SR 7 Almost Does not Get Built (It is Not What You Think)

The addition of roads to the state highway system, over the years, had some very hard times. Some, like SR 9 and SR 44, were just monetary issues that the state had to be able to afford to maintain the road. Others, like the subject road, depended upon counties to make sure that the road would ultimately be accepted into the state system. The road in question was to become a northern SR 7.

1939. The Indiana State Highway Commission has decided to build a state road, to be numbered 7, from the National Road near Knightstown to Anderson, to enter that city along Columbus Avenue. The right-of-way was in place for Henry and Hancock Counties. Madison County was the lone holdout…but not for lack of trying. Due to lack of money.

Part of the requirement before the ISHC would place SR 7 through the area is that there be a 70 foot right-of-way. Most of the route had already been acquired. Madison County, with their 1940 budget already in place, had no money to purchase said right-of-way. But the majority of the problem, and hence the expense, was on Columbus Avenue between Anderson’s 38th Street and SR 67. As a residential street, most of the right-of-way was spoken for with that purpose. That would make acquiring it very expensive. Especially in terms of the financial situation of 1939.

The state was asked to narrow the road requirement in that section. The ISHC did have that authority. Since the area in question was in the jurisdiction of Madison County, and not Anderson, it would have been tricky…if only technically.

The new SR 7 would start at Ohio Avenue/SR 32 in downtown Anderson, follow Columbus Avenue south to US 36, east to the Knightstown Road at Emporia, then south, southeast and south to US 40 at Knightstown. This would place 22.5 miles of road into maintenance responsibility of the ISHC.

In 1941, the new state road appeared on Indiana official highway maps. But the designation SR 7 was replaced with the designation SR 109. But the routing, and destination, was a bit different than what it is today. Current SR 109 north from Knightstown was followed to CR 800S. Here the original state road turned west, then north on Grant City Road. At the junction of Grant City Road and current SR 109, the original route followed the current one. The current SR 109 turns north at Warrington. The one designated first actually stayed on Nashville Road to the Hancock-Madison County Line, where SR 109 ended abruptly. This was changed to more the current route from Warrington north through Madison County as of the 1942 Official Highway Map. It became official in July 1941.

SO the planned extension of SR 7 ended up becoming SR 109. And Madison County’s section was late to the party due to ISHC requirements and money issues.

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