White River Monster

Local Lore

Local Lore: The White River Monster

Stories that transcend generations are not only fun, they remind us of our past to inform our future. The White River Monster lore is one of those stories – reminding us how important this workhorse of a water way has been in Hamilton County’s past, fueling industry and agriculture as well as its future through the White River Vision Plan’s desire to grow accessibility while sustaining this important water source.

The Story

In July 1892, two men driving a wagon on the Cicero Pike [Highway 19] claimed to have spotted a large animal in the river. The newspaper described it as “a huge serpent 12 feet in length and perhaps 3 feet in circumference with a forked tail.” Later that month, four men on a fishing trip discovered what they thought may have been the object – the carcass of a dead cow caught on some floating branches.

Source: David Heighway, county historian

Who is the Monster?

Meet William Herman Hamilton, or Willie for short. He's the lovable monster pictured above. At 10 feet long and five feet tall, he's hard to miss. Willie will be traveling around Hamilton County this fall. Check the event schedule below and see where you can find him and meet him.

Where is the Monster today?

Today, William Herman Hamilton is relaxing at the White River Campground.

Special thanks to the following partners for hosting and helping the monster throughout the celebration: Hamilton County Parks, White River Canoe Company, David Heighway, county historian, Noblesville Main Street, Noblesville Preservation Alliance, Hamilton County, Noblesville Creates, Conner Prairie, and Ignite Studio.

To learn more about how to engage with the White River Vision Plan, check out these partners: MyWhiteRiver.com - Vision Plan, White River Alliance, Friends of White River, Hamilton County Soil and Water, City of Carmel, City of Fishers and the City of Noblesville.