Carmel, Indiana

Carmel /ˈkɑːrməl/ is a city north of Indianapolis in Indiana. Home to 92,198 residents,[5] the city spans 47 square miles (120 km2) across Clay Township in Hamilton County, Indiana, and is bordered by the White River to the east; Michigan Road (U.S. 421) and the county line to the west; 96th Street to the south and 146th Street to the north. Though Carmel was home to one of the first electronic automated traffic signals in the state,[6] the city has constructed some 128 roundabouts since 1998, earning its moniker as the "Roundabout Capital of the U.S."[7]

Carmel, Indiana
City Hall during CarmelFest
"A Partnership for Tomorrow"
Location of Carmel in Hamilton County, Indiana
Coordinates: 39°58′N 86°6′W
CountryUnited States
  MayorJames Brainard (R) (1996-present)
  Total48.54 sq mi (125.72 km2)
  Land47.46 sq mi (122.92 km2)
  Water1.08 sq mi (2.80 km2)
853 ft (260 m)
  Density1,918.73/sq mi (740.83/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
46032, 46033, 46082, 46280, 46074
Area code(s)317, 463
FIPS code18-10342
GNIS feature ID0432143[4]
Interstate Highways I-465
U.S. Highways

Carmel has a highly educated and affluent population whose households have average median income levels of $109,201, and the median average price of a home is $320,400, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[5] It is often cited as one of the Best Places to Live in America by Money magazine (No. 1 in 2012, No. 3 in 2018)[8] and other surveys such as Wallet Hub, Niche, and SafeWise. The city has also been honored for being one of the safest in America, and best place to launch a career and to raise a family.[9]


Carmel was originally called "Bethlehem". It was platted and recorded in 1837 by Daniel Warren, Alexander Mills, John Phelps, and Seth Green.[10]:241 The original settlers were predominantly Quakers.[11] Today, the plot first established in Bethlehem, located at the intersection of Rangeline Road and Main Street, is marked by a clock tower, donated by the local Rotary Club in 2002. A post office was established as "Carmel" in 1846 because Indiana already had a post office called Bethlehem.[12] The town of Bethlehem was renamed "Carmel" in 1874, due to the need of a post office, at which time it was incorporated.[10]:247

In 1924, one of the first automatic traffic signals in the U.S. was installed at the intersection of Main Street and Rangeline Road. The signal was the invention of Leslie Haines and is currently in the old train station on the Monon Trail.[13]

The Carmel Monon Depot, John Kinzer House, and Thornhurst Addition are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[14][15]


Carmel occupies the southwestern part of Hamilton County, adjacent to Indianapolis and, with the annexation of Home Place in 2018, is now entirely coextensive with Clay Township. It is bordered to the north by Westfield, to the northeast by Noblesville, to the east by Fishers, to the south by Indianapolis in Marion County, and to the west by Zionsville in Boone County. The center of Carmel is 15 miles (24 km) north of the center of Indianapolis.

According to the 2010 census, Carmel has a total area of 48.545 square miles (125.73 km2), of which 47.46 square miles (122.92 km2) (or 97.76%) is land and 1.085 square miles (2.81 km2) (or 2.24%) is water.[16]

Major east-west streets in Carmel generally end in a 6 and include 96th Street (the southern border), 106th, 116th, 126th, 131st, 136th, and 146th (which marks the northern border). The numbering system is aligned to that of Marion and Hamilton counties. Main Street (131st) runs east-west through Carmel's Art & Design District; Carmel Drive runs generally east-west through the main shopping area, and City Center Drive runs east-west near Carmel's City Center project.

North-south streets are not numbered and include (west to east) Michigan, Shelborne, Towne, Ditch, Spring Mill, Meridian, Guilford, Rangeline, Keystone, Carey, Gray, Hazel Dell, and River. Some of these roads are continuations of corresponding streets in Indianapolis. Towne Road replaces the name Township Line Road at 96th Street, while Westfield Boulevard becomes Rangeline north of 116th Street. Meridian Street (US 31) and Keystone Parkway (formerly Keystone Avenue/SR 431) are the major thoroughfares, extending from 96th Street in the south and merging just south of 146th Street. The City of Carmel is nationally noted for having over 100 roundabouts within its borders, with even more presently under construction or planned.[17][18][19]


Historical population
Est. 201893,510[20]18.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]
2012 Estimate[22]

According to a 2017 estimate, the median household income in the city was $109,201.

The median home price between 2013-2017 was $320,400.[5]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 79,191 people, 28,997 households, and 21,855 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,668.6 inhabitants per square mile (644.3/km2). There were 30,738 housing units at an average density of 647.7 per square mile (250.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.4% White, 3.0% African American, 0.2% Native American, 8.9% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.5% of the population.

There were 28,997 households, of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.6% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 24.6% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.18.

