SR 209 and SR 109: SR 9’s Central Indiana Daughter Routes

All over Indiana, there are roads that at one time or another had been a state road. Most of these are from roads that were rerouted for safety or economic reasons. Some were just abandoned by the state. Rural Hancock County has two such roads. One, which I will cover at a later date, was the Greenfield-Noblesville Road, which had been SR 13 and SR 238 in its time. The other is a short stretch of road connecting US 40 to SR 234 through Willow Branch. That one was SR 209.

Hancock County Road 600E was the path for SR 209. The road started appearing on Indiana Official maps in 1941. I would have to assume that it was created to make an alternate route to driving through downtown Greenfield, and its tight turns at SR 9. Or, at least for northbound SR 9. As mentioned before, the road only connected from US 40 north to SR 234. SR 234 would connect to both SR 9 and SR 13, allowing westbound traffic on US 40 to go around Greenfield to get to Noblesville, Pendleton or Anderson.

SR 9’s daughter routes, both SR 109 and 209, were added to the state road system at the same time. The southern section of SR 109 eventually connected Knightstown to Anderson. On the 1941 map, this section only exists in Hancock and Henry Counties. At that time, the planned northward turn of SR 109 was due north of the route that SR 209 occupied ending at SR 234. SR 109 ended abruptly at the Hancock-Madison County line after adding Nashville (Hancock County) and Warrington to the connected state road system.

By 1942, SR 109 was rerouted and extended. Nashville (Hancock County) had been bypassed when the road was turned north at Warrington.

SR 209 was removed from the state highway system in 1973. It reverted to Hancock County maintenance at that time. SR 109 is still in place, although north of I-69, it has become the route of SR 9 through the east side of Anderson.

The Crawfordsville Pike, and Its Change in Marion County

Crawfordsville Road. In its history, it has been a state built county road, a toll road, an Auto Trail, a state road, a US Highway, and, ultimately, a connecting city street (in two towns). Most of the original route of the road in Marion County is still used for the (old) route from Indianapolis to Crawfordsville, which was the purpose. But there are three places where the road has changed in a major way. One close to downtown Indianapolis, one at White River, and one at Speedway.

When the Crawfordsville Road was established, it left Indianapolis along what is now Indiana Avenue. At the time, it was also the Lafayette Road. The road then followed Indiana Avenue to Fall Creek (where 10th Street is now). It then crossed Fall Creek in a straight line with Waterway Boulevard, not Indiana Avenue. Both the Crawfordsville and Lafayette Roads, on the same route, followed the north bank of White River to just north of where the 16th Street Bridge is now. The old bridge at what is now 16th Street, called the Emrichsville Bridge, started on the west bank of the river at the same place the 16th Street bridge does. The difference is that the Emrichsville Bridge crossed at a right angle to the river, making a shorter bridge that caused the road to be north of the present route.

The Crawfordsville and Lafayette Roads split at what is now Lafayette Road and 16th Street. Crawfordsville Road continued on what is now 16th Street to what is now Cunningham Road in Speedway. It then connected to what is currently Crawfordsville Road, and more-or-less followed that route through the rest of Marion County, with the small exception of the area at High School Road, I-465 and I-74. It was slightly rerouted there with the construction of I-74. Then, it was rerouted again, closer to the original path, when the I-74 entrance was removed. Also, the old road was just south of the current one west of I-465.

In 1914, the old Crawfordsville Road became part of the Dixie Highway. This would be part of the western leg, connecting Indianapolis to Chicago…but not directly. Indianapolis was the crossroads of both parts of the western leg. This would make the old road part of a highway that stretched all the way to Miami, Florida.

As is almost typical of the old “state roads” in Indiana, the old road had 1) been county responsibility beginning around the turn of the 20th century, and 2) been criss-crossed by a railroad that had been 20 years after the original construction of the road by the state. The railroad, in this case, was, starting in 1890, the Peoria & Eastern, a New York Central property (via the Big Four). In Marion County alone, the P&E, and the THI&E interurban route to Crawfordsville, crossed the old Crawfordsville Road twice in what is now Speedway.

When the State Highway Commission was (re)created in 1919 (it had been formed originally in 1917, but had legal questions that caused a new law to be passed in 1919), the Dixie Highway route was not brought into the new state road system. Even with the expansion of the system in 1923, the Crawfordsville Road would still not be state responsibility.

But 1923 was the year that the major reroute of the Speedway section would be proposed. The map below, as published in the Indianapolis News of 13 April 1923, shows the plan to move the route from 16th Street to a new build north of the Peoria & Eastern/THI&E Traction tracks. As mentioned, the new construction would “eliminate four dangerous railroad and interurban crossings and would straighten and shorten the road materially.”

In 1926, when the state road system was expanded and renumbered, the old road would be added to the new state road system, sort of. The official description, from the ISHC and published in the Indianapolis News of 28 September 1926, was listed as “State Road 34 – Indianapolis to the Illinois-Indiana state line at Beckwith, passing through Pittsboro, Lizton, Jamestown, New Ross, Crawfordsville, Waynetown, Hillsboro, Veedersburg and Covington. (From Crawfordsville west this now is known as State Road 33. Between Indianapolis and Crawfordsville the road has not yet been added to the state system but soon will be.)”

1941 aerial photograph, courtesy of MapIndy (City of Indianapolis website) of the Crawfordsville Road area in Speedway. The thicker white line from the lower right to the upper left is the post-1923 route. In the upper left just below that, is the old road, which ran just south of the new road. The old road then turns south-southeast to connect to what is now 16th Street.

Ultimately, when added to the state system, the new SR 34 would extend along 16th Street to Northwestern Avenue (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street) where it would end at US 36 and SR 29. This would be the other reroute of the old road to connect to downtown. In 1951, SR 34 would be changed to US 136, ending at what had become US 421 at the same time.

As mentioned above, another change to the US 136 route would come with the construction of I-74 in 1959/1960. The road would be bent slightly northwest to connect to the new interstate, with an intersection allowing drivers to turn left onto US 136. The US 136 designation would be removed from this intersection to Northwestern Avenue in 1975. The last change would be when the connection to I-74 was moved from a direct route to a new entrance directly from US 136 (and then US 136 being truncated again, being removed from the section between the new ramp and High School Road). The old road was curved in such a way to create a more “straight through” traffic pattern on Crawfordsville Road.

The original route would also be rerouted near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A new roundabout was put in place at Crawfordsville Road, 16th Street and Main Street. Georgetown Road was removed from this connection. To connect to the old road from this point requires a short trip south on Main Street back to 16th Street, which was made discontinuous with the building of that roundabout.

1967: Kokomo Plans a Second and Third Bypass

US 31 has always been a rather important road in Indiana. So much so that before it was US 31, it was SR 1. This importance is shown by the fact that the original US 31 has been bypassed in several places throughout the state…and some of those are bypasses of bypasses.

An example is in Carmel. When the “new” US 31 was built along what is Meridian Street north of the Central Canal, it was, for a long time, a two lane road through Carmel. When the state decided to expand it to a four lane divided highway, the section that is now Old Meridian Street was bypassed for its current alignment.

But Kokomo was a different story. The US 31 bypass of that town opened in 1951. This moved the US 31 route from the city streets through downtown to a new alignment then east of the city. But for several years after construction, the new US 31 would be an alternate route. (The Vidette-Messenger of Porter County reported that the ribbon cutting on the Kokomo bypass was held in December 1959.) It wouldn’t take long until Kokomo moved out to the east to crowd the new bypass, making traffic overbearing on the new road.

How long, you ask? How about less than a year. There were already news stories at the end of 1951 stating that the new bypass was a traffic problem. But the State Highway Department decided to stand pat for a little while longer: almost two decades, sort of.

