Greenwood

A TIMELINE OF FAITH AND COMMUNITY: GREENWOOD, 1823 TO 1996

1823 Brothers John B. and Isaac Smock of Mercer County, Kentucky, and their families settle near the Madison Road near the Marion-Johnson County line.
1824 James Smock and family join his brothers in the settlement now known as “Smock’s Settlement” or “Smocktown.”
The Madison State Road opens, linking Madison, Indiana to Indianapolis.
1825 Smocktown changes its name to Greenfield.
Greenwood Presbyterian Church is founded by members of the extended Smock family; the church first meets in the cabin of John B. Smock.
Johnson County is formed and named in honor of Judge John Johnson, one of the first justices of the state Supreme Court.
1826 Greenwood Presbyterian Church erects its first building—a log structure measuring 16 x 20 feet. The first church to be built in Johnson County, the building also serves as a school for the next six years.
1828 The first post office is established in the George T. Noble Inn, located at what is now the corner of Madison Avenue and Fry Road.  The first postmaster is James Smock, who also serves as the first justice of the peace.
` John Wilson, owner of one of the community’s earliest saw mills, begins manufacturing coffins.  Over time the family establishes a coffin factory and an undertaking business—the J.C. Wilson Funeral Homes—after relocating to Acton.
1829 Pleasant Township is formed out of White River Township in Johnson County.
1832 Greenwood Presbyterian Church moves into its second building.  A frame structure, it measures 40 x 50 feet.  The east end of the building continues to house a school.
1833 The town of Greenfield officially changes its name to Greenwood in order to eliminate confusion with the nearby town of Greenfield in Hancock County.
1835 Mt. Auburn (United) Methodist Church is organized as a class meeting in the home of William Harrell.  The following year church members erect the first building—known as the “Old Mud School House”—which serves as both a church and a school.
Honey Creek United Brethren Church is established in White River Township, southwest of Greenwood.
1839 Greenwood Baptist Church is organized.  The first meetings are held in a grove on the Josiah Bass farm.
1840 Dr. Benjamin Noble, father of George T. Noble and Noah Noble (Indiana’s fifth governor), moves to Greenwood.  Dr. Noble, a native of Virginia, is the first physician to settle in Greenwood.  He later is joined by a partner, Dr. William H. Wishard.  Dr. Wishard’s son, Dr. William N. Wishard, is the “father” of  Indianapolis’ City Hospital (now Wishard Memorial Hospital).
1844 Built on a one-acre site donated by Josiah Bass, the Greenwood Baptist Church erects its first building.
1845 Members of the Honey Creek United Brethren Church erect the first permanent structure.
1846 The Rocklane Christian Church is organized.
The town’s first general store is opened by James W. Parker.  The small frame building is located at the corner of what is now Madison Avenue and Main Street.  Parker is credited with being the first merchant in Greenwood.
1847 Rev. P.S. Cleland of Greenwood Presbyterian Church lays out a plot of twenty-six lots in what is now downtown Greenwood.  This was followed by J.J. Dungan, who laid out another twenty-four plots, and Dr. William H. Wishard, who laid out an additional six plots later that year.  This was followed by John B. Dobbins, who laid out a final thirty-one plots in 1851.   These eighty-seven plots constituted the original site of the town of Greenwood.
The Madison and Indianapolis Railroad is completed, and the first train west of the Allegheny Mountains travels through Greenwood in October.
1848 Mt. Auburn (United) Methodist Church moves into a new building located one-half mile north of Stone’s Crossing at the southeast corner of the Mount Auburn cemetery.
James W. Parker sells his store to Grafton Johnson, Sr., who enlarges the store.  Johnson is soon joined by his nephew Grafton Peek, who later becomes one of Greenwood’s leading merchants.
1849 Rocklane Christian Church dedicates its first building.
1850 Greenwood (United) Methodist Church is appointed head of the local circuit.  Organized in 1849, the congregation erects a frame building at the corner of Pearl and Meridian Streets.
  1. G. Searle establishes an iron foundry on Foundry Street (now Pearl).
1853 Greenwood Presbyterian Church moves into its new building, a frame structure measuring 40 x 60 feet located at the corner of Main and Brewer.
