Carmel Clay Historical Society: Keeping Carmel History Alive

The Carmel Clay Historical Society is a vibrant part of the Carmel, Indiana community. Formed in 1975 by a group of Carmel residents, initially the organization was meant to coincide with the United States’ Bicentennial celebration that year. As the residents began to take root in Carmel’s history, the group expanded. That same year, the City of Carmel donated the historic 1883 Monon Railroad Depot to the society as a gesture to encourage the groups longevity. More than 35 years later, the Carmel Clay Historical Society still maintains the depot as a museum of local history. Dedicated to enriching the lives of Clay Township and Carmel residents by offering a glimpse into the past, the Carmel Clay Historical Society plays an important role in maintaining the area’s identity.

The chief responsibilities of the Carmel Clay Historical Society are to collect, preserve and interpret the history of the Monon Train Depot, the city of Carmal and Clay Township and the people who have lived there. The society accomplishes this by providing a range of educational services to the public including programs about local topics, tours of the Monon Railroad Depot Museum, educational materials for Carmel schools on local and county history, historic home tours that highlight local architecture and antiques, genealogical assistance for local researchers and archival maintenance, which includes letters, diaries, newspapers, documents and other artifacts that relate to Carmel and Clay Township history.

The story of Clay Township and Carmel begins in 1837, when pioneer Daniel Warren founded the town as Bethlehem. The original settlement grew around Main and Range Line Roads through the next fifty years. During that time a number of Quaker pioneers also settled in the area, opening a meeting house and school, from which the Carmel Clay Schools eventually evolved. Ten years after Warren founded the town it was incorporated. It was then that the name officially changed to Carmel (after the post office established three decades prior under the name Carmel).

When the Monon railroad hit the town in 1882, growth took off. Farm products and other goods could be shipped to and from the area by rail, making it an increasingly livable area. At the turn of the century, paved roads began to carve out the current map of Carmel used today. Commuters could easily reach downtown Indianapolis, allowing them to work in the city and maintain a sense of subdue country life at the same time. Though growth slowed in Carmel during the Great Depression and the Second World War, by the 1950s Carmel was fast on its way to becoming a suburban hotspot of central Indiana.

The community continued to experience growth through the end of the century. By the late 1990s, Carmel was developing its own employment opportunities and recreational activities from Carmel shopping to Carmel arts. Now, Carmel, Indiana is known as one of the best places to live, work and play in Indiana. With 175 years of history at its feet, the city of Carmel and Clay Township have deep rooted connections to Indiana history. But this suburban town is just getting started.

Learn more about Carmel history or your ancestral connection to Carmel by visiting the Carmel Clay Historical Society website (listed below). Enjoy all that Carmel has to offer from great dining at Carmel restauratants to fabulous entertainment at the Center for the Performing Arts. There is a world of fun to be had in Carmel.

Stay tuned to Fun City Finder for all the latest about things to do in Carmel and things to do in Indianapolis. Also check out all the fun events happening in central Indiana, Indianapolis and Carmel at Fun Event Finder. Discover all that Carmel has to offer,and make the most of the Circle City and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Carmel Clay Historical Society
211 First St. South
Carmel, IN 46032