Sections of Auto Trails that Were Left Behind By the State Roads

When the Indiana State Highway Commission was created, and the state road system being expanded, it was natural to believe that most of the Auto Trails at the time would have been incorporated into that new state system. Most Auto Trails were created to put in place a hard surface, easily traveled, road to make it easier to cross the country by car. And yet, the plans and the results often weren’t the same.

When I discussed the coming of the way from Indianapolis to Martinsville, the powers that be at the time were making a choice between two routes – one west of White River, and one east of White River. Today, we know those as the SR 67 corridor and the SR 37 (I-69) corridor. But there was a third route that would be forgotten in the discussion. The Hoosier Highway, connecting Evansville to Detroit, left Indianapolis to the southwest along what was known, then, as the Mooresville Road. It ventured away from that road west of Friendswood, taking a more stair step route into Moorseville. South of Mooresville, it went back to following the Indianapolis-Vincennes State Road, of which teh old Mooresville Road was a part. The Hoosier Highway parted ways again with the old road at Centerton. Here, the Auto Trail followed that is now Blue Bluff Road from Centerton to Martinsville, coming into the later on what is now Main Street. The Hoosier Highway then turned west, crossing the White River to meet the old Vincennes Road again. That westerly turn would be part of the state highway system from 1920 on. But the Blue Bluff Road route would never be part of the highway system.

The Hoosier Dixie Highway was a Dixie Highway feeder road that connected Goshen to the Dixie Highway in two places – one at Cincinnati, and the other at Dublin. One of the branches of the Dixie Highway would traverse the Indiana countryside from Indianapolis to Richmond via the old National Road, which would become part of the National Old Trails Road. The Hoosier Dixie section from New Castle to Dublin would connect the three highways. And even the promoters of the Hoosier Dixie Highway made sure to avoid using a direct road between the two. The Dublin Pike, a former toll road connecting New Castle and Dublin, would have been the most logical to use. And, for the southern and northern ends, it does. Out of New Castle, it follows Dublin Pike until it reaches what is now Henry County Road 300S. The HDH turned due east along this county road, then turned south along Henry County Road 600E. It then connected back into Dublin Pike when 600E ends, following the old Pike into New Lisbon. Coming out of New Lisbon, the HDH turned due south on (what is not) Wilbur Wright Road for a journey to Henry County Road 700S. Turning east on 700S will take the HDH traveler back to the Dublin Pike, and on into Dublin and a crossing of the National Road.

The Tip Top Trail, connecting Madison on the Ohio River to Rome City near the Michigan state line, had mainly been taken into the state highway system by 1923. One section, connecting Oakville to Muncie, however, didn’t make it. Before it was moved, the original SR 13, which would become part of SR 3 with the Great Renumbering, followed what is now Prairie Road north to Main Street in Springport. It then turned west along Main Street to what is now County Road 50W. North along CR 50W, at the town of Oakville, the new SR 13 and the Tip Top Trail parted ways. The TTT continued north into Cowan. There it turned west on what is now County Road 600S just to turn north again on Cowan Road for its journey into Muncie. At Hoyt Road, the TTT would turn northeast. This section of Hoyt Avenue would later become SR 67. The Tip Top Trail entered Muncie from the southwest, the new SR 13 entered from the southeast.

These are just a few examples of roads that would connect the small towns of Indiana to each other, but were left behind when the Indiana State Highway Commission started its work. These sections of roads never made into the state highway system. Others would be taken into the system, then either just dropped or bypassed for a better route. I will be covering more of these in a later post.

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