Join the Carmel Clay Historical Society! Your membership helps support local history and preserve the history around us as well as the history you are making today as a resident. See Membership Page

CCHS is hosting a tour of four beautiful gardens around Carmel! The tours are Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be an evening tour on Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with wine and cheese. Enjoy a peaceful stroll as you gather new ideas for your own garden!

Click here for more information or to order tickets!

If you would like to volunteer for this event, email us at All volunteers who work the event for two hours will receive a free ticket for the tour.

CCHS members will get a sneak peek of a garden filled with amazing peonies around the first week in May. Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. The timing of this sneak peek is subject to our unpredictable Hoosier weather!

Join us on April 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for our annual Spring Tea! This year’s tea will once again be generously hosted by The Barrington of Carmel. A light luncheon with treats will be served, along with tea and coffee.

Our executive director, Deb Gangstad, will be the featured speaker. Her presentation “Honoring Outstanding Carmel Teachers” will share the stories of teachers who made Carmel’s excellence in education a tradition that carries on today.

Click here to register

The Black history of Carmel predates the platting of the town by almost two decades. Before the pioneers settled the area, a Black man named Pete lived among the Lenape near the city’s northeast side.

In the decades that followed, many Black men, women and children escaped from their enslavers by traveling a line of the Underground Railroad operated by Quakers on Hamilton County’s west side. Frederick Douglass, a leader in the abolitionist movement, visited the county in 1843 to speak against slavery.

Several freedmen and freedwomen made their homes in the Carmel area. Some came during the Antebellum Period. Others were part of an exodus from Southern states during Reconstruction.

In the early twentieth century, a Black family group settled in Clay Township. Their members included a veteran of World War I and Carmel High School’s first Black graduate, who was also a track star. In the late 1940s, another Carmel track star became one of the fastest young men in the country.

These stories have been compiled in a book titled The Early Black History of Carmel. You can find it online or at All Things Carmel on West Main Street, or download it for free here.

New Book Available

December 6, 2022

We are excited to announce that our new book is now available! From Bethlehem to Carmel covers the time period 1822–1899. It begins with a chapter on Carmel’s Quaker roots. Quakers founded the town of Bethlehem, now Carmel, in 1837. Their advocacy for education, abolitionism, peace and temperance largely shaped the culture in town for much of the nineteenth century.

This book also discusses the impact of the Civil War, tells the stories of the freedmen and freedwomen who made their home here after emancipation, and tells how the town developed during the Gilded Age. The book concludes with the history of three forgotten towns—Mattsville, Sockum/Eldorado, and East Branch/Gray—and a history of the nineteenth century churches.

The book can be purchased online and will be available at All Things Carmel in December.


November 12, 2022

Join us Dec. 2 and 3 for a Mid-Century Modern Holiday Home Tour!

Did you know Holiday Home Tour volunteers receive a free ticket? Let us know if you’d like to pitch in on December 2nd or 3rd!

A special thank you to our Holiday Home Tour sponsors:

Studio M

Bussell Family Funerals

Sun King Brewing

Home Living Team

The Barrington of Carmel


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Join us on November 8 at 7pm for a free presentation on the history of 22 N. Range Line Road. Former patrons and employees will share their memories as well. Limited seating requires registration. Click here for slides of the presentation.

The Great Squirrel Stampede

August 27, 2022

Join us for a family and pet-friendly 1K/3K at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, September 17, 2022.

About this event

This fall marks the 200th anniversary of the Great Squirrel Stampede of 1822! Hamilton County Tourism will be celebrating the historic invasion…and The Carmel Clay Historical Society is joining the fun with a nutty race for all ages. Proceeds will help fund the new Carmel Clay History Museum, scheduled to break ground near Midtown this year.

Grab your friends & family and enjoy a beautiful morning walking or running the paths at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, IN. Strollers and (friendly) furry friends are welcome for this low key 1K/3K!

$30 per individual, $40 per couple, or $50 per family includes the following:

  • Free Squirrel Stampede t-shirt, while supplies last
  • Fun scavenger hunt along the route for prizes
  • Rose & Lois Coffee Bar with free cold coffee drinks and shaved ice
  • Ribbons for age-group race winners

Click here to learn about the The Great Squirrel Stampede of 1822.

Click here to visit the Hamilton County Tourism website and Great Squirrel Stampede activities.

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CCHS is hosting a tour of three beautiful gardens around Carmel! The tours are Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June  4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be an evening tour on Friday from 5pm to 8pm with wine and cheese. Enjoy walking these gardens as you come up with ideas for your own!

The addresses for the tour are:

225 1st St. SW, Carmel, IN 46032

721 1st Ave. NW, Carmel, IN 46032

3666 Walden Place, Carmel, IN 46033

Tickets are $20 for daytime tours and $25 for the evening tour. Click here for more information or to order tickets. If you would like to volunteer for this event and receive a free ticket, call us at 317-846-7117.

We are thrilled to bring back the annual spring tea after it was put on hiatus the last two years due to the pandemic! This year’s tea will be held at the Barrington on May 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now through May 23. Click here more information or to order tickets for this special event.

Dr. Anita Morgan will make a presentation on the suffrage movement in Indiana. Dr. Morgan is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at IUPUI and is a past president of the Indiana Association of Historians. Her presentation will be based on her book, We Must be Fearless: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Indiana.

Morgan’s book begins with the 1851 Indiana Woman’s Rights convention in Dublin, Indiana, and follows the ups and downs of the suffrage fight, including the formation of the Woman’s Franchise League in 1911, the efforts of the Legislative Council to obtain the vote, women’s support for World War I, the story of the 1917 partial suffrage law and subsequent court battle, and the final passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The book includes new information on subjects that have been underrepresented in the past: the attitudes of Hoosiers of German descent toward suffrage, the role of African American women, and those women who worked against suffrage.

New Book Available

April 10, 2022

The Carmel Clay Historical Society has published a book about the history of Carmel that covers the time period 1917-1976. The book tells how Carmel was shaped by the perils of the early twentieth century: World War I, the flu pandemic of 1918, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, the Great Depression and World War II. In the postwar era, the town experienced tremendous growth as people moved to the suburbs in large numbers and started the baby boom. New schools and subdivisions were built throughout Clay Township as a result. The book also gives a brief history of the fire and police departments and tells how the town transitioned to a city.

The book can be purchased online here and at All Things Carmel on West Main Street.