In the Kokomo Morning Times of 18 October 1967, it was announced that a NEW US 31 bypass was being planned…possibly. State and Howard County officials were contemplating several projects to make traffic smoother through the area. These projects involved US 31, US 35 and SR 19. It would take until the mid-2010s for two of these projects to come into full fruition. The SR 19 plan, which included extending that road from its end at US 35 north towards and into Peru, still has not happened. It is likely never to happen at this point.

Map of the planned highway program in Howard County, as published in the Kokomo Morning Times of 18 October 1967.

The two US route projects were to go hand-in-hand. The plan was to build a new northern bypass of Kokomo for US 35. At the time, US 35 still entered downtown Kokomo, along Markland Avenue. The road then turned north on Washington Street until it followed Davis Road to the northwest out of the city. The 1967 plan called for US 35 to break from Davis Road roughly where it does today, bypassing Kokomo on the north and east to a point between the then current US 31 bypass and SR 19. Unlike the now almost decade old US 31, this new road would be a limited access route, allowing better traffic flow.

But the other part of the plan would be even more ambitious. US 31 would bypass Kokomo on the west, in an area between Howard CR 300W and CR 400W. It would start leave the then current US 31 south of SR 26, connecting back to its mother road near the Howard-Miami County Line. It would then cross the new US 35 bypass north of Kokomo. This would have the effect of creating a three-quarter loop around the city of Kokomo. This new facility, like US 35, would become a limited access alignment. This was, again, unlike the US 31 bypass completed in 1959.

The projects in this plan were, according to the newspaper, “projected for work by the year 1982.” The bypasses were to be taken into consideration with the “still planned for a near-future construction program will be completion of dual-laning between Kokomo and Peru of U.S. 31.”

The Morning Times also mentions that the “current” US 31 bypass wasn’t working as planned by the State Highway Department. “The present bypass was built to gear traffic away from the congestion of the city’s center. But, planners were not far-sighted enough to implement limited access as part of the present bypass.”

The newspaper also added an editorial comment to the end of the article. “It may be ten years until active efforts materialize to spark construction of the new bypass and an expansion of Ind. 19, but planners have committed themselves in 1967 as favoring these projects for the future.”

As it turned out, this project never came into being. SR 19 still ends at US 35. The newspaper claims that “the Ind. 19 to Peru stretch would accomplish three things at once. It would link Ind. 19’s broken portions, it would provide a north-south route around Kokomo and on the east side, and it would provide an adequate access route toward the Misissinewa Reservoir.”

The northern bypass of Kokomo would be accomplished with the completion of the current US 31 bypass of the city, some 40+ years after the plan mentioned above was created. US 35 now connects, and multiplexes, with US 31 east of Kokomo, following the new route to almost the end of the newly constructed bypass. The new bypass is also controlled access, or interstate standard. In the end, a bypass of Kokomo on the north, east, and south sides was completed. And, even though it added a couple of miles to the route, it would cut the travel time from Indianapolis to South Bend by up to 30 minutes.

Road Trip 1926: SR 10

Welcome to another “Road Trip 1926.” Today’s road is State Road 10, through northern Indiana.

When the Great Renumbering happened, SR 10 was announced as follows: “What is now known as State Road 50 from Argos, in United States Route 31, to Kersey, passing through Culver, Bass Lake, North Judson, San Pierre and Wheatfield.”

Now, through the use of Google Maps and Microsoft Paint, I present the “new” State Road 10.

Norristown

On the old state road that connected Shelbyville to Hope and Columbus, a small place just north of the Bartholomew-Shelby County Line called Norristown exists. The old road came straight south into Norristown on what is now CR 100E, turned west along CR 1100S, then south along CR 50E. When SR 9 was extended south from Greenfield in 1931, the new state road would follow this route.

1932 ISHC Official Map showing Norristown.

On would think that this would be the end of the story. But the Indiana State Highway Commission and Shelby County make a few changes over the next 80 years. Among these changes would be a bypass of the little burgh of Norristown, a new bridge, and then INDOT coming along to take it back as a different entity.

Norristown is actually an unincorporated community in southern Shelby County. Flat Rock, the closest railroad station to the town, is due west of there. The road connecting the two was a winding affair, and had been for many years before the ISHC came into being. That winding road is shown on the 1932 map snippet above.

USGS Topo map of Norristown

The first change made by the ISHC to SR 9 is shown in the topo map to the left. The road that leads southwest past the cemetery just west of Norristown was made part of the state highway system, with the remaining section of what is now 1100 S being removed. That “new” section is, to this day, part of SR 9.

By 1970, that section was added to a curving section to make SR 9 a “straight” road, removing Norristown from SR 9 permanently. Around the same time, Shelby County rerouted CR 1100S over Tough Creek, making it a curved road between SR 9 and CR 50E. CR 50E was the connector road to Flat Rock Road, the winding route between the two towns.

Fast forward to 2007. INDOT decided to extend SR 252 from its end at Flat Rock (literally just stopping in the middle of that town) to SR 9. The decision was made to replace the old Flat Rock road with new construction along the line of Shelby CR 1100S. The new road is one of the straightest roads in the state, with one exception. The new SR 252 uses the replacement route and bridge over Tough Creek built by Shelby County. This made (the replacement of) the original SR 9 in the area once again INDOT responsibility.

1963: Indianapolis Traffic Changes That Weren’t

With the coming of the interstate system, changes were bound to occur in the areas of the state that were going to be affected. The changes in downtown Indianapolis were massive. However, the changes that DIDN’T happen were even more so. The plans were spelled out in the Indianapolis Star of 10 November 1963 on page one. The plan, put out by the Metropolitan Planning Commission, detailed major changes in the one way street pattern that makes up central Indianapolis.

When the original interstate plan was laid out by the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1962 or 1963, the state and local officials had agreed on a “west leg” of connecting roads creating basically a circle around downtown. The northbound part of that west leg would have been along Missouri Street until it migrated west to become West Street between Maryland and Georgia Streets. The southbound would have started at Interstate 65 along California Street until it migrated east, again between Maryland and Georgia Streets, to become West Street south to Interstate 70. This west leg “should be built as a limited-access, grade level roadway.”

It is important to note here that, at the time, West Street was, in different places, SR 37, SR 67, US 36, US 52 and US 421. It should also be stated that part of the reason for the migration of the west leg between Maryland and Georgia Streets was the fact that there was still a railroad track (the old Lafayette & Indianapolis mainline) running along Missouri Street north of Georgia Street.

Interstate 65 would then travel east from that west leg along the 12th Street corridor to a point where it met Interstates 69 and 70 near Tenth Street and Massachusetts Avenue. A combination of I-65 and I-70 would then travel south along the Pine Street corridor, where I-70 would then turn west just south of Ray Street, and I-65 would continue south near Morris Street and Virginia Avenue. Anyone with even a glancing knowledge of the interstates downtown will notice that this was pretty much followed…with the exception of Interstate 69, which was cancelled inside I-465. Even the west leg was almost built as planned. The use of California Street would not happen, and West Street became two way south of Maryland Street.

But that is just the beginning of the planned changes in the downtown area. The following list, sometimes contradictory, was announced as the Metropolitan Planning Commission’s desired outcome.

“1. Making Senate Avenue one-way north to couple with Capitol Avenue (remaining one-way south) to form a Westside local traffic system.” At the time, Capitol Avenue was paired with Illinois Street, as it is today, in a one-way pair. Senate Avenue was a continuous street from Merrill Street north to Fall Creek.

“2. Making Alabama Street one-way south to couple with Delaware Street (remaining one-way north) to form an Eastside traffic tandem.” Eventually, Alabama Street would become one-way south.

“3. Using Illinois Street (one-way north) and Pennsylvania Street (one-way south) as feeders for the north leg of the downtown interstate highway loop.” A quick look at the interchange ramps from I-65 north of downtown will show that this plan was taken into consideration. Northbound I-65 is accessed from Illinois Street. The southbound entrance was moved east one block to Delaware Street.