The median age in the city was 39.2 years. 29.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.2% were from 25 to 44; 29.7% were from 45 to 64; and 10.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.


The government consists of a mayor and a city council. The current mayor is James Brainard.[23] The city council consists of seven members. Five are elected from individual districts and two are elected at-large.

Planned development

In mid-2017, the city council was considering a multimillion-dollar bond issue that would cover the cost of roundabouts, paths, roadwork, land acquisition by the Carmel Redevelopment Commission and would include the purchase of an antique carousel.[24] from a Canadian amusement park for an estimated purchase price of CAD $3 million, approximately US $2.25 million.[25] However, a citizen led petition drive against the purchase caused the city counsel to remove it from the bond issue.[26]

According to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, as of 2019 the City of Carmel had an overall debt load of $1.3 billion.[27]

List of mayors

Mayor Term of office[28] Election Party[29][30]
1 Albert Pickett January 1, 1976

January 1, 1980
1975 Republican
2 Jane A. Reiman January 1, 1980

January 1, 1988
1979 Republican
3 Dorothy J. Hancock January 1, 1988

January 1, 1992
1987 Republican
4 Ted Johnson January 1, 1992

January 1, 1996
1991 Republican
5 James Brainard January 1, 1996

1995 Republican



The Carmel Clay Schools district has 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. Student enrollment for the district is above 14,500.[31]

The elementary schools are Carmel Elementary,[32] Cherry Tree Elementary,[33] College Wood Elementary,[34] Forest Dale Elementary, Mohawk Trails Elementary, Orchard Park Elementary, Prairie Trace Elementary, Smoky Row Elementary, Towne Meadow Elementary, West Clay Elementary, and Woodbrook Elementary.

The three middle schools are Carmel Middle School,[35] Clay Middle School, and Creekside Middle School. They feed into Carmel High School.[36]


Carmel has several private schools, including Pilgrim Lutheran Preschool (12 mo. - 6 years), St. Elizabeth Seton Preschool (2 years-K), Midwest Academy (4-12), Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School (K-8), Walnut Grove Christian School (K-8), and University High School.


The Meridian Corridor serves as a large concentration of corporate office space within the city. It is home to more than 40 corporate headquarters and many more regional offices. Several large companies reside in Carmel, and it serves as the national headquarters for Allegion, CNO Financial Group, MISO, and Delta Faucet.

Top employers

As of January 2017, the city's 10 largest employers were:[37]

# Employer # of employees
1 CNO Financial Group 1,600
2 Geico 1,250
3 RCI, LLC 1,125
4 Capital Group Companies 975
5 Liberty Mutual 900
6 KAR Auction Services (Adesa) 892
7 IU Health North 800
8 Midcontinent ISO 700
9 NextGear Capital 694
10 Allegion 595


The city of Carmel has been recognized with numerous awards and ratings for its programs and services.

  • Listed as #1 best place in US to launch a career by Money Magazine in 2018[38]
  • Listed as #1 best place to live by Niche in 2017 and 2018[39][40]
  • Listed as #16 best place to live by Money Magazine in 2017[41]
  • Listed as #3 best place to live by Money Magazine in 2014[42]
  • Listed as #1 best place to live by CNN Money Magazine 2012[43]
  • Arborculture’s highest award – the Gold Leaf Award in 2002[44]
  • The 2006 City Livability Award to mayor Jim Brainard for roundabouts. The award recognizes mayors for implementing programs to improve the quality of life in their cities.[45]


Rollfast Gran Fondo

Indiana's only Gran Fondo, this cycling event attracts professional cyclists as well as recreational riders. In 2019, the event is the World Championship for the Gran Fondo World Tour. Each route is fully supported with food, drinks, and mechanical support.[46]

Carmel Farmers Market

Founded in 1998, the Carmel Farmers Market is one of the largest in the state of Indiana, with over 60 vendors of Indiana-grown and/or produced edible products. The market, which is managed by an all-volunteer committee, is held each Saturday morning from mid-May through the first weekend of October on Center Green at the Palladium.

Carmel Monon Community Center

A $24.5 million water park and fitness center is the centerpiece of Carmel's $55 million Central Park, which opened in 2007. The Outdoor Water Park consists of two water slides, a drop slide, a rock-climbing wall, a lazy river, a kiddie pool, a large zero depth activity pool, Flowrider, and a lap pool. The fitness center consists of an indoor lap pool, a recreation pool with its own set of water slides and a snack bar, gymnasium, 18-mile (0.20 km) indoor running track, and the Kids Zone childcare. The building housing the Carmel Clay Parks Department offices is connected by an elevated walkway over the Monon Trail.

