Indiana’s OSR 3/US 40: A Map Retrospective

It is easy to say that there are several transportation facilities in Indiana that really made a massive impact on the state. Let’s face it, Indiana is the “Crossroads of America.” Between canals, railroads and mud paths that would become the backbone of the modern state highway system, it’s not hard to see Indiana, and transportation across it, had been a very important thing to the history of not only the state, but to the United States in general.

One of the most famous, and most important, was the National Road. I have covered this route several times in the past two years on Indiana Transportation History. From the 1830’s to today, the National Road has served as one of the most travelled of all the original routes across the state. And with some exceptions here and there, the original route is still roughly followed almost 200 years later.

The road itself was so important that I covered its connection to the county seats of the counties through which it travels in my article “The National Road, and County Seats.”

But, there have been changes. The earliest of these occurred in the 1870’s near Reelsville. With the creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission, it became apparent that the importance of the route would grow. The rough route of the original road was given the name Main Market Road #3 in 1917, to become State Road 3 in 1919. With the coming of the United States highways, in 1926, it was given the important number of US 40. The “0” at the end denoted its importance in the system.

And the road grew…and grew. Traffic soon outgrew the the road that had been in place for around a century. So, the ISHC started expanding and moving the US highway…meanwhile keeping parts of the history in place for people to investigate and enjoy in the years to come.

Today, I want to give a roughly 100 year overview, in maps, on the route of US 40.

1920
1920
1926
1926
1935
1935
1936
1936
1937
1937
1939
1939
1941
1941
1950
1950

There were very few changes in the routing and/or condition of US 40 after 1950. Its gradual replacement as the major through route in Indiana by Interstate 70 would begin in 1960. By 1976, it was possible to travel across the state from Terre Haute to Richmond and never see a traffic signal. US 40 would be removed from inside Indianapolis and Terre Haute, routed around those cities along Interstate 465 for the former, and SR 46/Interstate 70 for the latter.

Newspaper Blurbs about Lincoln Highway in Indiana

I spend a lot of time looking through old newspapers. It all started with my genealogical research. But I realized that this blog could benefit from the very same resources. And, if you have followed this blog, you know I do use them a lot. Today, I want to cover some newspaper articles about the early days of the Lincoln Highway, and construction of same.

The Indianapolis News of 18 June 1914 spent almost an entire column page to the Lincoln Highway. The majority of the article was about what Carl Fisher planned when it came to both the Lincoln Highway and the Michigan Road in his home state. Fisher was in South Bend, witnessing the beginning of work on his brain child. According to the News, he “has started another big movement. It is the improvement of the Michigan road from Indianapolis to South Bend to connect the speedway city with the coats-to-coast highway and to give central and southern Indiana an outlet to it.”

Plans were also to have a “General Good Roads Day” in Marion, Boone, Clinton, Cass, Fulton, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties. He was also calling for the oiling of that road. Calls for a state trunk road system were announced, as well.

The plans for the Lincoln Highway in South Bend called for an 18 foot cement road way with three foot graveled shoulders on each side, make for a total 24 foot wide road right-of-way. Fisher let the St. Joseph County Commissioners know that specifications only called for a 15 foot roadway, with the same three foot shoulders. This would make the right-of-way a total of 21 feet wide.

The cement mixture, according to Fisher, was also too expensive for the work. He recommended that the mixture include one part cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel. This was the same mixture that had been successfully in use in Wayne County, Michigan. This one change decreased the cost of construction of the Lincoln Highway across St. Joseph County from around $194,000 to roughly $150,000.

The Lincoln Highway was, at the time of this article, also completely marked across northern Indiana. Traffic along the new Auto Trail was increasing with travelers moving between the two coasts. The prospect of major traffic from the east going to the California-Panama Exposition in 1915 was on the minds of the people involved with completing the highway across the United States.

Fisher also expressed his concern that the Lincoln Highway be built “under competent engineers and honest contractors.” His belief that “nothing shows worse than concrete construction any underlying graft. It only takes two or three years to label a skimping contractor a thief or an incompetent.”

As a human interest story, less than a month later, in the Indianapolis Star of 19 July 1914, it was announced that “Fred Callahan, the young man who walked from New York to San Francisco and who is now walking back over the Lincoln Highway, reached Ashland, O., a short time ago. He averages about thirty miles a day and has covered more than 5,000 miles. He carries a pack on his back weighing about thirty-five pounds. Callahan says the Lincoln Highway is being put in good shape all across the country, and he ought to know.”

An article covering the entire Lincoln Highway in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette of 13 January 1918 mentions that of the 94 counties crossed by the Lincoln Highway in the United States, only one has completely finished the concrete pavement of the route. That county is St. Joseph, Indiana. The same article mentions that there is an official feeder road to the Lincoln Highway at Dyer. That feeder road connects the coast-to-coast highway to the city of Chicago.

The Indianapolis Star of 7 July 1918 mentions the work that the Indiana State Highway Commission made appropriations for that year. The ISHC, created in 1917, had taken the original route of the Lincoln Highway into the fledgling state highway system. It was called Main Market Road 2. According to the newspaper, $37,000 was allocated for the Lincoln Highway between Elkhart and the Elkhart-St. Joseph County line. The same amount was earmarked be Elkhart County. St. Joseph County was also starting the grading of the highway near Osceola. A contract for a new bridge in St. Joseph County was also let.

Tree planting was the news of the day in the South Bend Tribune of 25 June 1921. St. Joseph County planned to plant as many as 5,000 trees along the national highways that connected to South Bend. Keep in mind that both of Carl Fisher’s “children,” the Lincoln Highway and the Dixie Highway, met in South Bend. The roadside was “barren,” according to the newspaper. They also ran the following two pictures to make their point.

South Bend Tribune, 25 June 1921.

One of the bad things about looking through newspapers for a topic like the Lincoln Highway is that it was such an important feature in the United States that news from across the country would appear in the newspaper. Most of the coverage was for the national perspective, not the Hoosier one. I will continue to scour the newspapers of the state to find more information like this. Just that some projects are so large that local information is usually mainly ignored.

Indiana Interurban History – A Complete Recap

Here at Indiana Transportation History, I have covered a lot of topics. One that comes up a lot, even if I don’t write about it, is the electric traction, or interurban, railways. I have decided today to give a complete recap of every blog entry that I have done about that very interesting subject. Sometimes, it seems that I have spent as much time covering the interurbans as they actually existed in Indiana. I know that is not anywhere near true…but it seems like it. I hope you find something here that interests you, as well.

I have decided to start from the beginning of the blog. The first ITH entry was done back on 9 February, 2019. But it wasn’t until almost three months later that I posted my first entry about the electric traction lines.

7 May 2019: The First and Last Interurban Out of Indianapolis: One of the most covered topics here is the “Greenwood Line,” or what was, in the end, known as the Interstate Public Service Company. This is the one that, although I am too young to have ever actually seen an interurban car in Indianapolis, I have the most experience with. I grew up on the southside of Indianapolis. I went to Southport High School. And the “Stop” roads on the southside are a direct descendent of that very line. Part of that company still exists today, as part of Duke Energy.

3 July 2019: Indianapolis and the Interurban: Indianapolis became the interurban capital of the United States, even though Indiana was second in the number of miles of traction lines to Ohio.

30 August 2019: Interurbans in Marion County, Where Were They?: Grabbing a map of Marion County from 1917, the lines of the interurbans, along with the locations and/or names of the stops were included. I shared the maps and stories of each of those lines.

2 September 2019: End of the (Traction) Line in Greenfield: During the Great Depression, the already teetering interurban lines started failing one after another. One of the most important lines, as far as distance covered, was the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern line that connected Indianapolis to Richmond. It connected at Richmond to a line that went further, and connected to numerous lines at Dayton, Ohio. It was also one of the first to be removed. And Greenfield became one of the first abandoned towns.

4 September 2019: Indianapolis-New Castle Traction: The line that would continue the connection to Richmond would be the traction line that ran along side the old Peoria & Eastern (Big Four) Railroad tracks that left Indianapolis to the east-northeast. Its entry into Indianapolis would be a little controversial. This line would last until July 1940.

18 September 2019: Marion County Interurbans, and Their Remaining Property Lines: One day, while looking at several aerial photos, and property lines, on the MapIndy site, I started noticing that some of the property lines really didn’t fit in with the rest of the county. Upon further investigation, I was finally able to match the old interurban maps with those property lines. This blog entry shows the results of that investigation.

8 October 2019: Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad: Not all of the interurbans in Indiana are dead. Or, at least, the railroads that were created during that era. The CSS&SB was an interurban line when it started. It has become a “steam” railroad along the line. (“Steam” railroad is the title that is given to the heavy railroads…traction lines were considered light railroads.) Even though the CSS&SB was also part of the same company that would ultimately own every interurban line out of Indianapolis, its location kept it going. And it still is today.

22 October 2019: Interstate Public Service: Again, I “ran home to mama” when it came to the electric traction lines. I covered more history in this entry than I did in the first one.

30 October 2019: Street Car and Electric Traction Franchises: Street railways and electric traction lines weren’t created in a vacuum. Especially in cities. When entering cities and towns, all types of railroads, whether it was steam, traction or street cars, had to apply for the right to enter that town. And it was laid out specifically where the lines would be placed.

11 November 2019: Martinsville Traction: A brief history of the line that connected Indianapolis to Martinsville.

18 November 2019: Danville Traction: A brief history of the line that connected Indianapolis to Danville.

16 December 2019: Lebanon Traction: A brief history of the line that connected Indianapolis to Lebanon and beyond.

23 December 2019: 1904: Interurbans Before the Traction Terminal: Before the Indianapolis Traction Terminal was built, the interurbans all stopped at different places in the downtown area of the Hoosier capital.

27 December 2019: Fort Wayne Electric Traction Options: There were five traction lines that were built radiating from Fort Wayne. This entry covers those.

7 and 8 January 2020: Interurbans, Part 1 and Interurbans, Part 2: These two articles covered the interurbans from a Terre Haute point of view. It is important to remember that most of the traction lines radiating from Indianapolis were owned by the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern company.

