Marion County Road Names, 1905, Part 1

One of my favorite things to do, if you haven’t guessed, is to look at old maps. One of my interests, especially, is to look at names that are printed on those maps, especially for roads. Seeing how long those road names have been on maps is interesting to me. Since I live in Marion County, and that county has the most available maps online, I spend a lot of time at looking at those. And the road names are very interesting. I want to share some of them today.

The map that I am looking at as I write this comes from 1905. One of the things with this map is that most of the names are on free gravel roads, roads that were, at one point, probably tolls roads. Not completely sure, but it makes sense in the scheme of things.

The first road that I want to mention was called the Fall Creek and Mud Creek Free Gravel Road. The road itself started in Millersville, at the end of the Millersville Free Gravel Road (now Millersville Road). Millersville, on the maps, is located one quarter mile west of the Washington-Lawrence Township line (which runs along what is now Emerson, or the same line, to 62nd Street) on 56th Street. As one can guess, the road name still exists, kind of. Now it is actually in two parts: Fall Creek Road and Mud Creek Road. The road itself ended at the Hamilton-Marion County line (now 96th Street).

Another road name that still exists on this map is the Hague Free Gravel Road. Yes, it is Hague Road today. But there were three extensions to the road that have different names today. First was a mile long, branching from the main road less than one half mile north of the start of the road at the Fall Creek and Mud Creek Road. That extension went west from the main road. Today, that extension is now called 71st Street.

The second extension from the Hague Road branched west, for three-quarters of a mile, one and a half miles north of the first extension. This connected the Hague Road to the town of Castleton. Today, it is called 82nd Street. The third extension, one and a half miles north of the second, branched east for one mile. It is now part of 96th Street.

Back to the second extension, at the end of the Hague Road extension, it connected to the middle of the Andy Smith Free Gravel Road. That road started at Allisonville Road, traveling east along what is now 82nd Street to where what is now Masters Road used to connect to 82nd Street. Here, it traveled north for one half mile, where it turned east for about two miles along what is now 86th Street.

For what is now Pendleton Pike from 30th Street to Oaklandon Road (and its junction with the Bee Line Railroad), had two different names. From 30th Street to Franklin Road, it was the Indianapolis and Lanesville Road. From that point to Oaklandon Road, and north on Oaklandon Road to the Bee Line tracks, it was the Indianapolis and Oakland Road. From here, an extension of the Indianapolis and Oakland Road followed alongside the railroad tracks to the county line. Both of the mentioned roads were also part of a longer former state road, which by 1905 was called the Pendleton Free Pike.

At the Bee Line tracks, heading north, along what is now Oaklandon Road, was the Germantown and Oaklandon Road. This free gravel road stopped one mile south of Germantown, which was located along Fall Creek at the county line (96th Street today). This road ended at 86th Street. From this point, county dirt roads were the way to get to Germantown, which is now submerged in Geist Reservoir.

What is now 46th Street east of the Indianapolis and Oakland Road, for about two miles, was called, at the time, the Asbury Free Gravel Road. This ended at a point half way between Mitthoefer and German Church Roads. From that point, the one half mile to German Church Road was officially an extension to the Asbury Road.

One half mile south of the Asbury Road was the Henry Bell Free Gravel Road. Technically, this road started at the Pendleton Pike, travelled south on Franklin Road to 42nd Street, and ended half way between Mitthoefer and German Church Roads, like the Asbury Road. Unlike the Asbury Road, the extension was on the west end of this path, connecting the Pendleton Pike to Franklin Road along 42nd Street.

Another road name that hasn’t really changed since the 1905 map is Mitthoefer Road. Now, having said that, there is some question as to the spelling of that road’s name, as the family, as I understand it, spelled it “Mithoefer.” I have seen street signs posted by the city of Indianapolis with both two “t”s and two “f”s, as in Mitthoeffer. Today, the city spells it with one “f” (most of the time). This road started at the National Road, running north to the line separating Lawrence and Warren townships (now 38th Street).

One of the most confusing roads, with many names, is now called German Church Road. First, let’s start with its most common name before it was changed by the county to match the interurban stop name along the National Road. From 30th Street south to the National Road, it was called the Franke Free Gravel Road. However, the other name was also commonly used – Holzhausen Road. To make matters worse, the Holzhausen Road had four extensions. One ran east from the end of the main road one mile to the county line along 30th Street. The second ran north from 30th Street to the Peoria & Eastern/New Castle Traction tracks (anyone familiar with the area, that right-of-way, since both the railroad and the interurban are long gone, it is along the north edge of the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana property). The third extension ran west along 30th Street for one quarter mile. The fourth extension ran one quarter mile west from the end of the third extension.

What is now Muessing Road, connecting the Brookville Road to the National Road, was once part of two different free gravel roads. And it gets a bit confusing, to say the least. For starters, the Cumberland Free Gravel Road left that town just like Muessing Road does today, angled to the southwest. From there, just like today, it followed a very curvy path to what is now Prospect Street. Here the Cumberland Road turned east, then south again almost immediately. The Cumberland Road didn’t go far from there. South of Prospect Street, the road makes a sharp turn to the west. Then, before the road turned south again along the half section line, the Cumberland Road abruptly ended. But, the Muessing Extension started at that exact point, running south along the half section line to the Brookville Road.

The last road I am going to cover today, as this will probably be a long series of articles, is the Bade Free Gravel Road. Now, looking at a map of southeastern Warren Township, there is a Bade Road on it. That current road was part of the original Bade Free Gravel Road. For a mile (technically, about a few feet short of one, but who’s counting?), from the Brookville Road to what is now Prospect Street was the beginning of the Bade Road. It retains that name today. However, the Bade Free Gravel Road turned east for three-quarter mile, then turned north for nearly a mile and a half to connect to the National Road. The east turn is now Prospect Street. The last 1.5 miles is now German Church Road.

