Rich in History- Noblesville Historian Garrick Mallery
Writer / Lisa Kitchen Butt . Photographer / Brian Brosmer
“Do you want to buy a racehorse?”
Those were the first words from Noblesville resident Garrick Mallery’s mouth when he called me the day after our interview.
“Not really,” I said, wondering where this might be going. I did not have to wait too long.
With a boisterous, amused chuckle, he replied, “Too bad. I race this horse at Hoosier Park up in Anderson, and he stays over on some of my 600 acreage in Sheridan. Let me know if you change your mind.”
I doubt I will change my mind; however, I will not change my mind on how engaging this self-described “Noblesville historian” was to talk to. Viewed by many community members and leaders as a well-respected businessman and compassionate health board member, the 87-year-old lives alone in a rambling grand brick home, surrounded by lush greenery and a creek in his backyard.
His home’s interior has photos on the walls of family vacations, his deceased wife and old photos from when he was a boy on the farm. “I was born in 1927 and lived through the Great Depression. We always had enough to eat, and that was good enough for us,” he noted.
His office contains his worn leather high school football helmet and his honorable U.S. Air Force cap. Also commemorated in his office are remnants from his days as a realtor. “I sold farms to farmers all over Hamilton County — Noblesville, Fishers and Carmel – in 1948 when I was still in school at Purdue.”
“I have also helped make transactions up near 146th Street and what was once Deer Creek [now Klipsch]. I have seen many changes in my lifetime. Many people do not like to see changes in Noblesville or around here, but it is all good,” he said matter-of-factly. Other real estate deals have involved land that is now full of houses and commercial property.
Mallery was raised on a farm in Noblesville. Both his father and grandfather were farmers in Noblesville, and they came from a line of farmers who were original Hamilton County residents in 1820.
After graduating high school, Mallery attended Purdue University for one semester before he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1946. He was supposed to serve in Japan, but his orders were cancelled last minute. Although he was only in the Air Force for two years, he succeeded quickly, becoming a second lieutenant within his first year.
After the Air Force, Mallery went back to Purdue and was very involved in school activities. In an article in the Butler Collegian in December 2013, he stated he was in a fraternity, president of the Economic club and hosted a radio show every Tuesday night, a half-hour show on the School of Agriculture.
This big Boilermaker fan took that same dedicated involvement into the Noblesville community as well. He was instrumental in starting the county health board and is still involved 50 years later.
Mallery lost his wife, Nancy, in 2009. He reminisced about meeting her the first time at a Christmas dance in 1952 when another man brought her as his date. He asked her out on a Sunday and took her to “the most extravagant restaurant” he could find that had a buffet, complete with “tomato juice spurting elegantly from fountains.”
Together they raised four children: daughter Carol Payne, a mortgage underwriter, and sons David, food business; Fred, retired real estate; and John, a banker. He also has eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild and one on the way.
He also is a dedicated historian. He took his children on many historical trips and pushed the seriousness of education.
However, his age does not slow this community leader down.
“I tell people all the time that I can remember doing things with Abraham Lincoln, but I don’t go back as far as George Washington,” he stated. “I love Noblesville, and I hope anyone who lives here appreciates all that it has to offer as much as I do.”