23 April 2020: Beech Grove Traction: A town that was built by a stream railroad company would also become an important interurban destination.

5 June 2020: 1975: Interurban in Tipton County, 40 Years Later: There are still remnants of the interurban all over the state. This article covers the Tipton County interurban items that were covered in the Kokomo Tribune of 27 April 1975.

13 July 2020: Interurban Freight Service: Interurbans started as a passenger service. But the companies learned that the speed and scheduling of the interurbans could make package service a profitable proposition. This would put the traction lines in direct competition with the steam lines. A battle that would continue until the traction lines died.

24 August 2020: Bus Service At the End of the Interurban Era: As the interurban lines started being phased out, they were replaced by bus services. The passenger service was important, although it was still a money losing proposition.

15 September 2020: Winona Interurban: A brief history of the Winona & Warsaw interurban line.

9 November 2020: Perry Township Additions, And the Greenwood Line Stops: Again, I revisited the Greenwood line…with a focus on the additions that happened along that line north of Southport.

12 November 2020: Richmond, 1907: Interurban Accident with City Street Car: Accidents happen. And a lost of them stem from multiple trains using the same track. In towns, interurbans used the street car tracks to get to the downtown area. Interurbans, legally, only connected the towns on their own tracks.

Forgot one…

https://intransporthistoryhome.wordpress.com/2020/10/12/interstate-public-service-from-edinburgh-to-seymour…

Since I am mobile, it’s hard to add it. Will fix it in the morning when I get home from work.

A 1933 Indianapolis Map and Why It Interests Me

While roaming the Indiana State Library online collection of maps several years ago, I found a map that flat out struck me as interesting. The map was dated 1933 and was issued by the A. C. Wagner Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Now, why would this map stand out to me, a confessed map geek? Actually, it was the way that roads on it were marked, really.

The roads that now have names, ones that are relatively well known, were marked on this map with directionals and numbers. I had never seen this system used on any other map. But as the image below states, “Roads in the County are numbered based on the house numbering system of Indianapolis.”

Index of Marion County roads as listed on the Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, 1933.
Index of Marion County roads as listed on the Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, 1933, Columns 1 and 2

To the left are just the first two columns of the above index. The roads that are marked “N. x” are actually numbered that today, as long as it is above 10. The one numbered street on this map that doesn’t have a number now is “N. 4th W.,” in Wayne Township. That is Vermont Street from Cossell Road west. The other N. numbered roads are now streets of the same number.

The east streets in the picture to the left are the interesting ones. For instance, “E. 110,” both north and south were known as Franke Road at the time of the printing of this map. Today, it is German Church Road. E. 120th is now Carroll Road, formerly known as County Line Road East.

If you know the addressing system in Indianapolis (Marion County), it is easy to figure out which road is which. E 32nd, for instance, is McFarland Road. E. 38th is Sherman Drive. And E. 40th, in Perry Township at least, is Gray Road.

Every other map of Marion County that I have ever seen includes road names, nothing like this addressing numbering system.

1933 Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, showing south central Perry Township, bordered by Shelby Street (E. 11), Edgewood Avenue (S. 60), Sherman Drive (E. 38) and County Line Road (S. 90).

But some of the modern names are included on this map. Looking at Perry Township again, from Edgewood Avenue south, Edgewood Avenue and Banta Road have names. They are also labelled as S. 60 and S. 65, as well. But the rest south of there are just given the addressing labeled names: S. 70 (Southport); S. 75 (Stop 10); S. 80 (Stop 11); S. 85 (Stop 12); and S. 90 (County Line Road).

Some roads aren’t even marked at all. The road leading north out of Southport, east of the railroad, has no marked name on the map. But looking at it, it is Main Street and Derbyshire Road. A road named, apparently, after the landowner at the corner of that road and Banta Road.

Also, US 31, which until 1941 used what is now Madison Avenue, is marked as Madison Road, its original name from the 1830’s.

If you would like to see this map in its entirety, the link is here: Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, 1933.

1920-1960: Allen County Roads

Today is the second of the series covering state roads in Indiana’s counties in alphabetical order. Today, I will cover, as the title states, Allen County. And, just like the last post of this series, it will be done with a lot of maps, and start with the history of the formation of the county.

The creation of Allen County happened on 17 December 1823, when the Indiana General Assembly issued the following news: “Formation by statute, effective April 1, 1824. The formation affected Randolph and Delaware counties.”

“Beginning at a point on the line dividing this state and the state of Ohio, where the township line dividing townships twenty-eight and twenty-nine north, intersects the same; thence north with said state line twenty-four miles; thence west to the line dividing ranges ten and eleven east; thence south to the line dividing townships twenty-eight and twenty-nine north, thence east to the place of beginning.” (Revised Laws of Indiana, 1823-1824, pp 109)

One month after the creation of the county, Fort Wayne was made the seat of the county’s government.

1920 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Allen County is one of those few counties that actually acquired its first modern state road with the original creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1917. One of the five Main Market Roads, as they were called at first, connected Fort Wayne to near Chicago. Of course, it was built as the Lincoln Highway. That Auto-Trail would be given the number Main Market Road 2.

In 1919, Main Market Road 2 would become State Road 2. By 1920, four more state highways would be added to Allen County’s landscape: OSR 11; OSR 13; OSR 21; and OSR 44. OSR 11 would connect Fort Wayne to Huntington, ultimately ending in Greenfield at the National Road. OSR 13 would be the road from Fort Wayne to Bluffton, again ending at the National Road, this time at Lewisville. As mentioned in the Adams County entry, OSR 21 travelled from Fort Wayne, through Decatur, Portland, Winchester and Richmond to end at Liberty in Union County.

1923 Kenyon Map of Allen County, Indiana

Due to location, and the fact that Fort Wayne had, for decades, been one of the largest cities in the Hoosier State, the city, and Allen County, would find itself along quite a few Auto Trails during that era. In 1923, as shown on the map to the left, the following Auto Trails crossed Allen County: Hoosier Highway [B]; Yellowstone Trail [N]; Wabash Way [O]; Ohio, Indiana, Michigan Way [S]; Lincoln Highway [X]; and the Custer Trail [BB].

The Hoosier Highway has been covered numerous times in this blog. It started in Evansville, ultimately winding its way through the entire state to Fort Wayne on the way to Detroit, Michigan. Coming from the south, it was given the designation OSR 13 to Fort Wayne, but no state highway number was assigned to it leaving Fort Wayne to the northeast.

The Yellowstone Trail and Lincoln Highway would be intertwined, even though the only place they multiplex was east of Fort Wayne. Both of them would meet again at Valparaiso. The Lincoln Highway left to the northwest of Fort Wayne, with the Yellowstone heading more west. In 1920, as mentioned above, Lincoln Highway was OSR 2, and Yellowstone Trail was OSR 44.

The Wabash Way left Fort Wayne to the southwest, winding its way through Huntington, Wabash, Peru, Logansport, Delphi, Lafayette, and Attica, crossing the Illinois State Line to end at Danville. The ISHC gave it the number OSR 11 in 1920.

The Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Way was mentioned in the Adams County entry. It was OSR 21 into Fort Wayne from the south. Leaving to the north, it wasn’t part of the state highway system. Neither was the Custer Trail, which started in Fort Wayne, leaving to the north for Auburn and Angola on a winding trail through Steuben county to enter Michigan.

1923 Indiana Official State Highway Map

In the fall of 1923, the ISHC decided to rearrange state highway numbers to make them easier to understand and follow. This led to numerous changes in Allen County. The Lincoln Highway, which had been OSR 2 for the previous six years was now OSR 46 heading northwest out of Fort Wayne. The OSR 2 label, while maintained on the Lincoln Highway east of Fort Wayne, became attached to the Yellowstone Trail west of the city. OSR 11, the Wabash Way, was changed to OSR 7. OSR 13 and 21 remained the same south of Fort Wayne, but a new addition to SR 31 was added north of the Allen County Seat. It encompassed neither the OIM or the Custer Trail. It was a “new” road, without any special designation prior to its addition to the state highway system.

1926 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Allen County became the home of quite a few United States Highways with the Great Renumbering of 1 October 1926. The 1923 version of SR 2, leaving Fort Wayne along State Boulevard and Leesburg Road, was rerouted to connect to the new SR 2, which was the route of the original Lincoln Highway, at what is now Lincoln Highway and Washington Center Road. From that connection, SR 2 continued its journey across the county to Churubusco. East of Fort Wayne, the OSR 2 that had existed since 1917 was changed to US 30.

The OSR 11 (1920)/OSR 7 (1923) was practically abandoned in Allen County. The old State Road 7 route was moved north, and would be changed to US 24. East of Fort Wayne, a new route US 24, one that had not been part of the state highway system before, was in the process of being added. It would connect to Ohio’s US 24 after leaving east-northeast from New Haven.

OSR 13 was given two designations. South of Fort Wayne, it became SR 3. North of the city, it became, along with OSR 21 south of Fort Wayne, US 27. This left Allen County with two state roads (SR 2 and SR 3) and three US highways (US 24, 27 and 30)..

September 1930 Indiana Official State Highway Map

With the number of additions that were made to the state highway system in 1930, the September map of that year showed many changes. Not in the way of the routes that had been established in 1926. No. The old OIM Way north out of Fort Wayne was added to the state highway system as an extension of State Road 3. The old Custer Trail route was also added, becoming the northern State Road 1. There was also an authorized addition shown on the map. It would come into Allen County from the west, travel through Fort Wayne, and leave to the northeast. The western end of that authorized addition was at State Road 15 at Silver Lake. A look at the map shows it to be an extension of State Road 14.

January 1932 Indiana Official State Highway Map

When it was finally added to the state highway system in 1931, that’s what it was: an extension of SR 14 across Allen County. SR 14 connected to Ohio State Road 18 at the state line. But the early 1932 map showed two more authorized additions the ISHC wanted to make. First, a road connecting to SR 1 north of Fort Wayne, heading due east to Leo, then roughly along the St. Joseph River heading northeast.

The second left SR 3 south of Fort Wayne, heading southwest through Nine Mile and Zanesville.

