Carmel-Clay Township area serves as a northern suburb of Indianapolis. It
has, in recent years, grown rapidly and become a self-supporting community of
significant commercial, industrial, and residential importance. Clay Township,
covering 50 square miles of mixed use property, is bounded on the south by
Marion County (96th Street), the west by Boone County (Michigan
Road), the east by White River, and the north by 146th Street.
The City of Carmel is located in the east central portion of Clay Township and
has been the largest center of population throughout the township’s long
the earliest part of its history, what is known today as Clay Township was part
of Delaware Township which comprised the lower half of Hamilton County.
In 1833, county commissioners divided the county into nine townships with Clay
spanning from the southwest corner of Boone County on the west to present day
Range Line Road on the east. Delaware Township was sandwiched between Clay
on the west and Fall Creek Township on the east with the White River bisecting
the township north to south about midway. In 1837, four farmers with
adjoining property each donated equal acreage to create a town called Bethlehem
along the rangeline with equal parts in Delaware and Clay townships. In
later years, this town came to be known as Carmel. These political
boundaries remained in place until 1954. By that time, the town of Carmel
had developed largely towards the east into Delaware Township. Problems
arising from the administration of local schools and government necessitated a
change, however. Local officials placed a referendum before the voters,
proposing to move the Clay Township boundary eastward to the White River;
voters accepted this alteration.
a quiet farming village serving a surrounding agricultural township, the city
of Carmel is at the center of the one of the fastest growing townships in
Indiana. In 1990, the 3rd class city of Carmel had a
population of 25,380, while Clay Township totaled 43,007 residents.
Developers are confident that the fast-paced growth of residential, business,
and commercial centers in the city and surrounding Clay Township which began in
the early 1970s will continue well into the 21st century.
social and economic characteristics of the Carmel-Clay population reflect an
educated, affluent citizenry vastly different from surrounding Indiana
counties. Married couples with children comprised nearly 73 percent of
township and 70 percent of Carmel households. Forty-three percent of Clay
residents and 51 percent of Carmel residents over the age of 25 had a college
education, as compared to 30 percent in Lawrence Township and 41 percent in
Washington Township of Marion County.  This
family-centered, educated population reaped the economic benefits of their
stability with a mean family income of $61,236 in Clay Township and $62,686 in
Carmel. The median home value for the township was $132,100 and $142,500
for Carmel. All of this contributes to a community of wealth and
stability that many in America find enviable. 
The change from rural farming
community to affluent suburb has come about in the recent past, with the most
significant change occurring in the last 35 years. In 1960, the US Census
Bureau reported Carmel’s population to be 1,442; Clay Township had 10,215
residents. Over the next three decades, Carmel’s population grew by 287
percent while Clay Township grew 321 percent; during the same period, the City
of Indianapolis experienced a 32 percent growth rate. 
This meteoric growth has all but destroyed the agricultural industry that was
the economic base for the area prior to the 1970s. By 1991, only 1.32
percent of Carmel’s population and 1.1 percent of Clay’s residents were
involved in agricultural industry. 
The last farm within the city limits of Carmel ceased operation in 1993,
thereby ending Carmel’s connection with its agricultural roots.
was the bounty of nature that attracted the earliest settlers to the
area. Long a hunting area for the Lenni Lenape (or Delaware) people who
had settled along the White River north of present day Conner Prairie Museum, a
French trapper and his Native American wife in the early 1820s lived briefly in
the area that is now Carmel. Between 1822 and 1823, following the opening
and sale of government lands, about a dozen families moved to the west bank of
White River in the western half of what would become Delaware Township.
In 1824, the year after Hamilton County was organized, William McShane
purchased property in the future Clay Township near present day 106th
Street and Westfield Boulevard. There, he erected a cabin and had his
family in residence by 1825. All of the settlers were engaged in clearing
land and establishing farms. The settlement in the southwestern corner of
Hamilton County was aided by the survey of the Indianapolis-Peru Road (now
Westfield Boulevard/Range Line Road) through the area. The new toll road
was, however, little more than a clearing in the trees with triple notches
marking the route.
the late 1820s significant numbers of families of the Society of Friends (or
Quakers) began to move into southern Hamilton County. Many were from the
North Carolina upcountry while others were from Friends settlements in
southeastern Indiana. All were industrious farmers who quickly
established themselves on the lands in the vicinity of the White River.
