Royalton, US 52 and the Northern End of SR 100

Today, I want to cover two things that have a close relationship. Recently, I covered the end of SR 100 and US 52 on the southeast side of Marion County, and why it was the way it was. (See: US 52 And the End Of SR 100.) But not much has ever been written about the other end of SR 100’s north and east bypass of Indianapolis. Part of that is because the road just ended. But where it ended was interesting. And right near the end of SR 100 is the community of Royalton, a location on the old Indianapolis-Lafayette State Road that received a post office in 1832, but is now the location of a subdivision and the junction of Interstates 465 and 865.

1942 MapIndy aerial image of the area of Lafayette Road and 86th Street. Or, more exactly, what would become that intersection as soon as 86th Street reached that far as SR 534/SR 100.

The first thing to realize is that the end of SR 100, at the old Lafayette State Road (now just Lafayette Road), was a relatively modern invention, much like its counterpart on the other side of the county. I have covered, in great detail, the creation of SR 534 and SR 100 (both are the same, by the way) with the article SR 100: How did it come to be? Suffice it to say that construction had begun on the non-existent road in 1948 when it was still SR 534.

1948 Indiana Official State Highway Map of SR 534 in northern Marion County, showing the under construction portion from SR 29 (Michigan Road) to US 52 (Lafayette Road).

The new construction would be completed in time for the 1950 Indiana Official State Highway map to have been published. Now, one could skirt Indianapolis from the northwest corner of the county to US 40 due east of the state capitol. At that time, US 52 also became a divided highway. At least for the intersection of the two state roads. (Yes, US 52 is a US highway…but it really is a state road.)

1956 MapIndy image of the intersection of US 52 (Lafayette Road) and SR 100 (86th Street).

The intersection of the two roads wouldn’t change much from 1956 until sometime before 1995, when the grassy area was removed from Lafayette Road. By that time, both the US 52 and the SR 100 designations had been removed, as they were both replaced by new roads. US 52, through this section, would be moved to duplex with Interstate 65. SR 100 was expanded, and replaced by a complete bypass loop called Interstate 465.

Now, I have seen some maps of SR 100, from the Indiana State Highway Commission (meaning those maps are official), showing that SR 100 did not end, for a few years, at US 52. The designation SR 100 would be continued along Lafayette Road to outside Whitestown, where it ended at SR 334. (I scanned those maps, but can’t find them at this point.) This made US 52 and SR 100 a duplex through the community of Royalton.

1942 MapIndy aerial photo of the original Lafayette
State Road and the new US 52 at what is now
Stones Ferry Road.

The community of Royalton is in Boone County, just north of the Hendricks County line. When the state built the road connecting Indianapolis to Lafayette, now called Indianapolis Road in Boone County and Lafayette Road in Marion, there were two different kinks in the road that the state would, when it reclaimed the facility, remove. The first would be north of 88th Street where Stones Ferry Road is today.

The other was an “S” curve that started just outside Marion County, in Hendricks County, but crossed over the Boon County line shortly after it began. it would swerve to the north, then almost due west to turn north again. When the state came through to straighten US 52, the new road went right through the middle of the “S” curve.

1953 USGS topographic map of Royalton.

That wasn’t the last of the destruction of the old “S” curve. In 1960, Interstate 65 was also built through the area…crossing over US 52, which it was replacing, in the exact spot where the then new US 52 crossed the “S” curve. This finally split the curve into two separate parts, divided by an interstate.

1964 USGS Topographic map of Royalton.

A Google Map satellite image, snipped on 15 October 2020, shows that not much has changed in the area, although there is a subdivision north of Royalton proper. The three maps that I have used (1953 topo, 1964 topo and the 2020 Google snip below, cover the same area…from the intersection of Indianapolis Road and Boone County Road 750 South to the intersection of Lafayette Road and 88th Street in Marion County.

Google satellite image of the Royalton, Indiana, area, snipped from Google on 15 October 2020.

One thought on “Royalton, US 52 and the Northern End of SR 100

  1. Old Lafayette Road at Stones Ferry Road is continuous concrete (no expansion joints), dating it to about 1920.

    Old Lafayette Road

    Old Lafayette Road where it jig-jogs into Royalton, or used to, was concrete from the Boone County line north to where it meets the Interstate. The concrete was in poor condition. I can’t find my photos of it — will be an archaeology expedition to try. Looking at Google Maps it looks like they asphalted over it all recently.


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