Other than that, still no real changes had been made to the 1926 highways that Allen County had been originally given.

1933 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Three “new” state roads were added in 1932 for the 1933 official map. First, the authorized addition through Zanesville and Nine Mile, which turned southwest off of SR 3 from Waynedale, was officially added, and given the number SR 3. The old SR 3, which had that number since the 1926 number shuffle, became the new SR 1 south of Waynedale.

But that wasn’t the only change in SR 1. The ISHC changed their minds, instead of routing a new state road due east into Leo, it was decided to use what is now Clinton Street toward what were the separate villages of Cedarville and Leo. This was given the number State Road 1. The old SR 1, that ran north along what is now Tonkel Road, was given the number State Road 427, another daughter route to US 27. Both routes connected at Auburn, with US 27 coming in from the west, and SR 427 coming in from the south.

1937 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Travelling east across Allen County, from New Haven to Edgerton, along what is now Dawkins Road, was a daughter route to US 30, State Road 230. SR 230 connected to Ohio State Road 113 at the state line.

The period between 1932 and 1936 saw very few changes. The Indiana State Highway Commission decided to authorize the building of an extension of SR 101, north and south, through eastern Allen County. At the time, SR 101 did exist in Adams County, but ended at the Adams-Allen County Line. The new SR 101 would directly connect to State Road 1 in Dekalb County at State Road 8. Although it was an authorized addition, State Road 101 was not, at least according to the maps of 1937, located. The route shown on the map was pure conjecture…and hoping. Also, SR 14 was then connected to both Ohio State Road 18, but a new Ohio State Road 2. The multiplexed route from the Ohio State Line connected to Hicksville, before Ohio 2 and Ohio 18 went separate ways.

1938 Indiana Official State Highway Map

There were two changes made in 1937, as shown on the 1938 map to the left. First was the building of SR 101 from the Adams-Allen County line to US 30. Second, US 33 came to Indiana. From Decatur, US 27 and US 33 used the same road to connect to Fort Wayne. But leaving Fort Wayne, the road that had been State Road 2 was then called US 33. This eliminated the State Road 2 designation east of South Bend. Both Lincoln Highways were now part of the US Highway System in Allen County. The original was now US 33, the replacement (marked in the mid to late 1920’s) had been marked US 30 since 1926.

1939 Indiana Official State Highway Map

1938, as shown by the 1939 Official Map, saw the completion of SR 101 through the county.

1941 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Changes made in the 1939-1940 time frame included the extension of SR 37 to Fort Wayne and beyond. SR 37 had ended at Indianapolis to this point, coming up from southern Indiana. It replaced, in Marion and Hamilton Counties, the original Indianapolis-Fort Wayne State Road, known as Allisonville Road in that area. It entered Allen County multiplexed with US 24. The designation SR 37 then replaced the SR 14 designation northeast of Fort Wayne. At the Ohio state line, it connected to only Ohio SR 2, as Ohio SR 18 was removed from that section of road in that state. But that wasn’t the end of SR 14 east of Fort Wayne. What was formerly SR 230 became the new SR 14.

1942 Indiana Official State Highway Map

1941 added another state road to Allen County. In the extreme northwest corner of the county, SR 205, which had ended at the county line, was extended as far as the Allen-Noble county line at Ari. SR 205 would eventually be extended into Dekalb County to end at what is now SR 327, but was, at the time, US 27.

1949 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Another state road was added in 1948, and showed up on maps in 1949. Connecting US 30/US 33 northwest of Fort Wayne to SR 3, US 27, SR 1 and SR 427 to end at SR 37 northeast of Fort Wayne was State Road 324. It would appear that the route of SR 324 is what is now Coliseum Boulevard.

1956 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The next change is shown on the first available map that has it. It seems that Indiana did not issue, that I can find, Official Highway maps for the years 1954 or 1955. I can not find them if they exist. I do not have any in my personal collection, nor does the state library have them in their digital collection.

There were two changes between 1953 and 1955. One was the continuation of SR 324 as a bypass to the east of Fort Wayne. That state road ended at New Haven Avenue, which was given the designation State Road 230 from SR 324 to the junction of US 30/US 24/SR 14 less than a mile east of the junction with SR 324.

1957 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The following year, 1956, saw the end of both State Road 230 and State Road 324. SR 324 was replaced with the US 30 designation. SR 230 was completely removed from Allen County.

The 1960 map, which I can not share here, shows the beginnings of Interstate 69 under construction from SR 3 in the north to US 24 in the south. (I can not share this map, as the one on the state library site has a big section missing through Steuben, Dekalb and Allen Counties. And I can not scan my personal copy since my scanner is not working properly at this time.)

1961 Indiana Official State Highway Map

I do want to share one last map, showing the state highway situation in Allen County according to the 1961 official map (meaning 1960 changes).

Interstate 69 is officially under construction at that time from US 24 in the south to the Allen-Dekalb County line. Also, a replacement for US 30 west of Fort Wayne is under construction.

Thus are the state highway changes in Allen County from 1920 (or, actually, 1917) to 1960.

1920-1960: Adams County Roads

Today, I want to start a series, with a lot of maps, that shows the evolution of the state highway system in each county from 1920 to 1960. Starting with the first county, alphabetically.

First, let’s start with the creation of Adams County. Dated 7 February 1835, “formation by statute, effective on publication. The formation affected territory attached to Allen and Randolph counties. Adams was organized under an act of January 23, 1836, effective March 1, 1836.” The county was legally described as follows: “Commencing at the south east corner of Allen county, thence west with the southerly border of said county, to the north east corner of section five in township twenty eight range thirteen, thence south with the section lines to the township line between townships twenty four and twenty five, thence east with the said township line to the eastern boundary line of the state, thence north with the state line to the place of beginning.” This information was included on page 44 of the Laws of Indiana, 1834-35.

The county seat was also included in my source: “Commissioners appointed under the organization act reported to county commissioners on May 18, 1836, their choice of a site in section 3, township 27 north, range 14 east of the second principal meridian, where Decatur now stands.”

1920 Indiana Official State Highway Map

When the state highway system was officially created in 1919, state roads were being all over Indiana. The major purpose of the system was to connect to each county seat. To that purpose, the first of the new state roads to be added in Adams County was known as State Road 21. It was laid out, as shown on the 1920 map to the right, in a not so straight path connecting Geneva, Berne, Monroe and Decatur. From Decatur, it aimed off towards Fort Wayne.

I have access, through the state library online, to two different maps from 1923. The state did two things in that year. First, it issued the first official highway map since 1920, and two, the reason it was issued was due to the fact that the Indiana State Highway Commission was going through what I have referred to as the “Little Renumbering.” The other map, one that I use quite a bit, lists the state roads prior to the renumbering.

1923 Kenyon Map of Adams County, Indiana

The non-official map included the state road numbers in use at the time, as well as the Auto Trails that were in place. That map uses circles with numbers for the state roads. As shown on the map to the right, state road 21 is still the only state road in the county. But it was also known as the “Ohio, Indiana and Michigan Way” Auto Trail.

OIM Way Marker

The other road marked on that map, shown as “GG” is the “Huntington, Manitou, Culver Trail.” While the title cities were on the trail, it did connect to someplace in Ohio and possibly beyond. I am trying to find any information I can to figure it out. At the west end, the road went at least as far as Chicago.

The first renumbering of state highways in September 1923 didn’t affect Adams County at all. The former state road 21 remained the same afterwards.

1926 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The number of state roads in Adams County doubled with the Great Renumbering on 1 October 1926. The new SR 16 would cross through the county west to east, connecting Decatur to Huntington. What is now County Road 600 North east of Decatur was, at that time, SR 16. The road ended abruptly at the state line. There was a state road in Ohio (Ohio SR 109) that ended at the state line, as well. But it was one mile north of the new SR 16.

The old state road 21 would become part of the United States Highway system, given the number 27. The original route of OSR 21 was still followed across Adams County as US 27, including the curvy route from Geneva to Berne. Today, that route is known as County Road 150 West.

By 1930, State Road 16 was moved one mile north east of Decatur, to connect to what was Ohio State Road 17 (formerly Ohio SR 109). (Ohio changed state road numbers quite a bit…and have done that since.)

Indiana Official State Highway Map, 1 September 1932

1931 brought another state road to Adams County: SR 118. But there were also authorized additions to the state highway system crossing from Bluffton, in Wells County, through Monroe, to the Ohio state line near Willshire, Ohio. Another authorized addition, also starting near Willshire, crossed northwest bound to end in Decatur.

SR 118 started at SR 5 along the Huntington-Wells County line, due east through Berne to end at a county road at the Indiana-Ohio state line in Mercer County, Ohio.

1933 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The two authorized additions to the state highway system were given designations in 1932. The east-west route through Monroe was called SR 124. The northwest/southeast route was made a daughter of US 27, given the name SR 527.

1933 made another change to the state highway numbers in Adams County. State Road 16 would be removed from the county, with the road redesignated part of the United States Highway system as US 224.

1935 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Changes kept occurring in the connections to Adams County. In 1935, an authorized addition to the highway system was added to maps as SR 101. This road would start at the new US 224 (old SR 16), going north toward Monroeville in Allen County.

Another state road to US highway change was made in 1938, when the US 33 designation replaced SR 527.

By 1941, a US 27 Decatur bypass, moving outside the town to the west, would be in operation. US 33 still traversed Decatur, meeting US 27 north of the town. The new US 27 would also bypass Monmouth to the west, while US 33 still used the old route of US 27 to northwest of Monmouth.

Also that year, another state road was added to Adams County. That road, starting in Geneva and working its way west, north, and northwest towards Bluffton. It would be designated SR 116.

1941 Indiana Official State Highway Maps

Changes continued during World War II…but mainly with just marking the roads. According to the Indiana Official State Highway map of 1945, SR 101 was extended in its line from US 224 to SR 124. SR 116 was extended through Geneva, down to New Corydon and along the south county line.

Along the way, US 33 would connect to US 224, then “travel over” US 224 to US 27, where US 27 and US 33 would join forces again like they did when US 33 was created.

