Mr. Sargent, The Road, and a Nature Park
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, INDIANAPOLIS - To begin, I grew up right here. So this area is pretty special to me, I've been driving by the sign you see in this video for the past few months whenever I go to my parents house. My cousin, Brittney, wanted me to give these efforts a little lore attention, so that's how I'll start off the year.
Sargent Road Nature Park doesn't exist yet, but I'm confident it will. There was also a time when Sargent Road didn't even exist, and all that was there was nature. Let's take a look at the history that's created the need for this future park.
I've spent the last few days going over old maps of this area, trying to understand what it used to look like. In an 1889 map of the area, most of the land that Sargent Road runs through today is owned by John A. Sargent and another individual named Jacob Sargent. Thanks to our friends at Historic Indianapolis, we have a little background information on the Sargent Family.
Sargent Road was named after the Sargent family, a prominent family of landowners in and around Lawrence Township. John Sargent was born in Kentucky in 1818 and moved to Marion County in 1850, where he farmed land about a mile east of Mallott Park.
Jacob Sargent, [the son of John] was born in Marion County in 1851.The family owned land throughout Lawrence Township, but John settled in the present-day area of Sargent Road. The Sargent home was located at 8420 Sargent Rd.
In an 1876 map, I can see Sargent Road, but it doesn't begin where it does today. The road start right at what I've vaguely identified as School No.12. If we fast forward a few decades, to our 1889 map, we see the road appear at the present day starting mark. I've included a pretty detailed map from 1938, in which I've identified Sargent Road, starting near the intersection of Fall Creek and Mud Creek.
Sargent Road is absolutely beautiful, I used to take it everyday on my way from my house to Cathedral High School. No matter what season, beautiful, here's a causal video I have on my phone from 2015, see the deer?
Today, just as it did in 1938, the road starts near the intersection of Fall Creek and Mud Creek. The Road winds up north through the temporary end of 75th, through 82nd Street, past 86th, and finally comes to a halt, 3.7 miles from start to finish.
I've drove on all these roads my entire life. These are tiiiiny roads, barely even any shoulder, you can tell they were cut straight through the nature and wildlife that had always been there. Over last few years, they've widened the intersection at 82nd Street & Sargent to make traffic flow a little better. It was a necessary move but, it definitely had a direct impact on the nature and wildlife that call this area home.
Indiana was home to Native Americans long before it was home to me. Due to the fact that Indiana was settled south to north, this area that I grew up in was still largely uninhabited by Europeans during Indiana's early statehood. In this 1827 map, you can see that Marion, Hamilton County have just been established, and that the Delaware, Kickapoo, and Miami Tribes were still VERY close by.
Whichever people were in the Sargent Road area before misleading treaties removed them, did a great job of co-existing with their environment. Although we've obviously cleared some land for residential development, I feel as if the people that call this area home today have done a good job living with the nature there as well.
Growing up I'd constantly see deer, rabbits, raccoons, turtles, foxes, coyotes, hawks, blue herons and other wildlife all throughout my neighborhood.
Mud Creek Conservancy - This site supports an abundance of wildlife species such as migratory songbirds like Connecticut Warblers and Indigo Buntings, amphibians and reptiles like Slimy Salamanders and Kirtland's Snakes, mammals like American Beavers and Mink, and thousands of pollinators including the imperiled Monarch Butterfly.
We ALL share this area, let's show our wildlife how much we truly respect and appreciate all that she brings to the table by making Sargent Road Nature Park a reality.
I donated the other day, here's a link to learn more and see the ways in which you can help:
When people ask me to describe my trip to Alaska, the first two words I say are "untouched earth". It's amazing how the most beautiful parts of this earth, have largely remained untouched by humans, wildlife just gets to be wild. That's what I want for these 25 acres right in my backyard, I want the wildlife to be wild.