Spring Hill is a town bounded by Cold Spring Road to the west, White River to the south, and the International School Of Indiana campus and Michigan Road to the east. It is just northeast of 38th Street and Knollton Road. During the 19th century, a few farms sprung up near the bluffs of the White River. The Swift Family Cemetery, also known as Sleepy Hollow, located in what later became the neighboring town of Wynnedale, dates back to about 1840. Some of the settlers who owned farms in the area were buried there.

The 38th Street Bridge over the White River did not open until 1962. Before 1907, therefore, travel to the Spring Hill area from downtown Indianapolis involved crossing the river either at Washington, Michigan, or 10th streets before taking Cold Spring Road, then known as Meyers Free Gravel Road, north. After 1907, the 30th Street Bridge added another route. Meyers Free Gravel Road became Cold Spring Road in the 1920s.

In 1926, a group of five or six homeowners who lived along the bluffs that overlook the White River on Cold Spring Road incorporated to ensure the area’s exclusive residential character and to address the need for fire protection and road improvements. Indianapolis entrepreneur James I. Holcomb had built his estate, Woodvale, in the area that same year. The estate included boat docks, landing spots, and fishing holes on the river. Holcomb’s gardens were elaborate and were influenced by world culture. Woodvale boasted Japanese gardens, a ravine garden, a meadow, a lit cave network, greenhouses, waterfalls, and a collection of rocks from Holcomb’s world travels.

The other residents of Spring Hill were executives and professionals. Besides Holcomb, several, such as the wife of Frank Buchanan one of the founders of the Flanner And Buchanan Mortuary, were prominent in the Indianapolis community. For almost 60 years, the town counted about 25 residents. To underline the privileged and secluded nature of Spring Hill, an Indianapolis Sunday Star Magazine article, published in 1984, stated that “some of the front lawns… extend twice as long as Main Streets found in more traditional, rural small towns.”

The 1980 census confirmed that Spring Hill included only eight homes and identified it as the state’s smallest town. Then developers purchased the Holcomb estate from Butler University and built condominiums for affluent residents in 1984. In October 2000, the International School of Indiana broke ground for its North Michigan Road campus, carving out a portion of undeveloped land just to the east of Spring Hill.

Under the 1970 Unigov city-county consolidation, Spring Hill maintains its special status as an Included Town. It continues to be a small, quiet enclave of homes.

Revised June 2021

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