 1930s and Eldorado through 1957,” Wright said. “Most of the other forgotten towns had begun to fade into history before the turn of the century.”

Wright said Pleasant Grove at 106th Street and College Avenue was fortunate to get a stop on the Interurban Railroad in 1903, but it would end up being the town’s undoing.

“In 1914, the Orin Jessup Land Company saw an opportunity to redevelop Pleasant Grove into a residential suburb like Broad Ripple,” Wright said. “They sold 112 lots in the first six weeks. By 1919, the company had developed five additions, expanding Home Place to a 160-acre town. I was disappointed to learn that the company set a restriction on the sale of lots to African-Americans.”

Wright has been sharing Forgotten Places on the CCHS pages over the last several weeks.

“Several of the Facebook comments are from descendants of these forgotten towns or former residents of the area,” Wright said. “Others are just interested to learn that the place they lived in Carmel was once a different town.”

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