They immediately began worshipping in their homes and by 1830 requested
permission to begin an Indulged Meeting. With permission granted, the
Friends established a meeting and, as was customary for Friends, a school, both
of which convened in local homes. The school was open to all who could
pay the subscription. Schools were an important part of Friends
settlements due to the theological emphasis on education as a preparation for
daily life. 
land near William McShane soon had several families residing around present day
106th Street and College Avenue. In 1832, Methodists began
holding class meetings at Isaac Sharpe’s cabin, which became known in the
community as Sharpe’s meeting house. Local families also began a
subscription school at Sharpe’s home.
the townships of Clay and Delaware took shape in the 1833 subdivision of the
county, the Quakers and Methodists continued to develop their institutional
structures. The Friends organized a Preparatory Meeting which they named
Richland Meeting and erected an 18 by 20 foot meeting house which doubled as a
school. The Richland Meeting, school, and cemetery located at present day
Range Line Road and Smokey Row Road would maintain a presence at this location
throughout the 19th century.
Methodist class meeting at Isaac Sharpe’s quickly outgrew his cabin and in 1834
Sharpe donated property at the corner of present day 106th Street
and College Avenue for the formation of a permanent church and school.
The log Pleasant Grove Methodist Episcopal Church also doubled as
Pleasant Grove School. By 1837, residents constructed a separate school
next to the church. That same year Sharpe donated additional land behind
the church for a cemetery.  The next year Methodists in
southwest Delaware Township organized a class meeting in area homes.
Periodically a circuit rider conducted services. By decade’s end,
Methodists had established another class at Poplar Grove in south central Clay
Township. One year later in 1840, the Poplar Grove Class organized as
Poplar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church and members erected a log building to
house their worship.
1840s was a decade of growth and entrenchment of religious and educational
centers throughout both Clay and western Delaware townships. In 1837,
four enterprising farmers with adjoining properties platted a small community
to serve the needs of the surrounding farms. Each man contributed equal
parcels which were situated on either side of the Indianapolis-Peru Road, half
in each township. The central location of Bethlehem, as the town was
named, rendered it immediately successful. By 1838 settlers had purchased
all government land in both townships and had begun clearing and putting it
under the plow. The presence of the Friends became more visible as they
established two more meetings west of Bethlehem in Delaware Township. As
was their custom, each group established a school that was open to any person
who could subscribe. The Richland meeting, located at the edge of the new
town of Bethlehem, thrived. In 1843, members erected a frame meeting
house and school which also served the Richland Monthly Meeting, comprised of
Richland and the new Delaware Township meetings of Poplar Ridge and Grassy
(East) Branch, today called Gray Friends.
the Methodists established a Bethlehem class in 1848 and by the end of the decade
had constructed a church in town. The Methodist and Quaker communities
both affected the settlement tremendously. Between the two groups, they
were responsible for the creation of every school in the area, save the Farley
School, which was located in west central Delaware Township. These
schools, established early in the settlement period, as well as the solid
religious base, had a profound and positive effect on the continuing settlement
of the area. The momentum provided by the Friends and the Methodists
occurred almost to the exclusion of other denominations. In 1849, local
residents organized a United Brethren congregation; Mt. Zion Baptist Church
struggled to survive from its formation and finally dissolved in 1877.
 The decade closed with Samuel Carey
adding to the Bethlehem plat.
1850s echoed the growth patterns of the previous decades. As the farms
prospered so did the local schools and churches. By 1852, public
education was in place in Clay Township, evidenced by eight district schools.
 Several of the schools were those
sponsored by Quaker and Methodists, but were called “public.” 
