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At the northeastern edge of Marion County, just a few miles past Lawrence and just a step from McCordsville and Hancock County, you’ll find the small community of Oaklandon.
Back in 1849, the now-deceased John Emery laid out a small village northeast of the state capitol. Originally called Oakland, it was changed to Oaklandon around 1870 when they got their post office … and the first “Oakland” in Indiana objected to a second “Oakland.” So we add an “on” and we’re set to go.
In the early years, the town fostered a sense of community, with strong churches, lodges and local businesses. There was plenty of space to stretch out, yet it was close-knit. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there are stories of town bands that were very well-known, playing in their own Oklandon bandstands and other area events, even the Indy 500.
By the 1920s, Oaklandon was beginning to be more suburb than town. Never incorporated as a true town or city, the new State Road 67 (built past, not through Oaklandon) made commuting to Indianapolis an easy task. An interurban line took that a step further.
Interesting story (directly quoted from A History of Oaklandon, The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce): A 1927 feature story in The Indianapolis News explains why there were no saloons in Oaklandon.
About 1887, the women of Oaklandon apparently organized a branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union,
an organization that included a campaign against alcohol. Their target was the lone saloon in Oaklandon.
Adeline Apple, 83, was interviewed. The feature story said, "Mrs. Apple, with a twinkle in her eye, tells how she
and the other women went into the saloon unannounced one night and sat down, much to the consternation of
the men who soon took to their heels.
The second night, she said, the saloonkeeper had hoped to prevent their staying by having all the chairs taken out.
The women, undaunted, stood around the stove. "The nightly visitations of the feminine contingent destroyed
business and the saloon soon disappeared according to Mrs. Apple,"
We’re thinking the business disappeared, not the actual building. But we weren’t there, so …
After the second World War, Lawrence and Oaklandon found themselves even more a suburb of Indianapolis. Lawrence, a city, started actions to annex Oaklandon. Oaklandon objected, sued, fought and got all riled up, but Lawrence finally won out in 1976.
Today, the Oaklandon community maintains an identity, with a bright “Oaklandon” water tower, its original Oaklandon Road and a few small monuments celebrating the one-time village, now suburb.
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