The Carmel Clay Historical Society’s latest book examines tales of the city in the 20th century • Current editions

Carmel Clay Historical Society historian Andrew Wright has always had an interest in military history.

So, as part of his recently published book, “Tales of the Twentieth Century,” which examines Carmel’s history from 1917 to 1976, he researched Carmel’s soldiers.

‘Tales of the Twentieth Century’ is available at CarmelClayHistory.org or All Things Carmel. (Photo courtesy of CCHS)

“During World War I, the Germans practiced unrestricted submarine warfare, which meant they attacked just about any ship in the ocean,” Wright said. “To combat this, the navy stationed gun crews on merchant ships. Elmer Arnold, a native of Carmel, was commander of the gun crew aboard a steam freighter called the SS Chincha.

Wright said that in the spring of 1918, the ship was crossing the Atlantic Ocean without a military escort when a submarine was spotted. Arnold’s crew fired only one shot from the rear gun when it was destroyed by the submarine, killing four sailors.

“Arnold and the rest of the crew moved to the forward gun and landed a few hits very close to the sub, which was overwhelmed and gave up the fight,” Wright said. “It was a remarkable feat for a steamer with a single gun to repel a submarine. The story was published in newspapers across the country and Arnold was awarded the Navy Cross.

For the World War II section, Wright wrote about the story of Minnie Doane, who was well known in Carmel.

“She served three terms on city council and was involved with just about every club and nonprofit you can think of,” Wright said. “When the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was established in 1942, she immediately enlisted. She quickly rose to the rank of first sergeant and was asked to lead the 5205th WAC Detachment in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters company. She island hopping with MacArthur’s Headquarters Company until the end of the war and was awarded a Bronze Star.

Wright said the flu pandemic peaked in Carmel in the fall of 1918.

“In October, the Indiana State Board of Health issued a series of orders that included a ban on all public gatherings,” Wright said. “All schools, churches and lodge halls in Carmel have been closed. There was also a state-issued ban on spitting on sidewalks and in public buildings and train cars. There was no mask requirement, but many people chose to wear gauze masks in public to prevent the spread of disease. At least seven Carmel residents have died of the disease this fall. Schools in Carmel have been closed for a total of 11 weeks, longer than any other district in the county. »

Wright said Carmel began to grow more after World War II.

“In the post-war period, young families moved to the suburbs in large numbers and started the baby boom,” Wright said. “Carmel’s growth quickly overwhelmed the school system in the 1950s, which consisted of only two schools – Carmel High School and Clay Center School. At the time, Range Line Road was the boundary between Clay and Delaware Township. Voters on the east side of the river kept the project in limbo until the portion of Delaware Township west of the river was consolidated with Clay Township in 1955.”

Wright said that in the 1970s Carmel was the fastest growing community in the state. Between 1972 and 1974, the city nearly doubled in size from 3.5 square miles to 6.2 square miles through the annexation of newly developed housing estates. The population doubled from 6,568 in 1970 to 13,484 in 1974. The growth led to Carmel’s transition from a town to a town in 1974.

The book is available online at CarmelClayHistory.org and at All Things Carmel on Main Street.