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History of Hortonville Program 06/21/2005

Read the article from the Noblesville Daily Times 06/22/2005. Look at the pictures from the newspaper.

Stillness in the midst of growth
One piece of Washington Township is comfortable with its slower pace

By Katie Wampler | Staff writer

Posted: 06/22/05 - 11:18:59 am EST

Photo by Robert Herrington | Hortonville can be seen from atop a Hamilton Co-op grain silo, with a view of Hortonville United Methodist Church.

HORTONVILLE — Contrary to commercial and residential trends across Hamilton County, one corner of northwest Washington Township has watched local activity ebb in recent decades n and few people seem to mind.

Take 203rd Street west of U.S. 31. The gently sloping road winds through stretches of corn and soybean fields, peppered with content, cuddling cattle in shady pastures to the barely there spot known as Hortonville.

Little traffic occupies the main vein out of Hortonville, even at rush hour. The once-bustling town that saw its prime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries has settled into a slower pace with fewer businesses and passers-through, now functioning primarily as an agricultural and bedroom community.

The dissolution of the Monon Railroad contributed to the town's lag in activity. The only businesses that still exist are Horney's Jerseys, a dairy farm, and the Hamilton County Co-op grain elevator, which siphons grain from four sturdy silos. One steel and three concrete silos stand like community pillars diagonally from another Hortonville landmark, the United Methodist Church.

Sitting around the dinner table with golden sunlight streaming through the kitchen window, Gene and Karen Jones sipped lemonade and eat with two of their now grown six children.

The Joneses are among those who are just as happy their hometown is less busy than before.

The house has not changed much in the 44 years they've lived there, Karen Jones said, "but Hortonville sure has. That used to be our backyard," she said, pointing to a row of four 100-foot silos in behind her house, with a small swing set less than 10 feet in front of them.

Daughter Gayla Hart said she prefers the pace of her hometown.


Photo by Robert Herrington | June Millikan Cordell (left) reminisces with fellow Hortonville resident Mary Jane Carey and her son, Walt Carey, Tuesday at the Westfield-Washington Historical Society presentation at Hortonville United Methodist Church.

" I just like the country feel," she said, adding that the rest of the county is "too commercialized anyway. Traffic (outside Hortonville) is just ridiculous anymore."

Her father agreed.

"We like it here," he said.

The most dangerous activity he can remember was a thief who continually ransacked the candy money from the Hamilton County Co-op trailer on his property two years ago.

The Westfield-Washington Historical Society assembled old photographs, essays and relatives of founding residents for a program on the history of Hortonville Tuesday evening.

Mary Jane Carey spoke to the crowd of about a dozen people at Hortonville United Methodist Church for the presentation on Hortonville.

"This is home to me," she said, standing at the front of Hortonville United Methodist before the presentation. She played the church's organ for more than 50 years.

Carey's mother was a Horton, she said. Carey spent 88 years in Hortonville before moving to Westfield but still attends the United Methodist Church.

June Millikan Cordell was born on "Horton Hill," pointing southeast. Her grandfather, Lemuel Venable, was a carpenter who helped build many local structures. She lived in the apartment above the grocery store that used to occupy the corner across the street from the United Methodist Church when she was young, she said.

"This is all familiar," she said, standing outside the church. "This is where I used to ride my bicycle."

She remembers listening as Hortonville's two churches — the United Methodist and the Friends church — chimed their bells every Sunday morning.

"The churches really worked together back then," she said, though she did not discount the possibility that they still do.

Walt Carey, Mary Jane's son, still attends Hortonville United Methodist. He said the biggest problem facing the churches of Hortonville today is the church demographic.

"That's the future of the church," he said.


© 2003 Westfield-Washington Historical Society
Mailing Address PO Box 103 - Museum at 145 S Union Street
Westfield, IN 46074