There are a lot more roads to be listed. I am not sure how many parts this will be…but I don’t want to make them way too long.

1920-1960: Bartholomew County Roads

Today, we look at the third county in alphabetical order in the State of Indiana. Bartholomew County would have very few changes in its state highway history. It was located on the Jackson Highway south of Indianapolis, along what would become State Road 1. That very same road branched at Columbus, with one branch continuing south to Jeffersonville and the other running to Madison. It was the latter branch that gave the name to the same road in southern Marion and northern Johnson counties.

January 8, 1821: Formation by statute effective February 12, 1821. The formation affected Jackson County and Delaware. The county was organized by act January 9, 1821, effective February 12, 1821.

Boundaries: “Beginning at the south west corner of section eighteen in township seven north of range four east, thence north to the northwest corner of township ten north of range four east, thence east with the line dividing townships ten and eleven north to the north east corner of township ten of range seven east, thence south with the range line dividing ranges seven and eight to the south east corner of section thirteen, in township eight north of range seven east, thence west to the range line dividing ranges six and seven at the north west corner of section nineteen in township eight north of range seven east, thence south with said range line to where it intersects Big Sand Creek, thence down said creek with the meanders thereof to its junction with Driftwood river, thence down said river with the meanders thereof to when an east and west line running through the centre of township seven north strikes the north west side of the aforesaid river, thence west with the said line to the place of beginning.”

The territory of Bartholomew County would change with a law passed on January 16, 1828. All of that territory in Range 3 East, townships 8, 9, and 10 north, would be attached to Bartholomew County. That territory, plus half of Range 4 east in the same townships, and six section in the northwest corner of township 7 north, would be removed from Bartholomew County to create the new Brown County effective 1 April 1836. A law of 17 February 1838 brought Bartholomew County to its present shape, with the removal of the final three sections of the northwest quarter of Range 4 East, Township 7 North that were still attached to the county. It was moved to Jackson County.

The County Seat location was chosen as part of sections 24 and 25, township 9 north, range 5 east on 15 February 1821. “The name Tiptona was suggested, but on March 20, the name Columbus was adopted.” The decision to change the name of the town, which had actually already been platted and settled, from Tiptona to Columbus upset one person in particular. I covered that in the article “The Location of the Mauck’s Ferry Road, A Case of Revenge” on 11 November 2020.

1920 Indiana Official State Highway Map

We start, as we always do, with the map of 1920. But, like Allen County that I covered last week, Bartholomew County was actually on the state highway system since 1917. Main Market Road 1 connected through the middle of the state from Jeffersonville to South Bend, including Scottsburg, Seymour, Columbus, Franklin, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Peru, Rochester and Plymouth. With the second creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1919, it was changed from Main Market Road 1 to State Road 1.

The branch towards Madison that was mentioned in the first paragraph was given the number State Road 26, and was continued west of Columbus to Nashville in Brown County.

1923 Kenyon Map of Bartholomew County, Indiana

There were only two Auto Trails that connected to the county. The first was also mentioned in the opening paragraph, marked as (C) on the map to the left, which was the Jackson Highway.

1923 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The other, marked (P) was the Terre Haute-Columbus-Cincinnati Highway, connecting, pretty close, those three cities. The Jackson Highway followed what was by then State Road through the County. The THCC was made part of State Road 26 from west of Columbus to the city. East of Columbus, it sued county roads for its journey towards Greensburg. This will come back into play in a few short years with the Great Renumbering of 1926. The official map of 1923 showed no change in the state highway system at all in the county.

1926 Indiana Official State Highway Map

With the Great Renumbering, State Road 1 became what it is still known as today – US 31. The THCC highway through the county became SR 46, although it was only an authorized addition at that time east of Columbus. This road connected the county seats, directly, of Brown, Bartholomew and Decatur Counties (Nashville, Columbus and Greensburg). It connected to more (Bloomington, Spencer, Terre Haute and Lawrenceburg).

The Madison Road would become State Road 7. It would connected directly to the county seat of Jennings County, Vernon, but would end at the county seat of Jefferson County, Madison.

1930 Indiana Official Highway Map

Late 1930, and another state road was being authorized in Bartholomew County. Given the job of state roads was to connect county seats, this one would connect to the seats of Shelby and Hancock Counties (Shelbyville and Greenfield), among others. It was not given a number as of that time, however, it was an extension of State Road 9, which ended at Greenfield. The new extension of State Road 9 was authorized to the junction of State Road 46 between Petersville and Newbern.

1932 Indiana Official State Highway Map

By 1932, the extension of the now built State Road 9 was pushed all the way through the county to a point east of Seymour, through Elizabethtown. Another authorized addition coming from Bedford to Columbus was granted, as well.

1933 Indiana Official State Highway Map

That state road that would come in from Bedford would be completed the following year and given the number State Road 58. Ultimately, it was built to connect to US 31 south of Columbus and Garden City.

The State Road 9 extension listed in 1932 was removed from the maps of 1934 and 1935. That addition to State Road 9 would, however, still by in the hearts and minds of the Indiana State Highway Commission. In 1936, a new State Road 9 was being built from State Road 7 south to US 50 east of Seymour. And an authorized addition connecting State Road 46 to State Road 7 was in the works.

1936 Indiana Official State Highway Map
1937 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The State Road 9 extension would be added to maps for the 1937 issue. The connection from State Road 46 south to a point on the under construction new SR 9 west of Elizabethtown was complete. At that point, State Road 9 just dead ended at the construction. It is important to note that the route used by the extension of State Road 9 was in place for many, many years before the state decided to add it to the state highway system. Today, that route, coming off of State Road 46 (old State Road 9, I’ll get to that!) uses County Road 750 East and Legal Tender Road where it connects to US 31 southeast of Columbus.