1855 The Greenwood Steam Flour Mill is erected by Henderson and Smith.  The mill eventually serves customers in Johnson, Marion, and Morgan Counties.  Under one owner or another, the mill operates through the turn of the century before being destroyed by fire in the early twentieth century, at which point the owners choose not to rebuild and close the business
1858 The Olive Branch United Brethren Church is organized and moves into its first building on the Olive Branch Road, just south of Smith’s Valley, the next year.
The Greenwood Odd Fellows Lodge is organized.  It is the first fraternal organization to be formed in Greenwood.
1860 The first banking institution in Greenwood is opened by Grafton Johnson.
Greenwood Baptist Church moves to its present site on the south side of Main Street, one block east of Madison Avenue.
Greenwood Christian Church is organized and begins meeting in a frame building located at the corner of Broadway and Meridian Streets that had previously served as the village schoolhouse.  The church traces its roots to an earlier “society” that began meeting in a building on the George Shortridge farm in 1838.  This group disbanded in the 1840s, however, because many of its members had moved from the neighborhood.
1862
  1. G. Searle’s iron foundry closes.
1864 Greenwood is incorporated as a town.
A “substantial brick school” is erected on the present site of the Central School in Greenwood.  The building measured 40 x 60 feet, and contained four classrooms.  This building was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1865 and school was then held in an old house on East Main Street.
Mrs. Elizabeth Stagg McGuire is appointed the first postmistress of Greenwood.  She serves until 1869.
1866 Honey Creek United Brethren Church moves into a new building.
1868 A new two-story, four-room, brick school opens in Greenwood.  The new building stands on the site of the building destroyed by fire in 1865.
Greenwood Christian Church moves into a new brick structure at the corner of Pearl and Smart Streets.  The new building cost $2,400.
1872 James T. Polk and wife, Laura, begin the J.T. Polk (Canning) Company in the kitchen of their home in Greenwood.  Marketed under the name “Polk’s Best,” the J.T. Polk Company eventually becomes the largest cannery west of Baltimore and the town’s biggest employer.
1874 Rocklane Christian Church erects its second building on the same site as the original structure.
1875 A Masonic lodge is formed in Greenwood.
1878 The J.T. Polk Company opens its first factory, a building measuring 45 x 288 feet.
1884 Mount Pleasant Christian Church is founded in White River Township.
1886 The J.T. Polk Company moves its operations into a new four-story brick factory.  The following year, the company erects a boarding house for employees.
1887 Greenwood (United) Methodist Church moves into a new brick building at the corner of Brewer and Broadway Streets.  The structure cost $7,000 while the property was purchased at a cost of $300.
A two-room addition is built on the north side of the Greenwood School.
The Greenwood Cemetery is incorporated by a group of thirty-four town residents.  The cemetery association purchases an initial site containing twelve acres and seven rods of land.
After purchasing its cans from eastern factories since its founding, the J.T. Polk Company begins manufacturing its own cans at a rate of 10,000 cans a day.
1888 Sumner Rose begins publishing Greenwood’s first newspaper, The Graphic.
1889 W.J. Spruce purchases The Graphic.
1890 The Greenwood Mineral Water Association is formed.  Mineral water is found at a depth of 1,700 feet and a sanitarium is established.
1892 Another two-room addition is occurs at the Greenwood School.
1893 The Dwiggins and Starbuck Bank fails in the Panic of 1893.  The second banking institution in Greenwood’s history, the bank opened around 1890.
Douglas Dahlins begins publishing Greenwood’s second newspaper, the EraThe Graphic moves to Ingalls, Indiana.
The Greenwood Banking Company is organized with ten shareholders, including James T. Polk, John A. Polk, Grafton Johnson, and Grafton Peek.
1894 James T. Polk organizes Greenwood’s first library.  It is discontinued in 1896.
Greenwood gets its first telephone exchange.
Bodies buried in the Presbyterian and Baptist cemeteries are exhumed and moved to the Greenwood Cemetery.
