Idlewold through the years

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Idlewold water and camping Submitted

A farm located on the banks of Fall Creek and adjoining the grounds of the Indiana Reformatory became the home of Charles E. and Florence McCarty and their children, Glen and Greeta, in 1913.

The farm had previously belonged to Peter Mingle and was later named Idlewold.

Like family farms of the time, there were other buildings including a smokehouse, a large barn and an outhouse, as well as several other structures.

A well and hand pump were also outside the house along with a cistern.

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The family soon set about creating a recreational area out of the farm.

A dam was built across Fall Creek, just below the pump house. The lake formed by the dam was used for boating and canoeing. Two rowboats and 22 canoes were initially purchased, and the charge was 25¢ an hour to paddle up and down Fall Creek.

Another dam was built above the first dam forming a swimming pool.

Five cottages, a log cabin and bathhouse were built for summer vacationers, and bathing suits could be rented.

By 1917 there were 23 cottages; soon the bathhouse was demolished.

Additionally, Swan Boat rides were available for 10¢.

A man called “Uncle Sam” Mettle ran the boat on a bicycle-type mechanism that he peddled.

The nine-hole golf course was built and ready for play by 1920; it was later expanded into an 18-hole course.

By 1921 a dining room and kitchen were built. Teddy Jones was the first to run the dining hall, and eventually siblings Glen and Greeta took over the work at the dining hall.

The specialty was chicken dinners, with many of the chickens being raised by the family.

An artesian well was located northeast of the kitchen.

It was advertised that there were four kinds of mineral water for drinking. Many considered the water medicinal, and people came many miles to drink and carry water home in jugs.

Idlewold hosted 4-H campouts, and many groups from Anderson and Indianapolis visited.

There were trails along Fall Creek, horseshoe courts, swings and slides. July Fourth celebrations began with a bell ringing at 4 a.m. During the day there were baseball games, horseshoes, tennis and greased pig contests.

For a brief time, a miniature golf course was operated just south of the clubhouse.

By 1944, the Depression and gas rationing meant that people did not travel as much. The cottages were empty.

The McCarty family decided to sell, and Idlewold was purchased by Dr. Joe Shirley for $19,000 in 1944-45.

In 1946, a corporation was formed to purchase the facility and at that time it became known as Idlewold Golf and Country Club Inc. It was then that a new clubhouse was built.

In December 1952, this clubhouse burned down.

The current clubhouse was built in 1960; the swimming pool was added in 1965, and the pro shop was built in 1970.

Idlewold changed hands again in 2009 when the town of Pendleton purchased the golf course, changing the name to Fall Creek Golf Club.