“4. Retaining Meridian Street as a two-way traffic artery, offering flexibility to expanding one-way system for the key north-south routes.”

“5. Use of Ohio and Market streets as two-way feeders for the east leg of the downtown interstate loop and Ohio and West Washington Streets as two-way feeders for the west leg.” One of the only access points to I-65 South/I-70 West east of downtown was originally the Market Street “rocket ramp,” a very high ramp over three stories tall that ended in a 90 degree angle to connect to the Collector/Distributer ramp allowing access to the interstate. This was removed when a new onramp was built from Washington Street. North I-65/East I-70 is accessed along Pine Street starting at Ohio Street. The onramps to the interstate starts at Pine and Michigan Streets. Leaving I-65 North/I-70 East was allowed at only one point, that being Market Street. That, too, was moved to Washington Street with the completion of that interchange.

“6. Reversing the present one-way pattern on Maryland and Georgia Streets, making Maryland one-way west and Georgia one-way east as a bypass for the ‘core’ area.”

“7. Use of Illinois and Pennsylvania streets as two-way feeders for the south leg. Illionis (sic) and Pennsylvania one-way systems would end at Maryland Street under the revised plan.” Delaware Street, at that point, was already two way from Georgia Street south. This was due to the fact that Delaware Street was US 31 in both directions south of that point. Georgia Street, eastbound, from Capitol Avenue to Delaware Street was US 31 South.

According to the quoted article, “the planners said that the new system is ‘not any better’ than previous proposals but they noted that downtown businessmen were reluctant to alter a system already working well.” Other proposals included “palastic-covered moving sidewalks, blocking all but emergency traffic from the 16-square-block core area around Monument Circle, installation of a shuttle bus system to carry shoppers into the central area and other ideas were all scuttled for a more realistic plan for downtown.”

Oh, to think what might have been. It was hoped that Interstates 65/69/70 would be completed by 1972. As it turned out, Interstates 65/70 was completed in 1976. Included below is the map that was included in the quoted Indianapolis Star article.

Indianapolis Star, 10 November 1963, pp 18. Map of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Commission’s plan for traffic changes to accommodate the coming of the interstate system to downtown Indianapolis.

SR 331: A Limited Access Highway Coded into Law

Indiana Code Title 8 defines, by law, “Utilities and Transportation” in the state. This includes everything that falls under utilities, railroads, motor carriers, state roads, and the Indiana Department of Transportation, among many other things. Most of the sections of Title 8 deal with generalities. But there is one specific street, in one specific city, with one specific state road number that is mentioned in not one section, but two. That would be Capital Avenue, in Mishawaka, designated SR 331.

IC 8-23-6-1 describes the “Selection of routes; maintenance; construction of drainage structures.” Subsection (a) states “the Department (of Transportation) shall select the route of highways in the system of highways under its control through cities and towns, and may change the routes as the department determines most convenient for public travel.” The next subsection, (b), makes one minor change to subsection (a): “Notwithstanding subsection (a) and in or near the city of Mishawaka, Indiana, the portion of Capital Avenue lying between: (1) the most recently established US 20 bypass as of January 1, 1997; and (2) the Indiana toll road; is designated state route number three hundred thirty-one (331).”

So the Indiana Department of Transportation can dictate what state roads use which city and/or town streets in the entire state, with the exception of Capital Avenue in Mishawaka.

Subsection (d) of the same section 1 states that funds for SR 331 “shall first be exhausted from: (1) revenue declared excess by the Indiana toll road; (2) federal aid designated for the local metropolitan planning organization; (3) city and county highway funds used for such purpose; and (4) revenue generated from local incremental finance districts; before any funds designated to the department are used for construction or improvement of state road three hundred thirty-one (331).”

There is even more legislation concerning this state road. Title 8, Article 23, Chapter 8, Section 10 of the Indiana Code is specifically titled “State Road 331 in St. Joseph County.” This specific section spells out, in great detail, the designation of this section of SR 331 as a limited access highway. It goes so far as to spell out the exact locations for access locations to this state road. I have clipped the section so that you can read it yourself.

IC 8-23-8-10 laying out the specifics concerning the limited access status of Capital Avenue, Mishawaka, aka SR 331.

Subsection (d) also states that no traffic signal is to be placed at the intersection of Capital Avenue and Ireland Road. Now, I have been to the South Bend/Mishawaka area quite a few times, as my wife is originally from Mishawaka. Most of my experience with Ireland Road is that it is a very busy thoroughfare that runs just north of the US 20 bypass. I had to double check with a map to see what kind of situation exists at Ireland Road and SR 331. That far east, Ireland is mainly a survey road, and not a very big one to boot. So I can see the requirement for nothing more than a stop sign controlling traffic on Ireland Road.

These mentions of SR 331 are the only state road designations that I have found, so far, in the Indiana Code. It makes me wonder exactly what caused this road to be specifically mentioned among the 12,000 (allowed) miles of Indiana Department of Transportation properties. Whatever it was, the section started life in 2009, and was amended in 2010 and 2013.

It should be noted that SR 331 was added to the State Highway Commission official maps in 1933. It ended at Lincolnway in downtown Mishawaka.

Indianapolis, Noble Street and College Avenue

1855. According to the Grooms and Smith’s Indianapolis City Directory of that year, the sixth street east of Meridian, running north and south, is called Noble. Noble Street was named after the fifth governor of the State of Indiana, Noah Noble (served 1831-1837). At the time, there were only four city roads in Indianapolis not named “Street,” and those were Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and Kentucky, which even then were “Avenue.” Noble Street, at the time, connected Virginia Avenue on the south to Massachusetts Avenue on the north. At Massachusetts Avenue, the street along that long moved slightly to the east, and as such, was renamed Plum Street. Between Noble and East Streets, there was an alley with the name Liberty Street.

That same year, on property owned by Ovid Butler, North Western Christian University was opened. The major north-south street in front of the university was given the name “College Avenue.” This College Avenue would start at Christian Street (now 11th Street) in 1870. The section between Christian Street and Massachusetts Avenue, still being offset from either Noble Street or College Avenue, was still named Plum Avenue.

It is important to note that Indianapolis, while it looks rather mostly straight forward on a map, wasn’t built that way. First, the city’s neighborhoods were built as separate units, without any consideration of what was around it. Usually, the only city streets that had any rhyme or reason to them were along survey lines, either every mile, half mile, or quarter mile. This was, at the time, how land in Indiana was sold by the government: in at least quarter-mile sections. It also should be noted that most of the streets in the “Government Donation” of four square miles for the capital city of Indiana are actually 2.3 degrees either east or south of the cardinal directions of north, south, east and west.

And even another important fact: addressing was, compared to today, a bit weird. North Western Christian University, at the corner of College and Home Avenues (now College Avenue and 13th Street) was in the 100 or 200 block of College Avenue. Streets, before 1897, were address numbered from the point of origin, not a central point. Only those streets that crossed Washington or Meridian Streets were numbered from a central point. Even then, the addressing was not like the current 100 per block, but 50 per block. For instance, Pennsylvania Street, which is 100 East, was 50 East until 1897.

1896 Map of northeastern downtown Indianapolis showing Noble Street and College Avenue.

The streets would remain this way, with three separate names along an almost straight line (Noble, Plum and College) until 1894. 1894 saw the first of the major street renamings in Indianapolis. Among other things, streets that ran in a general line, continuously, would be given the same name. There were actually two streets in roughly a line with College Avenue connecting the new Eleventh Street to Massachusetts Avenue: Plum Street and Oak Street. Plum would be renamed College Avenue, although the street wasn’t completely straight. The street would remain this way, with a short kink at the Massachusetts Avenue end, until 1953.

The strange thing is that the correction of the north-south streets, which takes place, usually, at 10th Street across the county, happened at 11th Street for Broadway Street and College Avenue. These two streets jogged to the east at Eleventh Street to correct the location of the streets in relation to the surveying of the area.