1897 The Greenwood Screen Door Company is organized.  After purchasing the J.T. Grubb and Sons planing mill, owners Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Carson form the Greenwood Lumber Company as a division of the Greenwood Screen Door Company.
1898 John Dever’s saloon is dynamited in downtown Greenwood.  The bombing is attributed to members of the Temperance Movement.
Greenwood Presbyterian Church erects its present brick structure at the corner of Brewer and Main Streets.
Beech Park, the town’s first park, is built.  It is located just south of Beech Park Drive and only boasted two amusements:  a “Chinese Puzzle” and prairie dogs.  Never popular, the park was dismantled within four years of its opening.
1899 Greenwood Baptist Church dedicates its present building on the south side of Main Street.
The Greenwood & Franklin Railway is completed.   The interurban links Indianapolis to Greenwood.  Regular cars don’t begin running, however, until the following year.  The line extended to Franklin in 1902 and, in 1903, to Columbus, Indiana.
Greenwood (United) Methodist Church builds a parsonage.
  1. 1900
Lora and Maggie M. Heck purchase the holdings of the Greenwood Sanitarium Water Association as well as an adjoining five-acre tract and erect a large hotel (including mineral baths).  The Greenwood Sanitarium soon attracts patients from throughout the Midwest.
1900 John Swann purchases the Era and changes its name to the Greenwood Era.
1901 The Greenwood School is torn down and replaced by a new $17,000 structure that opens in the next year.  The new building contains twelve classrooms and a basement.  The new Greenwood School houses all twelve grades.
Congress authorizes the establishment of the first Rural Routes from the Greenwood Post office.  By this time there are sixteen mail delivery routes operating out of Greenwood.
1902 Greenwood Christian Church dedicates a new brick building located at the corner of Broadway and Smart Streets.
Olive Branch United Brethren Church relocates to a new building on Smith Valley Road and changes its name to Smith’s Valley United Brethren Church.
Greenwood Water Company completes construction of a water and light plant.  A franchise for both works was granted to Samuel Perrott and Henry Ulen, who leased the plant to Greenwood for an annual fee.
1904 Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church moves into its present building located at Stone’s Crossing on property donated by Harvey Harrell.
The Greenwood Banking Company is reorganized and incorporated under the name, The First National Bank.  Grafton Johnson serves as the president of the new corporation.
1905 Greenwood grants a new water and light franchise to Dr. James A Craig and John W. Henderson.  The new utility is organized under the name, the Citizens Water and Light Company.
Indianapolis Southern Railroad Company is granted its first franchise in Johnson County, construction is completed the next year.   In 1911 the railway passes under the control of the Illinois Central Railroad Company.  Depots were located near the Sanitarium and the J.T. Polk Company factory, as well as on Smith Valley Road, west of Road 135.
1906 A private group of investors forms Citizens National Bank located on the south side of Main Street in downtown Greenwood.
George Moorman purchases the Greenwood Era.
The J.T. Polk Company’s factory is destroyed by fire.  It is rebuilt and resumes operations within the year.
Isom Elementary School is built.
1907 The Greenwood Cemetery is expanded by the purchase of an adjoining twenty-five acre tract.
1911 The Civic League fails to agree on a location for the construction of a Carnegie Foundation library.  Temporary quarters are rented in Cook’s Hall at 241 W. Main Street instead and the newly constituted board of (library) trustees begins collecting books.
1912 Dr. James A. Craig purchases the Greenwood Sanitarium from the Heck sisters.
1913 Citizens Water and Light Company is sold to the Interstate Public Service Company, precursor of Public Service Indiana.
Greenwood (United) Methodist church installs memorial windows and electricity.
1914 The Greenwood Era changes its name to theGreenwood News.
Mount Pleasant Christian Church adds an annex.
Greenwood Sanitarium is destroyed by fire.  Although the hotel is not rebuilt, mineral water continues to be bottled and sold.
1916 The Greenwood Public Library opens with a collection of thirty-five books.
1918 The Greenwood Building Association is formed.  In 1936 a federal charter was issued to the group.  Dr. James A. Craig serves as the first president.