1945 Indiana Official State Highway Map

No changes were made for the next nearly decade and a half. By 1959, SR 101 between US 224 and SR 124 was moved to the east one mile. to its current location.

I hope that you like this possible series of articles. I look forward to your opinions and comments about it.

SR 32/SR 67 in Madison and Delaware Counties

Today on a map of Indiana, there are two state highways connecting Anderson and Muncie. As the subject suggests, they are SR 32 and SR 67 (even though SR 67 actually hasn’t entered either for decades. But it wasn’t always that way.

When the Great Renumbering happened in 1926, SR 32 only connected Crawfordsville to Anderson, much like the Auto Trail of the same name. SR 67 would be applied to Ohio Avenue and Mounds Road. The original road crossed what is now the Anderson Municipal Airport to connect (as now Anderson Road) in Chesterfield to what is now SR 32. From there, SR 67 continued its journey to Muncie. While technically Mounds Road and Anderson Road are still connected, the road in place today is a replacement around the airport, as the old road west straight across what is now the runway.

At Muncie, what is now SR 32 east of the city was originally SR 28. That would change in 1931, when SR 28 (east out of Muncie) was changed to SR 32. According to the map sources that I have seen, however, the only state road connecting Anderson to Muncie was still SR 67. In 1933, the connecting road would share both the numbers 32 and 67.

Things got interesting in the Anderson area in 1934/1935. Two new state highways were being constructed along 53rd Street and 38th Street. The 53rd Street route was being added to the state highway system from SR 9 to Middletown as SR 236. The 38th Street route was, from information available, to become an Anderson bypass of SR 67. That route would travel across 38th Street to Rangeline Road, then connect to the then current SR 32/67 along Mounds Road.

Things changed again in 1936, when it was decided by the State Highway Commission to build a new state highway staying south of the Big Four (“B” Line) railroad, staying south of Daleville, and crossing Delaware County in a relatively straight line to Sharps, then turning toward, but not actually entering, Muncie until meeting SR 21/US 35. By this time, SR 236 was completed to Middletown. The new route would use 53rd Street, and the 38th Street route was removed from the pending state highway status.

53rd Street in Anderson was officially made SR 67 from SR 9 to Rangeline Road in 1937. SR 32 still used the Ohio Avenue/Mounds Road/Anderson Road route. The two state roads would reconnect using what is now Madison County Road 300 East. This short section would connect Mounds Road (SR 32) in the north to Union Township Pike (SR 67) in the south.

The new route of SR 67 would be along the corridor that is still SR 67 today across Delaware County. This would be what is also Delaware County Road 550 South to Honey Creek Road. From there, would again follow what is now SR 67 for a short distance, then the current route turns east before the 1937 route continued northeast to Fusion Road. It would then turn northeast, then north, along Madison Street, where it would combine with SR 21/US 35 into Muncie.

The new State Road 67 route would be completed by 1938. At that time, the State Road 32 route would still be located on the Mounds Road/Anderson Road route. What is now Madison County Road 100 N was given the number SR 232 from between Mounds Road (SR 32) to Union Township Pike (SR 67).

The next change would occur in 1960, when SR 32 was rerouted out of Anderson along the Third Street/University Boulevard corridor. Here it would connect to the original SR 67/32 route at Chesterfield. The old SR 32, along Ohio Avenue/Mounds Road to the Union Township Pike route of SR 67 would be changed to SR 232, which most of it is today. In 1965, the designation SR 232 would be truncated into Mound State Park, no longer connecting to a soon to disappear SR 67.

SR 67 would be rerouted along Interstate 69 from SR 9/67 between Pendleton and Anderson to near Daleville. The 1937 route of SR 67 would be returned to Madison County, and is currently referred to as Old State Road 67.

In the 21st Century, slight changes in SR 67 in Delaware County would occur, making the very long “S” curve that exists today.

The Original State Road System, as Shown in 1932

When I was writing yesterday’s blog entry, I had mentioned the fact there were two Official maps issued in 1932. The September 1932 map included something on the front that I had never seen before. It was a small map in the lower right hand corner (given the shape of the state of Indiana, this makes sense that this corner has always been used for the legend and such) that shows “pavement on original system.” Today, the whole purpose of this entry is to show that small map. It gives an idea of who much the state highway system had expanded since 1920. It didn’t include any state road numbers.

A glance at that map gives an idea of what “important” roads were not included in the original state highway system. For instance, not included in the Indianapolis area: the Crawfordsville Road (SR 34/US 136); the Michigan Road north (SR 29/US 421); and the Pendleton Pike (SR 67 and US 36). They were important roads prior to the state highway system…and became major routes after they were added.

1932 Indiana Official State Highway System inset of “Pavement On Original System.” Map was officially issued on 1 September 1932.

Keep in mind that all state roads technically ended at city limits. The Indiana State Highway Commission, when created, was not authorized to route state highways along city streets. It was up to the city to decide those routes. The state would post “trailblazers” pointing the city picked best route to get back to the official state road on the other side of the town.

SR 234 in Hancock County

Looking at a highway map of Indiana, there are several roads that make you wonder about their existence. Not that they shouldn’t…but why that particular road was chosen to be added to the system. The purpose of the state highway system, in a broad sense, is to connect all of the county seats in Indiana together. But there are roads that are part of the system that don’t. Such is SR 234 going east from McCordsville.

What is now SR 234 was added to the state road system in the summer of 1932. The first “official” reference to it is on the second Indiana Official State Highway map of 1932. There were two maps issued by the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1932. One was issued at the beginning of the year, which appears to have served as both the 1931 and 1932. (I haven’t found a 1931 Official Map, although I have searched quite a bit.)

The second map of 1932, issued officially on 1 September 1932, was released after a large number of roads were added to the system. As mentioned above, one of those was SR 234 connecting McCordsville to SR 38 between Kenard and New Castle. I should mention here that the SR 234 that was added to the system isn’t exactly the one that is the current route. But I will get to that.

This is where we go back to the Auto Trail era. On 23 October 2019, I did a blog entry about the Hoosier Highway. That road connected Evansville to Detroit. Or that was the goal. As I wrote in that entry, there are very few roads that could have covered more of Indiana than the Hoosier Highway. The section that want to focus on is from Indianapolis to Anderson.

The original route of the Hoosier Highway coming out of Indianapolis was along the Pendleton State Road, at that time called the Pendleton Pike. At McCordsville, instead of following the old Pendleton Pike to Pendleton, it turned east along the road that connected that town to Eden. Eden is located on the old Greenfield-Anderson State Road.

Since the state highway system did not include a direct route from Indianapolis to Anderson until 1923 (using the Pendleton Pike and the replacement for such), traveling between the two cities involved the Hoosier Highway. That highway crossed east from McCordsville to Eden, then north along the Greenfield-Anderson State Road into Pendleton.

With the addition of the Pendleton Pike to the state highway system, the Hoosier Highway between McCordsville and Eden went by the wayside as far as the state was concerned. (The section of the Hoosier Highway from Eden north had already been added as Original State Road 11 from Greenfield north.) The road had been improved to an oil treated gravel road as part of the Hoosier Highway.

Fast forward almost a decade. In Summer 1932, SR 234 was added to the highway system. The number 34 was used around the Indianapolis area to fit into the numbering system put in place on 1 October 1926. See the ITH entry of 12 April 2019, “SR 34 and ‘Daughters’,” for more information on the use of the state road number 34.

The (eastern) SR 234 that was added in the summer of 1932 would use the route of the Hoosier Highway between McCordsville and SR 9. Here, SR 234 turned north about one half mile, then turned east on Eden Road. From there, it followed Eden Road, to Troy Road, to connect to the current SR 234 for the rest of the journey to SR 38 west of New Castle.

The only reason I can see that this road was added to the state highway system is that it created a shorter, more direct, route from New Castle to Indianapolis. It doesn’t really matter now, since it has been part of that highway system for almost 90 years now.

OSR 37/SR 37 in Hamilton County

When one looks at a current map of Hamilton County, one notices a very distinct line that runs around Noblesville. That line used to connect Indianapolis to Fort Wayne (or more actually, Cleveland, Ohio) directly in the time before the interstates. The route of that line would be directly replaced by the interstate. Ironically, it would also do so south of Indianapolis, as well. Or will in the future. That line is marked SR 37.

But that is not the SR 37 I want to talk about. Nor do I want to focus on the SR 37 that was replaced by that “new” highway SR 37. But why bring up Hamilton County? Because the original road that was given the number 37 did travel through Noblesville. It just did so in the opposite direction.

I have made a relatively large number of posts about the current, and previous, SR 37. The section of the post-1926 SR 37 didn’t make into the state highway system until the 1930’s. And even then, it was known as SR 13. The Allisonville Road, originally the Indianapolis-Fort Wayne State Road, became the route of the new SR 13. SR 37 ended in downtown Indianapolis with SR 35 (later SR 135).

In 1920, when the Indiana State Highway Commission finally found its legal footing to exist following the Indiana Constitution of 1851, there were a lot of numbered highways added to the maps of the state. As I have mentioned before, there were already five state roads designated. 1920 saw a major explosion of them. To the point that 37 wasn’t even really the last number for them.

Original State Road 37 started at Original State Road 1 in Westfield. Today, the intersection would be known as Main and Union Streets. In this area, OSR 1 was the state’s version of the Range Line Road, connecting Indianapolis to Kokomo and beyond. OSR 37 then travelled east through the Hamilton County country side. Just east of what is now Hague Road, the OSR 37 traveled straight to Cicero Creek, then turned north on Cherry Tree Road. The road that used to be OSR 37 is, today, called Metsker Lane. Metsker is the name of the postal delivery person that had that route back in 1910.

1910 map from the United States Postal Department showing the route of what would, a decade later, become part of Original State Road 37 connecting Westfield to Noblesville. The lower case words on the map are not towns. They are the names of the postal delivery people for that route.

The modern road that follows the same corridor as OSR 37 gently curves to cross Cicero Creek. When it was originally planned sometime between 1830 and 1850, the road, as shown in the map above, crossed straight over Sly Run, and turned abruptly to the east to cross Cicero Creek.

