Up until the 1980s, Pendleton was known for little more — outside of its borders — than as an area associated entirely with a state prison. If Indy folks went through the town, it was on their way to other destinations.
But a group of concerned residents shared an interest in the history of Pendleton. They thought the town could eventually build upon its past and create a new future.
The Historic Fall Creek Pendleton Settlement formed with the help of Charlene Daugherty, Letty Gray, Marilyn Watkins and Maude Ward. They wanted to preserve and educate.
In 1989, the Pendleton Town Council proclaimed the town a historic district. In 1991, Pendleton was placed on the State Register of Historic Sites and Structures and on the National Register of Historic Places.
A lot of that history involves paperwork.
But the real force behind changing Pendleton comes from nine women: Ruth Berline, Sandi Butler, Charlene Daugherty, Letty Gray, Loueva Hagemier, Helen Reske, Maude Ward, Marilyn Watkins and Zipha Wood.
Pendleton recently honored the women by bringing them together, though Daugherty has passed away, and unveiling a large plaque that acknowledges their efforts. Passers-by will be able to see it at Main and State streets.
The nine helped give Pendleton a fresh identity that drew on its past. Indeed, their work created reasons for people to stop and explore the green spaces, the shops and history of the town. Certainly, some businesses have come and gone. But the welcome sign is out for those willing to try and establish themselves in Pendleton. That sign may not have come without the work of the nine who decided Pendleton should be known for more than its prison.
They were right. Pendleton has become a charming town where homeowners take pride in their residences.
These women deserve all the honors that can be bestowed including the memorial plaque that should stand for decades. They love the history of their town and have become a noteworthy addition to that history.
In summary A group of women will be remembered for their love of Pendleton's history.