1939 Indiana Official State Highway Map

By 1939, State Road 9 would be completed to its greatest extent. North of what is now Legal Tender Road going east into Elizabethtown, the new highway was given the designation State Road 9W. This, as you will see, would be a temporary thing.

1941 Indiana Official State Highway Map

A reroute of US 31 was in order in 1941. There had been talk of moving the old route of US 31 throughout the state. In Bartholomew County, this would happen twice. First, a new bypass of Columbus was under construction. At that point, State Road 7 from downtown Columbus to the new State Road 9W would become part of US 31, then all of State Road 9W, and State Road 9 from the end of SR 9W to Seymour, would be changed to US 31. Old US 31 would be redesignated US 31A. By the time the 1942 maps came out, the new US 31 was completed, and State Road 9 was removed from Elizabethtown, having been routed along what became County Road 200 South to its junction with the new US 31 (old SR 9W).

1942 Indiana Official State Highway Map
1945 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The other change in US 31 happened with the creation of Camp Atterbury in Johnson and Bartholomew Counties west of Edinburgh. To facilitate traffic to the new Army camp, the state expanded US 31 to a four lane divided highway. This required the bypassing of Edinburg, since the towns streets were narrow at that time. It did, however, add a new state road to the landscape. It was given the highest “mother” number of the state roads in Indiana (other than SR 135, which began life as SR 35…but that is another story). The old US 31 through Edinburgh would be given the designation State Road 79.

1950 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The only other changes in the state highway system in Bartholomew County prior to 1960 was 1) the construction of a new connection between US 31 and US 31A north of Columbus and 2) the widening of US 31 north of Columbus.

In the years to come, Interstate 65 would come to the county, US 31A would be renamed State Road 11, State Road 58 would be moved further south, State Road 46 would replace State Road 9 south of Newbern, and State Road 7 west of US 31. And State Road 79 would be given to the town of Edinburgh and removed from the state highway system. Ultimately, SR 11 from Columbus north would be also removed from the state highway system.

1957 Indiana Official Highway Map
1959 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Indiana’s OSR 3/US 40: A Map Retrospective

It is easy to say that there are several transportation facilities in Indiana that really made a massive impact on the state. Let’s face it, Indiana is the “Crossroads of America.” Between canals, railroads and mud paths that would become the backbone of the modern state highway system, it’s not hard to see Indiana, and transportation across it, had been a very important thing to the history of not only the state, but to the United States in general.

One of the most famous, and most important, was the National Road. I have covered this route several times in the past two years on Indiana Transportation History. From the 1830’s to today, the National Road has served as one of the most travelled of all the original routes across the state. And with some exceptions here and there, the original route is still roughly followed almost 200 years later.

The road itself was so important that I covered its connection to the county seats of the counties through which it travels in my article “The National Road, and County Seats.”

But, there have been changes. The earliest of these occurred in the 1870’s near Reelsville. With the creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission, it became apparent that the importance of the route would grow. The rough route of the original road was given the name Main Market Road #3 in 1917, to become State Road 3 in 1919. With the coming of the United States highways, in 1926, it was given the important number of US 40. The “0” at the end denoted its importance in the system.

And the road grew…and grew. Traffic soon outgrew the the road that had been in place for around a century. So, the ISHC started expanding and moving the US highway…meanwhile keeping parts of the history in place for people to investigate and enjoy in the years to come.

Today, I want to give a roughly 100 year overview, in maps, on the route of US 40.

1920
1920
1926
1926
1935
1935
1936
1936
1937
1937
1939
1939
1941
1941
1950
1950

There were very few changes in the routing and/or condition of US 40 after 1950. Its gradual replacement as the major through route in Indiana by Interstate 70 would begin in 1960. By 1976, it was possible to travel across the state from Terre Haute to Richmond and never see a traffic signal. US 40 would be removed from inside Indianapolis and Terre Haute, routed around those cities along Interstate 465 for the former, and SR 46/Interstate 70 for the latter.

Newspaper Blurbs about Lincoln Highway in Indiana

I spend a lot of time looking through old newspapers. It all started with my genealogical research. But I realized that this blog could benefit from the very same resources. And, if you have followed this blog, you know I do use them a lot. Today, I want to cover some newspaper articles about the early days of the Lincoln Highway, and construction of same.

The Indianapolis News of 18 June 1914 spent almost an entire column page to the Lincoln Highway. The majority of the article was about what Carl Fisher planned when it came to both the Lincoln Highway and the Michigan Road in his home state. Fisher was in South Bend, witnessing the beginning of work on his brain child. According to the News, he “has started another big movement. It is the improvement of the Michigan road from Indianapolis to South Bend to connect the speedway city with the coats-to-coast highway and to give central and southern Indiana an outlet to it.”

Plans were also to have a “General Good Roads Day” in Marion, Boone, Clinton, Cass, Fulton, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties. He was also calling for the oiling of that road. Calls for a state trunk road system were announced, as well.

The plans for the Lincoln Highway in South Bend called for an 18 foot cement road way with three foot graveled shoulders on each side, make for a total 24 foot wide road right-of-way. Fisher let the St. Joseph County Commissioners know that specifications only called for a 15 foot roadway, with the same three foot shoulders. This would make the right-of-way a total of 21 feet wide.

The cement mixture, according to Fisher, was also too expensive for the work. He recommended that the mixture include one part cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel. This was the same mixture that had been successfully in use in Wayne County, Michigan. This one change decreased the cost of construction of the Lincoln Highway across St. Joseph County from around $194,000 to roughly $150,000.

The Lincoln Highway was, at the time of this article, also completely marked across northern Indiana. Traffic along the new Auto Trail was increasing with travelers moving between the two coasts. The prospect of major traffic from the east going to the California-Panama Exposition in 1915 was on the minds of the people involved with completing the highway across the United States.

