Cole Noble History


The plot of land on which Easley Winery sits in downtown Indianapolis, in the beautiful Cole-Noble Commerical Arts District, has a very long and interesting history. The following is a “brief” time line. Enjoy!

The area we know today as Indiana was part of what the French called Louisiana. In this year, the French ceded the land north of the Ohio River to the British.

The British surrendered to the United States and the land became “American.”

The truth is, the area we know today as Indianapolis was occupied by one of the tribes of the Miami Indian Nation. The Nation made claims to all land south of the Wabash River. Indianapolis (Marion County) was occupied by the Delaware Indians with authority granted by the Miami Nation.

May 7, the US Congress created the Indiana Territory

The State of Indiana entered the Union.

1818 & 1819
The US Congress entered into four treaties with the member tribes of the Miami Nation. These treaties were negotiated and signed near the present day town of St. Marys, Ohio. The four member tribes of the Miami Nation were the Weas (also known as the Ouiatenons), the Delaware, the Kickapoos and the Miamis.

The Indiana Legislature appointed three commissioners to travel north from the State Capitol of Corydon to lay out a new seat of government for the State of Indiana in the center of the State. The three commissioners selected a sight just east of the White River. The first boundaries of the city were North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street.

The Seat of Indiana Government moved from Corydon, Indiana to Indianapolis, Indiana.

The area outside the “City Limits” east of town was surveyed. This is the neighborhood the winery is in today. An “Agent of the State of Indiana” was appointed to lay out and sell this land. His name was John G. Brown.

Noah Noble is elected the 5th Governor of the State of Indiana.

November 28, Noah Noble, Governor of Indiana, bought nine parcels of land for his home farm. These parcels of land were known as out-lots and included Lots 45, 50, 55, 56, 61, 67, 68, 69, and 71. They are the same numbers today. Easley Winery sits in the Lot 56 parcel. These nine parcels totaled 110 acres and Governor Noble paid $1273.50 for all this ground. This land purchase was for Governor Noble’s “Home Farm.” The Governor took out a seven year mortgage on the farm to be paid off in 1842. The Governor lived on the farm with his wife Catharine Noble, his son Winston Noble and his daughter Catherine Noble. Catherine married Alexander Davidson and became Catherine Davidson. (There is a Davidson Street nearby.) They had a farm just east of the Noble home farm.

Governor Noble also purchased a large 640-acre parcel know as the Ben Ark Reserve in section 6, township 32 north of Range 3 East. The Governor also owned what he called “the Canal land” that was about four miles north of downtown Indianapolis on the canal. He also owned some ground he had purchased from Casey Ann Pogue (Pogue’s Run Creek fame) and 80 acres of ground he had purchased from Enoch D. John that he gave to his daughter and her husband.

February 7, Governor Noah Noble wrote his Last Will and Testament.

February 8, Governor Noah Noble died.

The Governor’s Will stipulated that everything went to his wife Catherine and later to his children. His estate was set up to foster the continuing operation of his “Home Farm.” The Governor made provisions for his son Winston’s education and that the three black workers living on the “Home Farm” were taken care of. They were named Thomas, his wife Sarah and Cuffee. Specifically, the three of them were to get $50 a year support and were to be allowed to live in the house located in the south west corner of the “Home Farm” free of rent for the rest of their lives. Included with the house was one acre of land around it. They were not given the land and house, just free use of it. The $50 was to come from rent off the Canal land. The Governor also left some land to his “black boy, Peter Durr.”

The problem with Governor Noble’s estate was it was land rich but cash poor. The Estate had trouble paying bills from the start. The Governor had $2,800 in debts. The Governor strongly did not want his “Home Farm” broken up or sold. This created quite a fight in his family that spilled over into State Government business.

It should also be noted that the Nobles were know for attending and throwing many parties in their day. I am sure they would be proud to know the Easley Winery today has a dedicated party room.

The Governor’s son Winston was only 15 years old and had a guardian appointed for him and wanted to sell part of the “Home Farm” to pay some of the Estate’s debts. Governor Noble appointed his son-in-law Alexander Davidson and his friend, George Dunn, as Executors of his will. George Dunn was from Lawrenceburg in Dearborn County where he had been elected to the United States Congress around 1820. Mr. Dunn was the State Treasure of Indiana from 1841 to 1844. He was a friend of the Governor during this time. Mr. Dunn returned to Lawrenceburg where he became a Circuit Judge from 1847 to 1850. Mr. Dunn was also a big promoter of the Upper Mississippi Railroad Company that later became the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad. Mr. Dunn died in 1854.

The ground for Easley Winery was platted into Lots in anticipation of being sold off for proceeds to help pay debts of the Estate of Governor Noble. A big family fight insued with lots of legal wrangling. The 20 acres in Lot 56 that Easley Winery sits on was appraises for $4,600. This is the portion of the “Home Farm” west of the Indianapolis and Peru Railroad.

After many disagreements and more court cases, the 34th Indiana General Assembly stepped in with the “Act for the relief of the estate of Noah Noble, deceased.” This act allowed for the area around Easley Winery to be subdivided and sold with the proceed taking care of the estate debts and anything left over going to Governor Noble’s children. The Act also created an alley running between Ohio and Market Streets to follow the Indianapolis and Peru Railroad tracks.

Governor Noble’s widow, Catherine dies. The son, Winston, went on to marry Mary Harvey.

1877 & 1878
The Noble children fought the selling of the “Home Farm” in many court cases but were unsuccessful. The home farm was divided into house lots for the growing city of Indianapolis and sold. Until 1924, three homes sat where Easley Winery is today.

Sewers were installed for around $300.

College Ave (Noble Street) was paved.

Sidewalks were put in on College Ave (Noble Street). Also Ohio Street is paved this year.

Spring Street, the alley behind Easley Winery, is paved.

The area around Easley Winery was settled by German immigrants moving to Indianapolis and the area was known as German town. This is the area south of Lockerbie Square today. This would be from New Jersey Street to the Interstate 1-65 / I-70 and from Washington Street to New York Street. Particularly around Park Ave and Market Street. The area around the corner of East and Market Streets had German Jews. This collective neighborhood today is known as Cole-Noble in honor of the Cole Motor Car Company (Washington and College Ave) and the heritage of Governor Noble’s “Home Farm.”

The homes along present day Miami Street (the alley across {West} from Easley Winery on College Ave) were in a notorious red light district between Park Ave and East Street.

Dayton D. and Ida M Fertig bought the first house and tore it down to build the first part of their creamery / dairy. This is what is today the press house and fermentation room of Easley Winery. The bottling room was added next, with the tax paid room area being added last in the 1950’s. All totaled, seven homes were torn down where Easley Winery sits today.

The Fertig Ice Cream Company continued to grow and acquire land. In addition to the Indianapolis plant, Mr. Fertig also had a dairy in Franklin, Indiana.

The Fertig Ice Cream Company was “famous” for making soft serve ice cream mix for Dairy Queen and the Burger Chef hamburger chain. Mr. Fertig was bought out in 1973 by Beatrice Foods for his ice cream accounts. Borden did not need his plant and thus in…

Jack and Joan Easley bought the Fertig Ice Cream plant for the 1st winery in the history of the City of Indianapolis. Easley Winery, Indiana Bonded Winery # 5, opened for business in June 1974 with grapes from the Easley vineyards that were started in 1972, in Crawford County Indiana.