1905 Franklin Township Map

Franklin Township map, 1905

Map of Franklin Township, 1905

This fragment of a 1905 map of Franklin Township, found online by one of our members, gives an indication of the decades-long transition from “New Bethel” to “Wanamaker” (as described in a previous post) in that it labels the town as New Bethel, but the post office as Wanamaker. (When New Bethel had tried to obtain a post office they were told that there was already a Bethel, Indiana, so the post office was named after Postmaster General John Wanamaker. Locals continued calling the town by its original name long after the official change.)

Also of interest is the way several roads are labeled — for instance, present-day Vandergriff Road is called “The New Bethel and Chapel Free Gravel Road,” Southeastern Avenue, originally called the Michigan Road, is labeled “The New Bethel and Buck Creek Free Gravel Road,”  and Franklin Road is alternately the “Noblesville and Franklin Road” and “Gallaudet Free Gravel Road,” as the route passed through all those towns. Many of the township road names were were later shortened or renamed after families who owned property along the route, and some were divided or rerouted by the construction of Interstate 74.

Five Points is just visible at the upper edge of the map. Five Points was so named because of the intersection of the roads that are present-day Troy Avenue, Southeastern Avenue, and Five Points Road. Although it was never incorporated as a separate town nor assigned a post office, Five Points was a local landmark and point of reference. One of the oldest businesses in Indianapolis, the H.A. Waterman Co. (established 1881) still stands in its original location on the corner of the intersection.

1 Comment

  1. Andrew

    I just found out Gresham, Oregon is also named after a postmaster general, for the same purpose of getting a post office. I’m wondering if this is part of a larger pattern?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.