Indianapolis Star, 11 August 1953. Courtesy of newspapers.com.

In 1953, College Avenue would be straightened at Massachusetts Avenue. This would connect College Avenue directly to Noble Street for the first time. According to the Indianapolis Star of 11 August 1953, “changing the name of Noble Street to College Avenue to eliminate confusion was (a)dvocated yesterday by Mayor Alex M. Clark.” The mayor pointed out that “the elimination of the jog in College Avenue at Mary Street will find Noble Street a continuation of College Avenue.” The article finishes with “one of the oldest streets in the city, Noble Street now runs from Massachusetts Avenue south to Buchanan Street.” This, however, would not be the end of a Noble Street in Indianapolis. Because Noble Street between Virginia Avenue and Buchanan Street wasn’t continuous, the new College Avenue would start at Virginia Avenue.

In the Indianapolis Star of 22 September 1953, it was mentioned that “the council also approved, with some regrets, changing the name of Noble Street to College Avenue to avoid possible confusion following the elimination of the jog in College Avenue at Massachusetts Avenues (sic).” Councilman Joseph A. Wallace, according to the article, “consoled himself with the knowledge that a small stretch of the original Noble Street on the South Side will remain to honor the state’s fifth Governor, Noah Noble.”

Those sections of Noble Street still exist in Indianapolis. Having been disconnected from the rest of the street, there was no reason to change its name. Now, getting back to the original 1855 description of Noble Street, being the sixth east of Meridian Street. A quick glance at a map of Indianapolis will show that College Avenue is addressed at 700 east, making it SEVEN east of Meridian. Somewhere along the way, the alley that was Liberty Street was made an official street, itself being sixth east of Meridian. When streets were being renumbered and renamed in the city, Liberty Street became Park Avenue.

For more information about the massive changing of street names in Indianapolis, check out the link: Why Do Indianapolis Street Numbers Start at 9?

1930: South Bend becoming State Highway Hub

South Bend Tribune, 28 August 1930. The headline reads “City to Become Hub in State’s Road System.” At the time, South Bend was at the crossroads of two United States highways, US 20 and US 31. Before that, in the Auto Trail era, South Bend had been the location of the junction of the two Carl G. Fisher brainchildren: the Lincoln Highway and Dixie Highway. But, the two different eras didn’t entirely use the same roads.

Indiana State Highway Commission officials held a conference about future plans. South Bend became a center of state truck routes, with the addition of three more state routes through the city. They would be through routes added. It would be the following week before definite plans and inspection by state highway officials would occur.

The following conclusions were made by the conference that was attended by Governor Harry G. Leslie, members of the State Highway Commission, the Chamber of Commerce good roads committee and city and county officials:

“1 – Announcement that a 40-foot highway from South Bend to Michigan City will be constructed over the route of the old Lincoln Highway before the world’s fair in Chicago in 1933, thus affording South Bend two arteries of travel to Chicago.”

“2 – Continuance of state road No. 2 from Elkhart to South Bend, entering on Lincoln Way East, and continuing through LaPorte over what is known as state route No. 20.”

“3 – Rerouting of U. S. highway No. 112 from Elkhart to South Bend, entering South Bend on north side of river and Fillmore road, which will be opened by the city through to LaSalle avenue.”

“4 – Indication by state highway commission that U. S. No. 112 after leaving South Bend will be routed west over Lincoln Highway.”

“5 – Decision of commission temporarily to route state road No. 23, also known as the Edwardsburg highway, southwest from the city over the Liberty highway as the first link of a Detroit, Mich., to St. Louis, Mo., highway.”

“6 – Announcement that the state will take over the Liberty highway and attempt to force the New York Central railroad to cooperate in eliminating the gap in pavement near the abandoned Consumers gravel pit.”

“7 – Promise of state officials that adequate snow removal equipment would be in operation in St. Joseph county this winter.”

It is important to realize that when the state highway system was renumbered in 1926, the Lincoln Highway, connecting Fort Wayne to Dyer through Ligonier, Goshen, Elkhart, South Bend, LaPorte and Valparaiso, was only partly on the new highway lines. The portion from South Bend to Rolling Prairie, also part of the historic Michigan Road, was notably left off official highway maps. Both points one and two above discuss the possibility of adding this old highway back into state property rolls. U. S. 20, also called state road No. 20 in this article, left South Bend to the west via what is now Western Avenue in a straight line to Michigan City, unlike the old Michigan Road/Lincoln Highway. As mentioned in point two, the Western Avenue route would become also part of SR 2. It turned out that it would become only SR 2 eventually.

Points three and four mention US 112, a daughter highway of US 12. US 12 traveled straight across Michigan from Detroit to Benton Harbor, then south along Lake Michigan into Indiana to meet US 20 near Michigan City. US 112 linked, originally, downtown Detroit to Elkhart. US 112 was one of the original US highways created in the 1925/1926 plan. US 112 following the Lincoln Highway west of South Bend made sense. The article goes on to mention that “the Lincoln highway was dropped from the state highway system when highway No. 20 was constructed. The Lincoln highway has a 100-foot right-of-way.” US 112 would be removed from Indiana by 1937.

Point five expands SR 23, not an original state road, through South Bend to eventually SR 10 between Bass Lake and Culver. The northern part of this route was added to the state highway system in 1930. The Liberty Highway was added to the system in 1932. This extension of SR 23 would lead to two daughter routes being created: SR 123 that followed Mayflower Road between SR 23 and US 20 (Michigan Road/Lincoln Highway), and SR 223 that followed Crumstown Highway from SR 123/Mayflower Road to SR 23. The former existed until 1981. The latter until 1972.

The plans mentioned in this article were all put into place by the end of 1933. South Bend would become a hub in the state highway system. Today, even with the reroute of US 31 and US 20 around the city, and US 33 being decommissioned from Elkhart west and north, South Bend still maintains a hub status. This is in part because St. Joseph County requested that its sections of old state roads not be removed from the state system (this is why SR 933 only exists in the county, and SR 931 south from South Bend ends at the county line, as well).

Road Trip 1926: SR 9

Today’s Road Trip 1926 is the State Road 9 edition. When designated on 1 October 1926, SR 9 started at US 40 in Greenfield and went north to the Indiana-Michigan state line north of Howe.

Given the length of this road, there are 21 Google maps used to show the route. There are quite a few sections on these maps shown in orange…that means the old road is not able to be used. Most of the time, the road is just gone now, rerouted for efficiency and safety. One was because the road is now part of a lake. (More information about that can be found here.)

Replacement of US 421 in Marion, Shelby and Decatur Counties

US 421. When the Indiana State Highway Commission, in 1926, performed the “Great Renumbering,” most the route of the original Michigan Road became known as SR 29. This was especially true in southeastern Indiana. In 1951, most of SR 29 was recommissioned as US 421, again especially in southeastern Indiana. Less than a decade of this renumbering, the ISHC started working on a plan to build an interstate highway from Indianapolis to Cincinnati. This highway would be Interstate 74. The route for I-74 would roughly follow the old Michigan Road, and hence US 421, as far as Greensburg in Decatur County.

1960 ISHC Official Map showing US 421 from southeast of Shelbyville to near downtown Indianapolis.

The first section of I-74 opened in 1960. East of Acton Road, one mile west of the Marion-Shelby County line, the new interstate had been built right on top of the old US 421 to two miles east of that county line, with the exception of the section through the town of Pleasant View. As a result of this replacement of the old road, the US 421 designation was logically moved to the new interstate. However, when the old road reappeared on the north side of I-74, the US 421 designation didn’t move back to the old road. It remained multiplexed with the interstate to the end of the road at SR 9. US 421 then followed SR 9 south into Shelbyville, then SR 44 east out of the city, where it followed Michigan Road southeast out of town. The western end of I-74, from Acton west to the end of the road west of what is now I-465, wasn’t multiplexed. US 421 remained on the old Michigan Road, called Southeastern Avenue from Acton all the way to downtown Indianapolis.