Cultural activities also increased as residents formed literary societies at
Poplar Ridge (ME), White Chapel (ME), and East Branch (Friends) as well as
three area schools—Rural Valley, Dawson, and Myers. Women’s suffrage and
slavery were most often discussed and debated topics, both a reflection of
Quaker and Methodist concerns and theology. Several congregations
established Sunday Scripture schools and the area even boasted a spelling
school and geography school.  In 1857 local resident Nathan
Hawks made another addition to the Bethlehem plat. At decade’s end, the
cultural framework of western Delaware and Clay townships was impressively
complete. Fourteen schools served the area: three district schools
in northern Clay Township, five district schools in southern Clay Township,
three schools in southwest Delaware and one district school and Richland
Academy in the village of Bethlehem. Ten well established congregations
served the local residents: Poplar Grove Friends and a Wesleyan Methodist
in northern Clay; two Methodist, one Christian, and one United Brethren in
southern Clay; East Branch Friends in northwestern Delaware; White Chapel
Methodist Episcopal in southwestern Delaware; and the Methodists and Richland
Friends in Bethlehem proper. 
1860s were a continuation of the steady economic and cultural growth of earlier
years. By this time, Clay Township had 1,161 residents and Delaware
Township had 1,267. The Civil War had a significant impact on the area
with local husbands and sons of all faiths serving in the Union Army. A
number of local Friends served in the Union Army, all of whom were “read out of
the meeting” as Quaker beliefs in pacifism required. Upon returning home,
however, they were reinstated to the meeting after examination and repentance.
1862, the Pleasant Grove Meeting experienced a split over a disagreement
regarding the justification of the war. Pastor John McCarty and the
pro-government faction left the church. Two years later, the rift was
healed and Pastor G.W. Bowers reunited the congregation. At war’s end,
the Richland Friends made a significant contribution of $1,021.37 to Quaker
agencies established to aid the “freedmen.” The meeting concerned itself
with the condition of people of color throughout the decade by maintaining a
“committee on freedmen” to present concerns and needs to the meeting.
 The Richland Meeting also
constructed the brick Richland Academy; this academy soon became the public
school for Carmel and the surrounding area but continued to be maintained by
Richland Friends. It was graded through the 12th grade and
served Carmel into the 20th century.
and steady growth with few significant changes continued through the remainder
of the century. Two events are of particular note, however. The
first occurred in 1874 when residents of Bethlehem presented a petition to
Hamilton County commissioners, requesting authorization to hold an election for
incorporation and to change the town’s name to Carmel. Earlier in 1846,
Bethlehem had requested a post office, but the name was already in use. A
member of the Richland Meeting suggested “Carmel,” which was a biblical
reference (I Samuel 25:2) to a prosperous region of the Holy Land. Now,
twenty-eight years later after the creation of the Carmel post office in the
village of Bethlehem, county commissioners accepted the residents’ petition and
approved the incorporation of the community of Carmel.
second key event occurred in 1883 when the Monon Railroad began to serve Carmel
and Clay Township. The line connected the town and township with
Indianapolis to the south and Westfield, Sheridan, and Lafayette to the
north. The passenger and freight line enhanced the steady growth and
strengthened the township economy.
first decade of the 20th century introduced “modern” conveniences to
the households of Carmel and Clay Township. In 1903 the interurban
(Indiana Union Traction Line) began service to Clay Township, entering Hamilton
County at Nora, running to Carmel, and continuing northward through the
county. The line provided speedy, comfortable travel to Indianapolis and
connections to the rest of the state. Electricity and telephone service
also arrived, bringing the amenities of urban life to the farming community.
spite of its modern conveniences, Carmel still served a decidedly agricultural
community. One event that illustrated this fact was the beginning of the
Carmel Horse Show. At the turn of the century, the Clay/Delaware
townships area claimed numerous farms devoted to the breeding of horses,
especially draft horses used in farming and driving horses. Between 1906
and 1910 the Carmel Horse Show drew competitors from Hamilton and surrounding
counties. Show sponsors constructed large grandstands along Range Line
Road south of present day Main Street and all businesses closed for the four
day event. The first show advertised over $800 in prizes. The event
ceased with the arrival of World War I, returned in the 1930s and after World
War II, only to fade away in the 1950s as the emphasis on agriculture began to
period between the two world wars saw little change in the Carmel
community. The town built a new high school, dubbed “Old North” by local
citizens, in 1923, replacing the 1887 building on Carmel’s southside.
