Original Fortville Carnegie Public Library

McDonald Greenhouse

Helm's Mill

Casio's Restaurant Menu Page

Busineses in Vernon Township



The Fortville Carnegie Public Library, built in 1918, was first petitioned by the Fortville citizens on March 22, 1915 and filed with the clerk of the Hancock Circuit Court. It was approved by Judge Sample on March 31, 1915. An application was made to Andrew Carnegie for building aid. This aid was granted, making the Fortville Carnegie Public Library one of the last Carnegie libraries built in Indiana.

The library was opened on July 3, 1918. The books, pamphlets, documents, and shelving were donated by Arden H. Thomas. He even donated his Emerson Piano for the Assembly Room in the basement to encouraging meetings for Scouts, clubs, and other civic organizations. Mr. Thomas also donated a large reading table, which was constructed from his mother’s, Mrs. Margaret Cutting’s, rose-wood piano. This piano was originally used in the Indiana State Institution for the Blind.

Shortly after, a Miss Marie Adams, a missionary to China, and later a teacher in Tokyo, donated gifts from the Orient for the Children’s Riley Room, which was created downstairs in December of 1955.

In 1986, a new Fortville Library was opened where it currently sits at the corner of Broadway & Madison Street. The new building was originally owned by ECOFF Trucking. The old Carnegie building went through many owners and phases. It was a photography business, then a meeting place for Cub and Boy Scouts, and the Fortville Youth Home. Currently, the old Carnegie building serves as the United Methodist Church’s Food Pantry.

(Picture: Louise Fausett's Library Card - 1944)

McDonald Greenhouse

This was a flower shop on 111 Second Street North (now Michigan Street).  It was located between Main & Merrill Street in Fortville.  It was run by Martha McDonald. The photos on this page were taken in the 1940s and donated by Louise Graham who worked there from June 1944 to December 1947.

(Picture at right - Martha McDonald in her greenhouse.)

Helms Mill

The mill was built in 1844 and located about 3 miles northwest of Fortville. David Jones and his son were the proprietors and began operations in 1845. Clark Waitt was the grinder who turned the wheat grains into grist for many who came from miles around. In 1847 the flutter wheel was discarded for a new tub wheel.

David Jones sold his part to Joseph Arbol in 1850, and Frank Pool bought Sherwin Jones’s half. The old mill changed hands rapidly after that. In 1852, George Yeargar bought the mill then sold it the next year to Joshua Veach, a preacher known as “Square” Veach.

William Hoover bought the mill in 1854 and held onto it until after the Civil War. George Sperry purchased the mill in 1865 and made improvements, including a 12-horse power turbine wheel.

Finally, Silas Helms became its owner until 1911 when Albert (Abs) Whetsel bought the mill. Mr. Whetsel operated the mill until 1920 when a syndicate bought the land and tore down the mill.

A man named Tony Lux, an Indianapolis business man, bought the property. Lots were sold on either side of Fall Creek for residences. That area is now called Luxhaven. Part of the old dam still remains to this day.

Reference: Trittipo, Henry, et. al. History of the Bethlehem United Methodist Church 1844-1985. United Methodist Publication. 1985.


Casio's Restaurant

At the corner of Pendleton Pike and County Line Road, or Carroll Road, there was a facility known as the Plantation Club during the 1920’s and 1930’s. It was a roadhouse, speakeasy, casino, and safe house for “unsavory characters”. It was furnished with fine drapes and rugs, not to mention gambling equipment.

It was said that many gangsters including John Dillinger frequented the establishment. It was rumored that Dillinger was once chased out of the office door with the FBI in hot pursuit. Of course, Dillinger got away.

The Plantation Club was a source of trouble since the proprietors were underworld characters, as were as their customers. Eventually, police were called, along with the local prosecuting attorney, Glenn T. Williams. The club was raided and patrons arrested. Amid the threats the patrons made to the sheriff and the attorney while they were being handcuffed, the gambling equipment was burned.

After being closed by the authorities for several years, Chuck Nickerson bought the property and the 50 acre plot in the 1960’s. Nickerson ran a self-contained “catering park” that could hold 35,000 people. It was equipped with rides and other family fun entertainment where buildings could be rented for gatherings.

In January on 1988, Michael and Doni Nickerson decided to renovate, restore and reopen the old casino as a fine dining restaurant with an authentic 1920s and 1930s Art Deco atmosphere. Thus, Casio’s Restaurant was born.

It is rumored that a ghost still haunts the location of the old pavilion behind the restaurant, and she has been seen by a number of people. The ghost is known as “The Blue Lady” by all that have seen her. Supposedly, she was murdered in one of the old cabins that used to be located behind the old pavilion and now appears on cold nights cloaked in a blue mist.

Unfortunately, Casio’s closed within the past ten years. The restaurant and park is missed by many.

Reference: Casio's Restaurant Menu.

Organizations & Other Locations


Thimble Club – The Thimble Club, dedicated to the purpose of promoting interest in needlecraft and for social development, was organized on May 22, 1902. It was originally known as the Thimble Club until 1908. A patron kindly donated the club’s yearly programs from 1910 to 1932.


Fortville Memorial Park – The 33 acres of the park were purchased from Thomas G. Noel in 1920. The shelter house was built in 1933 and the scout cabin was completed in 1936. The tables, playground equipment, tennis court, and baseball diamond have been added throughout the years.


  • History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions. George J. Richman. B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis: IN, 1916.
  • Fortville 1949 Centennial Souvenir Program
  • Fortville-Vernon Township Library District: 40th Anniversary Edition 1918-1958.