Monon Trail

The Monon Greenway is a multi-use trail that is part of the Rails-to-Trails movement. It runs from 10th Street near downtown Indianapolis through Broad Ripple and then crosses into Carmel at 96th Street and continues north through 146th Street into Westfield and continues to Sheridan. The trail ends in Sheridan near the intersection of Opel and 236th streets. In January 2006, speed limit signs of 15 to 20 miles per hour (24 to 32 km/h) were added to sections of the trail in Hamilton County.

Carmel Arts & Design District

Designed to promote small businesses and local artisans, Carmel's Arts and Design District and City Center is in Old Town Carmel and flanked by Carmel High School on the east and the Monon Greenway on the west. The district includes the Carmel Clay Public Library,[47] the Hamilton County Convention & Visitor's Bureau and Welcome Center, and a collection of art galleries, boutiques, interior designers, cafes, and restaurants. Lifelike sculptures by John Seward Johnson II ornament the streets of the district.

The district hosts several annual events and festivals. The Carmel Artomobilia Collector Car Show showcases classic, vintage, exotic and rare cars, along with art inspired by automobile design.[48] Every September, the Carmel International Arts Festival features a juried art exhibit of artists from around the world, concerts, dance performances, and hands-on activities for children.

In the heart of the district stands the Museum of Miniature Houses, open since 1993. The museum has seven exhibit rooms of fully furnished houses, room displays, and collections of miniature glassware, clocks, tools, and dolls.

Carmel City Center

Carmel City Center is a one-million-square-foot (93,000 m2), $300 million, mixed-use development located in the heart of Carmel.[49] Carmel City Center is home to The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, which includes a 1,600-seat concert hall, 500-seat theater, and 200-seat black box theater. This pedestrian-based master plan development is located at the southwest corner of City Center Drive (126th Street) and Range Line Road. The Monon Greenway runs directly through the project. Carmel City Center was developed as a public/private partnership.


Clay Terrace is one of the largest retail centers in Carmel. Other shopping areas include Carmel City Center,[50] Mohawk Trails Plaza, and Merchants' Square. The Carmel Arts & Design District has a number of retail establishments along Main Street, Range Line Road, 3rd Avenue, and 2nd Street.[51]

Kawachinagano Japanese Garden

Ground was broken for the Japanese Garden south of City Hall in 2007. The garden was dedicated in 2009 as the 15th anniversary of Carmel's Sister City relationship with Kawachinagano, Japan, was celebrated.[52] An Azumaya-style tea gazebo was constructed in 2011 and dedicated on May 2 of that year.[53]

Great American Songbook Foundation

The Great American Songbook Foundation is the nation's only foundation and museum dedicated to preserving the music of the early to mid 1900s. The foundation is led by Michael Feinstein, who is also the artistic director of the Center for the Performing Arts.[54][55]

Notable people

Sister cities

Carmel has two sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International.[58]

See also


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  2. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  3. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. "Quick Facts - Carmel city, Indiana". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  6. Contreras, Natalia (January 1, 2019). "Carmel loves roundabouts: Here's why". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  7. Tuohy, John (December 1, 2019). "Carmel roundabouts increased crashes at many major intersections". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  8. "Carmel, Indiana Is No. 3 on MONEY's Best Places to Live list". Money. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  9. "City Wide Awards | City of Carmel". Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  10. Haines, John F. (1915). History of Hamilton County, Indiana: Her People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1. B.F. Bowen & Co.
  11. "Hamilton County History Timeline". Carmel Clay Historical Society. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  12. "Hamilton County". Jim Forte Postal History. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  13. "History of Carmel, Indiana". City of Carmel, Indiana. Archived from the original on 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  14. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  15. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 6/24/13 through 6/28/13. National Park Service. 2013-07-05.
  16. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  17. "Carmel's latest reason to celebrate: Roundabout No. 110".
  18. "Public Roads -Roundabouts Coming Full Circle, Autumn 2017-FHWA-HRT-18-001".
  19. "Roundabout Index: Carmel, IN". All About Roundabouts Society. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  20. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  21. United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  22. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  23. "City of Carmel, IN : Mayor". Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  24. "Carmel considers $101M for roundabouts, land, paths, carousel". Chris Sikich. IndyStar. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  25. "Toronto's 110-year old carousel on Centre Island sold for $3 million". Fatima Syed. Toronto Star. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
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  32. "Carmel Elementary School". Retrieved 27 August 2017.
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  34. "College Wood Elementary". Archived from the original on 2017-10-07. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  35. "Carmel Middle School".
  36. "Carmel High School". Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  37. "TOP EMPLOYERS". Invest Hamilton County. Archived from the original on 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
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  39. "2017 Best Places to Live in America". Niche. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
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  42. "Carmel, Ind. is No. 3! See if your town made the list of MONEY's Best Places to Live". Time. 19 September 2014.
  43. "Best Places to Live 2012". CNN.
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  56. Bernie Allen bio at Society for American Baseball Research
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