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Welcome to Oaklandon Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 05:25 PM EDT

Germantown - Our Historic Neighbor

History
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A Germantown Farm
Check out the Germantown/Geist Image Gallery

The Germantown community is truly one for the history books. In searching out information about Oaklandon I happened upon the following article reprinted on Hungarovet.com. The story is credited to Jennifer Gal, wife of Dr. Sandor Gal and was likely originally published for the Log Cabin Animal Hospital website. It seems as though Dr. Gal is likely no longer associated with the animal hospital.

Germantown was just north of Oaklandon and its history offers much in the way of enlightenment for those seeking a history of Oaklandon. Many thanks to Mrs. Gal!


GERMANTOWN: A HAMLET LOST TO GEIST RESERVOIR

Orientation to Subject Matter

Geist Reservoir is interesting for many reasons. For one, it is Indiana ’s largest manmade lake, and second largest body of water, after Lake Wawasee . The Geist area is noteworthy for its wealthy and famous residents, especially the reservoir’s shoreline inhabitants who include renowned professional sports figures, politicians, local media personalities, and businesspeople. The history of the reservoir is no less interesting; Clarence Geist, a former owner of the Indianapolis Water Company forsaw a deficit in Indianapolis’s water supply, and envisioned “Geist Reservoir” to preemptively address the problem – but not without a casualty. Yes, there was an unmitigated casualty in the creation of the recreational and luxurious living locality known as Geist Reservoir. It was a tiny hamlet called Germantown , whose parcels were systematically bought up by Clarence Geist in the 1930’s, then put to their death in 1943 when Fall Creek was dammed to create the reservoir.

[ continue reading...]

Lest you wonder why an animal hospital might consider Germantown relevant to its homepage contents, explanation is in order. For one thing, Log Cabin Animal Hospital inhabits the oldest structure in the Geist area. It can be considered the only remaining structure from Germantown , because it was completed shortly before the flood when “downtown Germantown ” still stood just a few hundred feet away. Additionally, LCAH is owned by Dr. Sandor Gal, who emigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1985. His Hungarian heritage endows Dr. Gal with an essential appreciation for history, and for village life in particular. So, rumors of a nearby, ill-fated immigrant town caught his attention.

Unfortunately, information about Germantown was not easy to find. Being thoroughly busy managing his new animal hospital, Dr. Gal had no time to personally pursue, inquire and investigate this interesting subject, so his wife undertook the project. The brief history that follows, as well as the primary historical materials and photographs found in the links, were gleaned from the following sources, which we sincerely thank for their efforts and assistance:

Conner Prairie Farm’s Local History Project
Fall Creek Township Assessor
Hamilton County Historical Society
Hamilton County Museum of History
Indiana Historical Society (Susan Sutton, Multimedia Librarian)
Indiana State Library
Indiana State Museum
Indianapolis Star/News
The Martin family geneological website
Mrs. Pat McDaniel
Noblesville Public Library – Indiana Room
The Trittipo Family

Germantown was established in 1834 as a result of an Algonquin Indian slaying in nearby Oaklandon. The community was so divided over the circumstances of the killing that certain, primarily German households abandonded Oaklandon and created Germantown . Colloquial reports would have that this solved the strife; said Fred Martin, a 40 year resident of Germantown , “[the reservoir] ruined a fine little village. We all got along fine there.” If residents of Germantown were content, it certainly was not attributable to cosmopolitan excitement, for the town had but one general store, a shoemaker, and a grist mill. Rather, it would seem that the residents’ fulfillment came from rope swinging into the nearby watering hole, fishing, target practice, and having the teacher from the Oaklandon one-room school house over for dinner. These are among the remnants of Germantown recorded in memory and photograph.

Germantown was situated on Fall Creek’s north bank right straddling Hamilton and Marion counties, in Fall Creek and Lawrence Townships , respectively. The town consisted of about twenty lots along north/south running Main Street (also known as Germantown Road ), now the entrance road to the Geist Sailing Club. The burg lie between two bridges, one about a half mile eastward, the other equidistant southward. The former was Fall Creek Township ’s first bridge ever to span Fall Creek. It had been built in 1836 by four local residents, but was washed away in 1847 by a an overflow of the creek.

The southern bridge began as a swinging footbridge that the children would cross when walking to Craig School , about a mile south of town. Twelve steps lead up to each end of the bridge, which was anchored by a walnut tree on the one side, and a hackberry tree on the other. Wagons, buggies and carts could only cross the creek on a nearby ford. In 1901, the swinging bridge was replaced by one suitable for vehicles as well.

More to come.

- Jennifer Gal

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  • Germantown - Our Historic Neighbor
  • Authored by:Mike on Friday, March 03 2017 @ 03:05 PM EST

I recovered the original articles originally posted on the LogCabinVet.com website (now defunct) via Archive.org's Wayback machine (June 24, 2004) and have put them into a pdf file for safe keeping. Look for these articles to be published on this site at some point in the future:

History_of_Geist_Reservoir_and_Germantown.pdf

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