Lights Over Seminary Event Set For December 6

Photography Provided

A Noblesville city park with a lot of history has recently been reinvigorated so that residents can enjoy it for years to come. After receiving the final renovation touches, Seminary Park, located southeast of the Noblesville Courthouse Square at 200 South 10th St., is gearing up for Lights Over Seminary Powered by Duke Energy. This is the second year for the highly anticipated event held at the park whose land has a past dating back to the mid-1800s.

Many people assume that the property was once the location of a religious school of theology, but Hamilton County Historian, David Heighway, says that’s not the case.

“The term seminary seems to be used at the time for any building for secondary education,” he says. “The first seminary building was built there in 1851 – the same year that the town was incorporated, and the railroad built.”

Heighway continues, “That structure was replaced in 1870 by a building also called the seminary, but changed to the high school by 1880, and later to Second Ward School. It was torn down in 1969. The park was established in 1984 in Mayor Patricia Logan’s administration. That was when the original gazebo was built. I think that it was rebuilt twice over the years. Noblesville Shakespeare in the Park was performed there between 1993 and 2016.”

In 2017, the city was approached by a developer who was interested in purchasing a portion of the acre and a half property. A small residential development was proposed. Public opinion against the offer was strong and instead of selling the land, it was decided to improve it.

Brandon Bennett, Director of Noblesville Parks and Recreation says, “It became very clear that the public wanted it to continue being a park. It did bring attention to the park and we thought, ‘Let’s put some love into it.’ A summer intern in our planning department came up with drawings. We brought a designer on board and it came together.”

Improvements include modernizing some elements while keeping in mind the past traditions of the park. The trademark gazebo was replaced with a larger one that includes a plaza area and a mini-performance space to accommodate small concerts or weddings. Walkways have been updated and Edison lights were installed to coordinate with the lighting in the nearby downtown area.

Bennett adds, “There is some new fencing, and the playground has been refreshed. Benches, water fountains and a new gateway into the park have been added. We improved the landscaping which includes lots of peonies. And I kept my promise to Aaron Head, Noblesville Economic Development Specialist, that I’d have the renovations done on time for the Lights Over Seminary Powered by Duke Energy event!”

This year’s opening day for Lights Over Seminary Powered by Duke Energy will be Friday, December 6. The lighting will take place at 6 p.m. and is in conjunction with other organized events as part of downtown Noblesville’s Main Street’s First Friday. The lights will continue to delight the public throughout December from 5 to 11 p.m. daily.

A new feature to the event this year will be 10 themed Christmas trees decorated by sponsors. During the December 6 lighting event, the community will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree. The sponsor of the winning tree will be awarded a prize.

For more information about Lights Over Seminary Powered by Duke Energy and other Noblesville Parks events, visit CityOfNoblesville.org.

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