Fisher also expressed his concern that the Lincoln Highway be built “under competent engineers and honest contractors.” His belief that “nothing shows worse than concrete construction any underlying graft. It only takes two or three years to label a skimping contractor a thief or an incompetent.”

As a human interest story, less than a month later, in the Indianapolis Star of 19 July 1914, it was announced that “Fred Callahan, the young man who walked from New York to San Francisco and who is now walking back over the Lincoln Highway, reached Ashland, O., a short time ago. He averages about thirty miles a day and has covered more than 5,000 miles. He carries a pack on his back weighing about thirty-five pounds. Callahan says the Lincoln Highway is being put in good shape all across the country, and he ought to know.”

An article covering the entire Lincoln Highway in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette of 13 January 1918 mentions that of the 94 counties crossed by the Lincoln Highway in the United States, only one has completely finished the concrete pavement of the route. That county is St. Joseph, Indiana. The same article mentions that there is an official feeder road to the Lincoln Highway at Dyer. That feeder road connects the coast-to-coast highway to the city of Chicago.

The Indianapolis Star of 7 July 1918 mentions the work that the Indiana State Highway Commission made appropriations for that year. The ISHC, created in 1917, had taken the original route of the Lincoln Highway into the fledgling state highway system. It was called Main Market Road 2. According to the newspaper, $37,000 was allocated for the Lincoln Highway between Elkhart and the Elkhart-St. Joseph County line. The same amount was earmarked be Elkhart County. St. Joseph County was also starting the grading of the highway near Osceola. A contract for a new bridge in St. Joseph County was also let.

Tree planting was the news of the day in the South Bend Tribune of 25 June 1921. St. Joseph County planned to plant as many as 5,000 trees along the national highways that connected to South Bend. Keep in mind that both of Carl Fisher’s “children,” the Lincoln Highway and the Dixie Highway, met in South Bend. The roadside was “barren,” according to the newspaper. They also ran the following two pictures to make their point.

South Bend Tribune, 25 June 1921.

One of the bad things about looking through newspapers for a topic like the Lincoln Highway is that it was such an important feature in the United States that news from across the country would appear in the newspaper. Most of the coverage was for the national perspective, not the Hoosier one. I will continue to scour the newspapers of the state to find more information like this. Just that some projects are so large that local information is usually mainly ignored.

1920-1960: Allen County Roads

Today is the second of the series covering state roads in Indiana’s counties in alphabetical order. Today, I will cover, as the title states, Allen County. And, just like the last post of this series, it will be done with a lot of maps, and start with the history of the formation of the county.

The creation of Allen County happened on 17 December 1823, when the Indiana General Assembly issued the following news: “Formation by statute, effective April 1, 1824. The formation affected Randolph and Delaware counties.”

“Beginning at a point on the line dividing this state and the state of Ohio, where the township line dividing townships twenty-eight and twenty-nine north, intersects the same; thence north with said state line twenty-four miles; thence west to the line dividing ranges ten and eleven east; thence south to the line dividing townships twenty-eight and twenty-nine north, thence east to the place of beginning.” (Revised Laws of Indiana, 1823-1824, pp 109)

One month after the creation of the county, Fort Wayne was made the seat of the county’s government.

1920 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Allen County is one of those few counties that actually acquired its first modern state road with the original creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1917. One of the five Main Market Roads, as they were called at first, connected Fort Wayne to near Chicago. Of course, it was built as the Lincoln Highway. That Auto-Trail would be given the number Main Market Road 2.

In 1919, Main Market Road 2 would become State Road 2. By 1920, four more state highways would be added to Allen County’s landscape: OSR 11; OSR 13; OSR 21; and OSR 44. OSR 11 would connect Fort Wayne to Huntington, ultimately ending in Greenfield at the National Road. OSR 13 would be the road from Fort Wayne to Bluffton, again ending at the National Road, this time at Lewisville. As mentioned in the Adams County entry, OSR 21 travelled from Fort Wayne, through Decatur, Portland, Winchester and Richmond to end at Liberty in Union County.

1923 Kenyon Map of Allen County, Indiana

Due to location, and the fact that Fort Wayne had, for decades, been one of the largest cities in the Hoosier State, the city, and Allen County, would find itself along quite a few Auto Trails during that era. In 1923, as shown on the map to the left, the following Auto Trails crossed Allen County: Hoosier Highway [B]; Yellowstone Trail [N]; Wabash Way [O]; Ohio, Indiana, Michigan Way [S]; Lincoln Highway [X]; and the Custer Trail [BB].

The Hoosier Highway has been covered numerous times in this blog. It started in Evansville, ultimately winding its way through the entire state to Fort Wayne on the way to Detroit, Michigan. Coming from the south, it was given the designation OSR 13 to Fort Wayne, but no state highway number was assigned to it leaving Fort Wayne to the northeast.

The Yellowstone Trail and Lincoln Highway would be intertwined, even though the only place they multiplex was east of Fort Wayne. Both of them would meet again at Valparaiso. The Lincoln Highway left to the northwest of Fort Wayne, with the Yellowstone heading more west. In 1920, as mentioned above, Lincoln Highway was OSR 2, and Yellowstone Trail was OSR 44.

The Wabash Way left Fort Wayne to the southwest, winding its way through Huntington, Wabash, Peru, Logansport, Delphi, Lafayette, and Attica, crossing the Illinois State Line to end at Danville. The ISHC gave it the number OSR 11 in 1920.

The Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Way was mentioned in the Adams County entry. It was OSR 21 into Fort Wayne from the south. Leaving to the north, it wasn’t part of the state highway system. Neither was the Custer Trail, which started in Fort Wayne, leaving to the north for Auburn and Angola on a winding trail through Steuben county to enter Michigan.