In 1961, I-74 was completed to SR 244 in east central Shelby County. US 421 still maintained its route through Shelbyville. The section on Southeastern Avenue in Marion County was removed, placing the US 421 designation on the interstate from then end of I-74 to SR 9.

1963 ISHC Official Map showing US 421 connecting to I-74 at SR 244.

The next change in US 421 came in 1963 when the ISHC moved the US 421 designation to I-74 between SR 9 and SR 244. SR 244 was reeled back to the JCT I-74, with US 421 replacing the less than 1/2 mile on the west end of SR 244. Thus, US 421 continued on its way along the old Michigan Road from that point. I-74, at the time, had been completed to an exit that was built east of Middletown on the Shelby-Decatur County line.

1964 saw the completion of I-74 to Cincinnati, with the exception of the section between US 52 and SR 1. This would also be the year that the eastern end of US 52 in Indiana would be multiplexed with I-74.

1965 ISHC Official Map showing US 421 being rerouted over I-74 from SR 244 to the Shelby-Decatur County Line. The location of the current interchange between US 421 and I-74 is shown on this snippet.

Another pullback of US 421 occurred in 1965 with the road being rerouted to I-74 at the exit east of Middletown mentioned above. US 421 followed the old Michigan Road, or a close facsimile thereof, to the Shelby-Decatur County line, then went due north to the interchange with the interstate.

The last part of US 421 to be rerouted would happen in 1968. The current end of the separate US 421 northwest of Greensburg was officially put in place. This was even though the interchange was built in 1964. The interchange between I-74 and US 421 at this location would be rebuilt and expanded, moving “Michigan Road” to allow the larger connection.

Today, the old US 421 is still (mostly) travelable (there are slight deviations at locations of interchanges with I-74, since the old road is literally right along side the interstate in most places) from northwest of Greensburg to London Road, and from Acton Road to downtown Indianapolis. It is also marked as the Michigan Road Historic Byway to guide that travel.

The End of State Roads in Indianapolis

01 July 1999. The day that Indianapolis lost its lost state roads. Now, if you take into consideration the entire city of Indianapolis, there are still plenty of state roads inside the city limits. But on 01 July 1999, the last numbered routes were dragged outside of, or became part of, Interstate 465. On that day, the last five INDOT roads were rerouted or entirely removed.

That day was a long time coming. The Indiana State Highway Commission, and later its successor INDOT, had been removing state owned highways from the city since 1967. The first road to go away was US 52. That road, which utilized two very old state roads to Indianapolis (the Lafayette Road and the Brookville Road), was being replaced already from Lebanon south. The first part of Interstate 65 built in Indiana was originally built as a part of US 52. When I-465 reached the southeast side of Marion County, US 52 was rerouted along the sections of I-465 that were in place at the time, along the south and west sides.

1973 saw the start of the removal of SR 100. The section that connected SR 431 (Keystone Avenue) to Shadeland Avenue along 86th and 82nd Streets was removed first. 1974 saw almost the entire route of SR 100 finally removed in favor of Interstate 465. The only section of SR 100 that was left after 1974, officially, was from US 40 south to I-465 along Shadeland Avenue.

In 1975, what I call a “wholesale slaughter” of state roads occurred. US 136 was truncated to High School Road and the westside entrance to I-74. US 36 was rerouted along the southside of Indianapolis, as was SR 67. US 421 was moved to follow the north and east legs of I-465. At this point, the only state roads inside I-465 were US 31, US 40, SR 100, SR 135 and two sections of SR 431 on the north and south sides.

The next removal would be in 1986 with the decommissioning of SR 431 along Madison Avenue on the south side. This would remove a eight mile section of the original US 31 (and OSR 1) from Indianapolis and Greenwood. Also, SR 431 on the north side would be cut back to I-465. Unlike the south side, the SR 431 on the northside was an almost 20 year old bypass of the original SR 431 that used Westfield Boulevard.

Then came 01 July 1999. On that day, SR 100 was completely removed from state inventory. SR 135 was rerouted from Troy Avenue to Thompson Road, two miles south, and outside the Interstate 465 loop. The last two highways that existed until that day, US 31 and US 40, were moved to multiplex with I-465 along the south and east sides. This left Indianapolis served, legally, by only I-65 and I-70. This is in keeping with the state law that requires all county seats in Indiana being connected by at least two state maintained highways.

The question that I have been asked a lot is “does (name a through road) still go through Indianapolis?” This is especially asked about US 31 and US 40, major (almost) cross-country highways. The answer I normally give is “well, kinda.” Legally, all of the US routes and state roads are actually continuous routes. They are all routed along I-465 between the two points these roads enter the city. Signage wise? Not on a bet. The only signage that shows how to get from one part of the route to another is a big green sign that states “For (road) (direction) follow I-465 to Exit (number).” There are no signs along I-465 to show travelers that they on the route they want.

Railroad Abandonments in Indianapolis

At one time, Indiana was crisscrossed by many railroad companies. After quite a few consolidations, the number went from hundreds of railroads to tens of them. With a handful of cities in the state having been an important hub for one or more railroads, transportation became a very important industry, and big business, in Indiana.

And then, railroads weren’t important.

Locations all over the state were hit with abandonments of railroad routes. Even the first railroad in Indiana, the Madison & Indianapolis, found itself cut in half in 1976 when the temporary United States Railroad Administration (the government agency that would start paring down the railroad network that would become part of Conrail on 1 April 1976) abandoned the section from Columbus to North Vernon.

Due to the concentration of railroads in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, there were more miles of track removed there than any other place in the state. This is not to say that Indianapolis was hit hardest, far from it. There were towns all over the state that lost their railroad completely. Just in the nine county metro area, the following come to mind: Plainfield, Zionsville, Carmel, Mount Comfort, and Greenfield. To a certain extent, Castleton, Fishers and Noblesville can be included on that list. But many miles of railroad track were removed from the landscape of Indianapolis, usually the only remnants of which are (now) unexplained humps in roads that crossed them. And occasionally a bridge over or under nothing.

Most of the trackage in Indianapolis that was abandoned originally belonged to companies that became part of the Penn Central in 1968. When Conrail was created in 1976, the only parts of the new company that were in Central Indiana were Penn Central lines. Other companies that became part of Conrail were mostly located in northern Indiana.

But one day before Conrail came into being, on 31 March 1976, the Penn Central officially abandoned the old Peoria & Eastern line on the east side of Indianapolis. The line, which connected Indianapolis to Shirley (originally to Springfield, Ohio, but the section from Shirley to Lynn, Indiana, had been abandoned in 1974), was removed from a point east of Post Road.

1982 saw a massive abandonment of what was once the Pennsylvania Railroad in the Indianapolis area. Conrail, the owner of the line at the time, officially abandoned the old Pennsylvania Mainline from Limedale to Bridgeport, and from Pine (the PRR junction with the Indianapolis Belt on the east side of the city) to Charlottesville.
This was after the section from Charlottesville to Cambridge City had been abandoned in 1976.

Two years later, the original Indianapolis & Vincennes line, connecting downtown Indianapolis to the Eagle Creek connector (a line the PRR built to connect two sections of the old Vandalia – the I&V and the TH&I – between Holt Road and Tibbs Avenue) was officially removed by Conrail. That line went across property which is now the Eli Lilly campus that has also taken over Kentucky Avenue from Morris Street to Harding Street. It was then known as the Kentucky Avenue Industrial. Two industrial tracks attached to the old I&V also were removed at the same time. Known as the Caven Industrial, it consisted of two tracks: Maywood Avenue to Petersburg Secondary (aka the old I&V/Vandalia/PRR, now Indiana Southern) (4.5 miles) and Allison Plant to Maywood Avenue (4.3 miles).

