OSR 37/SR 37 in Hamilton County

When one looks at a current map of Hamilton County, one notices a very distinct line that runs around Noblesville. That line used to connect Indianapolis to Fort Wayne (or more actually, Cleveland, Ohio) directly in the time before the interstates. The route of that line would be directly replaced by the interstate. Ironically, it would also do so south of Indianapolis, as well. Or will in the future. That line is marked SR 37.

But that is not the SR 37 I want to talk about. Nor do I want to focus on the SR 37 that was replaced by that “new” highway SR 37. But why bring up Hamilton County? Because the original road that was given the number 37 did travel through Noblesville. It just did so in the opposite direction.

I have made a relatively large number of posts about the current, and previous, SR 37. The section of the post-1926 SR 37 didn’t make into the state highway system until the 1930’s. And even then, it was known as SR 13. The Allisonville Road, originally the Indianapolis-Fort Wayne State Road, became the route of the new SR 13. SR 37 ended in downtown Indianapolis with SR 35 (later SR 135).

In 1920, when the Indiana State Highway Commission finally found its legal footing to exist following the Indiana Constitution of 1851, there were a lot of numbered highways added to the maps of the state. As I have mentioned before, there were already five state roads designated. 1920 saw a major explosion of them. To the point that 37 wasn’t even really the last number for them.

Original State Road 37 started at Original State Road 1 in Westfield. Today, the intersection would be known as Main and Union Streets. In this area, OSR 1 was the state’s version of the Range Line Road, connecting Indianapolis to Kokomo and beyond. OSR 37 then travelled east through the Hamilton County country side. Just east of what is now Hague Road, the OSR 37 traveled straight to Cicero Creek, then turned north on Cherry Tree Road. The road that used to be OSR 37 is, today, called Metsker Lane. Metsker is the name of the postal delivery person that had that route back in 1910.

1910 map from the United States Postal Department showing the route of what would, a decade later, become part of Original State Road 37 connecting Westfield to Noblesville. The lower case words on the map are not towns. They are the names of the postal delivery people for that route.

The modern road that follows the same corridor as OSR 37 gently curves to cross Cicero Creek. When it was originally planned sometime between 1830 and 1850, the road, as shown in the map above, crossed straight over Sly Run, and turned abruptly to the east to cross Cicero Creek.

As best as I can tell, the original Westfield Road/OSR 37 crossed the White River on Logan Street. The Westfield Road would end there at 10th Street in Noblesville. From here, the original route of OSR 37 would turn north along the old Fort Wayne State Road to what is now 191st Street.

I should also mention here that this was also an Auto Trail route, as well. The Crawfordsville To Anderson Highway was made part of OSR 33 from Crawfordsville to Lebanon, and OSR 37 from Westfield to Anderson.

For the rest of Hamilton County, what is now 191st Street sufficed as several designated roads: originally it was the Noblesville-Anderson State Road (given that designation in the 1830’s); the Crawfordsville To Anderson Highway (an Auto Trail); and Original State Road 37.

Now, again, those that have looked at a map of Hamilton County notices that SR 37 runs north and south. And that the road I am describing sounds miraculously like what is now SR 32. And that, my friends, would be correct. What is now SR 32 was originally SR 37. And what would become SR 37 eventually would be a part of SR 32 from Logan Street to 191st Street along 10th Street/Allisonville Road. So I guess that means the section of 10th Street shown on the Google map to the left was State Road 37 twice. One of a very few sections of road that would have the same number before and after the Great Renumbering.

Another that I know about is SR 2 southwest of Rolling Prairie. When the original state road numbers were laid out, the Lincoln Highway was given the number 2. This would change in late 1923 as the “more direct” Lincoln Highway route (now the US 30 corridor) was given the number 2, and the original highway was given assorted numbers. With the Great Renumbering, most of the original Lincoln Highway was renumbered to State Road 2 – from Fort Wayne to South Bend, and from Rolling Prairie to Valparaiso. The latter section still has that designation.

Through the years, SR 32 would be moved a block south, rerouted directly out of Noblesville to the east, and removed from 191st Street. SR 37 would bypass Noblesville…mostly. Now that Noblesville has expanded out to the current SR 37, the word bypass just doesn’t fit anymore, does it?

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