A Leisure Walk through Time: Envisioned by Town Fathers…hmmm?

Writer / Janet Gilray

A stroll through time down Logan Street is pretty sweet—especially if you start this self-guided tour at Alexander’s old-fashioned ice cream parlor—or finish at Sweet Home Cupcakes.

(Time and Distance: Less than an hour, and less than a mile).

Seven years after Indiana was admitted to the Union, William Connor and Josiah Polk platted Noblesville. It was 1823, and the town boundaries were White River on the west, Harrison Street on the north, 12th street on the east and Cherry Street on the south. Town fathers envisioned the area as a central business district, as well as the first area for homes.

Could their vision have included a walking tour? Certainly ease of pedestrian travel was paramount in the day.

As Conner and Polk looked forward, citizens of the town they platted can now look back. Those out to increase their historical appreciation, or personal sense of place, may enjoy this short, self-guided walking tour. The length is less than a mile, but it spans nearly 200 years of history. Stroll it for exercise, add a little window shopping, and maybe a sweet treat, and you get a full measure of “history lite.” C’mon!

Start on the north side of the Hamilton County Courthouse

When you’re ready, start on the north side of Noblesville’s Central Square. The courthouse benches and structural beauty make it a wonderful gathering point. Note many fascinating facades are to the north and east of the square, having stood the test of time, most since the mid-1800s.

Next, launch your architectural expedition by heading east on Logan Street, away from the highway and tracks. Your starting point is halfway between 8th and 9th Streets. Choose either side. Think as the crow flies as you travel to the turnaround point at 13th and Logan. Here you simply double back, to stroll the opposite side.

Stroll deep into the early years of Noblesville history

As you set out, cross to the north side of the street and peek in Kirk’s Hardware—in operation since 1890. Even a tiny glimpse in the window provides an authentic look into the past, as does the old-fashioned ice cream parlor located next door. If there are children in your group, Alexander’s on the Square is a fine place to talk a little about the olden days before you move on. Find a booth, enjoy a waffle cone and plan a game of “I Spy.” Suggested topics: secret garden gates, bottle trees, porch and tire swings (many along the route). Carry the list on your walk.

Next to the ice cream parlor is The Wild, a children’s bookstore under new ownership, and one of the few independent bookstores left in Central Indiana. Grandparents love this place. Take the kids to browse when your stroll is complete.

If your preference is caffeine to ice cream, the Noble Coffee and Tea Company is near the 9th street corner, next to Smith’s Jewelers, as you continue to walk east. Take your time. Don’t rush!

Just past the light at 9th and Logan, you’ll see Whimzy, two stories of unique finds in over 60 small booths. Fun to browse. Past Whimzy, start watching for two cast iron historical markers. They’re on opposite sides of the street. You may wish to catch one going, and one coming back. Look beside At Home with Us. Find the other one beside the Logan Village Antique Mall. Read both to learn about the Cherokee Lodge and the Noblesville newspaper offices that once existed on the Neal Block. Scan the building facades where you find the plaques. Search high. See what you discover.

townstroll-walkingdogReturn to the Age of Early Moderns and Romantic Victorians
As you enjoy the shops along the way, keep traveling east. Cross at 10th and Logan where you must go through an enormous concrete intersection. The reward for passing over this is a serene streetscape of red brick and shady sidewalks along which are showcased numerous gracious homes in the styles of bygone eras, including the Early, Eastlake and Queen Anne Victorians, Italianate, Greek Revival, and American Foursquare.

In the spirit of earlier times, keep a friendly lookout as you stroll. Homeowners take great pride in homes they’ve lovingly restored. Chance meetings with those working in the garden, or doing a little porch sitting, offer opportunities to learn more about the history of various homes.

Here are a few brief descriptions to aid in appreciation of the neighborhood. Several homes were selected for location and ease of identification.

Italianate Home #1057 (1855-1880) One of the oldest in town, this home was built in the early 1860s. Its cube form, wide eaves and ornate bracketing are distinguishing elements, and it is further embellished with graceful arches and unique vertical board and batten siding below the eaves. It boasts a stable in the alley with the original brick floor still intact.

American Foursquare Home #1061 (1900-1915) The style of this solid two-story yellow brick home is a marked departure from the intricacy of the Victorian era. The Foursquare features a low pitched roof, strong horizontals and wide overhangs. The red brick home at 1205 Logan Street is another fine example of the American Foursquare.

Queen Anne Home #1107 (1890-1905) Ornate, non-symmetrical facades typify Queen Anne–style homes. Details include an abundance of bric-a-brac, diagonal corners at windows and doors, towers, turrets, fish-scale and other complex surface textures.


Greek Revival Home #1239 (1850 and 1870) Inspired by classic Greek temples, this style home was popular nationwide. Columns and complex gables were prominent. Proud bunting typified the time and lends the home a patriotic air.

Early Victorian Home #1255 (1850s—1870s) The “original” Victorian home, identified by the simple, hand-cut gingerbread trim.

Home for All Things Art #1274 (1915-1930) Although not a home in the typical sense, the former church has been termed “Home for All Things Art” by its new owner. An old barracks, moved from Ohio in the 1930s, it served as a church for many years. It is currently repurposed as a performing arts venue/low-key destination for afternoon and evening music programs.

Eastlake Victorian Homes #1293, #1294, and #1307 (1880s to 1905) Numerous Victorian homes were decorated with increasingly complex gingerbread trim, made affordable by factory production.

Turn around, stroll back to town
Stroll, meander, saunter…keep a lookout for details you may have missed. Choose a favorite, count the flags, plan to return. We hope you enjoyed your trip back in time!

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