Located geographically in the center of Hancock County and 865 feet above sea level, Greenfield is just 15 miles east of Indianapolis. The area is served by several major highways. Interstate 70 winds along the northern edge of the city, while U.S. 40 -- the "Old National Road" -- and State Road 9 intersect in downtown Greenfield. Residents are only 5 miles east of Mount Comfort Airport and I-70 gives easy access to the Indianapolis International Airport, which is only 40 minutes away.
Residents enjoy an annual average temperature of approximately 60 degrees, giving them lots of opportunities to enjoy the number of parks in Greenfield. Brandywine Park is a 60-acre sports complex with 20 soccer fields, three softball diamonds, two sand volleyball courts and playground equipment. Central Park and Commons Park are each less than one acre, with playground equipment in quiet neighborhood settings.
Mary Moore Park is an 8-acre nature park with a picnic shelter and mulched trails running throughout a wooded setting. Markers are located along the trails, providing plant and bird life information. The Pennsy Trail is a 3-mile linear park. It is paved asphalt and intended for walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading and skateboarding. Riley Park is a 40-acre setting with two outdoor basketball courts, six tennis courts, three baseball diamonds, playground equipment, sledding hill, open areas for play and fishing along Brandywine Creek. Also located within the park are the Riley Park Shelter House, Riley Park Pavilion, Riley Pool and the Patricia Elmore Center.
Each year, Greenfield hosts several major festivals and events, which attract thousands of visitors to this charming community. The Will Vawter Art Competition -- created to pay tribute to one of Indiana's leading artists and illustrators during the early 20th century -- is held at the Riley Park Pavilion and is open to all Indiana residents. The Hancock County 4-H Fair is a nine-day event held during the second week in July, which includes a wide variety of animal exhibits, shows, food and fun activities. The Riley Festival is a four-day weekend of fun, crafts, food and family entertainment in honor of the anniversary of the birth of James Whitcomb Riley, the "Hoosier Poet." Entertainment on the Plaza is a free summer concert series featuring a variety of professional music groups.
The recorded history of Greenfield goes back to 1833, when settlers began to arrive in this rich and fertile farming area. They built their settlement along the two creeks that flow south through what is now called Center Township. The first businesses were small gristmills for grinding corn and wheat. Around 1835, U.S. 40 was built through Hancock County and in 1853, the first steam railroad was completed by the Indiana Central Railroad at the south edge of town. During this time, Greenfield's population continued to grow. When the population exceeded 2,000 in 1876, Greenfield was incorporated as a city.
The greatest single period of growth began in 1887 when natural gas was discovered in the area. Greenfield was a boomtown for 20 years as manufacturing plants and other industries moved in. Greenfield today offers the best of both worlds, blending a small-town atmosphere with managed expansion as part of the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area. The populations of Greenfield and Hancock County have continued to grow steadily over the years. In fact, Hancock County is currently the second fastest growing county in the state of Indiana.
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