As best as I can tell, the original Westfield Road/OSR 37 crossed the White River on Logan Street. The Westfield Road would end there at 10th Street in Noblesville. From here, the original route of OSR 37 would turn north along the old Fort Wayne State Road to what is now 191st Street.

I should also mention here that this was also an Auto Trail route, as well. The Crawfordsville To Anderson Highway was made part of OSR 33 from Crawfordsville to Lebanon, and OSR 37 from Westfield to Anderson.

For the rest of Hamilton County, what is now 191st Street sufficed as several designated roads: originally it was the Noblesville-Anderson State Road (given that designation in the 1830’s); the Crawfordsville To Anderson Highway (an Auto Trail); and Original State Road 37.

Now, again, those that have looked at a map of Hamilton County notices that SR 37 runs north and south. And that the road I am describing sounds miraculously like what is now SR 32. And that, my friends, would be correct. What is now SR 32 was originally SR 37. And what would become SR 37 eventually would be a part of SR 32 from Logan Street to 191st Street along 10th Street/Allisonville Road. So I guess that means the section of 10th Street shown on the Google map to the left was State Road 37 twice. One of a very few sections of road that would have the same number before and after the Great Renumbering.

Another that I know about is SR 2 southwest of Rolling Prairie. When the original state road numbers were laid out, the Lincoln Highway was given the number 2. This would change in late 1923 as the “more direct” Lincoln Highway route (now the US 30 corridor) was given the number 2, and the original highway was given assorted numbers. With the Great Renumbering, most of the original Lincoln Highway was renumbered to State Road 2 – from Fort Wayne to South Bend, and from Rolling Prairie to Valparaiso. The latter section still has that designation.

Through the years, SR 32 would be moved a block south, rerouted directly out of Noblesville to the east, and removed from 191st Street. SR 37 would bypass Noblesville…mostly. Now that Noblesville has expanded out to the current SR 37, the word bypass just doesn’t fit anymore, does it?

ITH Greatest Hits of 2020

Happy New Year, 2021. When I wrote the post for the greatest hits of 2019, little did I (or anyone else, actually) know what was in store for what could be constructively called the dumpster fire that was 2020. It didn’t change much for me, actually, since I was considered an “essential employee” all year. I did miss a few posts here and there as things got nuts. And I did cut out Saturday entries.

As such, the output of ITH for 2020 was one post less than 2019: 278 (2020) vs. 279 (2019). But that was the only number that was down. Views were up over 166% (53,620…up from 20,085) and visitors were up the same percentage (35,149 in 2020, compared to 13,171 in 2019).

Number 10: Planning I-465…and Arguments (668 views)

18 August 2020: The idea of Interstate 465 was a very contentious one. There were many discussions about the planning, location, and construction of the Indianapolis Belt Highway that would replace State Road 100. The most major of these was the location of the northern leg of the highway. The road it was replacing used the 82nd Street/86th Street corridor across the northern part of Marion County. It was possible that the new highway would be as far north as above 111th Street. The final plan was closer to Marion County than that.

Number 9: Indianapolis’ Downtown Interstates – Original Idea (675 views)

24 July 2020: The first of two posts going over the history of the Innerbelt, that section of interstate downtown that includes both I-65 and I-70. There were a lot of things that were planned that never occurred. And I am not talking about the possibility of I-69/I-169 being added to the mix, since it wasn’t originally…and was never going to be approved by the Federal government footing 90% of the bill. The second part of this post, “Indianapolis’ Downtown Interstates – Original Idea, Part 2,” didn’t fare as well, ending the year number 53, with 1/3 of the views as part 1. It was published the very next day.

Number 8: Madison Avenue Expressway (735 views)

31 March 2020: Plans were made in the early 1950’s to help fix traffic issues coming from the south side of Indianapolis. At the time, Madison Avenue above Troy Avenue was US 31. But it was a very narrow road, with houses and businesses on both sides. It was decided that the new Madison Avenue would be an expressway from Pleasant Run Parkway to Terrace Avenue, and a very wide street until the traffic directions split ways at Delaware Street. Seven days later, I wrote about the corruption that occurred due to that project (“Corruption and the Madison Avenue Expressway“), a post that would have me banned from a Facebook group concerning the south side of Indianapolis because the post was too political. Excuse me? The subject of the article was over 60 years old at the time. Oh, well. I said my peace, and left the group. Not one of the nicest opinions that I have ever expressed.

Number 7: Ben Davis and Mickleyville, Wayne Township, Marion County (736 views)

16 November 2020: One of the topics that I covered several times this past year is the creation of towns…especially in Marion County. As a matter of fact, this general idea is number 7, 6, and 2 on this list.

Ben Davis was a town on the westside of Marion County founded along the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad (later Vandalia, Panhandle and Pennsylvania). Mickleyville was a town that was very close to Ben Davis on the National Road. Both were basically wiped out by the building of Interstate 465 on the west side.

Number 6: Valley Mills (and the Naming of Southport) (807 views)

20 November 2020: Valley Mills, a town along the Indianapolis-Vincennes State Road in southeastern Marion County would, one would think, have little to do with a town on the Indianapolis-Madison State Road in the south central part of the county. But, that belief would be wrong. Southport was named, partly, because it was south of Northport, the original name of the town of Valley Mills.

Number 5: Indianapolis Interstates, Planning and Replanning (808 views)

13 May 2020: The interstate system in the Hoosier Capital was a very contentious creation. Even the planned routes of the highways were subject to change…or attempted dictated to change at the whim of the City Council/City-County Council. The State Highway Department made some changes, then ignored them. This article covers some of the “requests” made by citizens and politicians alike…that mostly fell on deaf ears with the State and Federal Governments.

Number 4: Replacing SR 44 From Shelbyville and Rushville (809 views)

24 April 2020: The route connecting Shelbyville to Rushville was, originally, a very curvy and sometime death defying route that had once been part of the Minute Man Route auto trail. (See “Fight for Adding SR 44 from Martinsville to Rushville” [25 October 2019].) The new route that would become SR 44 between the seats of the counties of Shelby and Rush would mostly tag along the Pennsylvania Railroad’s tracks connecting the two towns…instead of crossing it several times like it did in Rush County. The reason I used the conjunction “and” instead of “to” in the title is that the road was built from both towns toward the middle.

Number 3: The Building of I-465 (950 views)

17 July 2020: This was a collection of news stories that showed what what being reported (mostly) in the Indianapolis News about the construction of the highway system around Marion County.

Number 2: More History Than Transportation – South Indianapolis (1149 views)

6 November 2020: This article was a spur of the moment thing that ended up doing quite well. It is about two neighborhoods on the south side of Indianapolis. They each would become part of the city of Indianapolis…one in the 1920’s, and the other officially with the creation of UniGov. But having grown up in the latter, I spent a lot of time as a kid trying to figure out why I went to Perry Township schools when there was an Indianapolis Public School less than 1/2 mile away. This article tells why.

Number 1: I-465 On the East Side of Marion County (1190 views)

15 May 2020: The title almost says it all. It was basically news coverage of the planning and construction of Interstate 465 on the east side of Marion County, from Interstate 74 to Fall Creek. What I especially love about the maps that are included is that the railroads aren’t Pennsylvania and New York Central – they are shown as the PCC&StL (Panhandle) and the CCC&StL (Big Four). Those names were LONG gone when the interstates were being planned and built.

I hope that you enjoyed this past year on the Indiana Transportation History blog. Most of the times that I missed making an entry, it was running out of time trying to find a topic. I hope that I will have less of that in 2021. I also hope that 2021 is far less of a dumpster fire for the world. I would love to say it can’t get worse, but I have learned not to challenge worse.

Here’s to a safe, healthy and happy 2021! Raise a glass if you got one! Or, in my case, a tea mug!

1930 Richmond Street Name Changes

In 1930, the city of Richmond decided to change the names of a lot of streets. The city decided to rename streets in the northwest and southwest sections of the city to conform to the “Philadelphia System” of street naming that was in use on the east side of the city. This involved street names that were based on numbers and letters. The names of streets in the city prior to this were a mix of many things, as with most cities and towns.

The information for this post came the Richmond Palladium-Item of 14 November 1930. “The placing of 600 street markers throughout the city has been started under direction of the city engineer’s office.”

“It has been pointed out that the erection of these markers is expected to reduce to a minimum misunderstanding which has resulted after a large number of streets in northwest and southwest portions had been renamed to conform with the city’s alphabetical and numeral system.”

Most of the changes were to be done in the Peacock section of the west side, but not in the original West Richmond. Those street names are still the same as they were before 1930.

Street name changes that were made at the time were:
Kinsey Street, North West A Street.
Pearl Street, North West B Street.
Lincoln Street, North West C Street.
Randolph Street, North West D Street.
Chestnut Street, North West E Street.
Laurel Street, North West E Street.
Center Street, North West F Street.
State Street, North West G Street.
John and Williams Street, North West H Street.
Sherman and Charles Street, North West I Street.
Grant Street and Linden Avenue, North West J Street.
Maple Street, North West K Street.
School Street, North West L Street.
Stevens Street, North West M Street.
Charles Avenue, North West Fifteenth Street.
George Street, North West Sixteenth Street.
Highland Streets, North West Sixteenth Street.
West and Cottage Grove Avenues, North West Seventeenth Street.
Roscoe Street, North West A Street.
Hilda Street, North West C Street.

Catherine Street, South West D Street.
Florence Street, South West D Street.
Collins Street, South West C Street.
John Street, South West A Street.
Moorman Street, Southwest Nineteenth Street.
Gilbert Avenue, South West Thirteenth Street.
Williams Street, South West Fourteenth Street.
Charles Street, South West Fifteenth Street.
George Street, South West Sixteenth Street.
Church Street, South West Seventeenth Street.

North D Street from Doran Bridge to Fort Wayne Avenue (now Middleboro Pike) was changed to Richmond Avenue. I am not sure when it happened, but Richmond Avenue was, at one point, Asylum Avenue on the west side of the Whitewater River.

