Looking at a highway map of Indiana, there are several roads that make you wonder about their existence. Not that they shouldn’t…but why that particular road was chosen to be added to the system. The purpose of the state highway system, in a broad sense, is to connect all of the county seats in Indiana together. But there are roads that are part of the system that don’t. Such is SR 234 going east from McCordsville.
What is now SR 234 was added to the state road system in the summer of 1932. The first “official” reference to it is on the second Indiana Official State Highway map of 1932. There were two maps issued by the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1932. One was issued at the beginning of the year, which appears to have served as both the 1931 and 1932. (I haven’t found a 1931 Official Map, although I have searched quite a bit.)
The second map of 1932, issued officially on 1 September 1932, was released after a large number of roads were added to the system. As mentioned above, one of those was SR 234 connecting McCordsville to SR 38 between Kenard and New Castle. I should mention here that the SR 234 that was added to the system isn’t exactly the one that is the current route. But I will get to that.
This is where we go back to the Auto Trail era. On 23 October 2019, I did a blog entry about the Hoosier Highway. That road connected Evansville to Detroit. Or that was the goal. As I wrote in that entry, there are very few roads that could have covered more of Indiana than the Hoosier Highway. The section that want to focus on is from Indianapolis to Anderson.
The original route of the Hoosier Highway coming out of Indianapolis was along the Pendleton State Road, at that time called the Pendleton Pike. At McCordsville, instead of following the old Pendleton Pike to Pendleton, it turned east along the road that connected that town to Eden. Eden is located on the old Greenfield-Anderson State Road.
Since the state highway system did not include a direct route from Indianapolis to Anderson until 1923 (using the Pendleton Pike and the replacement for such), traveling between the two cities involved the Hoosier Highway. That highway crossed east from McCordsville to Eden, then north along the Greenfield-Anderson State Road into Pendleton.
With the addition of the Pendleton Pike to the state highway system, the Hoosier Highway between McCordsville and Eden went by the wayside as far as the state was concerned. (The section of the Hoosier Highway from Eden north had already been added as Original State Road 11 from Greenfield north.) The road had been improved to an oil treated gravel road as part of the Hoosier Highway.
Fast forward almost a decade. In Summer 1932, SR 234 was added to the highway system. The number 34 was used around the Indianapolis area to fit into the numbering system put in place on 1 October 1926. See the ITH entry of 12 April 2019, “SR 34 and ‘Daughters’,” for more information on the use of the state road number 34.
The (eastern) SR 234 that was added in the summer of 1932 would use the route of the Hoosier Highway between McCordsville and SR 9. Here, SR 234 turned north about one half mile, then turned east on Eden Road. From there, it followed Eden Road, to Troy Road, to connect to the current SR 234 for the rest of the journey to SR 38 west of New Castle.
The only reason I can see that this road was added to the state highway system is that it created a shorter, more direct, route from New Castle to Indianapolis. It doesn’t really matter now, since it has been part of that highway system for almost 90 years now.