Shelbyville Road Farm History, part II

Today, we bring you one of Sylvia Henricks’ “Remembrances.” You can read more of Sylvia’s columns weekly in The Franklin Township Informer, or in her book From The Ash Grove (available directly from the FTHS, and via the web site).


The hilltop farm home of Christian and Sophia Klasing on Shelbyville Road, which I wrote about in the September 5 “Remembrances,” is shown in another, later photo (at left), which appeared in the Township Historical Society’s publication The History of Franklin Township Area Old Houses (1982). By then, Christian and Sophia were deceased, the brick house abandoned, and the property sold. The new owners would develop the farm during the next several years into Franklin Parke Estates. The hilltop site now holds two houses, one of them the home of Scott and Mary Verbarg, who are interested in the history of their property.

The hilltop remains. That there was a wide view from the hilltop was never in dispute. But just how high was the elevation? Historical Society member Dana Crapo solved the question, by going downtown to the State Office Building and — in spite of parking difficulties, and confusion in locating the right office — buying a topographical map of the area which includes that part of Shelbyville Road where the Klasing farm lay. The map, 22” by 27”, printed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is a U.S. Geological Survey, covers “the Beech Grove quadrangle.”(Topography, 1966; Roads, 1998.)

The map does record the height of the hill on which the farm house stood, slightly north of Shelbyville Road, at 900 feet. My six acres next door to the Franklin Parke Estates, are shown with two tiny black squares (one the garage) close to Shelbyville Road, east and somewhat south of the hilltop as 870 feet. I was surprised at this, as I always thought we lived “down in a hollow.” The Society Meeting House is 843 feet.

Indiana, A Guide to the Hoosier State, (1941) states on p.7 “About two thirds of Indiana is prevailingly level or rolling, while a smaller portion, largely in the south, is hilly. The average altitude is 700 feet above sea level. The greatest height, 1,285 feet is in Randolph County, near the eastern border; the lowest point, 313 feet, is in Vanderburgh County on the Ohio River.

(To be continued in a future “Remembrances.”)

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