1923 Indiana Official State Highway Map

In the fall of 1923, the ISHC decided to rearrange state highway numbers to make them easier to understand and follow. This led to numerous changes in Allen County. The Lincoln Highway, which had been OSR 2 for the previous six years was now OSR 46 heading northwest out of Fort Wayne. The OSR 2 label, while maintained on the Lincoln Highway east of Fort Wayne, became attached to the Yellowstone Trail west of the city. OSR 11, the Wabash Way, was changed to OSR 7. OSR 13 and 21 remained the same south of Fort Wayne, but a new addition to SR 31 was added north of the Allen County Seat. It encompassed neither the OIM or the Custer Trail. It was a “new” road, without any special designation prior to its addition to the state highway system.

1926 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Allen County became the home of quite a few United States Highways with the Great Renumbering of 1 October 1926. The 1923 version of SR 2, leaving Fort Wayne along State Boulevard and Leesburg Road, was rerouted to connect to the new SR 2, which was the route of the original Lincoln Highway, at what is now Lincoln Highway and Washington Center Road. From that connection, SR 2 continued its journey across the county to Churubusco. East of Fort Wayne, the OSR 2 that had existed since 1917 was changed to US 30.

The OSR 11 (1920)/OSR 7 (1923) was practically abandoned in Allen County. The old State Road 7 route was moved north, and would be changed to US 24. East of Fort Wayne, a new route US 24, one that had not been part of the state highway system before, was in the process of being added. It would connect to Ohio’s US 24 after leaving east-northeast from New Haven.

OSR 13 was given two designations. South of Fort Wayne, it became SR 3. North of the city, it became, along with OSR 21 south of Fort Wayne, US 27. This left Allen County with two state roads (SR 2 and SR 3) and three US highways (US 24, 27 and 30)..

September 1930 Indiana Official State Highway Map

With the number of additions that were made to the state highway system in 1930, the September map of that year showed many changes. Not in the way of the routes that had been established in 1926. No. The old OIM Way north out of Fort Wayne was added to the state highway system as an extension of State Road 3. The old Custer Trail route was also added, becoming the northern State Road 1. There was also an authorized addition shown on the map. It would come into Allen County from the west, travel through Fort Wayne, and leave to the northeast. The western end of that authorized addition was at State Road 15 at Silver Lake. A look at the map shows it to be an extension of State Road 14.

January 1932 Indiana Official State Highway Map

When it was finally added to the state highway system in 1931, that’s what it was: an extension of SR 14 across Allen County. SR 14 connected to Ohio State Road 18 at the state line. But the early 1932 map showed two more authorized additions the ISHC wanted to make. First, a road connecting to SR 1 north of Fort Wayne, heading due east to Leo, then roughly along the St. Joseph River heading northeast.

The second left SR 3 south of Fort Wayne, heading southwest through Nine Mile and Zanesville.

Other than that, still no real changes had been made to the 1926 highways that Allen County had been originally given.

1933 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Three “new” state roads were added in 1932 for the 1933 official map. First, the authorized addition through Zanesville and Nine Mile, which turned southwest off of SR 3 from Waynedale, was officially added, and given the number SR 3. The old SR 3, which had that number since the 1926 number shuffle, became the new SR 1 south of Waynedale.

But that wasn’t the only change in SR 1. The ISHC changed their minds, instead of routing a new state road due east into Leo, it was decided to use what is now Clinton Street toward what were the separate villages of Cedarville and Leo. This was given the number State Road 1. The old SR 1, that ran north along what is now Tonkel Road, was given the number State Road 427, another daughter route to US 27. Both routes connected at Auburn, with US 27 coming in from the west, and SR 427 coming in from the south.

1937 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Travelling east across Allen County, from New Haven to Edgerton, along what is now Dawkins Road, was a daughter route to US 30, State Road 230. SR 230 connected to Ohio State Road 113 at the state line.

The period between 1932 and 1936 saw very few changes. The Indiana State Highway Commission decided to authorize the building of an extension of SR 101, north and south, through eastern Allen County. At the time, SR 101 did exist in Adams County, but ended at the Adams-Allen County Line. The new SR 101 would directly connect to State Road 1 in Dekalb County at State Road 8. Although it was an authorized addition, State Road 101 was not, at least according to the maps of 1937, located. The route shown on the map was pure conjecture…and hoping. Also, SR 14 was then connected to both Ohio State Road 18, but a new Ohio State Road 2. The multiplexed route from the Ohio State Line connected to Hicksville, before Ohio 2 and Ohio 18 went separate ways.

1938 Indiana Official State Highway Map

There were two changes made in 1937, as shown on the 1938 map to the left. First was the building of SR 101 from the Adams-Allen County line to US 30. Second, US 33 came to Indiana. From Decatur, US 27 and US 33 used the same road to connect to Fort Wayne. But leaving Fort Wayne, the road that had been State Road 2 was then called US 33. This eliminated the State Road 2 designation east of South Bend. Both Lincoln Highways were now part of the US Highway System in Allen County. The original was now US 33, the replacement (marked in the mid to late 1920’s) had been marked US 30 since 1926.

1939 Indiana Official State Highway Map

1938, as shown by the 1939 Official Map, saw the completion of SR 101 through the county.

1941 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Changes made in the 1939-1940 time frame included the extension of SR 37 to Fort Wayne and beyond. SR 37 had ended at Indianapolis to this point, coming up from southern Indiana. It replaced, in Marion and Hamilton Counties, the original Indianapolis-Fort Wayne State Road, known as Allisonville Road in that area. It entered Allen County multiplexed with US 24. The designation SR 37 then replaced the SR 14 designation northeast of Fort Wayne. At the Ohio state line, it connected to only Ohio SR 2, as Ohio SR 18 was removed from that section of road in that state. But that wasn’t the end of SR 14 east of Fort Wayne. What was formerly SR 230 became the new SR 14.