At the same time as the I&V abandonment, Conrail decided to remove what was left of the original Lafayette & Indianapolis line, which had become the North Stret Industrial. This track had been removed in three sections: one) 2.7 miles from Methodist Hospital to the Water Company; two) 1.4 miles between Acme Evans to 16th Street; and three) .88 miles of track that ran east of the Central Canal (that would include the track that ran through what is now the Indiana Government Complex). The Acme Evans spur tracks at West Street would not be removed until 1989. The last of the North Street Industrial, owned by CSX, is listed as “pending” on the official INDOT abandonment list. But this list hasn’t been updated since 2013. The abandonment section is listed as “Northwest Belt and North Street IT.”

Another New York Central track, the Louisiana Street Spur, which connected Union Station almost due east to the NYC Coach Yard at Shelby Street was also officially abandoned by Conrail in 1984. The bridge that was built in 1975/1976 over Interstates 65/70 just south of Bates Street is part of this route. The bridge was refurbished when the interstate was closed from major reconstruction. At that point, the railroad had been removed for almost two decades.

1987: CERA abandoned the Rolling Mill Industrial, which connected Indianapolis Union Station to the N. K. Hurst Company building on McCarty Street. CERA had obtained the line in 1982 from Conrail.

The CSX Decatur Sub, which it had acquired with the consolidation of the C&O and B&O, was removed in Indianapolis in several sections.
– 1989: 26.73 miles from Indianapolis MP 132.45 to Roachdale.
– 1992: Indianapolis from MP 129.2 to 132.45.
– 1996: From Moorefield Yard (MP 127.8) to Speedway (MP 129.2)
– 2002: Indianapolis (MP 127.8) to Speedway (MP 129.19).

All of these abandonments would occur as part of CSX. The entire route, from Decatur, Illinois, to Speedway, was on the chopping block by the B&O before it was taken into CSX proper.

The Monon line through Indianapolis was taken away in sections starting in 1974. First, in 1974, the Louisville & Nashville chopped the section between 10th and 17th Streets. Two years later, the L&N extended that to 22nd Street. Then, in 1984, CSX removed the rest of the line all the way to Frankfort.

Most of the information for this entry came from the list of abandoned railroads maintained by the Indiana Department of Transportation. That list, apparently, has not been updated since 2013. It is available here.

US 40 – Knightstown to Dunreith

1937. The first national highway in Indiana is about to be moved for the sake of safety. It hadn’t been a major problem for almost 80 years. It was the point where the National Road crossed the Pennsylvania Railroad at Dunreith. It was a dangerous crossing, made even more so by the fact that the state had another state road in the area crossing the tracks in almost the same spot. That road was SR 3. The solution to the problem would create an “out in the middle of nowhere” overpass, move a river, and would add to making the Old National Road a four lane highway across the entire state.

1937 ISHC Map of US 40 in Henry County.

The plan was put in place in 1937. Three projects were put into action by James D. Adams, head of the Indiana State Highway Commission. Two projects involved SR 21 and US 27, and will be covered in a later post. The project that we are concerned with involves both US 40 and SR 3. The US 40 part of the project would move the highway to north of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Knightstown and Dunreith. The tracks, in place since the mid-1850’s, crossed the original National Road twice in that span: once east of Knightstown, once west of Dunreith.

By 1937, the crossing at Knightstown had been replaced with an overpass, due to the railroad having elevated the entire line through Knightstown. The problem was that the state was planning making US 40 a four lane divided highway across the entire state, and the PRR bridge in question was two lanes wide with a center bridge support. That center bridge support had been a traffic problem anyway, but having to rebuild the bridge was not in the cards. Besides, rebuilding the bridge only eliminated one problem that existed between Knightstown and Dunreith.

According to the Richmond Item of 04 May 1937, described the relocation of US 40 as follows. “A two lane highway is planned between Knightstown and Dunreith. Each lane will be separated by about 20 feet. Motorists will all travel the same direction on each stretch of highway.” In my mind, I can’t be sure if the newspaper is talking about two lanes in each direction, or a rather large road sometimes called a “Super 2.”

But there was another thing that would become part of this project. It was best summed up by the opening paragraph of an article in the Greenfield Reporter of 02 August 1939: “Usual procedure is to build a bridge over a river, but at Knightstown the State Highway Department built a bridge, and is proceeding to put a river under it.” The Big Blue River, which is just east of Knightstown, was actually moved for the project. The old river bed was where the now US 40 turns slightly northeast to go around the railroad tracks that are, ironically, no longer there.

Google Map Image, snipped 14 July 2019, showing the area east of Knightstown, Indiana where the Big Blue River and Historic National Road cross, and crossed. The old riverbed ran approximately where the word “Historic” is located near the center of the snippet.

The other piece to this whole puzzle that I have mentioned several times is SR 3 at Dunreith. At the time, SR 3 met US 40 at what is now SR 3 and Old National Road. The railroad didn’t cross SR 3, since it multiplexed with US 40 to just east of the location of the US 40 crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad. SR 3 then turned north on what is now Old Spiceland Road. The plan to fix the SR 3 issue was to create an overpass of both the railroad and the new US 40 at Dunreith, connecting SR 3 south of US 40/Pennsylvania Railroad to what is now First Street in Dunreith.

Google Map image, snipped 14 July 2016, of Dunreith, Indiana.

The location of the relocated SR 3 is clearly visible on the above Google Map image. The gentle curve of the old road bed can still be seen. Even a decade after SR 3 was “rerouted” to (pretty close to) its pre-1940 alignment. The bridge of SR 3 over US 40 disappeared from INDOT Official Maps in 2007, 70 years from when it was planned.

As for the railroad that was a big part of this problem? Well, that’s a strange part of the story. The Pennsylvania Railroad ceased to exist on 1 February 1968. Its successor, the Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company, or Penn Central, took over the line, labeled as the Columbus Mainline. The first part of the Columbus Mainline to have been removed from service was done on 31 March 1976. It was 21.26 miles of track from Charlottesville to Cambridge City, passing through Knightstown and Dunreith. The very next day, the Penn Central would then cease to exist as it became part of the Consolidated Rail Corporation, or Conrail. (Although there WERE some Penn Central tracks owned by Penn Central [legally] until 1981 in Indiana. Conrail took the Penn Central as a company, they just didn’t take all of its property.) The rest of the Columbus Mainline would be abandoned as part of Conrail.

The Many US 31s of Floyd and Clark Counties

When someone looks at a map of Indiana, especially around the Louisville, Kentucky, area, that reader will notice that US 31 crosses the Ohio River from Jeffersonville. One comment would make this post really short: it has since 1930. But, as is often the case in Indiana transportation history, the answer isn’t quite that simple. Before it was all said and done, there would be three US 31s in Clark County at one time. The crossing to Kentucky from Indiana would move from New Albany to Jeffersonville. Several state roads would come and go, as would versions of US 31.

1926 Indiana State Highway Commission map of the Falls Of The Ohio area.

The story of US 31, by name, as with every other US highway in Indiana, starts on 01 October 1926. Since 1917, the route had been State Road 1. SR 1 would connect Michigan to Kentucky via South Bend, Plymouth, Rochester, Peru, Kokomo, Indianapolis, Franklin, Columbus, Seymour, Scottsburg and New Albany. With the creation of US 31 during the “Great Renumbering,” the selected route would cross into Kentucky along one of the first multi modal bridges to cross the Ohio River, the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge. The original K&I Bridge was opened in 1886 with both a railroad track and two wagon trails, allowing both railroad and horse traffic to cross from New Albany to Louisville.

