Indiana’s post-1926 US Highways

U.S. highways came to Indiana in several waves. The first wave was 1926, with the creation of the United States highway system. At that time, highways 12, 20, 24, 27, 30, 31, 36, 40, 41, 50, 52, 60, 112 and 150 were thrust upon the landscape of the Hoosier State. This played well into the “Crossroads of America” moniker that Indiana had for years. Over the next 27 years, eight more were added to the state’s collection of US Highways.

The first addition was made in 1934 with the commissioning of US 224. The entire route of this highway was created in 1934. In Indiana, it replaced SR 16 from Huntington east to the state line. The entire route isn’t very long, basically connecting east northern Indiana to west northern Pennsylvania through northern Ohio.

Another road that was created in 1934, but didn’t get to Indiana until 1935 was US 35. Since there already was a SR 35 in Indiana, it was changed to SR 135. US 35 entered Indiana near Richmond on the Eaton Pike, a road that had taken the place, locally, of the National Road to the east of Richmond. It then followed SR 21 from Richmond to Gas City (ultimately, the designation SR 21 was completely removed from Indiana, having been replaced by US 35, and the section from Marion to Gas City being changed to SR 15). The road then multiplexed with SR 22 across the state to SR 29, aka the Michigan Road. It then multiplexed with SR 29 all the way through Logansport, Knox, and LaPorte to almost Michigan City. It ended at JCT US 20 just outside Michigan City. Ironically, SR 29, which was the state’s designation given to most of the historic Michigan Road route (except the Versailles detour) from Madison to Logansport, then pretty much straight to Michigan City, ended up being a more direct route between Michigan City and Madison than the 1830s Michigan Road. But swamps had more to do with that than anything.

1935 also saw (the then) SR 53 north from Montmorenci to Crown Point and (the then) SR 8 from Crown Point to US 41 removed from maps to be replaced with US 152. From Montmorenci south to Indianapolis, US 152 multiplexed with US 52. This road only existed until 1938, and only in Indiana. There are some references in The Times of Munster, Indiana, to US 152 in July 1939. These references are for a service station with “120 ft. frontage on U.S. 152 (Indianapolis Blvd)” for sale for $6,000. The section from Montmorenci north would be reverted to the State Roads (53 and 8) that went away with the creation of US 152. Don’t worry, they won’t stay long.

In southern Indiana, in 1938, a state road connecting SR 60 at Bennettsville to US 31W at New Albany would be renumbered SR 111. Another couple of renumberings occurred at the same time, causing the SR 33 to SR 111 change. SR 527 from Decatur to the Ohio State Line, and SR 2 from Fort Wayne to South Bend would be renumbered US 33, making the original SR 33 a conflict. US 33 would then multiplex with US 31 north from South Bend to Hagar Shores, Michigan. It was truncated twice in Indiana. First, US 33 was changed to end at the JCT US 31 in South Bend in 1997. Two years later, it would be dragged back to the current end of US 33 near Elkhart.

Almost a decade later, in 1947, another US highway was extended into Indiana. This highway would connect St. Louis, Missouri, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, through southern Indiana as US 460. This new highway would be multiplexed with SR 62 from Evansville to New Albany, and SR 66 from New Harmony to Evansville. US 460 existed in Indiana (Illinois and Missouri) until decommissioning occurred in 1976. By that time, most of US 460 west of Frankfort, Kentucky, had basically been replaced by I-64. The four states agreed to remove the designation in November of that year.

At New Harmony, US 460 crossed the Wabash River on a toll bridge that would be shown in the James Burke series “Connections 2” in 1994. That bridge would be closed permanently in 2012 when it was discovered that it needed $6 million in work. For some reason, although Illinois SR 14 connects to the bridge on the west, and Indiana SR 66 starts where the bridge touches ground in Indiana, the bridge itself was owned by the White County (Illinois) Bridge Authority, a private organization. It was authorized by Congress in 1928 and built without state or federal funds. When the bridge got too bad, the Authority just closed it, leaving the two state road in the lurch.

In 1951, saw the complete removal of a state road from Indiana with the creation of US 136. This saw the removal of SR 34 from maps. This road created something that I have not seen in Indiana in other places. There are places along the route of US 136 where there are junctions with “Old State Road 34.” These were sections of the original road that were bypassed before 1951, and kept the name they were given when the bypass was built. At the time of this road being commissioned, there was a SR 136, connecting Danville with North Salem and Roachdale to end at SR 43 south of Raccoon. This would become SR 236.

Also in 1951, SR 29 from SR 28 east of Frankfort to Madison would be completely replaced with US 421. This new designation would multiplex with SR 28, SR 39 and US 24 to Reynolds. Then US 421 would then replace SR 43 from Reynolds to Michigan City. This would make US 421 a complete replacement, and more direct route, for the road it was attached to from south of Boyleston to Madison (with one exception): The Michigan Road.

Two years later, the last US highway was added to the map of Indiana: US 231. This route would cross the Ohio River from Kentucky on the Indiana SR 75 bridge at Owensboro, Kentucky. It would then be multiplexed with SR 45, with brief multiplexes with SR 62 and SR 56 to Scotland, Indiana. It would then use SR 157, SR 54, SR 57 and SR 67 (all in multiplexes) to reach Spencer. From that point north to Lafayette, US 231 would multiplex (and later replace) SR 43 through Cloverdale, Greencastle and Crawfordsville. Originally, the road would turn east on SR 35 south of Lafayette where it would follow 25 to the junction with US 52. From this point on, US 231 would follow the route of what had been US 152 in the 1930s.

One US highway that I didn’t mention entered Indiana in 1963 along what was then SR 15. This was US 131. For years, US 131 ended at the Indiana-Michigan State Line. In 1963, it was extended in Indiana to the Indiana East-West Toll Road, although there was no connection between the two. US 131 just started (or stopped depending on your direction) right under the toll road bridge. On the 1964 map, it went away again (notice, there is a typo on that map, because in Michigan it is listed as US 103). The road connecting Indiana SR 13 at the state line to US 12 and US 131 in Michigan was labelled, on the typo map, as M-131. (Michigan state roads, or trunk highways, are referred to up there as “M-whatever.”) That meant the end of US 131 was in Michigan again, this time at US 12. The “US 103” would appear on Indiana Official Highway maps until 1969, when it was changed to M-103. US 131 would pop its head into Indiana again in 1980, again only to the Indiana Toll Road. This time, however, it would have a connection to the toll road as it replaced SR 13.

And, there, my friends, is a brief history of the US highways that came after the originals.

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