Carved from rolling farmland north of Indianapolis in 1928, Williams Creek is approximately 320 acres of meandering streets and spacious lots located between Pennsylvania Street and College Avenue just north of Meridian Hills. Advertised as the “Switzerland of Marion County” and developed to showcase five large, individually designed homes – Colonial*, English, Spanish, Italian* and French styles – Williams Creek blossomed for a few years until the Depression halted further construction. Of the original five homes designed by Edward Pierre and George Wright, all but the French style home still grace the landscape.
As developers’ money dried up in the Depression, the community began to experience difficulty maintaining its roads because of a lack of tax base. To counter this trend, residents incorporated in 1931 to establish the Town of Williams Creek. Residents elected their own officers to manage Town affairs such as levying taxes and other municipal functions. The first group elected was known locally as the “petticoat government” because each of the four officials was a women. Local oral tradition indicates the men may have believed the duties of the town board were more akin to housekeeping and deferred to the women.
The first board president, Helen Spradling, served for 11 years.
Like many other suburban communities, Williams Creek experienced a post-World War II building boom. By 1956, there were 143 homes and over 250 residents in this community of prestigious homes characterized by large lots and individually designed homes. It maintained its own streets and a one-man police force. Today, Williams Creek remains a secluded, exclusive community with “streets like spaghetti” as one resident noted, that creates in the minds of residents and visitors alike a sanctuary from the outside world.
Note: Originally published by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana in 1999.
*These homes still exist in essentially original design as of February, 2011