Beginnings of the Indiana State Highway System

The following is a transcription of a newspaper article that first appeared in the Brazil Daily Times of 24 June 1919. It describes the first roads that were to be taken over by the Indiana State Highway Commission.

State Department in Tentative Program Plans to Build 3,000 Miles of Highway
Connection With Every Indiana County Seat is Planned – “Back-Bone” Plan is Adopted
L. H. Wright, director of the State Highway Commission, has completed a tentative outline of the roads of Indiana, which will be proposed as part of the state highway system. The comprehensive plan, which spreads out over the state like a spider web and reaches every county seat and city of 5,000 or more population, contains 3,006 miles.

The act of the 1919 Legislature provides that the State Highway Commission shall designate the roads to be embraced in the state system before April 1, 1920. Mr. Wright said yesterday it was probably the road system would be adopted by January. The law requires that from the date that the state takes over the roads they shall be maintained by the State Highway Commission.

The great system of highways suggested in the preliminary plans of the director would, if laid out in a straight line, extend about one-eighth of the distance around the world. The tentative system includes the “back bone system” designated by the old highway commission. This system included the Range line road from Indianapolis to South Bend, the National Road from state line to state line, east and west, the Indianapolis and Louisville road, the Lincoln highway and the French Lick trail, and the road through the state from Vincennes to Lawrenceburg.

State in Four Sections.

The tentative state highway system that is to be proposed to the state highway commission for consideration and approval is set out below. For the purpose of convenience the state is divided into four sections; north and south by the Range Line road and the Indianapolis and Louisville road and east and west by the National road.

Edited version of the original article.

Editor’s Note: All punctuation and capitalization is copied directly from the original article. The article is courtesy of

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