Acton, Indiana

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Acton, Indiana
Acton, Indiana is located in Indiana
Acton, Indiana
Acton, Indiana
Coordinates: 39°39′20″N 85°58′00″W / 39.65556°N 85.96667°W / 39.65556; -85.96667Coordinates: 39°39′20″N 85°58′00″W / 39.65556°N 85.96667°W / 39.65556; -85.96667
CountryUnited States
Named forGeneral Acton
791 ft (241 m)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
ZIP code
Area code(s)317

Acton is a small community located in the southeast corner of Marion County, Indiana, and has been included into the city of Indianapolis. The community was named for an early settler, General Acton.[1]

The community's former name was Farmersville.[2] The town was renamed in 1854 when the U.S. Postal Service discovered there was already a town named Farmersville in Posey County, Indiana.[3]

Acton was once a busy town as it had a blacksmith shop, a hardware store, a veterinarian, three drug stores, a bank, a telephone exchange, three grocery stores, a train depot, a pool hall, a livery stable, a funeral home, a general store, a post office, two restaurants, a school, a canning factory, three churches, three gas stations, a campground, a Ford dealership, an International tractor dealership, a lumber yard and even a grain elevator with a feed mill.

One of the grocery stores, owned by Charles Swails, was in the Knights Of Pythias building that sat on the northeast side of Exchange Street next to the railroad tracks. After this building was destroyed by fire, a new building which currently houses the Dinner Bell market was built in 1963 at 11146 Exchange St. Ned Wheatley operated this store from 1965 until May 23 1967. The second grocery store, owned by Haskell Higgins and later Darryl Garrigus, was located in the former International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F) building which still stands at 7721 Swails St. A third grocery store, was located across from the former blacksmith shop, and was owned and operated by Harry E. Rouse, circa 1935.

The blacksmith shop, formerly at 11111 Exchange St, was owned and operated by Virgil Russell, who retired from blacksmithing in 1970, and sold the building to Clifford A. (Cookie) Kight in 1977. The building now houses Cookies Auto Body Shop. A hardware store was also located in this building and was operated by Charles Martin from 1948 until 1978.

The general store with a shoe repair, was owned by Charles Arthur Morris, and was located at 11116 Exchange St. Charles ran the store from about 1905 until 1940. The building was later used as the Hess grocery & bakery, a barber shop, a pool hall and eventually a sheet metal fabrication shop known as the Jedway corporation from 1950 until 1975. It is now the location of Bikini studios.

The Acton grain elevator was located at 11028 McGregor Rd, across from the current Toby Tielking auto repair. It was owned by Wade Fair and E.T. Burnside. Business began November 1 1940. The grain elevator was destroyed by fire on the evening of September 26, 1973. Bates Feed Mill was located across the railroad tracks at 11043 McGregor Rd. It too succumbed to fire on February 13, 1974. In the 1960's their phone number was UNiverity 2-6416.

The livery stable was owned by William McClain and was located on the north side of McGregor Rd between the rail road tracks and Hotze St.

Two restaurants used to exist in Acton. One was Mildred's restaurant at 11156 Exchange St. The other was Old McDonalds Cafe at 11143 Exchange St.

The Acton drug store was located in the former Masonic building (built in 1874) at 11139 Exchange St, around 1914. The Huffman drug store was located at the corner of Swails and House streets. This location was destroyed by fire in 1947 and was not rebuilt. The third drug store was located in the former Knights Of Pythias building that succumbed to a fire on April 23, 1962. Approximately $22,000 worth of drug store merchandise on the second floor was lost in the fire, while the building itself suffered $30,000 of damage. At the time of the fire, Lawrence Wilcher owned the building, and the drug store belonged to Jack and Vivian Poe. The drug store had been in this location since June 1949. Don King, who was a veterinarian, also had a business in this building from 1960 until 1962.

The post office was also formerly in the Knights Of Pythias building. It was later (and last) located in the former Masonic hall (11139 Exchange St) before being merged with the nearby Wanamaker post office, where it moved.

