Monon Trail - Westfield
While the Indianapolis and Carmel portions of the Monon offer miles of city and suburban fare, the Monon’s more northerly stretches reach into smaller-town ambiance, scenery, and history.
So far, only one mile of this Westfield section of the Monon is yet open, but plans call for the trail to pass through Westfield’s city center and downtown district, cross with the future east-west Midland Trail, and then head on to Sheridan, Indiana to the northwest, when completed. This will add some ten miles to the mighty Monon, which will bring its total close to 30 miles across a quilt of Midwest culture.
Though Westfield is not a large metropolis, its history looms large to anyone involved in the life and politics of pre-Civil War America. It was founded by Quakers who moved from North Carolina in order to provide a way station on the Underground Railroad for those escaping slavery. During the War Between the States, the Monon Railroad—over whose bed the Trail now runs—serviced the Union Army for hauling fresh and wounded soldiers, ammunition, and war-related supplies. One historical report says that President Lincoln’s railway funeral procession to Springfield, Illinois also was, in part, carried along the Monon’s other North-South Indiana line.
For an Underground Railroad tour in Westfield, visit the Westfield Washington Historical Society and Museum on South Union Street. In addition, there are several newer parks near the Monon in Westfield, including Quaker Park with playgrounds, splash park, restrooms, and shelter. There are also Cool Creek, Simon Moon, Hadley, the Freedom Trail, and Asa Bales Park. The latter has a skate area, restrooms, and playground.
Historic Westfield Day takes place in early spring with period costumes, children’s activities, a 5K run/walk, and history awareness venues. Fall is celebrated with the Numa Arts Festival, offering a chili cook off, arts, music, and car show.
In the neighborhood, but not in the city of Westfield one can visit the Indiana Transportation Museum, Noblesville. It has train displays, rides and dinner trains, special events, and railroad history. In summer, the Indiana State Fair Train, or Fairtrain, is one of its services. Just north of Westfield is one of Indy’s water supplies, the Morse Reservoir. Most of the shoreline is privately owned, but there is a public access site at Morse Lake Park, offering lake swimming, fishing, and picnicking.