 In the wake of the Great
Depression, Carmel’s only bank failed to reorganize after being closed in
1930, thereby leaving the small town without a financial institution. But
the creation of Indiana State Road 31 (Meridian Street), Indiana State Road 431
(Range Line Road), as well as the Monon Railroad kept commercial traffic moving
in and out of the township and helped to stabilize the economy.
World War II, the Carmel area began to experience subtle changes. County
officials enlarged Clay Township to include the area of Delaware Township west
of White River. This change made Clay the largest township in Hamilton
County, covering 50 square miles--10 miles east to west, 5 miles north to
south. New families began to settle in the township, attracted by the
area’s proximity to the Indianapolis business community and its decidedly rural
atmosphere. Many of these new citizens, as well as long time residents,
realized that Carmel and Clay Township were on the brink of a population boom and
began to prepare for future growth. The community authorized the
construction of a modern elementary school at College Avenue and 104th
Street to replace the four-room Clay Center School, in service since
1911. Orchard Park served students from the western and southern parts of
the township. In 1957, construction began on a new $1.5 million high
school to replace “Old North”. Both new buildings were outstanding
facilities and set the standard for the excellent school structures for which
Carmel would soon be noted. That same year, Carmel and Clay Township
schools were consolidated under one administration, known after 1964 as the
Carmel Clay School District.
the late 1950s, new churches also arose in the township—Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
(1955), Pilgrim Lutheran (1955), Orchard Park Presbyterian (1955), St.
Christopher’s Episcopal (1957), Carmel Christian (1958), First Baptist Church
of Carmel (1959)--and joined the long-established Methodist and Friends
congregations. The forces of change were slowly working in this still
quiet agrarian community.
1958, Carmel had changed so significantly as to be recognized by the Indianapolis
Star. The paper’s Sunday magazine described Carmel as a “sleepy
little village” and a “dormitory” for city “suburbanites.” At the time,
Carmel’s population was 1,335. The article, somewhat smugly, assessed
Carmel’s future as a “bedroom community” for the Hoosier capital. It also
noted that the community had formed a planning commission to assess Carmel’s
growth potential and emphasized the possibility for industrial expansion due to
the large expanses of available farm land for factory construction. The Star
concluded basically that Carmel would be relegated to the status of a
satellite of Indianapolis. 
the 1960s came the single most important factor for the future growth and
development of Carmel and all of Clay Township—road construction. In
1962, the state of Indiana began extending Keystone Avenue from 86th
Street in Marion County through southern Clay Township, skirting the eastern
edge of Carmel to join State Road 31 (Meridian Street) just north of
Carmel. State Road 31 was routed along the west edge of Carmel and
widened to four lanes. In September of 1967, the state began construction
of I-465 along the southern edge of the township with interchanges located at
Keystone and Indiana 31 (Meridian Street). With the completion of these
three projects, all roads indeed led to Carmel and the boom began.
and Clay Township’s historical interest in educational excellence continued
with the addition of two elementary schools—Carmel, 1961; College Wood,
1965--and a junior high school—Carmel, 1964--which helped to ease the crowding
at “Old North,” still in use at the high school campus. In 1967,
expansion at the high school totaled 188,000 square feet with the addition of
labs, classrooms, a gymnasium, and library at a cost of nearly $5 million.
augment the activities of the school board, a group of citizens organized an
educational foundation. Chartered in 1966 as the Carmel Clay Educational
Foundation, the group’s primary activity was (and remains) the administration
of funds raised in the private sector for scholarships to the system’s students.
new churches organized in the 1960s—King of Glory Lutheran (1960), Central
Christian (1966), and Woodland Springs Christian (1968). Each built new
church homes, not within the boundaries of old Carmel but in outlying parts of
Clay Township. Today each is surrounded by residential communities.
