‘Railroad Place’ founder Robert Arbuckle dies at 96

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In a statement on Facebook, staff from Arbuckle’s Railroad Place announced Jan. 29 that Robert “Bob” Arbuckle died Jan. 28. He was 96.

Arbuckle is the founder of Arbuckle’s Railroad Place, primarily a sewing machine repair shop, at 1151 Vine St. in downtown Noblesville. The shop also specialized in general sewing sales and is a bicycle shop, upholstery shop and more.

Arbuckle was a veteran, entering the U.S. Navy on his 20th birthday in 1942. In 1948, he returned to Noblesville and began a sewing machine sales and service shop on the north side of the courthouse square. The business specialized in making old things new, from converting old-style sewing machines to electric to once selling wringer washing machines and then selling automatic washing machines and dryers, microwave ovens, typewriters and more. After 12 years on the square, Arbuckle moved the business to its current 4-acre spot.

Perhaps some of Arbuckle’s most notable work was his dancing and appearances at large community events. For years, Arbuckle took part in Noblesville’s Fourth of July parade by dressing up to ride unique bicycles along the parade route. In 2016, when the county celebrated the state’s bicentennial on the downtown square, he handed out cupcakes to children.

Staff from Arbuckle’s Railroad Place said a celebration of Arbuckle’s life will take place when warmer weather arrives.

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