1942 Indiana Official State Highway Map

1941 added another state road to Allen County. In the extreme northwest corner of the county, SR 205, which had ended at the county line, was extended as far as the Allen-Noble county line at Ari. SR 205 would eventually be extended into Dekalb County to end at what is now SR 327, but was, at the time, US 27.

1949 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Another state road was added in 1948, and showed up on maps in 1949. Connecting US 30/US 33 northwest of Fort Wayne to SR 3, US 27, SR 1 and SR 427 to end at SR 37 northeast of Fort Wayne was State Road 324. It would appear that the route of SR 324 is what is now Coliseum Boulevard.

1956 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The next change is shown on the first available map that has it. It seems that Indiana did not issue, that I can find, Official Highway maps for the years 1954 or 1955. I can not find them if they exist. I do not have any in my personal collection, nor does the state library have them in their digital collection.

There were two changes between 1953 and 1955. One was the continuation of SR 324 as a bypass to the east of Fort Wayne. That state road ended at New Haven Avenue, which was given the designation State Road 230 from SR 324 to the junction of US 30/US 24/SR 14 less than a mile east of the junction with SR 324.

1957 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The following year, 1956, saw the end of both State Road 230 and State Road 324. SR 324 was replaced with the US 30 designation. SR 230 was completely removed from Allen County.

The 1960 map, which I can not share here, shows the beginnings of Interstate 69 under construction from SR 3 in the north to US 24 in the south. (I can not share this map, as the one on the state library site has a big section missing through Steuben, Dekalb and Allen Counties. And I can not scan my personal copy since my scanner is not working properly at this time.)

1961 Indiana Official State Highway Map

I do want to share one last map, showing the state highway situation in Allen County according to the 1961 official map (meaning 1960 changes).

Interstate 69 is officially under construction at that time from US 24 in the south to the Allen-Dekalb County line. Also, a replacement for US 30 west of Fort Wayne is under construction.

Thus are the state highway changes in Allen County from 1920 (or, actually, 1917) to 1960.

1920-1960: Adams County Roads

Today, I want to start a series, with a lot of maps, that shows the evolution of the state highway system in each county from 1920 to 1960. Starting with the first county, alphabetically.

First, let’s start with the creation of Adams County. Dated 7 February 1835, “formation by statute, effective on publication. The formation affected territory attached to Allen and Randolph counties. Adams was organized under an act of January 23, 1836, effective March 1, 1836.” The county was legally described as follows: “Commencing at the south east corner of Allen county, thence west with the southerly border of said county, to the north east corner of section five in township twenty eight range thirteen, thence south with the section lines to the township line between townships twenty four and twenty five, thence east with the said township line to the eastern boundary line of the state, thence north with the state line to the place of beginning.” This information was included on page 44 of the Laws of Indiana, 1834-35.

The county seat was also included in my source: “Commissioners appointed under the organization act reported to county commissioners on May 18, 1836, their choice of a site in section 3, township 27 north, range 14 east of the second principal meridian, where Decatur now stands.”

1920 Indiana Official State Highway Map

When the state highway system was officially created in 1919, state roads were being all over Indiana. The major purpose of the system was to connect to each county seat. To that purpose, the first of the new state roads to be added in Adams County was known as State Road 21. It was laid out, as shown on the 1920 map to the right, in a not so straight path connecting Geneva, Berne, Monroe and Decatur. From Decatur, it aimed off towards Fort Wayne.

I have access, through the state library online, to two different maps from 1923. The state did two things in that year. First, it issued the first official highway map since 1920, and two, the reason it was issued was due to the fact that the Indiana State Highway Commission was going through what I have referred to as the “Little Renumbering.” The other map, one that I use quite a bit, lists the state roads prior to the renumbering.

1923 Kenyon Map of Adams County, Indiana

The non-official map included the state road numbers in use at the time, as well as the Auto Trails that were in place. That map uses circles with numbers for the state roads. As shown on the map to the right, state road 21 is still the only state road in the county. But it was also known as the “Ohio, Indiana and Michigan Way” Auto Trail.

OIM Way Marker

The other road marked on that map, shown as “GG” is the “Huntington, Manitou, Culver Trail.” While the title cities were on the trail, it did connect to someplace in Ohio and possibly beyond. I am trying to find any information I can to figure it out. At the west end, the road went at least as far as Chicago.

The first renumbering of state highways in September 1923 didn’t affect Adams County at all. The former state road 21 remained the same afterwards.

1926 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The number of state roads in Adams County doubled with the Great Renumbering on 1 October 1926. The new SR 16 would cross through the county west to east, connecting Decatur to Huntington. What is now County Road 600 North east of Decatur was, at that time, SR 16. The road ended abruptly at the state line. There was a state road in Ohio (Ohio SR 109) that ended at the state line, as well. But it was one mile north of the new SR 16.

The old state road 21 would become part of the United States Highway system, given the number 27. The original route of OSR 21 was still followed across Adams County as US 27, including the curvy route from Geneva to Berne. Today, that route is known as County Road 150 West.

By 1930, State Road 16 was moved one mile north east of Decatur, to connect to what was Ohio State Road 17 (formerly Ohio SR 109). (Ohio changed state road numbers quite a bit…and have done that since.)

Indiana Official State Highway Map, 1 September 1932

1931 brought another state road to Adams County: SR 118. But there were also authorized additions to the state highway system crossing from Bluffton, in Wells County, through Monroe, to the Ohio state line near Willshire, Ohio. Another authorized addition, also starting near Willshire, crossed northwest bound to end in Decatur.

SR 118 started at SR 5 along the Huntington-Wells County line, due east through Berne to end at a county road at the Indiana-Ohio state line in Mercer County, Ohio.

1933 Indiana Official State Highway Map

The two authorized additions to the state highway system were given designations in 1932. The east-west route through Monroe was called SR 124. The northwest/southeast route was made a daughter of US 27, given the name SR 527.