Carmel-Clay community was the fastest growing community in Indiana from 1970 to
1980  and its growth can best be illustrated by
annexation history of the decade. Between 1960 and 1969, the town board
annexed properties on 21 occasions, sometimes ruling on several properties at
one time. The annexations were almost entirely residential developments.
The 41 actions taken during the 1970s included a school, a bank, office parks,
and shopping centers.  Clearly, Carmel was moving towards
a new identity—as a banking, insurance and business center as well as a
thriving residential community. And it was growing at a phenomenal
rate. Land use at the beginning of the 1970s showed 86 percent devoted to
agriculture, 8 percent public/semi-public, 5 percent residential, 0.6 percent
industrial/manufacturing, and 0.3 percent office/retail. Twenty five
years later, residential land-use comprised 47 percent; agriculture, 34
percent; public/semi-public, 11 percent; industrial/manufacturing, 5 percent;
office/retail, 4 percent. 
issues were of acute concern throughout the 1970s. As the area grew, so
did the needs of the school system. Clay Junior High School (1974) and
two more elementary schools—Woodbrook (1970) and Mohawk Trails (1972)--were
constructed, bringing the total schools administered by the system to eight—one
high school, two junior high schools, and five elementary schools. But
the most controversial of the Carmel Clay system’s concerns was its inclusion
in the 1971 desegregation suit against the Indianapolis Public Schools.
US District Court Judge S. Hugh Dillin ruled that the Carmel district should be
included as one of several recipient suburban systems in a forced busing
plan. The Carmel Clay School Board fought the order and in 1974 the US
District Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that Carmel had in no way
contributed to the problem of segregation in the Indianapolis Public Schools
and should, therefore, be excluded from the busing plan. 
issue of educational importance to the community was the expansion of the
Carmel Public Library. The library began in 1904 through the efforts
of the ladies of the Wednesday Literary Club and Carmel schoolteacher Mahlon
Luther Hains. Together they collected and purchased books to be circulated
at the town telephone office. By 1910 library supporters, believing
they needed a separate building to hold the growing book collection, approached
the Carnegie Foundation for funds. By 1913, Carmel residents had collected
the needed funds to qualify for an $11,000 grant from Carnegie and began constructing
a building at 40 East Main Street. The library continued at this site
through the 1960s. By 1969 a new library became a necessity. The
Library Board purchased a site across from the high school in 1970 and constructed
a $334,000 structure in 1971. During the week of August 14, 1972, a
caravan of volunteers moved 21,000 books to the new facility.  Designed to house 50,000 volumes,
the building quickly filled and was outgrown by 1984. Two years later,
on July 20, 1986, the community dedicated a $2.9 million addition to the library,
thereby expanding the library’s capacity to 100,000 volumes. 
At present, the library has reached its capacity and Carmel is faced once
again with the need to expand the current facility or to construct a new building. 
1976 Carmel resident Viktors Ziedonis, a Latvian immigrant, founded a unique
cultural institution. The Carmel Symphony played its first concert that
December with 15 volunteer musicians. The orchestra has since grown to
over 65 musicians with a music director, general manager, and concert
mistress. Only those positions and the section leaders receive any
payment; all other members are volunteers. Music Director David Pickett
has served in that capacity since 1985. Performing mainly in the Carmel
High School auditorium, the symphony has welcomed numerous guest musicians, including
medalists from such prestigious events as the Van Cliburn and International
Violin competitions. Recently PSI and CINergy have helped to underwrite
special symphony expenses with additional funds raised by the Carmel Symphony
Orchestra Women’s Guild and symphony subscriptions. Currently, Carmel is
the smallest Indiana community to have a symphony orchestra.