1893 map of West Richmond

The Beginnings of Interstate 70 in Indiana

When I was younger, before I really started getting into becoming a road geek, the only road that I could tell you anything about was Interstate 70. It was the first one that I could remember. This was because I spent, at least in the back seat of the car, a LOT of time on that road. It was the first road that I remember learning things like exit signs and mileage markers. My family is from Pennsylvania. I describe getting to my ancestor’s location as driving on I-70 to the end, and keep going. (The end being New Stanton, PA. I-70 changes into US 119 there.) But, this is an Indiana Transportation History blog, not a history discussion about me.

Interstate 70 has been voted by some YouTubers the greatest of the cross-country interstates. The first newspaper reference that I have found about it came from the Muncie Star Press of 29 November 1957. The Headline read: “‘Interstate 70’ Name of New Highway.” The story went on to state “Federal Interstate Highway 70 is the name officially chosen for the projected New York-to-St. Louis federal super-highway that is to follow a course roughly parallel to U.S. 40. Its marked will be a shield with a red, blue and white background carrying the word Interstate across the top, the word Indiana at the bottom and in the center the figure 70.”

The National Road Traveler of Cambridge City reported, on 27 March 1958, that the Indiana Farm Bureau met with about 150 Henry County farmers to explain the rights of property owners along the new route. “The right-of-way for Interstate 70 will be 300 feet, which amounts to about 30 acres per mile.” The farmers were told that when considering the value of the property, keep in mind everything there – buildings, wells, septic tanks, fences and the cost of the land.

When the decision was being made about where to locate Interstate 70, there were a lot of things in play. Believe it or not, there were financial things taken into consideration. The plan was to put I-70 from 1.75 to 2 miles north of U.S. 40 According to the Tri-County Banner, Knightstown, of 6 February 1958, “highway engineers believe that the corridor between the two highways would be wide enough to constitute valuable industrial and business sites, conveniently located to rail as well as highway facilities.” Yes, you read that right. The location of railroad facilities was considered, at least in Indiana, for the location of the interstate.

Another thing mentioned in this article is that the plan was to try to use section lines as much as possible. Given the information put out, it would put the interstate, according to the newspaper, south of Spiceland. This would be located south of the Central School in the area. But the section line actually ran along the south edge of Spiceland, and through the school itself. That section line is located 2.5 miles north of U.S. 40. “Survey crews are already at work north of Richmond and it has been announced that the proposed highway will be slightly more than 2.6 miles north of U.S. 40 at Centerville, but will then swing slightly southward. The road will leave Wayne county about two miles north of U.S. 40 at Cambridge City.”

The Richmond Palladium-Item of 18 December 1958 reported “Record-Breaking Road Plan Includes Bypass.” The Chairman of the Indiana State Highway Commission was interviewed about the pending project. Chairman John Peters mentioned that the bids for the I-70 project at Richmond would be taken in March 1959. Right-of-way purchasing would also be started in early 1959. He also mentioned that three changes in the routing of the bypass, at the request of residents of both Richmond and Wayne County, have delayed the project for about a year.

This is just a small snippet of what went into creating Interstate 70 across, at least, eastern Indiana. At some point, I will be covering western Indiana. And the other interstates in the state.

West Marion County and I-465

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The first part of the new beltway (almost) around Indianapolis started on the westside of Marion County. As mentioned in other articles, the original plan was to start Interstate 465 at Interstate 65 on the northwest side, with the replacement for State Road 100 (which I-465 officially was) heading south from there to circle around the county from there. Interchanges were planned at I-65, I-74/US 136, 10th Street, US 36 (Rockville Road), US 40 (Washington Street), Weir Cook Municipal Airport (Airport Expressway), Interstate 70, and SR 67 (Kentucky Avenue). According to USGS topo maps, like that included below, show that there was a stub ramp connecting I-465 to 62nd Street, although the ramp connecting to 62nd Street was listed as still proposed six years later.

1962 USGS topographic map showing the original interchange connection Interstate 65 and Interstate 465.

Construction started along the corridor in 1959. The Indianapolis News ran a series of pictures showing the plans set out by the State Highway Department. If you noticed the list of interchanges above, there were no plans for 56th Street or 38th Street to have ways to access 465. Bridges were to be built over 465 at 56th, 46th, 38th, 34th, and 21st Streets. (21st Street was a very special, and contentious, situation. I covered it in the article: “Building I-465 at West 21st Street. [8 May 2020]”)

Indianapolis News, 14 December 1959, showing the Indiana State Highway Department’s plans for the new Interstate 465 (also still called State Road 100 at the time) at the northern terminus of the highway.

The plans for Interstate 65 at that point were to continue to have it replace US 52 (Lafayette Road). The US 52 bypass at Lebanon was made part of the new I-65. The temporary plan was to connect I-65 just southeast of I-465 directly to US 52 until construction could continue. Then I-65 would also be US 52 from that point to northwest of Lebanon. I mention this only because the loop around Indianapolis was, apparently, easier to get approved than trying to run I-65 through town. (And since it would take another 16 years to complete, even to the point that an addition was planned to I-465 and completed before I-65 through Marion County says it all.)

It wouldn’t take long after the original plans for the interstate were laid down that changes were made. The non-planned 38th Street interchange was added to the deal. It was to be a partial cloverleaf interchange connecting to 38th Street at that point. Marion County had decided to build 38th Street from Lafayette Road east to the new White River bridge to be built by the city. At that point in history, 38th Street was a county road with nothing resembling the connections it has today as a major west side thoroughfare.

Indianapolis News, 11 December 1959, showing the future connection to 38th Street from I-465. This ramp would be built much later, when 38th Street was finally connected as a thoroughfare across Marion County.

The next interchange south of the “gonna be built someday” 38th Street was the connection to another interstate highway, Interstate 74. The plans shown in the Indianapolis News differ slightly from what was actually built. US 136 (Crawfordsville Road) is directly connected to the east end of the proposed interstate connection. This would change. It looks like the proposed interchange was moved slightly north, and Crawfordsville Road west of High School Road was turned north to connect to High School Road. This would be where US 136 would ultimately officially end.

Indianapolis News, 10 December 1959, showing the proposed connection between interstates 74 and 465. The original plan, and this was carried out, is that Interstate 74 would “travel over,” ISHD/INDOT term for multiplex, with I-465 from northwest to southeast Marion County.
1953 Topo map showing the intersection of West 10th Street and High School Road.

The next section did change, at least at one interchange, quite a bit. But before I describe that, let’s talk about the placement of I-465 from Vermont Street north to about where 16th Street would be, if it continued to High School/Girls School Road. The new interstate was planned, in that section, to be built directly over High School Road. This is not really a stretch, since High School Road, from Washington Street south to the Airport, was the original State Road 100. And I-465 was, for all intents and purposes, State Road 100 according to ISHD.

I have written a detailed history of SR 100 (SR 100: How did it come to be? [9 March 2019]) and an article about how, at one point, the connection between SR 100 on BOTH sides of Marion County were to have cloverleaf interchanges (“The Cloverleaf Interchanges at US 40 and SR 100” [20 November 2019]). If SR 100 had been completed on the west side, like it was on the north and east sides, I have no doubt that it would have followed High School Road north, probably, ultimately, to 86th Street, which was SR 100 along the northwest side.

The change in interchanges happened at 10th Street. The original plan was for a full cloverleaf interchange at that intersection. This would have pushed the eastbound 10th Street to southbound 465 ramp back closer to Glen Arm Road, where High School Road was rerouted to miss the interchange. What was ultimately built was a jumbled three-quarter cloverleaf with a flyover from westbound 10th to southbound 465.

In the end, High School Road was basically built over by 465 from Vermont to 10th Streets. 10th Street is a survey correction line, so High School actually moves slightly to the east at that point, as shown in the topo map to the left. For more information about survey lines, check out “Survey Lines and County Roads. (29 March 2019)”

Indianapolis News, 9 December 1959, showing the Indiana State Highway Department plans for I-465 from just south of the New York Central railroad tracks to just north of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks, including what was to originally be full cloverleaf interchanges at 10th Street and Rockville Road.
1953 USGS topo map of the area of Washington Street and High School Road. The area marked “Ben Davis” would be the location of the new cloverleaf interchange between US 40 and I-465.

From the looks of aerial photos in 1959 as shown in the Indianapolis News, the interchange at Washington Street was going to be very destructive. (Keep in mind that as of the writing of this article, MapIndy, my go to source for historic aerial photos of Marion County no longer offers that service. Maps are available, but the aerial photos are gone.) In addition to the shunting of Morris Street (a survey line and historic route of its own accord), most of where the interchange between US 40 and I-465 was basically what had been the town of Ben Davis.

Another thing would have to happen before this interchange would be built. It was determined, and reported, in July 1959 that an improvement of West Washington Street would have to occur before the interstate reached that point. US 40 was to be widened in the area. The work on Washington Street, however, would have to wait until sewer work in the area was completed…probably in 1961. Plans to widen Washington Street from 40 feet to 68 feet wide, with a four foot median and an eight parking lane on each side, were decided upon. Very little of that plan exists today…and if it does, it’s hard to find.

Indianapolis News, 8 December 1959, showing the proposed area of US 40 and Interstate 465.

The last area covered by the Indianapolis News in the series of articles (actually, it was the first since the editor staff decided to post them south to north, even though the interstate was built north to south!) shows the area of I-465 near Weir Cook Municipal Airport. The one change that I can see is what would become Airport Expressway (check out “Indianapolis’ Raymond Street Expressway” [4 February 2020] for the history of what started out as the Bradbury Expressway) was proposed to connect to the airport heading slightly north of due west, just above Southern Avenue. This section of the (now) Sam Jones Expressway is due east-west at the point it connects to Interstate 465. For a history of what is now Indianapolis International Airport, check out “Indianapolis Municipal Airport.” (20 August 2019)

Indianapolis News, 7 December 1959. This newspaper snippet shows the area of proposed I-465 near the (then) Weir Cook Municipal Airport (now Indianapolis International).

That covers the first of the construction of the State Road 100 replacement. I want to share this one last snippet from the Indianapolis News of 19 October 1960. It shows the construction of I-465/I-65/US 52 at 62nd Street…or the original northern end of Interstate 465.

