A 1933 Indianapolis Map and Why It Interests Me

While roaming the Indiana State Library online collection of maps several years ago, I found a map that flat out struck me as interesting. The map was dated 1933 and was issued by the A. C. Wagner Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Now, why would this map stand out to me, a confessed map geek? Actually, it was the way that roads on it were marked, really.

The roads that now have names, ones that are relatively well known, were marked on this map with directionals and numbers. I had never seen this system used on any other map. But as the image below states, “Roads in the County are numbered based on the house numbering system of Indianapolis.”

Index of Marion County roads as listed on the Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, 1933.
Index of Marion County roads as listed on the Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, 1933, Columns 1 and 2

To the left are just the first two columns of the above index. The roads that are marked “N. x” are actually numbered that today, as long as it is above 10. The one numbered street on this map that doesn’t have a number now is “N. 4th W.,” in Wayne Township. That is Vermont Street from Cossell Road west. The other N. numbered roads are now streets of the same number.

The east streets in the picture to the left are the interesting ones. For instance, “E. 110,” both north and south were known as Franke Road at the time of the printing of this map. Today, it is German Church Road. E. 120th is now Carroll Road, formerly known as County Line Road East.

If you know the addressing system in Indianapolis (Marion County), it is easy to figure out which road is which. E 32nd, for instance, is McFarland Road. E. 38th is Sherman Drive. And E. 40th, in Perry Township at least, is Gray Road.

Every other map of Marion County that I have ever seen includes road names, nothing like this addressing numbering system.

1933 Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, showing south central Perry Township, bordered by Shelby Street (E. 11), Edgewood Avenue (S. 60), Sherman Drive (E. 38) and County Line Road (S. 90).

But some of the modern names are included on this map. Looking at Perry Township again, from Edgewood Avenue south, Edgewood Avenue and Banta Road have names. They are also labelled as S. 60 and S. 65, as well. But the rest south of there are just given the addressing labeled names: S. 70 (Southport); S. 75 (Stop 10); S. 80 (Stop 11); S. 85 (Stop 12); and S. 90 (County Line Road).

Some roads aren’t even marked at all. The road leading north out of Southport, east of the railroad, has no marked name on the map. But looking at it, it is Main Street and Derbyshire Road. A road named, apparently, after the landowner at the corner of that road and Banta Road.

Also, US 31, which until 1941 used what is now Madison Avenue, is marked as Madison Road, its original name from the 1830’s.

If you would like to see this map in its entirety, the link is here: Wagner’s Map of Marion County, Indiana, 1933.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s