This land was part of the Miami Indian Confederacy upon Indiana’s 1816 founding, but was surrendered in an 1818 treaty. Settlers started to trickle into the area in the 1820s, and the first land patent in this area was issued in 1822 (to William Conner, who went on to settle in Hamilton County; his farm there is now an interactive history park). Conner believed that Indians and fur traders transacted business here, and this is probably how the area came to be called Traders Point.
The Lafayette Road was built through the area in 1831; it is said to have been a corduroy road here. A church was founded near here in 1834; it later moved to the village and became Traders Point Christian Church. It split into two in about 1895, creating Traders Point Church of Christ. Both still operate today, just farther north on Lafayette Road.
Settlers kept arriving, but it wasn’t until 1864 that a village was platted here and officially named Traders Point. Two groceries, a sawmill, a cooper’s shop, stockyards, and a blacksmith shop were built.
The area retained its rural character into the 20th century. In 1940, Traders Point counted only 50 residents. Later, affluent Indianapolis families built large homes and country estates in the area. They used the hills and valleys along Eagle Creek between 56th Street and 96th as territories for fox hunts fashioned after those in which several of them had participated in Virginia. The group established Traders Point Hunt in 1934, and at the same time it was officially recognized by the Master of the Foxhound Association of America.
Business in the community suffered when Lafayette Road (U.S. 52) was widened and improved for motor traffic in 1935. Some of the older firms declined and were replaced by a service station and restaurants.
In addition to Traders Point Hunt, the Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show was an annual event held a few miles away in southern Boone County, benefiting the Humane Society of Indianapolis. These two organizations perpetuated the Traders Point name. The horse show was discontinued in 2015, and Trade Point Hunt disbanded in 2018.
To control the flooding, the county purchased 2,286 acres along Eagle Creek southwest of Traders Point and built a dam. The project lasted four years, from 1966 to 1970. It created Eagle Creek Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to most of northwest Indianapolis and is a popular fishing and boating spot. Much of the surrounding land was converted into Eagle Creek Park, lovely and wooded, one of the largest city parks in the United States.
The reservoir disrupted the Dandy Trail, an 88-mile pleasure drive around the county. But the people of Traders Point were hopping mad about it when it came, because the Indianapolis Flood Control Board invoked eminent domain, purchased all but one of the village’s buildings, and forced everybody out. It was apparently thought that the reservoir would permanently flood Traders Point and close the Lafayette Road here.
With the exception of the farm co-op building, Traders Point was razed. But then this land never flooded again — because as part of the flood-control project, a levee was built along Eagle Creek’s west bank. The demolition of Traders Point was wholly unnecessary.
(2 March 2016 Jim Grey )
Normandy Farms has a unique and rich history. The site is part of the forested area known historically as Trader’s Point. In the 18th and 19th centuries, settlers and fur trappers would meet here and trade with the local Indians. Later, portions of the forest were cleared and developed into farmland.
Many of the roads that traverse the Trader’s Point area bear the names the pioneering families who settled here—Hollingsworth, Marsh, Noel, Conarroe, Wilson, Moore, and Fishback. Descendants of these families still live in Pike Township and have a strong attachment to the community.
The Original Normandy Farm
In the early 20th centry, Pike Township became the location of choice for some of Marion County’s wealthier residents, including William H. Block, L.S. Ayres, Eli Lilly, Harold Ransburg, and Herman Krannert. Industrialist and philanthropist Herman C. Krannert lived on the property which was eventually developed into the Normandy Farm subdivision.
Beginning operations in 1935, the original Normandy Farm consisted of 600 acres and included Mr. Krannert’s private residence and dairy farm. The farm was managed by agricultural experts and assisted by Purdue University. It was reputed to be one of the most advanced dairy farming operations in the nation. Mrs. Krannert named the property Normandy Farm after the province in France called “Normandie” because it reminded her of the French countryside with its picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, farms, and forests.
An address delivered on January 5, 1960, on the occasion of Mr. & Mrs. Krannert receiving the Pike Township Lions Club’s Outstanding Community Service Award for 1959, was made into a 20-page brochure called History of Normandy Farm. The brochure, which details the history of the farm (1932 to 1960) and of the thriving Guernsey Cow business the Krannerts developed, includes photos of the farm’s prize-winning bulls and cows.
Our thanks to neighbor Steve Klingenberger for unearthing the brochure from his wife’s memorabilia.
The Subdivision Is Built
In 1975, approximately 395 acres of the farm were sold to developer John Kleinops, who had developed the nearby Trader’s Point North subdivision. Representatives of the Krannert estate expressed great satisfaction that Mr. Kleinops would be the indvidual to develop Normandy Farms. They wanted the property to be developed to a standard consistent with Mr. Krannert’s reputation for excellence and aesthetics.
After consulting experts in land planning and architecture, John Kleinops spent two years designing and planning the new subdivision. He aimed to preserve the environs that made this property unique, including the imported specimen trees as well as the topographical features of the property. This necessitated the implementation of conservation and erosion controls into the developent plan. As a result, Normany Farms subdivision was designated as the Urban Conservationist of the Year in 1980 by the Soil & Water Conservation Board.
Normandy Farms was the site of the 1980 Home-A-Rama and the 1983 Designer Showcase of Homes.
Moving the Barn—Twice!
In the late 1990s, the main barn of Normandy Farms was disassembled piece by piece and reassembled near the 38th Street entrance of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The vintage barn was reconstructed using as many of the original building components as possible and served for a time as the year-round home of the Center For Agricultural Science and Heritage.
Later the barn was moved again, this time into the Fairgrounds where it sits near the Farm Bureau Building. Now painted a cheerful green and white, it serves as a venue for meetings, weddings and special events.