ITH Tidbits

Over the past almost six years, while researching topics for both the Facebook group and this blog, I have found a lot of things that were interesting, yet wouldn’t make a complete entry for this blog. This includes a lot of things that I have snipped from newspapers that I have shared in the group. Some of those are one off items that I found interesting. Today, I want to share some of those.

This picture appeared in the Indianapolis News on 4 October 1960. It was part of a larger advertisement by the Portland Cement Association about the opening of Interstate 74 from what would eventually become I-465 to Shelbyville that had just opened. It states very bluntly that the “Old Michigan Road” was replaced by the new interstate. The Michigan Road, in that section, had been in place for around 130 years or so, but now found itself not only relegated to becoming a frontage road, but also completely removed in one section from Acton Road to London Road, when the interstate was built directly on top of the old right-of-way. I found this picture recently (26 February 2020), although I covered the topic (“Replacement of US 421 in Marion, Shelby and Decatur Counties“) on 19 July 2019.

Another tidbit I found on 26 February 2020 involved a topic that I have covered several times in ITH. SR 100 was originally planned, though not built, as a bypass of the city of Indianapolis in 1932. Eventually, when I-465 was built to replace SR 100, the Federal Government paid 90% of the cost. But the section that is now 465 from 62nd Street to north of 96th Street on the west side wasn’t included in the original design. At that time, state roads were paid by the Feds in a 50/50 arrangement. When the state decided to connect the two sections of 465 with this new road, it was built as SR 100 (hence the location of Park 100!). The state, therefore, paid half the cost. It lasted as SR 100 for about a year, before it was recommissioned as I-465, creating a 25 year confusion with the “dogleg,” which was the actual 465 in the beginning.

Proof that INDOT still believes that the section of 465 that connects the north leg to the original west leg is an afterthought is shown in the signage that INDOT itself installs. This sign is located at Township Line Road on -465 West. Notice that the destination on the sign shows I-465 South, and that the mileage to I-65 North is listed. This sign was probably put in place in the late 1960’s when the interstate was constructed. I want to mention that this picture was taken in April 2019, after the sign was just replaced by INDOT and I-865 had existed for around two decades. (The sign wasn’t actually replaced. All of the signs in that section were covered over with segments that were riveted to the old sign, those lowering the cost of replacement.)

When I started the ITH blog, one of the first articles talked about how US Highways are merely state roads. (“US Highways: They are actually State Roads,” 12 February 2019) This is shown when it comes to signs that INDOT install along these roads. The pictures shown here come from the Pleasant View interchange with Interstate 74/US 421. Or State Road 421, depending on which sign you look at. The first of these two pictures shows not only a SR 421 marker on the BGS (big green sign), but also a US 421 trailblazer on the right shoulder closer to the exit. 421 has this signing situation in numerous places along its route. It should be noted that the sign that shows the SR 421 marker is newer than that of the one with the US 421 marker. This can be seen by the fact that the directions use smaller upper case letters, as is now Federal standard.

An article from the Indianapolis Star of 24 August 1944 shows the contract for the final section of US 40 that needed widened to four lanes has been let. 10.75 miles of the road, from Dunreith to Dublin, were all that was left of making US 40 across the state into a divided highway. Notice that the road was to be 22 feet wide and made of concrete. The paving company that won the contract, Calumet Paving Company, still exists today as Calumet Civil Contractors, Inc. (www.calumetcivil.com) According to its website, the company started in 1928 and its first project was SR 6 in Gary.

References to the Madison & Indianapolis State Road still exist in legal descriptions. The above snippet shows a property description in Franklin which still uses the original name of the road that would become, later, Original State Road 1 and, hence, US 31.

The Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railroad is also still listed in property descriptions in Franklin, as well. This, to me, is strange, since the JM&I was actually a later company name for what was the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad. For an idea of the age of this reference, the railroad would later become known as: the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis (Panhandle); the Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington; the Penn Central; Conrail; and now as the Louisville & Indiana. The last two snippets were published in the Daily Journal of Franklin concerning construction work at the Masonic Home.

When I was writing a blog entry concerning Indiana Toll Roads (“The Indiana Toll Road(s),” 25 May 2019), +I found this article concerning the possibility of building a toll road from Chicago to Miami (you know, basically a toll version of the Dixie Highway!). I am sure that the concept of a $2 billion highway was frowned upon when this editorial was written for publication on 28 September 1953. When the interstate system came into being less than three years later, the need for such a mammoth project, as a toll road, declined.

I am currently digging through my backup DVDs/BluRays to see if there are even more things along this line to share. I welcome any comments that you may have.

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