American Bicentennial in 1976 sparked interest in history nationwide. One
outgrowth of the Carmel Bicentennial Committee was the Carmel Clay Historical
Society, founded by 50 Clay Township residents. The group convened at the
1837 John Kinzer cabin to charter the organization which was dedicated to
gathering local historical information. Their first project was of a more
tangible nature. In 1975 the Monon Railroad offered the 1883 Monon Depot
to the town. The society moved and restored the station for use as a
meeting hall and museum of Carmel-Clay history.
factor in the rapid growth of the 1970s was the active assistance provided by
the local Chamber of Commerce. Originally founded in 1960, the
organization survived only two years. With the steady growth experienced
towards the end of the decade, Carmel saw a resurgent interest in reactivating
the Chamber by 1970. In its current incarnation, the Chamber has aided
the business community by planning monthly business programs featuring
government and business leaders from the region and nation. The Chamber
also provides a community directory, Community Economic Development Forum,
educational seminars and sponsorship of area events. Governed by a board
of twelve, the Chamber has a staff of three.
all the changes of the 1970s, possibly the most significant in terms of future
growth was the change in Carmel-Clay Township government. Carmel’s
municipal needs had always been managed by a town board. While the number
of board members varied over the years, its absolute power in making decisions
for the town did not. The board frequently held public meetings concerning
issues of community importance, but it ultimately acted as its members
wished. In 1973 the board concluded that the needs of Carmel were
becoming too numerous and complex to be managed at the board’s weekly
meetings. Recognizing the need for day-to-day management of the town’s
government, the board appointed Neil Schmeltkop as town manager. One year
later, the board voted to place a referendum on the November ballot, asking
voters whether they preferred to retain the traditional form of government or
to change to city status and adopt a city council/mayor form of
government. The weeks preceeding the election were filled with debate but
the change to city status won by a two to one margin. On November 20, the
town board voted to make Carmel a city and to adopt the new form of government
following the next election. In November 1976, voters elected Albert
Pickett by an overwhelming majority as Carmel’s first mayor; they also selected
a seven person city council. At the December 23, 1976 meeting of the town
board, the outgoing board members strongly recommended the expansion of utility
services and fire and police departments, and street construction to prepare
for the continued growth in Clay Township. They also recommended building
a new center of government to help improve daily services to the Carmel
area. Over the next four years, Mayor Pickett and the new city council
addressed all of these needs, demonstrating that they were attempting to stay
ahead of the anticipated phenomenal growth. At the beginning of the
decade, Carmel’s population was 6,578. By 1980, it had grown to 18,272--a
178 percent increase over the decade.
fifteen years leading to the present have witnessed continued growth. The
most significant change has been in the area of commercial and business
growth. Over this period, businesses of regional, national, and
international importance have established offices and headquarters in Carmel
and Clay Township. Most notable are Conseco, Thomson Consumer
Electronics, Mayflower Transit Company, and Delta Faucet:
Conseco, founded in 1979 by Stephen C. Hilbert and currently located at 11825
North Pennsylvania Street, is a financial services holding company. Its
1994 revenue totaled $1.9 billion; assets totaled $10.8 billion. Conseco
acquires and restructures insurance concerns and provides investment management
for the insurance industry.
Thomson Consumer Electronics, a French-based electronics research business
which acquired RCA and which also produces GE and Westinghouse products,
established its North American operations headquarters and research center in
1994. Located at 10330 North Meridian Street, the company employs 2,200
at this site. To lure the company to the area, the City of Carmel gave
Thomson a $7 million tax abatement over an 18 year period.
Mayflower Transit Company, established in 1926, served Indianapolis solely as
an intercity transit company until the mid 1970s. Two years after going
public in 1976, the company began moving electronic, computer and trade show
exhibits and acquiring school bus transit services. Between 1981-1986,
the corporation more than doubled its revenue. Corporate headquarters are
located on the western edge of Clay Township at 9998 Michigan Road.
Delta Faucet, manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen fixtures, established its
headquarters on Meridian Street and 111 Street in 1977. Currently, the
company employs 250 at the site.
banking, investment and insurance concerns of local, state and regional importance
have located in Carmel, especially along the North Meridian Street
corridor. All of this has made Carmel a center of money, prestige, and
influence in the areas of Indianapolis and Indiana finance. Duke
Associates and R.V. Welch have contributed to the growth by developing office
parks extending north along Meridian Street from the county/township line at 96th
Street to beyond 116th Street. High rise office towers and low
rise buildings are designed and landscaped to provide an impressive business development.
