Located in Hamilton County, around 30 minutes northeast of Indianapolis, is the wonderful and historic destination of Noblesville, Indiana. While technically a “city,” Noblesville has very much the feel of a small town, particularly in downtown Noblesville, more historic areas. This small city of roughly 50,000 residents is home to a thriving real estate market, an excellent school system, several popular events, and a host of popular attractions.
Visitors and residents alike are drawn to the beautifully-preserved, Historic Noblesville Square, which is home to dozens of mom-and-pop shops that reside in the old mercantile buildings surrounding the historic Hamilton County Courthouse.
It would be fair to say the courthouse is the most photographed building in Noblesville. It easily dwarfs everything around it, and is a sight to behold against a backdrop of blue summer skies.
There are several ways to get to Noblesville from Indianapolis, perhaps the easiest of which is to simply take I-69 north to SR 37. Follow SR 37 to SR 32 (also known as Conner Street), and make a left. This will put you within just few blocks of the town square.
Art in Noblesville
Located on a small-town street corner, at 195 S 10th Street in Noblesville, sits a true mom-and-pop art establishment. Arthouse is a place where anyone with an interest in art can come in and make art, see an exhibit or take a class.
The business is run by husband and wife team William and Kandi Jamieson, who live upstairs with their daughter Elizabeth and son William, and conduct business downstairs in the studio area. The Jamiesons opened their home as an art school in May 2010.
Hamilton County Art Center
Located at 195 S Fifth St in Noblesville, the Hamilton County Art Center is run by the Hamilton County Artists’ Association. The center houses a gallery and gift shop, and also organizes classes and other art-related events.
The building in which the Hamilton County Art Center operates was once a Baptist church. It was eventually damaged in a flood, and then purchased by the city of Noblesville, which officially granted the Hamilton County Artists Association the right to use it on May 23, 2006.
Nickel Plate Arts
Nickel Plate Arts is housed in the Judge Stone House, at 107 South 8th Street in Noblesville. Created by Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., this nifty little art center offers a gallery, art classes, opportunities to meet artists in their studios, and a variety of art-based activities on a regular basis.
Forest Park Aquatic Center
Forest Park Aquatic Center is fun “Splash Park” located at 1077 Cicero Road in Noblesville. This seasonal aquatic center offers a heated, 10-lane, 50-meter, Olympic-sized pool, a climbing wall, a “Splash Pad,” lots of lounging chairs with oversized umbrellas, a beginner’s pool with splash fountains, a sun deck, snack bar and locker rooms.
Hamilton Town Center
Located at 13901 Town Center Boulevard, Hamilton Town Center is a huge, open-air shopping mall that features a mix of over 85 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Hamilton Town Center is a popular destination among Indianapolis north-siders, as it is just a quick drive up I-69 from both Fishers and the Castleton area of Indianapolis.
You’ll find shops like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, Banana Republic and DSW, and food establishments like Five Guys Burgers and Stone Creek Dining Co. to name just few.
Hamilton 16 IMAX Theater
Though the immensely popular Hamilton 16 IMAX Theater is located in Hamilton Town Center, it’s really a destination in its own right. With its trademark expansive screens, IMAX offers a compelling reason to get out and actually go to the movies, as opposed to staying home and waiting for the DVD to be released. IMAX 3D is about as close as it gets to a truly immersive experience in a movie theater.
Indiana Transportation Museum
The Indiana Transportation Museum is located at 825 Park Drive in Noblesville.
This unique, all-volunteer train museum showcases the railroads of Indiana by offering a variety of preserved railroad equipment, including some fully-operational excursion trains that run along 38 miles of the former Nickel Plate Road line.
Klipsch Music Center
Klipsch Music Center is a massive, outdoor amphitheater located at 12880 East 146th Street in Noblesville. Klipsch offers excellent acoustics and picturesque, outdoor views, and is just an all-around pleasant experience for anyone in the mood for a concert. The venue holds around 18,000 guests in the general admission lawn area, and an additional 6,000 in the seating area. The venue sits on 228 acres.