1919 Q.G. Noblitt, Frank H. Sparks, and Albert G. Redmond form the Indianapolis Air Pump Company.  The company manufactures automobile tire pumps and produced 30,000 in the first year of operation.
1920 The James T. and Laura Polk Memorial Community House is dedicated.  Before the year is out, the Community House is home to both the Greenwood Public Library and the newly formed acting troop, the Greenwood Community Players.  The Community House includes an auditorium with a seating capacity of 500, a gymnasium, and a pool.  The Community House serves as a meeting sight for numerous local clubs and organizations (such as the Boys’ Club and the Greenwood Lions Club).
1922 Greenwood (United) Methodist Church builds an annex.
Pilgrim Holiness Church is organized.
The Indianapolis Air Pump Company incorporates under the new name, Indianapolis Pump and Tube Company.
1923 The Indianapolis Pump and Tube Company opens a new factory with a total floor space of 30,000 square feet.  The factory begins manufacturing a new product, the Arvin Hot Air Heater for automobiles.
The Hoosier Mineral Feed Company is formed by Dr. E. E. Clore, a practicing veterinarian and former Veterinary Inspector for the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Department of Agriculture.  The business begins producing mineral feeds for all kinds of livestock in the former Lemasters Feed Store on Pearl Street.
1926 Maurice Johnson begins the Midwest Mineral Feed Company.
1927 Smith’s Valley United Brethren Church moves into a new brick building across the street from its former location.
The Indianapolis Pump and Tube Company changes its name to Noblitt-Sparks Industries, Inc.
The Hoosier Mineral Feed Company moves into a new factory located near the Pennsylvania Railroad.
1928 Greenwood High School opens.  The twelve-room building is erected south of the elementary school and faces Broadway.  The building contains a large study hall as well as a gymnasium that also served as an auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,200.
1930 Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church builds an addition to the south side of the church.
The J.T. Polk Company is purchased by the Stokely Company (later Stokely-Van Camp).
1932 Greenwood (United) Methodist Church purchases a pipe organ (at a cost of $2,000) from the Locust Street Methodist Church of Greencastle, Indiana.
1934 Following the closure of both Greenwood’s banks in the 1933 Bank Holiday, the Comptroller of the Currency instructs them to merge in 1934.  Formed from the former Citizens National Bank and The First National Bank, the new institution is known as the National Bank of Greenwood.
1938 The Greenwood (United) Methodist Church undergoes a $9,000 renovation.
1940 The population of Greenwood reaches 2,499.
1941 The interurban linking Greenwood to Indianapolis shuts down operation.
1942 Greenwood High School building is destroyed by fire.
1945 The Greenwood News is merged with the Franklin Democrat.  The new paper becomes the Johnson County News.
1947 The Hoosier Mineral Feed Company’s plant is destroyed by fire.  Construction on a new and enlarged plant is begun.
Advent Lutheran Church holds its first service in the Community House.
1948 Forest Walker begins the Walker Hatchery and Egg Farm.
1949 The Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis organizes a new parish comprising the three northern townships of Johnson County.  Ground is broken in Greenwood for the construction of the first Catholic church in the area.
1950 The Greenwood Public Library relocates to the Community House.
The population of Greenwood reaches 3,051.
Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic Church is dedicated.  The church is built to accommodate 200, with provisions for future expansion as needed. Funding for the building was supplied by St. John’s Catholic Church of Indianapolis through the Home Missions of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  No resident pastor is appointed, and the parish is initially served by the clergy of St. John’s Catholic Church.
The Greenwood School board erects a six-room Junior-Senior High School building.  The equipment for the new school is furnished by the Greenwood School Foundation, Inc.
Noblitt-Sparks Industries, Inc., changes its name to Arvin Industries, Inc.  The company produces automotive tubular exhaust equipment for Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Chrysler Corporation, and International Harvester Company.  By the mid-1960s the company employed 300 workers in its Greenwood facilities.  As of 1994, however, Arvin North American Automotive, Inc., employs only 100 workers at its Greenwood facility.
Greenwood (United) Methodist Church builds a new parsonage.
1951 Greenwood Baptist Church constructs an educational unit.  This is followed by a second addition and a full basement.
