Howard Morse planned Indianapolis’ second reservoir, Morse Reservoir. The reservoir was built by the Indianapolis Water Company (now part of Citizens Energy Group), which also built the Geist Reservoir in 1941, and was dedicated on July 31, 1956. The water company recognized that the growing city would need another source of water, and Morse Reservoir served this need by doubling the city’s water supply.

Map of Morse Reservoir, 1959 Credit: Map Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library View Source

Morse Reservoir has around 35 miles of shoreline surrounding a 1500-acre body of water. It is located about 20 miles north of downtown Indianapolis in Hamilton County and is bounded by Cicero to the north and Noblesville to the south. The water is sourced from several creeks, including Big Cicero and Little Cicero Creeks.

There are two parks that offer free access to Morse Reservoir. Red Bridge Park is located in Cicero and offers boat slips, a clubhouse, and a swimming pool. Morse Park and Beach is in Noblesville, and since 1972 has been leased to Hamilton County Parks and Recreation. This park provides the community with lake swimming, boating, fishing, a playground, multiple shelters, a volleyball court, a softball diamond complex, and a disc golf course.

Until the 1970s, the reservoir was relatively isolated. When the Indianapolis Water Company began a real estate development project on the reservoir, this changed. The area was first used primarily as a location for vacation cottages, but soon became a place for permanent residences. In 2005, the Morse Waterways Association was founded to care for the reservoir and serve the homeowners living along the banks of the reservoir as well as the surrounding community and reservoir users.

By 2020, about 95 percent of the shoreline was made up of homes providing lakefront living and waterfront access.

Revised May 2021

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