Parks History

Hamilton County Parks & Recreation Department History
The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department began in 1967 and acquired its 1st park in 1970 with Potter's Bridge. The Parks Department now houses over 10 parks,1 which is over 750 acres (Strawtown Koteewi Park), 3 parks over 100 acres, and over 1,445 acres of land. The Parks Department also offers some of the finest workshops, school programs, staff, and facilities in Indiana.

Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department ordinance was established on March 11, 1967. The ordinance was filed May 1, 1967 in the office of Auditor, John Randall.

Many developments and improvements have been made to the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department throughout the years. Every year offers a new and exciting time for expansion and learning opportunities.

Early Parks & Recreation Department Board
The 1st board of directors was appointed for a 2 year period in 1968. Meetings of the board of directors were held at the Commissioner's Court at The Hamilton County Court House, located in Noblesville. Appointed to the 1st Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Board of Directors were:
  • Jerry Barr, Secretary
  • Henry Burgher, President
  • Floyd Overdorf, Member
  • Paul Wheeler, Member
Hamilton County History
The land containing Hamilton County was brought into the possession of the United States by the Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818. William Conner was the 1st white settler in the county. In the summer of 1822, after realizing there were enough settlers in the area, Conner and other settlers applied to the Indiana Legislature for a charter authorizing them to become a separate and independent county under Indiana law.

The application was presented to the Legislature at the 1822-23 session and the act was passed and approved by the Governor on January 8, 1823. The act took effect on the 1st Monday in April (April 7), 1823. The County Commissioners 1st met on May 5, 1823 at the house of William Conner. Conner's house would also serve as the County Circuit Court. The county was named after Alexander Hamilton, the 1st secretary of the treasury.

The county seat is Noblesville. The center of population of Indiana is located in Hamilton County, in the town of Sheridan.

Hamilton County's roots are in agriculture. However after World War II, Indianapolis grew north and the county developed as a suburb. Many farm fields have been replaced over the past couple decades by both residential and commercial development.

Hamilton County Today
Today, the county is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. According to 2007 estimates by the U.S. Census, the County's population jumped from an estimated 182,740 in 2000 to 261,661 in 2007, 30% of the state's total population increase from between 2000 and 2007.

Hamilton County is home to the Geist and Morse Reservoirs, 2 man-made lakes that offer residents and visitors recreational opportunities, such as boating, fishing and waterfront living. Hamilton County is often called the playground of Indianapolis as many parks, museums, venues and recreational spots have become very popular amongst Indianapolis residents.

Hamilton County Growth
It is the fastest growing county in Indiana out of 92. In 2006, Hamilton County was the 18th fastest-growing county in the nation (out of 3,141) based on census estimates between 2000 and 2005. In 2008, it was the 23rd fastest-growing county in the nation based on census estimates between 2000 and 2007. In the next year, Hamilton County is expected to surpass St. Joseph County in population making it the 4th most populous in the state.

In 2007, Hamilton County was home to 3 of the state's 20 largest cities, Fishers (8th), Carmel (10th) and Noblesville (19th). All 3 are expected to move up in the rankings by 2010.