1930 Kentucky Official Map Louisville inset, showing both US 31 crossings of the Ohio River.

By 1930, the state road landscape of the Jeffersonville/New Albany/Louisville (aka the Falls of the Ohio) area had changed quite a bit. US 31 was split into two routes in Indiana: US 31E and US 31W. While these were marked with suffixes in Indiana, Kentucky had, at least in 1930, labelled them just as US 31. US 31W maintained the route of the original SR 1/US 31. The new US 31E route crossed the Ohio River on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, marked on the Kentucky map to the left as the Municipal Toll Bridge. It is still used as US 31 to this day.

Also, by 1930, a new state road had been added to connect New Albany to Sellersburg: SR 33. The importance of this will be mentioned shortly.

It is also important to mention that there were TWO Indiana Official maps for 1930. The second one, snippet shown below, was dated 01 August 1930. The first 1930 map still had only one US 31, connecting to New Albany.

01 August 1930 ISHC Map of Falls of the Ohio area

A quick glance at the first Indiana map to show US 31W and US 31E show that they split relatively close to the Ohio River. The route of US 31W on this map is, from west to east: Spring Street; Providence Way; and (what is now) Lewis and Clark Parkway. Most of what was US 31E on this map has been removed by the construction of Interstate 65.

1932 and 1933 were eventful years in terms of the two US 31s. First, in 1932, a reroute of US 31W was in the works. As is typical of ISHC maps, two US 31W routes were shown: the one put in place in 1930, and one that takes the place of the now disappeared SR 33. The original US 31W would be replaced, on the maps, in 1933 with a new state road: SR 231. SR 62 was extended along the western section of the old US 31W from the K&I Bridge connection to Clark Boulevard. SR 231 took over from that point to the junction with US 31E. The 1933 map also shows the return of SR 33, this time west of the original route (and shown on the 1932 as an authorized addition).

1932 ISHC Map of the Falls of the Ohio area
1933 ISHC Map of the Falls of the Ohio area

One of the strangest changes to the ISHC official maps is that of 1935. US 31 is listed, as before, in two different routes. But this time, the route of US 31W is labeled as US 31, with US 31E labeled as US 31B. This would only appear on the 1935 map, as in 1936, it would go back to being 31E and 31W.

As an aside, the new SR 33 would also disappear in 1938, replaced with the number 111. This was due to the coming of US 33 in 1937 to Indiana. For more information about why that number change had to occur, check out US Highways: They are actually State Roads.

1957, and the next change to the then “current and old” routes of US 31 was made. SR 231 was removed from the state highway system. Actually, the number 231 was removed. The road itself stayed property of the ISHC as SR 131.

1963 ISHC Map of the Falls of the Ohio area

The 1963 official map shows that US 31W and US 31E actually met on the Indiana side of the Ohio River. This was due to the construction of Interstate 65 over part of the old US 31E route. US 31E then used the original US 31W route to connect the two roads at the K&I Bridge. By 1964, the interchange at US 31E and I-65 in downtown Jeffersonville was complete, allowing the return of US 31E to the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, and SR 131 to be reassigned to the temporary US 31E route.

The end of the dual Indiana US 31s would come in 1980. US 31W, more or less the original US 31 in the state, became SR 311. The crossing of the Ohio River on the K&I Bridge by non-train traffic had been ended by the railroad owners of the K&I Bridge. This was after an overweight dump truck had caused the road to drop approximately a foot. By this time, US 31 had been connected to the interstate system, allowing quick access along I-265 to I-64/US 150 and the Sherman Minton Bridge crossing of the Ohio River.

US 31E simply became US 31. This also caused the 31W/31E separation to occur in downtown Louisville. The last remnant of the original State Road 1/US 31 in that area of Indiana was removed in 2003, when SR 131 was decommissioned.

Road Trip 1926: SR 7

The Madison Road. Depending on where you count it from, since the 1820s, there has been a road connecting Indianapolis, Franklin, Columbus, Vernon and Madison. Just like the railroad of the same name.

SR 7 was the number given to the road from Columbus to Madison. Most of this route still exists with very little modification. The route had been truncated at the Columbus end, making SR 46 the Columbus entry from the south and east.

1926 Indiana Official State Highway Map showing the route of SR 7 as it was on 01 October 1926.

SR 107

Madison. Once, the second largest town in Indiana, starting point for both the first long distance railroad in Indiana, and Indiana’s first official state road. With the “Great Renumbering,” Madison became home to three state roads: SR 7, SR 29 and SR 56. Of those three, SR 7 and SR 29 (originally) climbed a very large hill coming out of the Ohio River valley. At the top of the hill, the town of North Madison gave a respite to the climbers of the long and winding roads. This was also the location of Clifty Falls State Park. In 1932, the State Highway Commission decided to add a road to its system to service the park. It became SR 107.

1932 ISHC Map of Madison
1933 ISHC Map of Madison

SR 107 was a daughter of SR 7. This made sense, since the road, originally, was only a couple of miles long, starting at SR 7. In its early years, SR 107 was so short that, although shown as a state road on official maps, there were times that the road number wasn’t even included on those maps. Such is the case for the years 1932 and 1934. The first official labelling of SR 107 occurred in 1933, then again from 1935 on. 1933 also added another state road to the town of Madison, SR 62. This road will come into play later.

1934 ISHC Map of Madison

The original road, shown in these two map snippets, changed a little in 1934, while still ending at Clifty Falls State Park. (Even though the road number wasn’t shown.)

SR 107 would be lengthened in 1938, by about a mile or so. However, in 1937, the ISHC maps show a county road connecting the end of SR 107 to SR 256 west of Madison. By 1939, the short state road was expanded to connect SR 29, SR 7, SR 256, SR 56 and SR 62 together from east to west through North Madison. This made the entire road five miles long.

1939 ISHC Map of Madison

SR 107 would remain the same for many years after this. The only real change in ISHC maps was the change of SR 29 to US 421 in 1951. 1963 saw a change in SR 107 when it was removed from ISHC maps between SR 7 and US 421. It was returned to the official map the very next year. This may have been just a cartographic error.

1971 ISHC Map of Madison

In 1970, construction was completed on the US 421 that currently enters Madison, bypassing the large, winding, hill into town. The old US 421, from its junction with SR 107 to where the bypass ended became part of SR 107. Right about where SR 107 would have connected to SR 62, had it ever been extended that far, the new US 421 took over the route that SR 62 followed into Madison, hence a multiplex of US 421 and SR 62. Again, this will become important shortly.

1977 ISHC Map of Madison

1976 saw the last time SR 107 was shown on official maps. In 1977, all of SR 107 was removed, being replaced with SR 62. The multilane SR 62 bypass of Madison was being constructed, connecting from the new US 421 to the old US 421 that became SR 107. To maintain a complete SR 62, the old US 421 section of SR 107 became SR 62. That section would still be listed as an unnumbered state road until 1981. It was then that the last few miles of the original Michigan Road was once again removed from the state road system. However, the old road is still accessible, and is labeled as the Michigan Road Historic Byway.

Editor’s note: This post will go live on 12 July 2019. As an unplanned event, simply because I really didn’t think that far ahead, the latest “Road Trip 1926” will be posted on 13 July 2019. The subject of that entry? State Road 7.

SR 342

Terre Haute. The building of the Terre Haute Airport along SR 42 east of the city helped create one of the shortest state roads in Indiana history: SR 342. And given that part of its history includes a span of existence of less than a decade, it could have gone down as one of the shortest lived state roads in Indiana, as well.

1946

The Terre Haute airport (Hulman Field) began to appear on Indiana Official maps in 1946. The airport was located east of SR 46 and west of Chamberlain Street on SR 42. The red circular object on the 1946 map to the right shows the location of the air field. Also notice, at the time, SR 46 does not continue to US 40 as it does today (actually, the road IS US 40 today, but I digress). SR 46 either ends at, or multiplexes with, SR 42, which enters Terre Haute as Poplar Street.

