On April 13, 1837, John Felps (Phelps), Alexander Mills, Seth Green, and Daniel Warren, laid out the Town of Bethlehem.  The plat contained a total of fourteen lots.  The area, previously inhabited by Delaware (Miami) Indians, soon became inhabited by Quakers.

Andrew Jackson was President of the United States at the time.

As a wilderness it was known for its fur trading. The first General Store was constructed in 1837. In 1845, a framed school house building was constructed near the Town's crossroads. In 1846, a Post Office was established. It was, at this time, the town residents were notified that the United States Post Office already had another town registered by the name of Bethlehem in Indiana. Consequently, in 1874, by a referendum vote of 33 in favor and 12 against, the town was officially incorporated and adopted the name "Carmel."

In 1882, rails of the Monon Railroad were laid through Carmel, and a depot was opened in 1883. The railroad depot remained open until 1974. The Carmel-Clay Historical Society is in charge of the restoration of the original depot.

In 1900, a shoot-out at the Jeffries Livery Barn took place. Officer William Frank Carey was killed. To date, Officer Carey, is the only law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty.

In 1904, electricity was installed throughout Carmel.

In 1914, the Carmel Public Library was dedicated. It was built with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation for a total of $11,000.00. It was used until 1972 when it was purchased by the Town of Carmel, and then used for official offices and as a Courthouse.

In 1921, the Carmel Volunteer Fire Department purchased its first fire truck.

In 1924, Leslie Haines invented one of the Country's first automatic stop-and-go traffic signals. It was located at the intersection of Main Street and Range Line Road.

In 1930, a Water System was installed, and in 1933 a gas pipeline was installed.

In 1937, a Centennial celebration took place in Carmel. In 1962, Carmel celebrated its 125th anniversary with parades and street fairs.

In 1949, the Carmel Theatre opened. Ticket prices were 40 cents for adults and 20 cents for children. Candy bars were sold for a nickel each. The theatre was closed and razed by the City in 1984. In 1985, the "Downtown Park" was dedicated on the original site of the Carmel Theatre.

In 1958, a new high school was erected on East Main Street, for a total cost of $1,600,000.00. Additions to the high school were added in 1963, 1969, and 1977. The Carmel Elementary School was opened in 1961 and in 1964, the Carmel Junior High School was opened.

In 1965, Keystone Avenue (Route 431) was opened. This same year, the areas of Woodland Springs, Cool Creek, and Keystone Square, were annexed to Carmel, doubling the population.

In 1971, the Carmel Court was established. The Plan Commission was also expanded to fourteen members from Clay Township and seven from Carmel, that same year.

In November of 1974, a referendum took place as to whether Carmel should become a Fourth Class City. The residents voted in the affirmative.

In 1975, the first City Primary took place in Carmel. On January 1, 1976 the following City Officials took office:

Albert Pickett, Mayor

Peggy Smith, Clerk-Treasurer

Members of the Town Council

David Coots, Dr. Walter Dean, Minnie Doane, Jim Garrestson, Stan Meacham, Jane Reiman, Fred Swift.

 Phil Correll, City Judge


The population of Carmel has grown steadily. Statistics show the following residents:    


Number of People

1925 385
1930 682
1940 771
1950 1,009
1960 1,442
1970 6,568
1980 18,272
1984  20,189
1990 25,199
1998 39,856
2003 48, 287
2004 57,000
2005 66,000

In December of 1976, the Carmel Symphony Orchestra presented its first concert.

In 1985, the Science and Technology Park opened at Meridian and 116th Streets. That same year, St. Vincent Carmel Hospital opened on North Meridian.

In 1986, the ground breaking took place for the Carmel Civic Square, with city offices being relocated during the years thereafter.

April 13, 1987 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of Carmel. Today it is known for a heritage of culture and a rich tradition of State Championships of Athletic Teams. The new Carmel Civic Square has become the "showpiece of Georgian architectural splendor."

Since becoming classified as a City under the State laws of Indiana, the following public servants have served as Mayor of the City of Carmel:

Mayor Years of Service
Albert Pickett   1976 - 1980
Jane A. Reiman 1980 - 1984
Jane A. Reiman 1984 - 1988
Dorothy J. Hancock 1988 - 1991
Ted Johnson 1992 - 1995
James Brainard 1996 - 1999 
James Brainard 2000 - 2003
James Brainard 2003 - present

The History of Carmel From 1990 - Present


· New City Hall opened for business.

· Carmel Library moved to larger building on Main Street.

· City’s recycling center opens.

· Camel Parks and Recreation Department established.


· The Carmel Clay Plan Commission updated the second Comprehensive Plan.

· Crooked Stick Golf Club hosts PGA tournament


· Carmel Arts Council founded.

· Carmel Community Players formed.


· Flowing Well Park Opens


· First year Carmel earns Tree City USA designation


· First year city earns Growth Award for going above and beyond the Tree City USA requirements.


· Carmel Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins Best in its Class Award from Environmental Protection Agency.

· Hazardous Household Waste site opens.


· 96th Street bridge opens.

· First section Hazel Dell Parkway opens from 96th Street to 116th Street.

· 126th Street extended.

· Wastewater Treatment Plant expanded, doubling its primary capacity to 12 million gallons per day.

· Main water station expanded.

· First International Arts Festival.

· City’s Farmers’ Market opens at Civic Center

· Prairie Meadow Park opens


· Children’s Art Gallery named smallest children’s art gallery by Guinness World Book of Records

· Carmel Clay Library moves to new 116,000-square-foot facility at 4th and Main Streets.

· River Road Greenway opens.


· Second leg of Hazel Dell Parkway opens from 116th Street to 146th Street.

· New three-million-gallon water storage tank complete

· First year city’s comprehensive annual financial report qualifies for a Certificate in Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

· Lawrence W. Inlow Park opens


· Carmel Neighborhood Association Network formed

· Carmel Police Bring Home Medals in World Police and Fire Games 2001.

· First buildings for City Center under construction—Schwinn bike shop and AMLI residential complex.


· West Park opens

· 5.2 mile Monon Trail opens from 96th Street to 146th Street


· Lenape Trace Park opens

· Founders Park master plan adopted

· City completes largest annexation in its history



· Grand Opening of Clay Terrace

· AMLI buildings open at Old Town

· Plans unveiled and approved for City Center

· Inaugural "Tour de Carmel" cycling event

· Groundbreaking for Freedom Circle at Veterans Memorial Plaza

· Central Park Groundbreaking

· American City Business Journal names Carmel one of the best places to live


· Performing Arts Center approved by Carmel City Council

· Arts & Design District Gateway Unveiling

Some Helpful Carmel Statistics

  1996 2000 2004 2005
Population  32,487  37,733  57,000  66,000
Square Miles 12.59 (1990) 17.8  39.14   39.14 
Acres 8,060 (1990) 11,395   25,050  25,050

Carmel, Indiana is located in Hamilton County.

Zip Codes:

Telephone Area Code:

For more Carmel historical information - Please click here

and More Carmel historical "Facts & Folklore" click here.

more information? Carmel Clay Historical Society


Carmel City Hall 
Office Hours
Monday thru Friday
8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.


Carmel City Hall
One Civic Square
Carmel, In 46032

Phone 317-571-2400


Mayor Brainard

or our

The Department of Community Relations

The City of Carmel acknowledges utilization of the publication entitled 
Celebrate Carmel - A Welcome Home Sesquicentennial 1837 - 1897
in the preparation of this history.

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