On 8 January 1823, the Indiana General Assembly created a new county north of Marion County. This new county was taken from part of the unorganized Delaware County and from Marion County itself. Becoming effective 7 April 1823, this new county became known as Hamilton County. Some 11 months later, on 4 March 1824, a site was chosen using parts of Section 31, Township 19 North, Range 5 East and Section 36, Township 19 North, Range 4 East for the creation of the county seat. That county seat would be given the name Noblesville.
The city had, from near the very beginning, been a crossroads town, and very important to the history of the state. Just south of the city is the homestead of John Conner. Here, along the banks of the White River, in 1820, commissioners met to decide on the location of the new Indiana state capitol. The commissioners had come up the White River from Waverly, passing through the area that would become Indianapolis.
When the state started opening up roads to connect the various places now available to citizens to each other, Noblesville found itself in the cat bird seat. Many roads came to the town, connecting county seats of the various surrounding areas.
I can find no definitive list of the order in which these roads were created. Suffice it to say, there were quite a few.
Indianapolis-Fort Wayne Road. As the name suggests, this road connected the two title towns. Following the road through the town has, apparently, changed at least once over the almost 200 years since it was created. Some maps show it entering on Eighth Street from the south, entering what is now downtown, then jogging over to Tenth Street to leave Noblesville. This is, in fact, shown on early 20th Century maps, especially those of the United States Postal Service. The road also has been shown to remain on Tenth Street through the city, as it does today. Part of this is due to the state rerouting SR 13 (later SR 37) along this route. Now, this road outside of Noblesville proper is known as Allisonville Road.
Indianapolis-Winchester State Road. This road came out of Indianapolis following the Fort Wayne Road. At what is now 191st Street, it turned due east to connect, ultimately, to Anderson, Muncie and Winchester. The road would be vacated at one point, but would come back as a state highway later. This road is now followed closely by what is now SR 32.
Richmond-Crawfordsville Road. This road proves that the state was, very early in its history, creating far reaching roads to make sure that state and county business could be completed. As the name of the road suggests, this route connected the Wayne County seat to the Montgomery County seat. This route would was set up to travel through New Castle to the Falls of Fall Creek, later to be known as Pendleton. It then entered the Noblesville area from the southeast. After traversing Noblesville, it left the town going (more or less) due west. Today, it roughly uses the routes of SR 38 and SR 32.
Noblesville-Lafayette Road. Ultimately used as the connector route from Richmond and New Castle to the Tippecanoe County seat, this road started by crossing the White River on what is now Logan Street, as did the Crawfordsville Road. After crossing the river, this road aimed toward the northwest, crossing the Hoosier countryside along the route of what is now SR 38.
Noblesville-Greenfield Road. As the name suggests, this road connected the two named cities. However, it was almost in both cases. On the Noblesville end, the route followed Tenth Street south to a point where the road turned to the southeast for its jaunt across Hamilton and Hancock Counties. At the Greenfield end, it connected to the National Road at what is now Franklin Street, about a mile west of the center of Greenfield. It would be given several state road numbers over the years before it was decommissioned for good. The building of Hamilton Town Center further created discontinuances in the old road.
Franklin-Noblesville Road. This road traveled roughly due south from Noblesville, through eastern Marion County, to the Johnson County seat. It should be noted here that the Range Line separating the two sections listed above as for the location of Noblesville (the line between Range 4 East and Range 5 East) is the same range line, with a 3/4 mile western jog at what is now Indianapolis’ 62nd Street, that runs the line of what is called Franklin Road through a large section of Marion County. It is called Franklin Road because it was part of the Franklin-Noblesville State Road.
Noblesville-Tipton Road. This road connected to the Lafayette Road on the west bank of the White River, and progressed, more or less, due north aiming for the county seat of one of the last three counties created in the state. (Those last three counties, created in 1844, were Tipton, Richardville [now Howard] and Ohio.) It would be one of the last of the modern state roads numbered to connect to Noblesville.
In addition to all of these roads connecting to Noblesville, the railroad came early to the town. The Indianapolis & Peru was extended to the Hamilton County seat in 1851, creating a much better connection to Indianapolis from Noblesville. The I&P would create what is called street running through Eighth Street in downtown Noblesville. The companies that owned the railroad over the years would changed several times, ending with the Norfolk & Western when the line was sold to local government interests.
Another railroad would come to Noblesville, crossing the city from west to east. What would later become the Midland Route, it served as a bypass north of Indianapolis connecting Anderson and Lebanon. The Midland would ultimately connect to Brazil before it started being scaled back by its owners – the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
When the Indiana State Highway Commission was created, Noblesville found itself only on original SR 33, which became SR 32 when the Great Renumbering occurred. The towns state road fortunes would improve with pending additions that were placed on maps in 1930, which would follow the lines of SR 38 and SR 13. SR 13 would be made official by 1932, following the old Fort Wayne State road through Noblesville. SR 13 would later be given the number SR 37 later in life. 1933 added SR 38 through Noblesville and SR 238 along the Noblesville-Greenfield State Road. The last state road that was brought to Noblesville would connect to Tipton in 1953 – SR 19.
For those that were wondering since the first paragraph, the survey lines are: range line between 4 East and 5 East is Eighth Street; township line between 18 North and 19 North is Cherry Street.