1956

Between 1953 and 1956 (I am looking for maps to nail the exact date down), a new state road was created: SR 342. It was a very short road, only about one half mile long. A notice in the Terre Haute Tribune of 29 July 1964 states that “the Bituminous Materials Co., 444 S. 6th St., was awarded a $116,893.50 contract to repave 5.5 miles of State Road 42 from State Road 342 east to 1.96 miles east of the Clay County line, and State Road 342 south from State Road 42 for a half mile.”

1959

By 1959, the official map showed that Terre Haute had annexed the territory out to the airport along SR 42 (SR 46), with SR 342 being the eastern edge of the city. The 1959 also shows that SR 342 might have moved to the east to be along Chamberlain Street. Looking at a current map, this makes sense. But until 1959, it looked like SR 342 connected to what is now the terminal at the airport.

1963

By 1963, SR 342 would be removed from state official maps. This means that this state road had existed less than a decade. Again, looking at a current map of the area, the former SR 342 does, or more to the point did, connect to both the Indiana Air National Guard and the Indiana Wing Civil Air Patrol. That would, in theory, warrant a state road designation. Or would have at that time.

As an aside, the part of Chamberlain Street south of SR 42 is closed, being blocked by a large barricade. And the road being narrow past that barricade. Yet someone thought far enough ahead to make sure that this ~100 feet long road had a brand new stop sign (installed in 2014 by INDOT). Want to see Google’s image of it, click the link here. There is also another abandoned road just to the east of this location. SR 42 turns to the southeast to connect to a roundabout that allows access to the IANG/Civil Air Patrol area, but a quick glance at a map shows an old road that connected in a straight east/west line to SR 42.

1969

And just when you thought it was over, 1969 shows the return of SR 342. First mention of this return of SR 342 was in the Terre Haute Tribune of 29 March 1967. The legal notice of condemnation of land was published, mentioning that the land was being condemned for use by the United States Department of the Air Force, and that one boundary of said land was the “west right-of-way line of the proposed State Road 342.” This second incarnation of SR 342 would exist around 45 to 50 years, being removed in the mid-2010s. With the rerouting of the entrance to the Indiana Air National Guard facility, the old road was blocked off and the new road never got the state road designation.

In the end, SR 342 existed from 1956 to 1963, and from 1969 to roughly 2015.

SR 267

In 1933, a small state road was created to connect SR 67 at Mooresville to US 40 at Plainfield. That road would be given the “daughter” number of SR 267. SR 267 would be one of those roads that would ultimately be a disjointed effort to create a pseudo-bypass of Marion County in eastern Hendricks County. But there was more to it over the years…and less, as well.

1933 Map of SR 267

The first reference to the road, again, appeared on the 1933 Indiana Official Highway Map. SR 67, at the time, entered Mooresville from the south, exiting to the east through the middle of town. Right in the center of Mooresville, at the point where a northbound traveler would turn east to continue to Indianapolis along SR 67, SR 42 started. SR 42 would go west from that point. In 1933, SR 267 would start at that exact point, going north.

When it was created, SR 267 entered Plainfield along Center Street. The end of the state road would be at the corner of Center and Main Streets, with Main Street being the historic National Road, otherwise known as US 40. At the time, the condition of the new SR 267 would be listed as “intermediate type: Bituminous mulch top, surface treated water bound Macadam, Road Oil Mat.” In 1937, the original section would be listed as “high type.” It would again become “intermediate type” on the 1939 official. The “intermediate type” label would be changed to “dustless” in the coming years. SR 267 maintained that status until 1967.

1937 Map of SR 267

Also in 1937, there were two sections to be added to this tiny state road. First was an authorized addition that wasn’t officially located that connected Plainfield at US 40 to Brownsburg at SR 34. The second would be a gravel road, non-treated, connecting SR 34 to US 52/US 152 in Boone County. A quick glance at the map on the right shows that the “authorized addition” pretty much follows what would become the completed SR 267. But that “authorized addition” status would be removed from that section in 1938.†

1941 Map of the Northern Section of SR 267

By 1939, the expanded SR 267 would be pared back, even if it was just for construction of a new route. The shortened section was the northern end, which had been cut from SR 34 to the Hendricks-Boone County Line. From US 52 (US 152 was removed from the official rolls in 1938) south, the road would come to an abrupt end at that county line. By 1941, the newly routed SR 267 from the Hendricks-Boone County line to Brownsburg was back in place, as shown on the map to the left. SR 267 still did not connect the two sections at that point, leaving a gap between Plainfield and Brownsburg. The northern section of the road would be listed as “high type,” or “paved,” starting in 1948.

It wouldn’t be until 1956 that the connecting road between Plainfield and Brownsburg, including a connection with US 36 at Avon, would make it onto Indiana Official maps. The new connecting section would be listed as “intermediate type.” It would remain that way until 1967, like the southern section.

In 1960, the “daughter” no longer connected to its mother route. SR 67 was rerouted around Mooresville. At the same time, SR 144 was extended into Mooresville along High Street, moving SR 42 four blocks south from Main Street to High Street. SR 267 then ended at SR 42 at the corner of High and Monroe Streets.

One would think that would be the end of the history of this route. With the official planning of Interstate 70 south of Plainfield, a new interchange would be built. But it wasn’t directly to the SR 267 at the time. By the time I-70 was completed to that point, it would connect to a new SR 267, that would connect to US 40 east of the old route, which would still be shown on the map of that year, 1969. The following year, the old road would be returned to county responsibility.

The last change to this road would be in the mid-2010’s, when INDOT pared SR 267 back again, not only removing the last section of the road that was added to the state system, but ending the road at Interstate 74 on the north side of Brownsburg. I am not sure if it has to do with the completion of the Ronald Reagan Parkway from I-74 to US 40 (and further to I-70), but it does make sense. Should INDOT decide to move SR 267 to this “new” road, which given INDOT’s desire to shed maintenance costs makes it unlikely, it is entirely possible that the “new” SR 267 could connect again with SR 67 at Ameriplex Parkway, completely removing Mooresville from the mix. Or, they could run along the RR Parkway to US 40, then to the SR 267 currently in place. Again, it is merely speculation, and should be taken with a grain (or a truckload, actually) of salt.

Last of the “Dustless” State Roads

How long were “non-paved” state roads shown on Indiana Official State Highway Maps? Well, that would be the map of 1972-1973. But what do I mean by “non-paved?” Roads on the maps had always been listed in three categories. In the 1960s and 70s, they were multilane, two lane, and dustless. Dustless, in this case, was a category that covers, usually, oil covered gravel roads. And Indiana still had them on the official maps in 1972. But what were they?

Knox County had more than their fair share of them. The above map shows them. The non-solid lines are listed as “dustless” state roads. On this map, that would be: SR 58 from SR 159 at Freelandville to the Knox-Daviess County line; SR 59 from Linton (in Greene County) to SR 58 south of Sandborn; SR 61 from SR 241 south about four miles; SR 159 from the Knox County line to SR 67 at Bicknell; SR 241 from US 41 near Decker to SR 61; and SR 550 from old US 41 at Emison to US 50/150 at Wheatland.

Other “dustless” roads in Indiana were in Washington County. SR 39, from the JCT SR 250 in Jackson County (southeast of Brownstown) to its southern terminus at SR 56; SR 160 for its entire length in Washington County; and SR 335 from SR 60 at Pekin to the Floyd-Washington County line.

SR 250 from the Jackson-Jennings County line east to Paris, and in Switzerland County from SR 56 at East Enterprise to the similarly dustless SR 156 at Patriot is also on that list of “dustless” roads. SR 156 was “dustless” from Vevay to the Ohio-Switzerland County line.

On the 1973/1974 Official Highway Map, the categories of roads were reduced to two: Multilane Divided and 2 Lane Paved. All of the above roads were listed as “2 lane paved.” Thus the end of the “officially listed” non-paved highways in Indiana. I am not saying that they went away completely…just that they stopped being listed on the official maps.