Formerly known as Verizon Wireless Music Center, Klipsch Music Center is a popular venue for large concerts, and has hosted such world-renowned artists as Coldplay, Tom Petty and Elton John, in addition to hosting a number of outdoor music festivals, such asLollapalooza, Mayhem Festival, Ozzfest and Lilith Fair.
Potter’s Bridge is a beautiful, white covered bridge surrounded by a 66-acre park, located at 19401 Allisonville Road in Noblesville. In fact, it’s the only remaining covered bridge in all of Hamilton County. It’s a great place to bring the family, enjoy a picnic, or take the dog for a nice outing, especially during the warmer months. Park amenities include a playground, several picnic areas, and the White River Greenway Trail, which runs approximately 3.25 miles along the White River through Forest Park.
Stoney Creek Farm
Stoney Creek Farm is located at 11366 Indiana 38 in Noblesville. This fully-stocked nursery and landscaping-design establishment sits on 50 acres. toney Creek Farm touts is “real farm experience” as a major reason to visit.
It is also home to a number of fun, family-oriented events, including the Pumpkin Harvest Festival, various school field trips, hayride parties, a Country Christmas show and Flower & Patio Show.
Commercial Historic District & Courthouse Square
Hamilton County Courthouse
If there can be one thing–and only one thing–the city is known for, then surely it is the beautiful and enchanting Commercial Historic District. You’ll know you’re in the heart of the Commercial Historic District when you catch sight of the stunning courthouse building. It is the beautiful and historic centerpiece of downtown Noblesville, and THE focal point of the town square.
Completed in 1879, the courthouse dwarfs the old-town mercantile buildings that surround. This majestic structure is a a testament to the “Second Empire” architectural style that was popular for many state institutions designed in the late 19th Century, with its mansard roof crest, gabled roof and brick and stone exterior.
Hamilton County Historical Society Museum
Situated on the southwest corner of the courthouse is the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Residence and Jail, which also houses the Hamilton County Historical Society Museum. This gorgeous brick home is a must-see for anyone in downtown Noblesville. The museum offers tours, and often hosts special events, like lectures and “Victorian Tea.” The museum shop is full of interesting souvenirs and memorabilia.
An interesting piece of trivia: Three infamous character, Charles Manson, John Dillinger and former KKK Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson each spent time as prisoners in the the old jail.
Events in Noblesville
Art Fair on the Square
Art Fair on the Square is a fun, annual art event held at the downtown square, which typically features work from dozens of artists from Indiana and the Midwest, and includes live music and a children’s area. The event is sponsored by the Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission.
Tour of Historic Homes
For nearly 30 years, the Tour of Historic Homes has offered a rare glimpse inside some of the city’s most historic homes. Sponsored by the Noblesville Preservation Alliance, the Tour of Historic Home is held on a Saturday afternoon in mid-September, rain or shine. This is a very walkable tour, which makes for a fun, fall afternoon in downtown Noblesville. It’s also the perfect excuse to eat lunch at any of the great restaurants that can be found on the town square.
Stonycreek Farm Pumpkin Harvest Festival
The Stonycreek Farm Pumpkin Harvest Festival is a fun, fall event that takes place each year, from September 27 – October 31 at Stonycreek Farm. It’s a fun time to come pick out your own pumpkin, and enjoy the always-popular zip line. Or, take a ride on the 60 ft. slide that run through a cave entrance and through to the woods’ edge. Other fun activities include a hayride to the pumpkin patch, a haunted house for youngsters, candle-making, farm animals, and more. Food and beverages are also served at the festival.
One of the most striking features of Noblesville is its well-preserved, historic architecture, which can be found in the oldest parts of the city, in the Commercial Historic District, and along 8th Street and 9th Streets to name just a few of the more prominent locations. You can travel downtown Noblesville and find city block after city block lined with historic homes, many built in the Victorian style that was so popular in the 1900, in addition to several Queen Anne, Italianate, Federal and Greek Revival homes. Here are a few prime examples.
