Ingalls Big 4 Station
June 14, 2002
I emailed you earlier today and have since found the document I was looking for. The attached file is a photo the what should be the western-most located Big Four depot in Madison County in the late 1800s. It's a JPEG version. I apologize for the quality. It is scanned from a photocopy of an old booklet, and I didn't want to enhance it so that there would be no question about its authenticity. (I cleaned it up for better viewing - rph)
The booklet containing the photo is titled "The Record of a Year at Ingalls." The booklet was produced in May 1894 by the Ingalls Land Company as part of materials used to introduce buyers in Ingalls
property. The photo is contained on the inside front cover opposite this text:
"A year ago there was no such place as Ingalls. To-day it is a thrifty natural gas manufacturing town with eight factories, five hotels and restaurants, two church organizations, both erecting handsome houses of worship, brick and frame business blocks, graveled streets planted with shade trees, brick sidewalks, handsome brick and frame residences, the finest railroad station in any town in Indiana, and a rapidly growing population, which is increasing daily as dwelling houses are being built."
The booklet is a 20-page document encouraging investors to, among other things, visit. It reads: "Excursions leave Indianapolis daily at 6 and 11 a.m., and returning from Ingalls arrive in Indianapolis at 10 a.m., 2:50 and 6:30 p.m. I have been told that those excursions were rail excursions, and that there was talk at the time that Ingalls would ultimately outdistance Indianapolis in growth because of its natural resources and elevation (Indianapolis floods easily).
The president of the Ingalls land company was Arthur B. Grover, operating out at 14 Lombard Building in Indianapolis.
I am a descendent of some of the original settlers in Ingalls (Cumins), and I photocopied the booklet in the late 1960s. It was in the possession of one of the elderly residents. I do not know what happened to it after he died. My great great grandmother started one of the churches referenced in the text.
The story that was passed down to me is that the president of the Big Four, M. Ingalls (I can't remember if his name was Melvin or Melville) agreed to erect the station in the town as a showpiece if the developers would name the town after him. Thus, the clock tower as a special touch.
I have been told that the station was located on what is now a triangle of land north of the tracks between Meridian and Alfonte streets. I have never been able to locate anything there to confirm that. My father returned to Ingalls at the age of two in 1918 after his father died in a rail yard accident, and he said he never remembered the station, so it must have been gone by then. The idea that Ingalls would grow into a major community died when the natural gas fizzled out.
I hope this is of interest to you, and I hope you will include this interesting bit of Big Four and Ingalls history in your materials.
And I said...
It is of inerest and I will include it... (Continued on page 2) - click here -
Ingalls Prospectus Station from "The Record of a Year at Ingalls", May 1894, Ingalls Land
Ingalls Big 4 Station Circa 1900. Madison County Sesquicentennial 1823-1973, Anderson Chamber of Commerce.