Calvary Apostolic Church begins holding services in the Greenwood City Park as the Mission Work Gospel Services.  After two years, the Calvary Apostolic Church begins holding services in a building at 206 South Washington Street.
1952 Smith’s Valley United Brethren Church adds a fellowship hall.
Smith’s Valley Baptist Church is founded as a mission of the Greenwood Baptist Church.
1953 Greenwood (United) Methodist Church constructs an educational building.
1954 Rocklane Christian Church builds an addition.
A twelve-room addition, library, shop, and a gymnasium with a seating capacity of 3,000 are added to the Greenwood High School.  Funding is provided by the Greenwood School Foundation, Inc., and the Greenwood School Building Corporation.
1955 Smith’s Valley Baptist Church is formally organized.
Honey Creek United Brethren Church undergoes extensive reconstruction.
Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic Church builds a rectory, with parish offices and priest’s residence.  The church also opens a school with an initial enrollment of 170 pupils.  The school is staffed by Sisters of Providence and lay teachers.  A resident pastor also is appointed.
1956 The Howard Road sanitation plant opens.  The plant is owned and operated by Greenwood, and undergoes expansions in 1963 and 1969.
Calvary Apostolic Church moves to a building at 101 East Pearl Street.
Concordia Lutheran Church is organized.  The first services are held in the Greenwood American Legion Post building.
1957 Advent Lutheran Church is officially organized and construction begins.
Concordia Lutheran Church moves to a building at 102 South Madison Avenue.
Greenwood’s new post office building opens.
1958 Continued growth of the parish makes it necessary for Our Lady of Greenwood to expand the school facilities.
1959 Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic Church and School builds a Sisters’    residence as an addition to the school.
Greenwood Junior/Senior High School builds a cafeteria and another eighteen classrooms.
Stokely-Van Camp closes its Greenwood facility and relocates operations to Indianapolis.
The Clark Dairy Supply Company, Inc., is formed.  The following year the Clark Machine Company is incorporated as a division of Clark Dairy Supply.
The Greenwood Urban Club open a $150,000 pool.
 1960 The population of Greenwood reaches 7,169, and Greenwood becomes a fifth-class city.
Walter Burkhart (D) is elected Greenwood’s first mayor.
Advent Lutheran Church dedicates its new building, located on U.S. Highway 31 South.
Northern Park Baptist Church is organized.
Northeast Elementary School opens with twelve classrooms.
1962 Smith’s Valley United Brethren Church completes another addition.
Calvary Southern Baptist Church holds its first meeting in the Kindergarten Room at the Community House.
The twelve-room Southwest Elementary School is built.
Greenwood Village opens.  Built by the Indiana State Teachers Association and the Indiana Retired Teachers Association, the 192-apartment community for retired teachers is located on a forty-six-acre site on US Highway 31.
1963 Greenwood Christian Church dedicates its new building on South Madison Avenue.  The property was the former Donnell estate and was purchased for $47,500.  Construction costs for the new church were $181,055.
Northern Park Baptist Church dedicates its new building.
Calvary Southern Baptist Church purchases Greenwood Christian Church’s former building at Broadway and Smart Streets.
1964
  1. B. “Mike” Myers (R) becomes Greenwood’s second mayor.
The Greenwood Public Library moves into its new building at the southeast corner of the old city park.  The new building covers 38,415 square feet and cost $119,000.
Concordia Lutheran Church moves into a new building at 305 Howard Road.
1965 Southwest Elementary School builds an addition.
1966 The Fry Road Sanitation plant is opened.
Built by Atkinson & Co., the Greenwood Shopping Center opens.  The mall sits on an 87-acre site and costs $25 million.
Northeast Elementary School builds an addition.
1967 Greenwood Shopping Center undergoes a $12 million expansion.
1968 Harold “Jack” Smith (R) becomes Greenwood’s third mayor.
1970 The population of Greenwood reaches 11,740.
A new $4.5 million Greenwood High School opens in the fall.  The former Junior-Senior High School becomes Greenwood Middle School.
