Located near the intersection of Acton and McGregor roads, Acton was platted in October 1852 as a stop on the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad. Originally called Farmersville, the village was later renamed, reportedly after an early settler, General Acton. No other biographical data exists about Acton, even his first name is not known. By the 1880s, Acton boasted churches, stores, blacksmith shops, mills, and about 300 people.

Big Four Railroad Station, Acton, 1910
© Digital Image 2009 Indiana Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

The population swelled during the summer and fall months when thousands came to the Acton Camp Ground northwest of town. Purchased in 1859 and operated by the Southeast Indiana Conference of the Methodist Church, the campground featured daily prayer meetings, inspirational programs, and lectures, sometimes by noted politicians such as William Jennings Bryan. A 1,000-seat pavilion, the Acton Park Hotel, and guest cottages hosted campers who came by wagon or on one of the five trains that stopped daily at the gate. The camp buildings were rebuilt following several fires but were abandoned after a disastrous 1905 blaze.

Acton grew slowly in the 20th century as an agricultural service center. By 1950, the town counted several small industries and about 900 residents. Acton was also touted as the hometown of Marjorie Main, a successful film actress.

Baptist church in Action, 1908
© Digital image 2003 Indiana Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

Never incorporated, Acton became a part of Indianapolis under Unigov. Bloomfield Lakes Estates, a housing development located south of Acton Elementary School at the corner of Acton Road and Maze Road, was built in 2004 and provided much-needed residential alternatives for young professionals desiring a suburban neighborhood within proximity of interstates 65 and 74. In the 2010s, notable commercial or residential development occurred in Acton.

Major development, however, took place at the corner of Southport Road and Emerson Avenue close to Acton, especially after St. Francis Hospital opened its new campus there in 2013. The corner has witnessed explosive commercial and residential growth with several big-box retail outlets and restaurants. Much residential development also occurred in the area.

Wooden frame houses in Acton, 1908
© Digital image 2003 Indiana Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.
Passengers exiting a train on the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Traction line in Acton, ca. 1900
© Digital Image 2007 Indiana Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.
Revised February 2021
 

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