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History of Carmel, Indiana

The history of Carmel, Indiana is very similar to the history of the many small Central Indiana cities around it. Indianapolis suburbs like Westfield, Noblesville, Zionsville, Fishers, Lawrence, Greenwood, Mooresville, Plainfield, Avon and Brownsburg were all starting to gel as communities during the early 1800’s. The people who settled there were traders, Quakers, teachers and business people, all of them from good, solid pioneer stock.

Carmel, Indiana was originally plotted, with 14 lots, in 1837. By 1850, it contained, among other structures, a General Store for the local fur traders, an official Post Office and a Carmel school house for Carmel children. The town was originally called Bethlehem, but the name was changed to Carmel in 1847.
Like the other new hamlets of the area, Carmel experienced a time of prosperity and growth when the railroads became part of the picture. The Carmel Train Depot was built in 1883, after the Monon Railroad laid its tracks through the city, connecting it to other Indiana stations, like the Fishers Train Station.

Then came the various amenities a town depends on to improve the quality of life in general: electricity in 1904, the Carmel Clay Public Library (now one of the best in the nation) in 1914, the Volunteer Fire Department in 1921, an automatic traffic light in 1924 (one of the first in the United States), a citywide water system in 1930 and a gas pipeline in 1933.

Carmel, Indiana has been flourishing ever since. With one of the fastest-growing populations in the country, Carmel is also receiving a makeover in a grand style. Millions of dollars are being poured into this elegant city to create the new Carmel City Center, the Carmel Arts and Design District, the Monon Greenway and a state of the art Performing Arts Center.

No matter how fast and far it grows, Carmel will always celebrate its pioneer heritage, which is the very engine that provides the persistence for such success.