1933 made another change to the state highway numbers in Adams County. State Road 16 would be removed from the county, with the road redesignated part of the United States Highway system as US 224.

1935 Indiana Official State Highway Map

Changes kept occurring in the connections to Adams County. In 1935, an authorized addition to the highway system was added to maps as SR 101. This road would start at the new US 224 (old SR 16), going north toward Monroeville in Allen County.

Another state road to US highway change was made in 1938, when the US 33 designation replaced SR 527.

By 1941, a US 27 Decatur bypass, moving outside the town to the west, would be in operation. US 33 still traversed Decatur, meeting US 27 north of the town. The new US 27 would also bypass Monmouth to the west, while US 33 still used the old route of US 27 to northwest of Monmouth.

Also that year, another state road was added to Adams County. That road, starting in Geneva and working its way west, north, and northwest towards Bluffton. It would be designated SR 116.

1941 Indiana Official State Highway Maps

Changes continued during World War II…but mainly with just marking the roads. According to the Indiana Official State Highway map of 1945, SR 101 was extended in its line from US 224 to SR 124. SR 116 was extended through Geneva, down to New Corydon and along the south county line.

Along the way, US 33 would connect to US 224, then “travel over” US 224 to US 27, where US 27 and US 33 would join forces again like they did when US 33 was created.

1945 Indiana Official State Highway Map

No changes were made for the next nearly decade and a half. By 1959, SR 101 between US 224 and SR 124 was moved to the east one mile. to its current location.

I hope that you like this possible series of articles. I look forward to your opinions and comments about it.

SR 234 in Hancock County

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.

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?

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!

The Liberty Way

Today, I want to return to the Auto Trail era. There were many Auto Trails created over the time before the US Highway system took full hold. Even today, the Auto Trail era lives in the names of city streets and county roads. The biggest one that comes to mind is the Lincoln Highway…both of them, actually. But some of the Auto Trails really made you want to ask one question: Why? Today’s road actually made me ask that very question: the Liberty Way.

Since this is an Indiana Transportation History site, I guess that it is good that I can’t find, so far, a map that follows this road outside Indiana. But then it makes me go back to the question above – why? The Liberty Way was an Auto Trail that started in Kokomo, connecting Logansport, Winamac, Bass Lake, North Judson, San Pierre, Kouts, Valparaiso, Hobart, East Chicago, and Whiting to Chicago. Those are the bigger towns along the way. The whole map is available at the Indiana State Library with this 1923 map. The Liberty Way was also shown on the 1920 Rand McNally highway map. Its routing was slightly different.

Basically, I want to do this with maps. Tracing the roads gets a bit complicated in this case. The red line on the maps marked “DD” are the Liberty Way in 1923. On the 1920 map, it is marked “86.”

1920 Liberty Way from Kokomo to Logansport.
1923 Liberty Way from Kokomo to Logansport
1920 Logansport to Winamac
1923 Logansport to Winama
1920 Winamac to Kouts
1923 Winamac to Kouts
1920 Kouts to Valparaiso
1923 Kouts to Valparaiso

The next two maps are a jumbled mess. Because of Indiana’s location, it has always been the crossroads of America. And these two maps show the importance of Chicago in the grand scheme of things when it came to highways. Indiana’s side of the state line near Chicago was cluttered with way too many road markers.

1920 Valparaiso to Illinois State Line
1923 Valparaiso to Illinois State Line

Doing a newspaper search for “Liberty Way” is not the straight forward grasp for information one would hope. Apparently that name was very popular for other places throughout the state. But an ad in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune of 23 July 1921 could tell you, using the Liberty Way, how to get to Bass Lake.

23 July 1921, Logansport Pharos-Tribune

1912 Proposed Indianapolis Street Name Changes, Part 1

I have been covering Indianapolis street name changes for the past couple of days. It seems that almost every decade along the way had some major changes. I covered a major change with the annexation of the town Irvington and the Tuxedo neighborhood last Friday (Tarkington Street? Not so fast. ITH Blog, 18 December 2020). Today, I want to move into the 1910’s to see what I can find and share.

And it starts in 1912 with a very large proposed change. Most of these never made the maps of Indianapolis in an official way. Councilman Copeland introduced an ordinance that would make a ton of street name changes in the city. These were all submitted to the city council on 4 March 1912.

1905 map of the Arbor Avenue area on the
near westside of Indianapolis

The first one involved was was Shover Avenue on the near west side of the city. The recommendation was to turn Shover Avenue into an extension of Arbor Avenue. And it was. From Oliver to Gillette Street, Shover Avenue became Arbor Avenue. But somewhere along the way, the section from the north alley of Oliver Avenue to Henry Street was vacated for the Chevy plant. Arbor Avenue was moved to the east alley Coffey Street, and Division Street was removed completely. Today, Arbor north of Henry exists for a short distance, before being blocked off by a fence and a railroad spur that served the Chevy plant. Also, Division and Gillette Streets are on the private property side of that fence, no longer accessible be the general public.

In addition to Arbor Avenue, an Arbor Street was included in the ordinance along the same line as the Avenue. The new Arbor Street was to include Greeley Street from Washington Street to White River, Limestone Street from Owosso to Michigan, and Porter Street from North to Walnut. The only section of those three streets that still exist is that of Limestone Street, which now connects the end of the New York Street White River bridge to Michigan Street, where it turns into Eskenazi Avenue.

Another one that didn’t quite make it was the renaming of Mobile Street between Senate and Illinois, and Jackson Place, between Illinois and Meridian, to Bates Street. It is on the line of Bates Street east of East Street. No, the name of Jackson Place didn’t go away. It is still called that in front of Union Station.

Poplar Street, between Union and Chestnut Streets, and Bicking Street between Delaware and East Streets to be changed to Bradshaw Street. Not only did this change not happen, the streets in question are now missing from the landscape of Indianapolis. Both fell victim to Eli Lilly and Company.

