Zionsville and SR 329

Zionsville. A quaint village on the Lafayette & Indianapolis Railroad. The nearest connection to the state highway system, in 1926, was SR 29, the Michigan Road. But it wouldn’t stay that way for long.

Most people that know the area know that Zionsville is (was) on SR 334. That state highway, connecting (originally) US 52 at Whitestown to SR 29 east of Zionsville. But SR 334 was an afterthought in the grand scheme of things. The town of Zionsville was originally connected to SR 29 by a new highway, SR 329, along what is now Sycamore Street, in 1934. The first mention of this road was the pending oiling of the road. This was announced in the Indianapolis News of 03 November 1934.

Indianapolis News, 3 November 1934

The strange thing about the creation of SR 329 is the fact that the same 1935 Indiana Official Highway Map that shows SR 329 shows a pending SR 334 from Zionville west to Whitestown and from SR 29 east through Carmel and Fishers to SR 238. The eastern section of SR 334 connects to SR 29 at a location (what is now 116th Street) that is opposite SR 329.

1935 Indiana Official State Highway Map showing SR 329 and (pending) SR 334 across Boone and Hamilton Counties.

The fates of SR 329 and SR 334 get strange from that point. The 1936 map shows that SR 334 is under construction from Zionsville west to US 52 and SR 329 connecting it to SR 29. The pending section of SR 334 is shown to be authorized to US 31, not SR 238 as was shown the year before. 1937 shows SR 334 a completed, yet gravel, road between SR 329 and US 52, with the authorized addition connecting SR 29/329 to SR 238. By 1938, SR 329, and the authorized addition to SR 334, are gone.

1936 Road Map of Boone County, showing SR 334 and SR 329 at Zionsville.

I have not found any definitive reason why the state decided that Zionsville was deemed worthy of addition to the state highway system. The state highway laws required that all county seats (Zionsville is not) and that all towns of a population of 5,000 or more (Zionsville didn’t reach that level until the late 1980s) be connected to the state highway system. Looking at the maps, it is entirely possible that it would have been part of a pseudo-bypass of Indianapolis (look at SR 238, SR 334, SR 267, and SR 144). Not that I have ever seen any information about anything like this. It just looks that way from staring at maps.

SR 334 is now just a memory on maps. It was 2011 when INDOT decided that it didn’t want SR 334 anymore. (As an aside, in 2013 the last section of SR 267 added to the state highway system [from US 40 to US 136/I-74] was removed from state responsibility.) The road was returned to the maintenance responsibility of Whitestown and Zionsville, with the bridges given to Boone County.

3 thoughts on “Zionsville and SR 329

  1. Continued development of Zionsville is absolutely hamstrung by it’s relative inaccessibility by road. This town was built as a stop on the railroad (it’s named for William Zion, who was an investor!), and roads were entirely secondary as a means of access. When the railroad disappeared, Main Street may have had five filling stations (today’s count: zero), but it remained a quaint little village stuck in time. Today, you’re likely to just be stuck in traffic if you need to go through town.

    Efforts to add access with another interstate interchange just southwest of town have been stymied several times. That would be development, right in the middle of house country, recently rezoned in teh area so that the minimum real estate parcel must be no less than three acres.

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  2. 334 was always a weird road that seemed to have little rationale.

    I live now within a 2 minute walk of the stub end of the original 334 alignment. When they built I-65 they straightened 334 where it makes the left-right jog. The end of that road now leads into my subdivision.

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