The Cole-Evans House is located at 1012 Monument Street in Noblesville. This beautiful brick home was built in 1837, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It displays a number of features most associated with the Victorian and Italianate architectural genres.
The Daniel Craycraft home is located at 1095 E. Conner Street in Noblesville. With its asymmetrical façade, pedimented front porch and Dutch roof gabling, it displays many features normally associated with the the Queen Anne style of architecture. The Craycraft home was built in 1892, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Dr. Samuel Harrell House is located at 399 N. Tenth Street in Noblesville. As the name suggests, it is the former home of Dr. Samuel Harrell, a medical doctor who used the house as a medical facility until 1907, when the home had finally outgrown its ability to serve as a hospital and a home.
This 7,200 sq. foot, 12-room home was designed in the Queen Anne Victorian style, and features a multi-gabled roof with cast iron cresting, a capped tower, extended eaves with thick brackets, corbeled chimneys with crowning pots, and beautiful stained glass windows. A raised, wrap-around porch extends along the east and north sides. The home was built in 1898, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Judge Earl S. Stone House is located at 107 S. Eighth Street in Noblesville. Judge Earl S. Stone built this beautiful brick house in 1849. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The first-floor walls are 12 inches thick, and those on the second floor are 8 inches thick-talk about sturdy construction! The symmetrical front elevation, embellished entry and cornice returns in the gable ends are all hallmarks of the Greek Revival style.
The South 9th Street Historic District is Roughly bounded by Maple, Division, 10th, and the western side of 9th St. The district contains a number of beautiful and historic homes, like the one American Four-Square style featured above.
The Conner Street Historic District is located east of the downtown commercial area, and bounded by Conner and Logan streets (east and west) and 10th and 17th streets (north and south). Formed in 1823, it was listed in National Register of Historic Places 1999.
The Holliday Hydroelectric Powerhouse and Dam is located along the White River, at Riverwood Avenue and 211th Street in Noblesville. This beautiful stone building, with its steeply-pitched hipped roof and through-the-eave hipped dormers exudes characteristics most associated with the French Chateau and French Eclectic architectural styles. It was built 1922-1927, and placed on the National Historic Register’s list of historic sites in 1995, and is one of the most historic structures in the city.
In the mercantile buildings that surround the courthouse building are dozens of independently-owned, mom-and-pop shops where you can grab some ice cream on a warm summer day, get a hair cut, or check out any number of the other stores and restaurants, many of whose frontal facades have been wonderfully restored to their original appearance.
There are so many cool establishments on the square, it almost isn’t fair to give attention to one over another. But in the interests of brevity, here’s a small sampling of what can be found on the square.
Alexander’s on the Square
Alexander’s on the Square has been a favorite among locals for decades. It’s a great place to grab an great ice cream cone for anyone who appreciates the old-fashioned, ice cream parlor feel. They also serve regular food, like grilled cheese, Reubens, fries, etc., and offer kid’s meals too.
Noblesville Antique Mall
The Noblesville Antique Mall is a favorite destination among ‘antiquers’ and offers 3 floors to peruse its impressive collection. The sell everything from history LIFE magazines, jewelry, furniture and more.
Noblesville Coffee & Tea Company
Right in the heart of downtown, the Noblesville Coffee & Tea Company offers a nice alternative to Starbucks.
This unique establishment offers an expansive interior, complete with dark wood features, unique décor, and comfy leather seating in which to enjoy your favorite coffee or tea, fresh fruit, oatmeal, and a variety of cookies and pastries.
Sweet Home Cupcakes
Sweet Home Cupcakes is a whimsical little cupcakery, complete with polka dot table covers, cupcake art, and large chalkboard that lists the flavors of the day. This is a nice place to enjoy a chocolate cupcake, red velvet and raspberry white chocolate. (Some locals swear the S’Mores Cupcake is to die for.)
The Wild is a charming little bookstore that offers a great place to wander and get lost in books. The Wild is among that rare breed of truly independent bookstores that specializes in children’s books, games, toys, and puzzles. They’re located on the Historic Noblesville Square.
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