Nestled in a bend on the White River in the heart of Marion County, Rocky Ripple has a history of political and environmental activism. In the recorded minutes of the first public meeting held shortly after the town was incorporated in 1927, Town Clerk/Treasurer, Fred Doeppers, describes the community as follows:
“The beauties of the scenery and the attraction of the river for bathing and fishing, made their appeal to nature lovers, and in a short while the river bank was built up with cottages.
At first these were principally for summer camp purposes, but as the years went by and high water lost its terrors, many of them were converted into permanent homes.”
Doepper explains that area residents were moved to political action when the City of Indianapolis failed to make any “effort to stop the pollution of [the] White River, caused by emptying raw sewage from Broad Ripple into the stream, and when appeals to the State Sanitary Board and the Fish and Game commission [sic] proved ineffectual, the townsfolk were greatly concerned.
“To cap the climax came persistent rumors that Mayor Duvall of Indianapolis was anxious to annex the Area to the City. The prospect of excessive taxation without commensurate benefits was enough to arouse everyone.”
Consequently, a “mass meeting” was called and residents decided to become an incorporated town. They raised the necessary incorporation fee and sought legal advice from local attorney Charles W. Appleman.
On February 1, 1928, Mr. Appleman addressed a letter to Mrs. Otto Mueller in which he writes: “the decree incorporation for the Town of Rocky Ripple has been entered. You are now a city incorporate.”
Flanked on its eastern and southern boundaries by the Indianapolis Water Canal and Butler University, this urban haven for wildlife combines the atmosphere of a small town with access to the amenities of Indianapolis. Environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts alike are drawn to the area to view the wildlife and recreation along the canal towpath and the river.