The former Ford dealership was located at 11219 House St in the 1930's. From 1952 until 1960 this building was used as the Falls & Baird International Harvester dealership where they sold farm tractors. This building now is the home to Doug McKinney's Complete Tree Care.

The Train Depot was located on the southeast side of Exchange St. It was demolished in 1955.

The former Little and Sons funeral home was located at 7814 Swails St. It was sold in 1993.

The Acton campground was located at the corner of Southport and Acton roads, next to the railroad. Established in 1859 by the Indianapolis district of the camp meeting association of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and plotted on 40 acres of land, it held 110 cottages, a pavilion a two story hotel and even a lake for bathing, boating and fire protection. Mostly used for religious meetings, it was used for a source of entertainment. During the civil war, it was temporarily used as a medical center for the wounded. Many people traveled by horse and buggy, train or the interurban to attend the campground. Famous speakers such as William Jennings Bryan, made several guest appearances. Tragically, on November 12 1905, sparks from a passing train started a fire that burned many trees, all of the cottages and the pavilion. Only the hotel was spared. A lawsuit was filed against the railroad but nothing came of it. The land was later divided and sold. Most of the homes on Little Oak Lane are on the land where the cottages and pavilion once stood. The other 23 acres of the former Acton campground was purchased by Indy parks and recreation in 2004. A monument was erected as a tribute to the former campground.

The Acton State Bank was located at 11143 Exchange Street. In 1924 it was robbed by three armed men who got away with $3000 and were never caught. Ben McCollumn was the banker that day. The bank closed its doors in 1934. It was later used as a gun shop and a restaurant.

There were three gas stations in Acton. One was formerly at the corner of Exchange Street and McGregor Road. Another was formerly at Acton Road and Virgil Street owned by Charles McDonald. The third was a bulk plant, service station and garage located at 7638 Acton Road. It was owned by Ralph and Wilma Dyar prior to 1962 when it was sold to Green Arthur "Jr." and Margie Settle where they named it "Settle's Oil Service" and sold Marathon fuel products. A tanker truck was used to deliver heating oil to residents with oil furnaces. From 1972 until 1979, Jr. also operated a lawn garden shop inside of the station, selling John Deere, Lawn Boy and Snapper mowers and parts. After the mower business ended, Jr's son Steven and his wife Sheryl continued to manage and operate the service station and bulk plant until they sold the business to Michael and Shelia Walker in 1983. Renamed "Mikes Marathon", they continued to deliver heating oil to homes, in addition to performing mechanical repairs to automobiles in a single stall garage bay, and managing a full service filling station. In November 2016 it was sold to a new owner as the Walkers had retired to Estero, Florida, and the original building was demolished. A new self serve station was built on the same site, and opened for business in 2018.

Of the three churches constructed in Acton, only one is still a church today. The Acton Baptist Church has been located in its same area on Exchange Street since 1866. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1927 and the current building was constructed in 1929. In 1962 an addition to the Acton Baptist Church, named "Judson Hall" was constructed. Pleasant Valley Christian Church (The Valley), located in south Acton at 9990 N. 700 East (Acton Rd.), has been in existence since 1902.

The Acton school has been located on its same lot since 1875. The original school was a one story building. It was used until 1912 when a new two story school was completed. The two story building was used as a school until a new one story school was constructed in 1965, with extra classrooms and a library added in 1972.

On March 10 1986, an F2 tornado came through the town of Acton, causing damage. However the town pulled together and has since rebuilt. Most of the houses in Acton are over 100 years old and have survived the tornado.

Acton has always been considered a rural area but in 2004 saw the addition of a new housing subdivision on the west side of Acton Road between Maze Road and Exchange Street.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Baker, Ronald L. (October 1995). From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History. Indiana University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-253-32866-3. for a local resident, General Acton
  2. ^ Acton, Indiana Profile
  3. ^ Sulgrove, Berry Robinson (1884). History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana. L.H. Everts & Company. p. 526.