1986, Robert V. Welch began construction on the Meridian Technology Center on
116th Street at Pennsylvania Street. This 188 acre site was
developed as a center for firms involved in high technology business. At
the same time, Guilford Associates and Carmel Associates jointly began planning
the Carmel Science and Technology Park, located on 227 acres adjacent to the
Meridian Technology Center. Both centers are now complete and serve as
outstanding examples of developers’ investments in and responsibilities to
their host communities. The developers absorbed the costs of utility
installation and road construction rather than pass those costs on to the
community. They also created a beautifully landscaped environment to be
enjoyed by employees and the nearby residential communities alike.
residential areas that have developed in the surrounding areas reflect the
affluence these businesses have brought to Clay Township. In 1990, the
median home value was $132,100, significantly higher than any township in the
Indianapolis metropolitan area. 
government has responded to continued growth in several ways. City/township services
have increased with expanded police and fire service, new roads have been
constructed, and improved water and sewage services provided. The most
visible governmental response to the area’s growth was the construction of the
new Civic Square on South Range Line Road, begun in 1986. Phase I
included a $5 million fire headquarters and amphitheater. Two years
later, planning for Phase II began. This phase, completed in 1990,
included a police headquarters, government office building, and public commons.
The center consolidates all city services to a single location.
proposed governmental response to the continued growth is one of heated
debate. First discussed more than 15 years ago, the consolidation of Clay
Township and Carmel city governments is a proposal that, if passed, could have
county-wide effects, beginning with the loss of federal funds now
received. A task force studied the issue in the late 1980s and eventually
tabled the proposal. The concept, which never really died, resurfaced in
1995. Currently, the township has a three person board, a clerk and
assessor to oversee poor relief, fire protection, and dog tag
distribution. The board oversees the work of the township trustee who
administers their actions.  Since the city of Carmel occupies
one-third of the township, this issue will certainly grow with Carmel over the
next several years.
business and government have grown, so too have the educational, civic and
religious institutions of Carmel. The 1980s and 1990s residential growth
stimulated the construction of two new elementary schools—Cherry Tree (1989)
and Smokey Row (1992)--as well as the expansion of Carmel Junior High and
Carmel High schools. In 1994, Carmel Clay Schools had a budget of over
$38 million to operate the 8 elementary, 2 junior high, and one high school,
with a total enrollment of 9,750. Ranked as one of the best overall
districts in the state, the Carmel Clay system is also recognized nationally as
a top college preparatory system.
financed by the city, township, or county governments, the parks of Carmel-Clay
have tremendous volunteer support, the most important of which comes from
the Carmel Dads Club. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1959, the
club fosters, develops, and supports the athletic programs of the Carmel Clay
schools. The Dads Club has taken responsibility for developing and
maintaining three school athletic facilities including a 40 acre soccer field
complex and Gray Road Park, a multi-use facility, for the county.
Badge Park on East 131st Street is a 39 acre baseball, football, and
soccer complex owned and operated by the Dads Club.
1991, the Carmel Clay County Park at 106th Street and Gray Road
received $60,000 in planning funds and playground equipment which local
volunteers had solicited. Carmel High School art students and Boy Scouts
aided in raising funds and building the playground, known as “Camelot” because
of its medieval theme.
