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Local Lore: The White River Monster

Stories that transcend generations are not only fun, they remind us of our past to inform our future. The White River Monster lore is one of those stories – reminding us how important this workhorse of a waterway has been in Hamilton County’s past, fueling industry and agriculture as well as its future through the White River Vision Plan’s desire to grow accessibility while sustaining this important water source.

The Story

In July 1892, two men driving a wagon on the Cicero Pike [Highway 19] claimed to have spotted a large animal in the river. The newspaper described it as “a huge serpent 12 feet in length and perhaps 3 feet in circumference with a forked tail.” Later that month, four men on a fishing trip discovered what they thought may have been the object – the carcass of a dead cow caught on some floating branches.

Source: David Heighway, county historian

Who is the Monster?

Meet William Herman Hamilton. He's the lovable monster pictured above. At 10 feet long and five feet tall, he's hard to miss. Willie will be traveling around Hamilton County this fall. Check the event schedule below and see where you can find him and meet him.

How to Participate

1. Be a part of the fun and find the River Monster at the events listed below, or download a handy PDF of his whereabouts here.

2. If you see the monster out and about, take a picture and post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use #HCRiverMonster.

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Where to Find the Monster

3. Have you ever eaten a River Monster cookie, or drank River Monster juice? Take advantage of River Monster specials being offered by All Local, Burgerhaus, Edge Adventures Koteewi - Aerial Adventure Park, Hamilton County Artists' Association, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Indianapolis North Carmel, iBeach31 Sand Volleyball, Oca at Sun King Spirits, Pinheads, Sun King Spirits, Rosie's Place and The Urban Chalkboard. Specific deals are listed below.

4. Read the story and share with your friends and family.

Partners and Friends

Special thanks to the following partners for hosting and helping the monster: Hamilton County Parks, White River Canoe Company, David Heighway, county historian, Noblesville Main Street, Noblesville Preservation Alliance, Hamilton County, Nickel Plate Arts, Conner Prairie, and Ignite Studio.

To learn more about how to engage with the White River Vision Plan, check out these partners: - Vision Plan, White River Alliance, Friends of White River, Hamilton County Soil and Water, City of Carmel, City of Fishers and the City of Noblesville.

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