Planned “Road Trip 1926,” SR 9 and Mount Etna, Indiana

Roads all over Indiana have been moved for assorted reasons. I mentioned this a couple of days ago with it comes to State Road 67. Sometimes, it is nature that causes repeated floodings, enough to make the state decide to move the road. Sometimes, it is government officials that make the decision to flood the road permanently. This is the case with SR 9 at Mount Etna, Indiana.

When the new state road system was implemented in 1926, the designation SR 9 was given to the road that connected Marion to Huntington. Now, the original SR 9 hasn’t moved that much over the years. At least not in the rural areas. But the Army Corps of Engineers decided in 1966 that a flood control project along the Salamonie River was much needed. The state agreed.

The old path of SR 9 took it directly through the town of Mount Etna, roughly half way between Marion and Huntington. A quick glance at the Google map of the area can give a dead giveaway where the original route was. (See Link below.) It is not often when a road is so straight forward when traveling between destinations…especially when the road is over 100 years old.

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7381841,-85.5656057,14.15z

It is at this point that I would like to mention that I believe this route to be also part of the original Indianapolis-Fort Wayne State Road laid out in the 1830s.

So the original SR 9 route stayed in place from 1926 to 1967. The new route ended up being just 1/2 mile west of the old road, and built across Salamonie Lake. The lake was created with the building of the dam in 1966. This left the town of Mount Etna currently off the beaten path, so to speak.

Google maps research, using the satellite photo option, shows that the old road actually goes right up to the lake on the north shore. Also, the utility lines, that normally line the right of way of every state road, whether current or replaced, are shown to cross the lake very close to the old road. (Note. While it is not always true, a really easy way to tell slight changes in the path of a road is looking at the utility lines. It truly is a dead giveaway when the road was slightly straightened or a curve was eased during the history of the road. Often times, they are rarely touched due to the disruptions caused by moving them. It is especially useful when one notices that most of the bypasses put in across Indiana tend not to have these utility lines if they are absolutely new construction. This may not always be the case, but it is a first hint to look for if you think something has been moved.)

Tracing the old road from the north shore, it goes basically due north at CR 600W until just before it connecting back to the current SR 9. However, the section north of CR 400S is not accessible, as another part of Salamonie Lake has taken out another section of the old road. From the SR 9 end, it looks like it is blocked with a gate…at least according to Google maps.

This is another planned “Road Trip 1926” road trip that will be taken and recorded at some point. The entire premise behind the “Road Trip 1926” idea is that in February 2018, I posted in the Facebook ITH group strip maps of the original 1926 state roads using the magic of “Google maps and Microsoft Paint.” Those posts are still available on the Facebook group. I am also trying to figure out how to move them here without being completely pointless. That day will come. Until then, feel free to check out the original posts.

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