Flowing Well Park, rededicated in 1983, resulted from energetic volunteer
activity and community/business support. The parks and well are owned by
American Aggregates Corporation. In 1906, men drilling for natural gas
accidentally opened an artesian well, which local residents have used as a
source of spring water ever since. To commemorate pioneer families of the
area, residents place a small tablet on the well in 1929. Over the years,
the well site became rather dilapidated. In 1982, a volunteer effort, begun
with the enthusiastic support of American Aggregates, surfaced to rebuild,
landscape, and rededicate the park. Individuals and companies donated
more than $40,000 in cash and materials. As a result, a gazebo,
landscaped site, and a new parking area greet the estimated 50,000 people who
visit the well annually.
once Quakers and Methodists were the predominant denominations in the
community, the Carmel-Clay religious community has become larger and somewhat
more diverse. The 1990 Chamber of Commerce Resource Directory listed 38
congregations, 24 of which were affiliated with ten different denominations;
there were 14 independent congregations. These religious bodies have
rather limited involvement in the larger community of central Indiana and the
world at large. Some churches with denominational affiliations are
involved in larger social ministries, such as helping the homeless or
addressing urban violence. But, the non-affiliated churches tend to have
a greater emphasis on “hearing the word” and prayer than on acting on the word
or direct involvement in the community. 
The concern that church members demonstrate for matters of social justice and
larger community issues is extremely limited and appears to be a reflection of
prior involvement and exposure rather than an awareness of and commitment by
the community at- large.
December 1995, the Carmel/Clay Plan Commission contracted with HNTB
Corporation, an Indianapolis-based engineering and consulting firm, to update
the Land Use Thoroughfare Plan and the Comprehensive Plans that had been in
use. HNTB took six months to complete an extensive and inclusive survey
of a cross-section of the local population. HNTB contacted individuals
ranging from school age children (30 percent of the Carmel/Clay population is
under the age of eighteen) to the elderly to participate in a series of focus
groups, neighborhood meetings and surveys. The final product was a set of
ten goals, grouped into four major categories that the community wished to
maintain, refine, or achieve into the next century. Called “2020 Vision,”
the goals are a concise list of quality of life issues and are intended to be
the guidelines for policy-making decisions by the Carmel-Clay community into
the next century. The areas that citizens wished to see addressed in
future plan proposals included: housing and neighborhoods, management of
area growth, commerce and economy, and recreational use of open space.
Such issues as continuing former mayor Reiman’s moratorium on apartment
building construction and allowing only single-family homes in the area and
continuing the Dads Club athletic programs were cited as important community
is projected that by the year 2020, Clay Township will be completely built and
will be home to some 85,000 residents.  How
the township proceeds to grow over the next 25 years will most certainly impact
the quality of life in the City of Carmel and Clay Township for the next
century. The vision of local residents in 1996 reveals a community wide
respect and need for the same goals and values reflected in the earliest years
of the area’s settlement—strong families, quality education, and a sound
Center for Urban Policy and The Polis Center , IUPUI, A Report on The City
of Carmel, Sec. 2, pp. 7-8.
Center for Urban Policy, Sec. 2, p. 6.
Center for Urban Policy, Sec. 2, p. 6.
Center for Urban Policy, Sec. 2, p. 10.
Carmel News-Tribune, Apr. 7, 1993.
Thomas Rumer, “‘Requesting the Privilege’: A Historic View of Carmel
Friends Meeting.” Unpublished manuscript, n.d., p. 15.
Jack R. Edwards, A View of Home Place (Noblesville: Rowland Printing,
1992), pp. 119-120.
Thomas B. Helms, History of Hamilton County, Indiana (Chicago: Kingman
Bros., 1880), p. 112.
John F. Haines, History of Hamilton County, Indiana (Indianapolis: B.F.
Bowen & Co., 1915), p. 157.
Interview with Thomas Rumer, May 1996.
Carmel Centennial Souvenir Program, October 1937, p. 20
Indianapolis Star Magazine, Apr. 6, 1958
Dorothy A. Smith, Carmel, A Second Glance (Carmel: Carmel
Sesquicentennial Committee, 1987), pp. 140-141.
HNTB Corporation, Carmel/Clay 2020 Vision Planning Process (Carmel:
Carmel/Clay Township Plan Commission, 1995).
Marilyn Campbell, “Carmel Public Library - A History.” Unpublished manuscript,
1983, pp. 1-15
The Library opened a new building in 2000.
Center for Urban Policy, Sec. 2, p. 7
Carmel News-Tribune, September 1991
Phone surveys conducted by Sheryl D. Vanderstel, May 1996