Indianapolis News, 19 October 1960, showing the original northern end of Interstate 465.

2020: Merry Christmas To All!

What a year. The Indiana Transportation History blog will be taking the day off. But I want to wish you all a safe, fun and happy holiday. I hope that everything goes your way on this holiday. Celebrate how you wish, and how you can given the situation.

Since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, the next blog entry will be posted on 28 December 2020. See you then!

And for some fun, check out last year’s Christmas post: 2019: Merry Christmas To All! It included the covers of my own Christmas cards.

Thank you for a great year!

INDOT’s Reference Post System

In 1999, the Indiana Department of Transportation decided that it was time to come up with a system that would help better keep track of features along the roads that for which it was responsible. While is would be based, according to INDOT, on the mileage of the road, it was not a milepost system. It was a locator for maintenance items, other than signs, on the state highway system.

RPS 86 on US 40, Marion County, Indiana (Washington Park Cemetery). From Google Maps, snipped 23 December 2020.

There are many parts to the system. The one that most people would have seen, but not really noticed, were the signs that were put up for use with the system. These consisted of small blue signs with a mile number on it, with a smaller sign, if needed, below it with an offset to that mile on it. The signs themselves were barely wider than the post they were on. Very small in relation to most highway signs. Since they are technically only for INDOT use, their size wasn’t a concern. The public wouldn’t notice them, lessening the sign pollution that departments of transportation have been trying to keep under control forever.

RP 88, Offset .88, US 40 bridge of Buck Creek, Cumberland

I really wish I could have had a better snippet for the offset post, but then, the idea was to give the reader the image of what they roughly look like, so the reader would know what to look for.

The RPS manual is very detailed in its information. For instance, the picture to the left is listed as “RP_U_40_Post_86,” meaning “Reference Post, US 40, Post 86.” The one on the right is listed as “CUMBERLAND CORP. LINE BR 4588 O BUCK CREEK,” at least in the 2004 manual.

US 40 is a very prime example of why this system isn’t to be used as a mileage post system. The system was setup prior to the 1 July 1999 decommissioning of US 31, SR 37 and US 40 inside the Interstate 465 loop. What was, in 1999, marked as mile 86 on US 40 is, in 2020, at mile 92.37 on that very same road in 2004. In 2016, the last update from INDOT, it was listed as US 40 mile 65.179. The legal definition of US 40 was lengthened when it was rerouted along the southside of Indianapolis on I-465 in 2004. By a little over six miles. By 2016, the extra mileage along I-465 was removed to show a more accurate road mileage count towards INDOT’s limit of 12,000 miles.

But there is a bit more to the reference post system that comes into play. Each highway listed in the RPS not only includes the complete mileage for the road in Indiana, but they are also listed by the mileage per county, as well. For instance, reference post 86 above is listed as Marion County mile 24.06 in 2004. In the 2016 manual, that mileage is 5.027.

Then, the reference post system records almost everything along the road. This includes EVERY village/town/city street that intersects with the posted road. For instance, near reference post 86 is, in the 2004 manual, “86 + 0.21 24.52 IR 4193 LT (DELBRICK LN).” At reference post location 86.21, 24.52 route miles into Marion County, Delbrick Lane connects to Washington Street (US 40) on the left (north) side of the road. Directions are listed from the increasing number of the reference post. Every street is listed, although almost none of them have a reference post sign.

Also, the corporation limits of towns and cities are listed by the reference post location, although there is no reference post installed most of the time. This even includes old corporation limits. For instance, in the 2016 manual, reference post 85+0.686 is listed as “City or Town Limit – Indianapolis.” Post Road is reference post 86+0.668. Legally, Indianapolis continues for another at least two miles (the sign welcoming one to Indianapolis is west of German Church Road, the county line is another mile east of that, but that is in the town of Cumberland. And even legally, Cumberland is part of Indianapolis. It is as confusing as all get out, but suffice it to say, for the past 50 years, the city limits of Indianapolis have been the county limits of Marion County, with some exceptions. Certainly not Post Road.

But the idea of the legal multiplex of I-465 with almost every INDOT road in Marion County (there are two that don’t mix with I-465: US 136 and SR 135) that brings up another question. What about multiplexes of state roads?

When the system was created in 1999, it was designed with a hierarchy of roads. That hierarchy was interstate, US highway, then state road, in that order. INDOT does not use the term “multiplex” officially. It is called “travel over” in Indiana. The following picture comes from the INDOT RPS guide of 1999 showing how “travel overs” are handled when it comes to marking the mileage of the road.

Indiana Department of Transportation Reference Post System Users Guide, May 1999.

As you can see, near Frankfort, US 421 takes precedence with the little blue signs. SR 39 is junior to SR 38 when it comes to the signs, only due to the fact that 38 is before 39 numerically.

The system underwent some changes between 2004 and 2015. In 2015, it was made perfectly clear that the manual may contain some mistakes, but that every effort was taken to avoid them.

There was also a special note involving US 40 in Vigo County. When US 40 was removed from most of Vigo County, and rerouted along I-70 and SR 46, the RPS system was not changed to reflect that. The section of US 40 that “travels over” SR 46 is still labelled as SR 46. Here is INDOT’s explanation: “US 40 in Vigo County has a special issue that needs to be addressed. Due to relinquishments and creating a travel over for US 40, the alignment does not follow the historic path. US 40 now traverses where SR 46 has traditionally been and SR 46 is considered the Travel Over on US 40. However, the existing reference posts are still for the SR 46 route and are running in a contrary direction to the increasing direction of US 40. Therefore, for the purposes of this book, RP and Offset for the first 3 miles of US are based on the State Log Measure until it reaches the traditional location for US 40 and then jumps to RP 11 + 00 at the intersection of SR 46 and US 40.”

I mentioned above about the original system being put in place prior to the decommissioning of routes in Marion County. It is important to note that there were more routes affected than just those that were moved to I-465. Those routes were US 31, SR 37 and US 40. The mileage on those roads got weird, yes. But there were two others that were affected by the change…and one most people didn’t even realize.

SR 135 was rerouted from Troy Avenue to Thompson Road, cutting two miles out of the official route. This just required moving the little blue signs from north of Thompson Road, and surveying what else would need signs. And what wouldn’t.

The other route affect wasn’t even marked when it was decommissioned. Shadeland Avenue on the east side of Marion County was still legally SR 100 from I-465 to US 40 (Washington Street) until 1 July 1999. For the longest time, the only marker on SR 100 was a smaller blue sign below the reference post signs that read “100.”

INDOT has available on their website the RPS manuals for 2004, 2015 and 2016. Also available is the users guide from 1999. Here are the links for each: Users Guide200420152016

The Liberty Way

Today, I want to return to the Auto Trail era. There were many Auto Trails created over the time before the US Highway system took full hold. Even today, the Auto Trail era lives in the names of city streets and county roads. The biggest one that comes to mind is the Lincoln Highway…both of them, actually. But some of the Auto Trails really made you want to ask one question: Why? Today’s road actually made me ask that very question: the Liberty Way.

Since this is an Indiana Transportation History site, I guess that it is good that I can’t find, so far, a map that follows this road outside Indiana. But then it makes me go back to the question above – why? The Liberty Way was an Auto Trail that started in Kokomo, connecting Logansport, Winamac, Bass Lake, North Judson, San Pierre, Kouts, Valparaiso, Hobart, East Chicago, and Whiting to Chicago. Those are the bigger towns along the way. The whole map is available at the Indiana State Library with this 1923 map. The Liberty Way was also shown on the 1920 Rand McNally highway map. Its routing was slightly different.

Basically, I want to do this with maps. Tracing the roads gets a bit complicated in this case. The red line on the maps marked “DD” are the Liberty Way in 1923. On the 1920 map, it is marked “86.”

1920 Liberty Way from Kokomo to Logansport.
1923 Liberty Way from Kokomo to Logansport
1920 Logansport to Winamac
1923 Logansport to Winama
1920 Winamac to Kouts
1923 Winamac to Kouts
1920 Kouts to Valparaiso
1923 Kouts to Valparaiso

The next two maps are a jumbled mess. Because of Indiana’s location, it has always been the crossroads of America. And these two maps show the importance of Chicago in the grand scheme of things when it came to highways. Indiana’s side of the state line near Chicago was cluttered with way too many road markers.

1920 Valparaiso to Illinois State Line
1923 Valparaiso to Illinois State Line

Doing a newspaper search for “Liberty Way” is not the straight forward grasp for information one would hope. Apparently that name was very popular for other places throughout the state. But an ad in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune of 23 July 1921 could tell you, using the Liberty Way, how to get to Bass Lake.

23 July 1921, Logansport Pharos-Tribune

1912 Proposed Indianapolis Street Name Changes, Part 2

Today, I want to continue the list of streets that were proposed to have name changes during the City Council meeting of 4 March 1912. The list was quite long. And most of them didn’t happen. Or if they did, they are long gone now. This is a follow-up to yesterday’s “1912 Proposed Indianapolis Street Name Changes, Part 1.”

The first one today never was completed, but also didn’t retain the name it had before the proposal. Cooper Avenue between Lafayette Road and the line that separates Wayne and Washington Townships (now 38th Street) was to become Concord Street. At the time, Cooper Avenue did end at Lafayette Road. But a relatively straight line due south would connect to Concord Street just north of 16th Street (between 17th and 18th, actually). By 1926, Concord Street would be completed from Lafayette Road to 16th Street (also still known as Crawfordsville Road by some). It would have a name change as well…but not to Cooper. Concord from 16th to Lafayette, and Cooper from Lafayette to 56th (Centennial Road), would be given the name Kessler Boulevard. It is still called Cooper Road between 56th Street (Centennial Road) and 62nd Street (Isenhour Road).

