Road Trip 1926: US 52

Well, we are going a little out of order with today’s road trip. But, I am following the lead of Jim Grey, my co-admin of the Indiana Transportation History Facebook group, as today is a special day…number 52, as a matter of fact.

US 52 started, originally, at US 41 near Fowler, Indiana. This beginning of the route created an almost direct route from Cincinnati to Chicago, via Indianapolis. Through Indiana, it took the place of a couple of original state roads: the Lafayette Road (Lafayette to Indianapolis) and the Brookville Road (Indianapolis to Brookville). In the Auto Trail era, parts of the road were also part of the Jackson Highway (from Montmorenci to Lafayette and from Lebanon to Indianapolis). Those sections would become original SR 6 in 1919. By 1923, the section from Indianapolis to Brookville (and to the Ohio state line) became OSR 39.

The rest of what became US 52 was a “new route” (not part of the then state highway system) when the Great Renumbering happened on 1 October 1926.

5 thoughts on “Road Trip 1926: US 52

  1. Richard, would any of the 1926 U.S. 52 route between Indianapolis and Lafayette been in place by 1919 and just not named as such?

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    1. Actually, most of the route of what became US 52 between Indianapolis and Lafayette had been in place since the mid 1830s. Almost all of it, as a matter of fact. It was the “Indianapolis-Lafayette State Road” when it was created in the 1830s. There have been some changes in the original state road as US 52 was moved around…especially at the Lafayette end. Heck, there is an Ivy Tech campus built right in the middle of the old road near Lafayette.

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  2. U.S. 52 was the route back in the ’50’s to Colfax and Miller’s Restaurant where the finest catfish dinners in the world were regularly served. They were so good, I suspect that’s the reason for the road alignment being where it was between Indianapolis and Lafayette. Otherwise, farmers would have been P.O.’d at folks driving through their corn to get there. 🙂

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  3. Happy 52 to you!

    I’ve driven the Brookville Road almost to the OH state line, and I’ve driven 52 to Lafayette. I’ve got to do the portion to Fowler one day.

    There are a couple old alignments of 52 in Marion, and dipping into Hendricks/Boone, counties. The road made a couple of jig-jogs that were straightened out when the road was four-laned. I’ve linked to my blog post about one of them below. Another is north of there, a road veers off to the right just before entering Hendricks County. The other is just north of Lafayette Square. A short section of 1920s concrete remains in the parking lot for a small strip mall.

    https://blog.jimgrey.net/2015/09/30/90-year-old-concrete-pavement-on-old-us-52-in-northwest-indianapolis/

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