The First Renumbering

I have mentioned quite a few times about the Great Renumbering, the renumbering of all of Indiana’s state roads on 1 October 1926. This was a major overhaul of the state highway system put in place in 1919. But it was the second time state road numbers had been changed in Indiana. The first, while not a complete overhaul, was in 1923.

Between 1919 and 1923, the Indiana State Highway Commission grew from maintaining five roads to 55. The problem, according to the commission, was that as roads were entered into the system, they were given the next number in line. This led to a large number of roads that would start and end in places where the number would change, even if the two roads were in a straight line with one another.

The new road numbering scheme was announced in October, 1923. The news article to the left from the Indianapolis Star of 28 October shows the information that was released. The example used as to why the state needed new signage, and new route numbers, points out what was apparently a common problem with the state highway system at the time: people interrupting other people’s lives to get directions.

SR 1 – SR 20

The most obvious change to the system came with SR 2. Until the 1923 renumbering, the route of SR 2 followed the original Lincoln Highway from Dyer to east of Fort Wayne through Valparaiso, LaPorte, South Bend, Elkhart, Goshen, Ligonier, and Fort Wayne. The new SR 2 would, according to the description to the right, follow the Lincoln Highway in and out of the state, but the Yellowstone Trail between the two points. This route would be the later route of the Lincoln Highway, as well.

Looking at the descriptions of the state roads at the time, it is easy to see what the state road number was before they all changed in 1926. For instance, it is easy to see that SR 4 became US 50, and SR 5 became US 150. (Yes, others are obvious, as well. But, I have covered some of those ad nauseum.)

The rest of this post will basically be the list of the state roads at the time of the first renumbering. One note is the very last line of the article: “Highway officials believe that the new numbering of the state system will be permanent.”


Another thing that should be noticed is that while the article lists 55 state roads, the 1923 system does not have a State Road 49 or State Road 52. Also, some of the old road numbers were moved to an entirely new area of Indiana. For instance, the new SR 5 replaced, from Paoli to New Albany, SR 42. The number 42 would become the designation for the Lincoln Highway from Valparaiso to New Carlisle. SR 44, the original designation for the Yellowstone Trail would replace SR 6 from Lebanon to Monticello.

SR 21 – SR 27
SR 27 – SR 48
SR 50 – SR 55

5 thoughts on “The First Renumbering

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