Before the subject proposal, Brightwood’s Depot Street, from Massachusetts Avenue south to 21st Street, and (what looks like) Laycook Avenue (hard to read on most maps) from 21st south to 19th would be renamed Avondale Place. A street that connected Pratt to 16th Street would be built, and, with Avondale Place, would become Avondale Street. This never happened. Avondale Place still exists, and from what I can tell, what was supposed to be Avondale Street south of 16th Street became known as Kealing Street. Avondale Place south of 21st Street would be removed for industrial development. Avondale Place would be ripped in two by the construction of Interstate 70 in the early to mid 1970’s. (The interstate opened to traffic in 1976.)

The next street name change also never occurred. The new name for the many sections of streets would be Chase. It was to include the first alley west of Bloomington Street from Washington Street to White River, Inwood Street from White River to Michigan Street, Kane Street from Michigan to Walnut Street and Dexter Street from 18th to 22nd Streets. I am not sure about the alley, but I believe it went away when White River Parkway was bent to connect to Washington Street outside the new Indianapolis Zoo. Inwood and Kane Streets are long gone, buried under IUPUI concrete. Dexter Street still exists.

Another large number of segments that would be proposed to become one name was Blake Street. At the time, Blake Street existed from the White River end of Washington Avenue (the original path of the National Road and location of the National Road covered bridge over White River until 1904) north to Pratt Street northeast of Indiana Avenue. Dett Street at Southern Avenue, Brooks Street from 10th to 13th Street, Isabella Street from Myrtis to Udell, Fairview Terrace from Haughey Avenue and 44th Street, and Crown Street from 44th to 45th Street were all included in this change. Dett Street no longer exists…but did at the White River end of Southern Avenue west of Meridian Street. The original Blake Street still exists, in sections. It runs through the IUPUI campus today. Brooks Street still exists. Isabella Street would become Franklin Place. The last two sections are near Butler University. Fairview Place still exists to 43rd Street. Crown Street is between 43rd and 44th Street. I would bet that the street numbers were wrong in the proposal, and that 44th was meant to be 43rd, and 45th was meant to be 44th.

Thomas Street between Brookville Road and English Avenue, Mineral Street from 10th to 19th Streets and Brightwood’s Foundry Street would actually be changed…but not immediately due to this proposal. Those streets would be changed to the name that the street along that line had between Washington Street and 10th Street – Denny Street.

There are still more on the list. As the Indianapolis News mentioned in the last paragraph of the story: “These ordinances are a part of about five hundred contemplated changes in street names. It is Copeland’s plan to give a common name to several streets of different names on the same line. The plan has been approved by postoffice authorities.”

1912 Proposed Indianapolis Street Name Changes, Part 1

I have been covering Indianapolis street name changes for the past couple of days. It seems that almost every decade along the way had some major changes. I covered a major change with the annexation of the town Irvington and the Tuxedo neighborhood last Friday (Tarkington Street? Not so fast. ITH Blog, 18 December 2020). Today, I want to move into the 1910’s to see what I can find and share.

And it starts in 1912 with a very large proposed change. Most of these never made the maps of Indianapolis in an official way. Councilman Copeland introduced an ordinance that would make a ton of street name changes in the city. These were all submitted to the city council on 4 March 1912.

1905 map of the Arbor Avenue area on the
near westside of Indianapolis

The first one involved was was Shover Avenue on the near west side of the city. The recommendation was to turn Shover Avenue into an extension of Arbor Avenue. And it was. From Oliver to Gillette Street, Shover Avenue became Arbor Avenue. But somewhere along the way, the section from the north alley of Oliver Avenue to Henry Street was vacated for the Chevy plant. Arbor Avenue was moved to the east alley Coffey Street, and Division Street was removed completely. Today, Arbor north of Henry exists for a short distance, before being blocked off by a fence and a railroad spur that served the Chevy plant. Also, Division and Gillette Streets are on the private property side of that fence, no longer accessible be the general public.

In addition to Arbor Avenue, an Arbor Street was included in the ordinance along the same line as the Avenue. The new Arbor Street was to include Greeley Street from Washington Street to White River, Limestone Street from Owosso to Michigan, and Porter Street from North to Walnut. The only section of those three streets that still exist is that of Limestone Street, which now connects the end of the New York Street White River bridge to Michigan Street, where it turns into Eskenazi Avenue.

Another one that didn’t quite make it was the renaming of Mobile Street between Senate and Illinois, and Jackson Place, between Illinois and Meridian, to Bates Street. It is on the line of Bates Street east of East Street. No, the name of Jackson Place didn’t go away. It is still called that in front of Union Station.

Poplar Street, between Union and Chestnut Streets, and Bicking Street between Delaware and East Streets to be changed to Bradshaw Street. Not only did this change not happen, the streets in question are now missing from the landscape of Indianapolis. Both fell victim to Eli Lilly and Company.

Bedford Avenue between Raymond and Morris, and King Avenue between Vermont and Tenth Streets to Addison Street. Both King Avenue and Bedford Street are along the same line as Addison Street, but the change was never made.

Mulberry Street between McCarty and Frank Streets, and Union Street between LeGrande Avenue and first alley north of Schiller Street to Pennsylvania Street. I can tell you that at least the southern section, from LeGrande to the alley, did change its name to Pennsylvania. I used to live practically on the corner of both. The name of Chestnut Street would be removed from maps of Indianapolis, becoming an alley between Union and Talbott Streets from Morris to Adler Streets.

Paca Street between Indiana Avenue and Tenth Street was to become Bright Street. This Ransom Place street still maintains its name.

McCormick Place between Muskingum and Illinois Streets to become Anderson Street. This was the name of one of the downtown alleys. The city directory of 1913 states that McCormick is listed under W. Ohio Street.

Smith Lane, between Merrill Street and Stephan Place to Adelaide Street. Adelaide was the name of the alley between New Jersey and East Streets. This change didn’t happen. Today, it wouldn’t matter as Eli Lilly has mowed the entire neighborhood down.

1945 Polk Indianapolis City Directory S

The last one that I want to cover is one that actually did happen, eventually. On 20 June 2019, I covered the “The Indianapolis end of the Brookville (State) Road.” The original end of Brookville Road was at the National Road west of what is now Sherman Drive. The road that winds behind the shopping center at Sherman Drive and Washington Street was originally part of the Brookville Road. By 1900, the section west of Sherman Drive was called Brookville Avenue. In 1912, it was recommended that it be changed to Ewing Street. At some point, S. Brookville Avenue was changed to Brookville Boulevard, and Brookville Avenue east of Sherman Drive reverted to Brookville Road, the name it had originally. Maps and city directories into the 1940’s still show Brookville Avenue/Boulevard. It would be 1945 until the Polk City Directory would list the following entries: Brookville Avenue – Changed to N. Ewing. Brookville Boulevard – Changed to S. Ewing.

Tarkington Street? Not so fast.

When running through newspapers looking for things to write about, some articles just stand out as both a historic fact and a fun story. Thus, today’s story from the Indianapolis News of 19 January 1903. The headline starts with a simple “Tarkington’s Name Too Long For Street.” That was enough to catch my interest. But this story also drips with a kind of irony that makes it worth it.

The lead paragraph, as is taught in Journalism class (I know from experience), gives a good idea of what is going on. “The fame of Booth Tarkington, author-politician, will not be impressed on future generations by having a street in classic Irvington named after him. They will have to remember him by his book and his reputation as a legislator.”

Yes. The idea was to rename a street in the college town of Irvington after the author of “The Magnificent Ambersons,” among others.

The topic of street name changes came up because the town of Irvington had just been annexed by the City of Indianapolis. Another neighborhood, Tuxedo, was also taken into the city around the same time. Tuxedo was located between the old city limits and Irvington. Or more precisely, between Sherman Drive and Emerson Avenue, from Washington Street to 10th Street. This required a large number of street names to be changed to avoid confusion between the two. I will include the list below.

But the subject name, Tarkington Street, is what I want to discuss first. The plan by the City Engineer’s office, was to change the name of Maple Avenue to Tarkington Street. Oh, but then the protest letters started pouring in. Tarkington was too long a name. Those on Maple Avenue wanted a name that was easier to pronounce. That was the argument. So, the city engineer decided to change the name of Maple Avenue to Bolton Avenue.

Another name change that brought the ire of Irvingtonians was that of Downey Avenue. Downey was the name of one of the original founders of the town. He was also the one that came up with the name “Irvington” for the community. The thought that it would be changed to Thompson Avenue did not go over well in the newly annexed town. Another reason involved a church. The “Downey Avenue Church” would have to change its name, as well. As it turned out, the reason they wanted to change the name is to avoid confusion with Downey Avenue in the city. It, however, did not have a sentimental connection to the neighborhood. It was changed to Orange Street.

The street names changed in Irvington and Tuxedo were as follows:
Central, Irving and College Avenues, from Brookville Avenue to Lowell Avenue: Audubon Road.
Detroit Street, from Huron to English: Mozart Avenue (later changed to Bosart).
East Street, from Washington to PRR: Sheridan Avenue.
Parkman Avenue, Ivanhoe Street south: Catherwood Avenue.
Warren Street, Washington south to PRR: Catherwood Avenue.
Orchard Street, Washington south to PRR: Webster Avenue.
Parkman Avenue, Oak north to PRR: Webster Avenue.
Prescott Avenue, B&O tracks north: Webster Avenue.
South Avenue, between the B&O and University Avenue: Good Avenue.
Perry Avenue, Julian Ave. to PRR: Berry Avenue.
Maple Avenue, PRR to Lowell Avenue: Bolton Avenue.
Pleasant Avenue, Lowell to Chambers: Bolton Avenue.
Maxwell Avenue, Lowell to Chambers: Hursh Avenue.
Green Avenue, Lowell to Chambers: Lesley Avenue.
Pleasant Street (first west of Emerson): Bancroft Avenue.

I will just include the newspaper article list of names that were changed in the city to avoid confusion. There were also a collection of streets that were finally given a name in this batch of street name changes.

The name change of Quincy Street to McKim Street ended up being pointless, although still understandable. The Quincy Street that remained would be in the Tuxedo neighborhood, west of Emerson Avenue. Depending on where you are, it is either two west of Emerson (on Washington Street) or three west of Emerson (New York Street north). Later, it would be changed to DeQuincy Street.

I hope that you find this as interesting as I did.