1972 John Hardin and Sonny Sanders begin publishing the Southside Challenger.
John O. Boner (R) becomes Greenwood’s fourth mayor.  He is appointed by the city council to fill out the remainder of the late Harold “Jack” Smith’s term.
1975 The Greenwood Public Library dedicates a new two-story addition.  Construction costs $460,000.
1976 Lawrence Myers (R) becomes the fifth mayor of Greenwood.
1977 Melvin Simon & Associates purchases the Greenwood Shopping Center from Atkinson & Co.
1978 Yeager Construction Co. sells Valle Vista Golf Resort to Stanley F. Kern and his sons.  The Kern family announces plans to privatize the club (under the name Valle Vista Country Club).
1979 Greenwood becomes part of the Marion County Regional Sanitation and Waste Water Treatment System.  The town’s two sanitation plants at Howard Road and Fry Road become part of a “monitoring system.”  The contract stipulates that Greenwood can only send 7.8 million gallons of sewage through the Southport Treatment Plant on a daily basis.
First Friends of Johnson County moves into a new meeting house at 631 N. Meridian.
1980 Vaino Grayam (R) becomes Greenwood’s sixth mayor.
The population of Greenwood reaches 19,781.
Following its enclosure, extensive renovations, and expansion, the Greenwood Shopping Center reopens as the Greenwood Park Mall.
1984 Jeanette Surina (D) becomes mayor of Greenwood.  Surina is Greenwood’s seventh mayor and the first woman to hold that office.  She is also the first Democrat to be elected in twenty years.
Greenwood’s new post office opens.  Located at the corner of Smith Valley Road and U.S. 31, the new post office will serve 45,000 customers.
The Greenwood Community Church dedicates a $350,000 addition.
1985 Ball State University undertakes a study of Greenwood at the request of the mayor’s office.
1986 Greenwood City Hall relocates to the Polk Community House following a $900,000 renovation of the building.
Kelly Publications begins publishing the Greenwood Gazette.   By 1995, circulation is reported as 14,000.
Greenwood purchases Skyway Airport for $1.1 million.  The airport will be renamed the Greenwood Municipal Airport.
Alpine Electronics Manufacturing of America, Inc., builds a $25 million facility in Greenwood.  The Japanese-owned business manufactures automobile stereo systems.
1989 Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp. announces plans to build a $31 million ball-bearing factory (Nachi Technology, Inc.) in Greenwood.
1990 The population of Greenwood reaches 26,265.
1991 Following the death of Mayor Surina, Margaret McGovern (D) is selected to serve as interim mayor until the next election.  Later that year, Mayor McGovern is elected to the office.
A new 3-building municipal facility adjacent to City Hall (located off Craig Park along Main Street) is named Surina Square in honor of the late mayor.  The center includes a new $2.5 million Community Center, a $1.5 million fire department headquarters, and the city’s main fire station as well as the new $3.2 million police headquarters.
1993 The Greenwood Goodwill Store opens at 779 U.S. 31.
Kelly Publications begins publishing the Greater Greenwood Business Journal.  By 1995 circulation is reported to be 10,000.
1994 The population of Greenwood reaches 29,425.
1995 Kelly Publications begins publishing the Business Update.
Mayor Margaret McGovern (D) is defeated by Charles E. Henderson (R) in the most expensive mayoral campaign in Greenwood’s history.
Greenwood Middle School contracts with Ameritech for a $154,000 improvement of the school’s technological infrastructure.
Two members of the STP (“Safe-Taking Posse”) gang are arrested and charged with committing numerous burglaries in Greenwood.  Local law enforcement agencies estimate that the gang has over 100 members in central Indiana.
Mayor McGovern appoints a fifteen-member council to promote fine arts activities in the Greenwood area.
1996 Charles E. Henderson (R) becomes the ninth mayor of Greenwood.
The Community Church of Greenwood donates $7,500 to Lighthouse Ministries toward the purchase of a walk-in freezer capable of storing up to 35,000 pounds of food.
Greenwood Community High School begins random drug testing of athletes and cheerleaders.
Westwood Elementary School opens on Honey Creek Road, south of Smith Valley Road.  Construction costs are $12 million.