Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Minnie Doane and the Fair Train


Since it’s State Fair time in Indiana, it seems appropriate to post this August, 1985 photo of longtime Carmel City Councilwoman Minnie Doane christening the 1985 Fair Train with a bottle of Night Train Express, a fortified wine by Gallo that has long been a favorite of trainyard hobos.

Back in the mid-1980s, the Carmel City Council was discussing an ordinance creating a peddler’s license. During the discussion, Minnie opined that such an ordinance would spare Carmel residence the worry about “darkies” showing up at their door.

City Attorney Steve Andrews, who was sitting at the council table, shot me a horrified look, worried that I might quote Minnie in my story in the next day’s Indianapolis News.

He needn’t have worried. I recognized that Minnie, who was 75 at the time, was a product of her generation and meant no malicious disrespect. I knew that quoting her would create a needless shitstorm of controversy and figured that wasn’t why I was there.

Besides, my forbearance made a longtime friend of Andrews and the other members of the council that gave me insights into Carmel politics that I would never have gained otherwise.

Minnie died in 1992. The gazebo in front of Carmel City Hall has been named for her.

minnieroanHere’s a photo of a young rider on that Fair Train that ran from Carmel to a point just west of the Indiana State Fairgrounds for several years.

The tracks were later abandoned and removed to make way for the Monon Trail, a hiking and biking route. Today’s Fair Train runs from Fishers to a site on the east side of the Fairgrounds.

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