Greensburg Road, To Where Depends on the Source

Leading southeast out of Franklin, the county seat of Johnson County, is a road that is named Greensburg Road, that connected to Greensburg, county seat of Decatur County. Depending on the source of information, that road is listed with multiple destinations. All of them end, or begin depending on the source, at Greensburg. It’s the other end that goes to who knows where.

The “Indiana Gazetteer, Or, Topographical Dictionary” of 1833, under the entry for Shelby County, lists “a road from Indianapolis to Greensburgh” as running through the central part of the county. Given that most state roads at the time ran in nowhere a straight line between two points, I would almost bet money that this road would be a branch of the Madison-Indianapolis State Road, leaving the Madison at Franklin (and called Greensburg Road). This would make sense.

In the book “Laws of the State of Indiana,” listing laws passed by the legislature during the 1829-1830 session, Chapter LXXIII, Section 3, states “that the sum of five hundred dollars be appropriated on so much of the state road from Greensburgh in Decatur county, through Franklin in Johnson county, Mooresville, and Greencastle in Putnam county, to the state line, in the direction to Vandalia.” So the same Greensburg Road in Franklin now has an end point on the Illinois-Indiana State Line, with the road heading toward Vandalia. I am not sure which road this would be…but the National Road leads from near Greencastle to Vandalia, Illinois. Vandalia, Indiana, is an unincorporated place along SR 46 between Spencer and Bowling Green. So it is unlikely this is the Vandalia mentioned in the law.

Ultimately, the Greensburgh Road (which, strangely, is how it is still spelled in newspapers – especially the Daily Journal of Franklin, Indiana) would become a “turnpike,” or toll road, between Franklin and Greensburg. The route to Indianapolis would have followed the Madison Road, a toll road. The route to Mooresville would follow what is now (in parts) SR 144 between Franklin and Mooresville.

As far as I can tell, it would have followed Vandalia Road (that’s the name) from near SR 9 to Greensburg, through the unincorporated town of Geneva in southeastern Shelby County. Between the Johnson-Shelby County line west of Marietta and the old town of Bynam, at SR 9 and Vandalia Road, the old road is hard to find. This is typical of early Indiana state roads. I am pretty sure that it went south of Marietta, crossing the Big Blue River on a diagonal road that is now a driveway leading to Shelby CR 650S. This diagonal road would connect Shelby CR 600S to Shelby CR 650S. But this is just a guess because I can find no maps to show the old Greensburgh Road.

So, after many years, the very old Greensburgh Road basically goes to the middle of nowhere. Sources in the past show it going to Greencastle or Indianapolis, turnpikes show it going to Franklin. Modern sources show it going to the middle of nowhere.

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