ITH Greatest Hits of 2020

Happy New Year, 2021. When I wrote the post for the greatest hits of 2019, little did I (or anyone else, actually) know what was in store for what could be constructively called the dumpster fire that was 2020. It didn’t change much for me, actually, since I was considered an “essential employee” all year. I did miss a few posts here and there as things got nuts. And I did cut out Saturday entries.

As such, the output of ITH for 2020 was one post less than 2019: 278 (2020) vs. 279 (2019). But that was the only number that was down. Views were up over 166% (53,620…up from 20,085) and visitors were up the same percentage (35,149 in 2020, compared to 13,171 in 2019).

Number 10: Planning I-465…and Arguments (668 views)

18 August 2020: The idea of Interstate 465 was a very contentious one. There were many discussions about the planning, location, and construction of the Indianapolis Belt Highway that would replace State Road 100. The most major of these was the location of the northern leg of the highway. The road it was replacing used the 82nd Street/86th Street corridor across the northern part of Marion County. It was possible that the new highway would be as far north as above 111th Street. The final plan was closer to Marion County than that.

Number 9: Indianapolis’ Downtown Interstates – Original Idea (675 views)

24 July 2020: The first of two posts going over the history of the Innerbelt, that section of interstate downtown that includes both I-65 and I-70. There were a lot of things that were planned that never occurred. And I am not talking about the possibility of I-69/I-169 being added to the mix, since it wasn’t originally…and was never going to be approved by the Federal government footing 90% of the bill. The second part of this post, “Indianapolis’ Downtown Interstates – Original Idea, Part 2,” didn’t fare as well, ending the year number 53, with 1/3 of the views as part 1. It was published the very next day.

Number 8: Madison Avenue Expressway (735 views)

31 March 2020: Plans were made in the early 1950’s to help fix traffic issues coming from the south side of Indianapolis. At the time, Madison Avenue above Troy Avenue was US 31. But it was a very narrow road, with houses and businesses on both sides. It was decided that the new Madison Avenue would be an expressway from Pleasant Run Parkway to Terrace Avenue, and a very wide street until the traffic directions split ways at Delaware Street. Seven days later, I wrote about the corruption that occurred due to that project (“Corruption and the Madison Avenue Expressway“), a post that would have me banned from a Facebook group concerning the south side of Indianapolis because the post was too political. Excuse me? The subject of the article was over 60 years old at the time. Oh, well. I said my peace, and left the group. Not one of the nicest opinions that I have ever expressed.

Number 7: Ben Davis and Mickleyville, Wayne Township, Marion County (736 views)

16 November 2020: One of the topics that I covered several times this past year is the creation of towns…especially in Marion County. As a matter of fact, this general idea is number 7, 6, and 2 on this list.

Ben Davis was a town on the westside of Marion County founded along the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad (later Vandalia, Panhandle and Pennsylvania). Mickleyville was a town that was very close to Ben Davis on the National Road. Both were basically wiped out by the building of Interstate 465 on the west side.

Number 6: Valley Mills (and the Naming of Southport) (807 views)

20 November 2020: Valley Mills, a town along the Indianapolis-Vincennes State Road in southeastern Marion County would, one would think, have little to do with a town on the Indianapolis-Madison State Road in the south central part of the county. But, that belief would be wrong. Southport was named, partly, because it was south of Northport, the original name of the town of Valley Mills.

Number 5: Indianapolis Interstates, Planning and Replanning (808 views)

13 May 2020: The interstate system in the Hoosier Capital was a very contentious creation. Even the planned routes of the highways were subject to change…or attempted dictated to change at the whim of the City Council/City-County Council. The State Highway Department made some changes, then ignored them. This article covers some of the “requests” made by citizens and politicians alike…that mostly fell on deaf ears with the State and Federal Governments.

Number 4: Replacing SR 44 From Shelbyville and Rushville (809 views)

24 April 2020: The route connecting Shelbyville to Rushville was, originally, a very curvy and sometime death defying route that had once been part of the Minute Man Route auto trail. (See “Fight for Adding SR 44 from Martinsville to Rushville” [25 October 2019].) The new route that would become SR 44 between the seats of the counties of Shelby and Rush would mostly tag along the Pennsylvania Railroad’s tracks connecting the two towns…instead of crossing it several times like it did in Rush County. The reason I used the conjunction “and” instead of “to” in the title is that the road was built from both towns toward the middle.

Number 3: The Building of I-465 (950 views)

17 July 2020: This was a collection of news stories that showed what what being reported (mostly) in the Indianapolis News about the construction of the highway system around Marion County.

Number 2: More History Than Transportation – South Indianapolis (1149 views)

6 November 2020: This article was a spur of the moment thing that ended up doing quite well. It is about two neighborhoods on the south side of Indianapolis. They each would become part of the city of Indianapolis…one in the 1920’s, and the other officially with the creation of UniGov. But having grown up in the latter, I spent a lot of time as a kid trying to figure out why I went to Perry Township schools when there was an Indianapolis Public School less than 1/2 mile away. This article tells why.

Number 1: I-465 On the East Side of Marion County (1190 views)

15 May 2020: The title almost says it all. It was basically news coverage of the planning and construction of Interstate 465 on the east side of Marion County, from Interstate 74 to Fall Creek. What I especially love about the maps that are included is that the railroads aren’t Pennsylvania and New York Central – they are shown as the PCC&StL (Panhandle) and the CCC&StL (Big Four). Those names were LONG gone when the interstates were being planned and built.

I hope that you enjoyed this past year on the Indiana Transportation History blog. Most of the times that I missed making an entry, it was running out of time trying to find a topic. I hope that I will have less of that in 2021. I also hope that 2021 is far less of a dumpster fire for the world. I would love to say it can’t get worse, but I have learned not to challenge worse.

Here’s to a safe, healthy and happy 2021! Raise a glass if you got one! Or, in my case, a tea mug!

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