The Lawrence-Geist Area neighborhood is bounded roughly by Lee Road and Fall Creek on the west, the Geist Reservoir on the north, County Line Road on the south, and 62nd Street and 56th Street on the south.

Lawrence is a Unigov EXCLUDED TOWN located about 10 miles northeast of the Circle. It was originally platted in 1849 as the town of Lanesville.

Named for a prominent resident, Lanesville was sited near the Bee Line Railroad and Pendleton Pike. In 1866, county commissioners changed the name to Lawrence, after the township post office south of the town. About 20 years later, Lawrence, with a population of nearly 150, prospered as a trading center for farmers and merchants supplied by the highway and the railroad.

In 1903, the federal government purchased 2,000 acres north of the town to establish FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON. The fort played a vital role in the economic life of Lawrence, particularly after 1953 when the U.S. ARMY FINANCE CENTER opened on the base. In the early 1990s, the fort was the largest employer in Lawrence with nearly 10,000 civilian and military employees. Although the Defense Department announced in 1991 it would close Fort Ben, the city submitted a bid to retain the Finance Center and in 1994 received word from the federal government that the center would remain open.

Incorporated in 1929, Lawrence experienced significant growth from 1950 to 1980. As WESTERN ELECTRICFORD, and CHRYSLER plants opened on nearby Shadeland Avenue in Indianapolis, subdivisions sprouted in Lawrence. In 1950, the town counted about 2,000 residents; in 1960, 10,000; in 1970, over 16,000; and by 1980, more than 25,000. Some of the growth resulted from the controversial annexation of Indian Lake and OAKLANDON, a decision which Indiana courts upheld in 1976. Fort Benjamin Harrison was annexed in 1970, despite objections from the U.S. Army. The GEIST RESERVOIR area was not annexed, yet extensive residential and commercial development there and in nearby CASTLETON also contributed to growth on the north side of Lawrence.

As an excluded city under UNIGOV Lawrence has a mayor and a city council, police and fire departments, a municipal water company, and a parks department. Despite the loss of manufacturing jobs on Shadeland Avenue and the closure of Fort Harrison in the 1990s, Lawrence continues to grow, primarily as a middle-class residential suburb.

Much of the growth has occurred at the site of the former military base. Over 800 acres of the decommissioned Fort Harrison Army base was transferred to the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority who has redeveloped the area to include a state park, golf course, retail locations, dozens of new homes, and dozens of repurposed buildings. The Fort Ben/Lawrence IU HEALTH urgent care clinic serves the area and a branch of the INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC LIBRARY is projected to open in 2021.

In 2020, Lawrence boasted a diversifying population and was growing at two times the rate of the rest of Indiana. The Metropolitan School District of LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP is the ninth-largest in the state. Four early learning centers, 11 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 2 high schools, the McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology, and an alternative high school serves area students.

Revised April 2021 for digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis


Karen Sippel, block captain of the Payton Street Crime Watch recruits businesses, residents, civic groups, and the city of Lawrence to clean-up and renovate Explorer Park in Lawrence. A pending bond issue for city recreation facilities includes $200,000 for a new shelter, trail lighting, sand volleyball court, softball field, and landscaping.


Fort Benjamin Harrison closes as an Army installation.  Part of the property will become a state park.


April.  Department of the Army lists Fort Benjamin Harrison as one of several Army Installations to be closed in the 1990s.


Suburban sprawl from Geist Reservoir and Lawrence have increased the population of the Oaklandon area to 2,600.

Population of Lawrence: 27,000.

Lawrence has 11 churches.


Lawrence is scheduled a new 770-student elementary school near Fort Harrison this year.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted money to construct a fourth fire station this year.


Lawrence Mayor Thomas D. Schneider is the city of Lawrence’s third mayor.  Beginning his first week in office he plans to form a sanitation department and to transform the volunteer fire department into a paid unit.

City of Lawrence operates on annual budget of approximately $4 million and employs 100 people.

Lawrence is counted the fastest growing city in Indiana.

City of Lawrence operates eight parks in Lawrence township.

