Noblesville City Hall
Original Library Donations
The northwest section of the Noblesville City Hall is the former Carnegie Library building built in 1912. It was used as the city library until 1986.
Carnegie libraries were funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie across the United States between 1883-1929, with 164 built in Indiana. This was the location of the library when it received donations of artwork from the Brehm brothers, Francis Brown, Lee Offutt, and Floyd Hopper.
Two of the donated artworks were created as part of a Depression-era New Deal program -- the Civil Works Administration (CWA). The CWA was a job-creation program to assist out of work Americans in finding employment during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The first CWA artwork is a painting originally created by Francis Brown (1908-1992) for the library in 1934 called Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. The Civil Works Administration's Indiana Artist’s Association paid for it. Brown also taught CWA art classes. The painting is presently hanging in the new Boys and Girls Club building at 1700 Conner Street.
Brown was also commissioned through this program to create a painting for the Hamilton County Courthouse, although it is unlikely that it still exists. Another 1934 CWA painting titled Rip Van Winkle was done by Lee Offutt (1908-1966) and given to the library, but its whereabouts are unknown.
Another artist who donated artwork to the library was Floyd Hopper. Hopper (1909-1984) was a noted Indiana watercolor artist who also did wall murals and illustrations for local projects. He did the illustrations for the history of Hamilton County published in 1976, titled Remembrances.
Presently, there is a Floyd Hopper mural created in 1967 hanging in the atrium of Noblesville City Hall. It is of an autumn scene looking toward the city from the hill at Forest Park. It is 6 feet, 4 inches high and 26 feet long and originally hung in the American National Bank, then at Forest Hill School, before being moved to City Hall.
There are several other Hopper murals around Noblesville. One was created in 1967 for Riverview Hospital (now Riverview Health). It was 5 feet high by 23 feet long and a version of it still hangs today. The largest local Hopper mural is on the exterior of Arbuckle’s Railroad Place (1151 Vine Street) and shows the trains that used to run by the store on the Midland Railroad. Hopper is buried at Oaklawn Cemetery in Fishers.