South Bend, 1933: Concrete Road Tours of the Area

On 8 August 1933, the South Bend Tribune published a story about how many roads in the area were “excellent and pleasing concrete roads.” St. Joseph County was chuck full of them at the time. The paper had, in the article, posted five tours to make use of these great condition roads. Some of them would venture north of the border into Michigan. Those will be detailed here, as well, as they were a very important part of the transportation facilities of the area.

Each tour is directly quoted from the newspaper article.

Tour 1: “Drive on state road No. 31 (US 31) south to Lakeville, turn left on Quinn road, following it and Patterson road to the Bremen highway in Wyatt. Turn left on the Bremen highway, following this road into Mishawaka where pick up state road 2, turning left into South Bend.”

Today, the US 31 is now SR 931, or old US 31. Quinn Road in Lakeville is called Patterson Street. Quinn Road has also been cut off at the new US 31 when it was built. On the east side of new US 31, Quinn Road ends at Gumwood Road. Here, turning north, the next road to the east is Patterson Road. The Bremen Highway, at Wyatt, is now SR 331. This travels north until the US 20 bypass, where SR 331 turns east along the highway. The old SR 331 continues north to become Union and Church Streets to SR 933, also known as Lincolnway East. The return to South Bend from this point is very close to still extent, until the modern road travels across Monroe Street, since the original Lincoln Highway had been removed decades ago.

Tour 2: “Take state road No. 23, following it through North Liberty and Walkerton, continuing through Walkerton into Starke county where pick up state road No. 30 (US 30). Turn left and follow this road into Plymouth, the county seat of Marshall county. Turn left on state road No. (US) 31 and drive 24 miles into South Bend.”

SR 23 in Starke County connects directly to the old US 30, although it has been expanded over the years. Shortly east of the Starke-Marshall County Line, the new US 30 turns more directly east. This tour continues along the railroad on “Lincoln Highway,” the 1928 version of that venerable old road. Following this old road into Plymouth, the old US 31 is along Michigan Street in that city. Michigan Street north of the city has two names of historic importance: Michigan Road and Dixie Highway. Due to the construction of new US 31 near South Bend, the old road (at least the continually passable version) had been replaced and cut off north of Kern Road. But there is an interchange with the new US 31 at this point, allowing the traveler to, after entering the new US 31 north, to continue on into South Bend along the old road, now SR 933.

Tour 3: “Take state road No. 20, driving west to near New Carlisle, a distance of about 13 miles. Instead of passing through the underpass follow the concrete road a few rods straight ahead to Timothy road, turn right, following this highway to near Galien, Mich., where it intersects with Michigan road No. 60. Turn right on No. 60, which follow to Niles, Mich., picking up No. 31, turning right and following 31 to South Bend.”

The major change in this tour is at Galien, Michigan. Michigan SR 60 in this description had become US 12 (previously US 112). Just east of the St. Joseph Valley Parkway (now US 31), the old road turns onto Michigan SR 139 into Niles. After crossing the St. Joseph River in Niles, the old road follows Main Street to become Michigan SR 51. That road turns south toward South Bend. Here, while numbered 51, it was US 31 before it was moved to the current location. Michigan SR 51 turns into Indiana SR 933 at the state line. This continues past Roseland (as Dixie Highway) and Notre Dame (town named after the university of the same name located there) into South Bend proper.

Tour 4: “Take state road No. 31 to Niles where pick up Michigan road No. 60, turning right and following to Cassopolis, Mich. No. 60 enters the Cassopolis business district and makes a right hand turn. A short distance beyond this turn pick up Michigan road No. 62, turn right and follow No. 62 to the Indiana line, where pick up No. 23, which follow to South Bend.”

For this trip, return the way followed in trip 3 above along SR 933 and Michigan SR 51 into Niles. At Niles, the old road is called “Business Michigan 60.” Here, I will need some help from my Michigan roadie friends. Business 60 connects to what is now Michigan SR 60 east of Niles, also known as Detroit Road. I will have to have help in determining the original route of this SR 60 into Cassopolis. Current SR 60 connects to current SR 62 south of Cassopolis proper. It looks, to me anyway, that following the current 60 to O’Keefe Street, then south until that becomes Michigan SR 62. SR 62 travels through Edwardsburg before reaching the Indiana-Michigan State Line, where Michigan SR 62 becomes Indiana SR 23. The name of the road becomes Edwardsburg Highway and South Bend Avenue when it starts its southwesterly journey towards South Bend proper. The current road turns south on Eddy Street before crossing the St. Joseph River and the Lincoln Highway (SR 933) to become Sample Street to Business US 31/SR 931 at Michigan Street.

Tour 5: “Take state road No. 31 south to Ewing avenue. Turn left, following Ewing avenue to the city limits where the thoroughfare becomes the Dragoon trail, winding around the base of the hills, the highest point in St. Joseph county. Following Dragoon trail to Beech road, turn left, proceeding on Beech road to Lincoln trail or state road No. 2. Turn left, following No. 2 through Mishawaka to South Bend.”

The first several parts of this tour can still be followed today. Ewing Avenue turns into Dragoon Trail, which ends at Beech Road. Beech Road connects to Lincolnway East, which today is labeled SR 933. From there, the same description used in tour one above is followed.

And with that ends the article about touring the Michiana area on the concrete highways in place in 1933. Below is a copy of the article, edited into three columns to make it easier to post and to read.

One thought on “South Bend, 1933: Concrete Road Tours of the Area

  1. My grandparents lived just north of Cassopolis in the 1970s-80s so I know this part of Michigan pretty well. I have no memory of a time before M60’s current configuration bypassing Niles. If I had to guess, westbound I’d say M60 used to follow Lake Shore Drive near Baron Lake, becoming Almaugus Drive. It might well have made the hard turn onto current Business M60. Here’s a page with M60’s history: http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/M-060.html

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