City of Lawrence has three fire stations. Locations are: 450 McCoy Street, 4751 N. Richart and 6477 Oaklandon Rd.


Population of Lawrence: 25,000.


Lawrence annexes more than 5,000 acres including Oaklandon and Indian Lake.  The justice of Superior Court 7 ruled in favor of the City of Lawrence and against citizens who objected to the annexation.  The decision ended a six-year lawsuit.


Indianapolis enters lawsuit against the City of Lawrence by citizens who hope to prevent annexation of their areas by Lawrence.


Population of Lawrence: 16,000.

Fort Benjamin Harrison is annexed by Lawrence.   The annexation adds more than 2,600 acres to the city.  The annexation will also increase Lawrence’s share of state tax funds.

Under UniGov, Lawrence is designated an “Excluded City.”

Population of Oaklandon is 1,500.


Fire puts the town of Oaklandon’s only grocery out of business.  Residents raise money to help store owners reopen.


The Oaklandon Community Council, led by Rev. John Greenlee of Oaklandon Christian Church has successfully lobbied IPL to install electric street lights in Oaklandon.  The town will pay a yearly charge of $3,200 for the service.


Former site of Oaklandon School is to be used for a new shopping center.

Rev. John Greenlee of Oaklandon Christian Church along with parents and the Oaklandon Volunteer Fire Department sponsors recreational events, athletics and dances for the local teens. This is resulting in a decrease in problems with area teens.


A group of local “toughs,”  calling themselves the “Oaklandon Hoods” are causing problems in town.  Apparently there is not much serious criminal behavior but they are bothering residents.


Although the Unitarian Universalist church in Oaklandon has not grown at the same rate that the town has, the Christian Church has grown rapidly and is building a new building.


Lawrence becomes a 4th Class City when population climbs over 10,000.

Yearly stipend for volunteer fire department members is raised from $25 to $35.

When Lawrence grows from 5th Class to 4th Class city it adds two new council members, growing from five members–four elected from districts and one at large–to seven members, five from districts and two at large.

Lawrence has a seven-man police department.  Minimum pay is to be raised from $3,960 to $4,200.


Lawrence City Council suspends its rules for one night to quickly finalize an annexation of an area about 1/2 the size of the current city.  The council acted quickly to prevent Indianapolis from annexing the land.  About 25 demonstrators attend the meeting.

1960 population of Lawrence: 10,000.


Lawrence becomes a 5th Class City.

Lawrence replaces town board with first mayor, Morris Settles, and a city council.


Indiana Bell Telephone gains permission to acquire the Oaklandon Telephone Company.  Oaklandon has about 550 subscribers and 725 phones in use.  Indiana Bell will give 24-hour service and direct service to Indianapolis, Fishers, Cumberland and McCordsville.  There will be a rate increase.


Oaklandon’s Northeast subdivision is showing spec houses for sale.


Finance Center opens at Fort Benjamin Harrison bringing approximately 10,000 civilian and military employees.

City of Indianapolis invokes a new urbanization law to prevent Lawrence from annexing land within 3 miles of Indianapolis’s boundaries.


Oaklandon gets first electric street light.


Population of Lawrence: 2,000.

Growth at Lawrence is spurred by Western Electric, Ford and Chrysler plants on nearby Shadeland Ave.

A new park in Lawrence is dubbed “pool park” after the wading pool there.


The damming of Fall Creek at 8200 Fall Creek Boulevard allows greater growth in Lawrence.


Lawrence holds and annual “Twelfth Night” ceremony for Epiphany observance which involves a ceremonial burning of Christmas trees.


Lawrence is incorporated.


Population of Oaklandon is 500.

Oaklandon has two churches, the Universalist and a Christian Church.


Oaklandon’s Universalist church rebuilds after a fire.  The new building is at 6450 Oaklandon Road.


Fort Benjamin Harrison is established on 2,000 acres of land north of the town of Lawrence.


Population of Lawrence: 150. It has become a trading center.


Lanesville’s name is changed to Lawrence after the name of the post office.


Lanesville platted near Bee Line Railroad and Pendleton Pike.