Over the years, the Indiana State Highway Commission (and the descendants – Department of Highways and INDOT) has often built new roads to bypass curves, hills and towns. There are many old state road routes all over the state that were moved for the convenience and efficiency of travelers. But sometimes, the state bypasses a place simply because it ends up keeping the road open more often.
The original 1926 route of SR 67 followed the Pennsylvania Railroad (nee Indianapolis & Vincennes) between Spencer and Gosport. Just about four miles along the old SR 67 route from Spencer is the town of Romona. It is just a very small location that I found while working on a SR 67 project.
The history of SR 67 is unique in the annals of Indiana State Roads. With very few exceptions, the state roads follow the same pattern as the United States highways. SR 67 was laid out across Indiana diagonally, with the powers that be believing that the pending US 67 would come across Indiana towards Toledo or Cleveland, Ohio. As it turned out, US 67 kept going north across west central Illinois. So SR 67 was wishful thinking that never happened.
Along the way, the original route of SR 67 followed both the old I&V, but also stayed very close to White River.
And there, my friends, creates the problems.
Since the creation of SR 67 in 1926, I have found no less than five different articles, in five different years, talking about the closure of SR 67 in the vicinity of Romona. (One I found from as far away as South Bend, in the South Bend Tribune of 3 March 1929.) Apparently the State Highway Commission decided by 1938 to bypass this entire section, connecting SR 67 almost due west from Gosport to SR 43 (now US 231), three miles north of the old route that went into Romona.
The old route also had the problem of crossing the Pennsylvania Railroad at least three times between Spencer and Gosport. The Google map linked above should show the old State Highway Commission bridge over Mill Creek at Romona. I am not quite sure exactly what is left to drive on there. I would bet money that the bridge is long out of commission. I am also not quite sure if the area on the north side of that bridge is actually on private property or not.
I am not quite sure why, of all places, this place has captured my thoughts. Maybe it’s because I am so used to small places like this when visiting where my parents grew up. I don’t know. I am planning on something called a “Road Trip 1926” along the original (or as much as possible) SR 67. And Romona is a place I want to see. I guess we will find out when I get there this summer. Anyone want to ride along?