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NEWS RELEASE

Date:              February 26, 2007
Contact:        Andrea Stumpf (317) 571-2790

Historical Plaques Unveiled in Carmel

Arts & Design District

Carmel, IN – A ceremony celebrating the unveiling of two bronze plaques commemorating historical sites in the Carmel Arts & Design District were unveiled today.  The plaques mark the original sites of Carmel’s first Public Library and the Carmel Theatre.  Both plaques are located on the exterior walls of the Old Town Shops Phase I development located on the southeast corner of Range Line  Road and E.  Main Street.  Today’s dedication ceremony marks the beginning of a proposed walking tour of Carmel’s historical sites in the Arts & Design District. 


After brief comments by Mayor Jim Brainard and Carmel Redevelopment Commission (CRC) President and City Councilman Ron Carter, the first plaque, located on the west-facing wall of ccHome, an interior design and home décor store, was unveiled to commemorate the original site of the Carmel Theatre.  The second plaque, marking the spot of Carmel’s first public library, was unveiled on the north-facing wall of the Magdalena Gallery of Art.  President of the Carmel Clay Historical Society and local historian Tom Rumor, and Wendy Phillips, Director of the Carmel Clay Public Library, were present to speak about the history of each site.


“As the Old Town area develops into a culturally-enriching Arts & Design District, it is important to identify historically significant sites and celebrate the rich history of the area.  The CRC is glad to work with the Carmel Arts Council and Carmel Clay Historical Society to help provide this service for the Carmel community,” said Ron Carter, President of the CRC and City Councilman.


The Carmel Arts Council and Carmel Clay Historical Society are in partnership to identify historical landmarks in the Arts & Design District as area development progresses.  At the ceremony, Tom Rumor announced the first automatic stop signal at the intersection of Range Line Road and Main Street, and the home of former Carmel resident and nationally known artist/illustrator Franklin Booth, as the next proposed sites to be marked.


“We are thrilled to see the revitalization of the Old  Town area into an Arts & Design District, but feel it is important to identify and celebrate the history of specific sites.  It is my hope that more plaques will be installed and a historical walking tour of the area will be established,” said Doreen Squire-Ficara, Executive Director of the Carmel Arts Council.

 
Carmel’s first public library, which also housed the town telephone “exchange,” opened in 1904 and moved from the original site in 1914.  The Carmel Theatre operated at that location for three and a half decades, from 1949 until 1984.  According to the Carmel Clay Historical Society, after the theatre closed, the building was razed to make way for a pedestrian downtown park to mark one of the originally established 14 lots of the village of Bethlehem, Carmel’s original name in 1837.


The southeast corner of Range Line and E. Main is now home to Pedcor Development Company’s Old Town Shops I and II.  The CRC, in partnership with Pedcor Development Company, broke ground for the development in June 2005.  Phase I of the Old Town Shops is complete and now houses art galleries, a design house, boutiques, and offices for professional services.  Phase II of the project, already housing the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will be completed this spring.
 
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