Bedford Avenue between Raymond and Morris, and King Avenue between Vermont and Tenth Streets to Addison Street. Both King Avenue and Bedford Street are along the same line as Addison Street, but the change was never made.

Mulberry Street between McCarty and Frank Streets, and Union Street between LeGrande Avenue and first alley north of Schiller Street to Pennsylvania Street. I can tell you that at least the southern section, from LeGrande to the alley, did change its name to Pennsylvania. I used to live practically on the corner of both. The name of Chestnut Street would be removed from maps of Indianapolis, becoming an alley between Union and Talbott Streets from Morris to Adler Streets.

Paca Street between Indiana Avenue and Tenth Street was to become Bright Street. This Ransom Place street still maintains its name.

McCormick Place between Muskingum and Illinois Streets to become Anderson Street. This was the name of one of the downtown alleys. The city directory of 1913 states that McCormick is listed under W. Ohio Street.

Smith Lane, between Merrill Street and Stephan Place to Adelaide Street. Adelaide was the name of the alley between New Jersey and East Streets. This change didn’t happen. Today, it wouldn’t matter as Eli Lilly has mowed the entire neighborhood down.

1945 Polk Indianapolis City Directory S

The last one that I want to cover is one that actually did happen, eventually. On 20 June 2019, I covered the “The Indianapolis end of the Brookville (State) Road.” The original end of Brookville Road was at the National Road west of what is now Sherman Drive. The road that winds behind the shopping center at Sherman Drive and Washington Street was originally part of the Brookville Road. By 1900, the section west of Sherman Drive was called Brookville Avenue. In 1912, it was recommended that it be changed to Ewing Street. At some point, S. Brookville Avenue was changed to Brookville Boulevard, and Brookville Avenue east of Sherman Drive reverted to Brookville Road, the name it had originally. Maps and city directories into the 1940’s still show Brookville Avenue/Boulevard. It would be 1945 until the Polk City Directory would list the following entries: Brookville Avenue – Changed to N. Ewing. Brookville Boulevard – Changed to S. Ewing.

Hub Highway

Muncie Morning Star, 27 September 1917

One of the Auto Trails that I have been unable to find much historical information on, yet have seen on many maps, is the Hub Highway. In Indiana, the highway started in Lafayette, working itself across the state to Union City. Along the way, it travelled through Frankfort, Tipton, Muncie, and Winchester on its way to Chillicothe, Ohio.

In Lafayette, it share the Jackson Highway route heading to the southeast. The closest thing to the official start of the road that I can find is Second and Main Streets in downtown Lafayette. This also would be the end of the old Indianapolis-Lafayette State Road. From there, it followed Main Street and State Road 38 out of town, and to Mulberry. At Mulberry, the Jackson Highway, which has been sharing the route with the Hub, split into two. The Hub shared the northern Jackson Highway route, which turned southeast along what is now Gas Line Road. It turned east on what is now Farmers Gravel Road, entering Frankfort on what is now US 421.

The original route of the Hub Highway basically followed what is now SR 28 across Clinton and Tipton Counties to Tipton County Road 300 West. It then turned north on CR 300 W, then east on Tipton’s Jefferson Street. The old route again joins SR 28 until it reached what is now SR 19. It turned north along SR 19 for one half mile to Tipton County Road 100S. East along CR 100S to Tipton County Road 300 East, or State Road 213.

The route turned south along SR 213, crossing SR 28 again and the old Nickel Plate to Tipton County Road 150 South, or old SR 28. The route turned east, crossed the old Nickel Plate again to enter Hobbs. SR 28 becomes the original route of the Hub into Elwood. The Hub then turned south on what is now SR 13 for one mile, to Madison County Road 1100 North. The old highway followed 1100 North, Bethel Avenue, Madison County Road 925 West, and again Bethel Avenue almost all the way to Muncie. At Wheeling Avenue, the Hub turned southeast to enter downtown Muncie.

In Muncie, as best as I can tell, the Hub Highway followed Wheeling Avenue and High Street to Jackson Street. Keep in mind, if you are using this as a travel log, Jackson Street is one way east at this point. Basically, from Muncie to Winchester, the Hub Highway and State Road 32 are one and the same. To get to Union City, the route, as best as can be found, turned north on Union Street in Winchester, and followed that and Union City Pike into Union City.

I am not sure what this highway was supposed to accomplish. But, it seems it would be a great day trip/road trip for those that want to drive a 1917 Auto Trail.

1889: National Road in Warren Township, Marion County

Since it was built, the National Road has held an important place in the history of Marion County. Obviously, the city itself benefitted from the coming of the road. The road was built from east to west, which means when it reached Marion County, Warren Township would be first in line.

1889 map of Cumberland, Indiana

Cumberland. The town was laid out shortly after the coming of the road. The name of the town came from the other name for the National Road. Or, more to the point, the terminus of the road – Cumberland, Maryland. The town was laid out by Henry Brady on 7 July 1831. The original plat only included four blocks, bounded by what was called North, South, East and West Streets (now Niles Street, Saturn Street, Muessing Street and one that no longer exists).

The railroad would come to Cumberland in 1853. The Indiana Central Railway built 71.94 miles of track that year, connecting Indianapolis to the Ohio state line east of Richmond.

The next things that were encountered on the way west were a church and a toll gate one mile west of the county line. The church, built in 1855, was St. John’s Church, but the corner stone is written in the language of the congregation – German. The road would be named later German Church Road. The toll house was opposite the church, on the southwest corner of German Church and Washington.

At the corner of the National and Franklin Roads, a country schoolhouse was located on the southwest corner.

1889 map of Irvington, Indiana

Irvington. Before entering Center Township at what is now Emerson Avenue, the town of Irvington in encountered. Incorporated in March 1873, it was designed as a town of “refinement and culture.” That same year, the Northwestern Christian University was enticed to move to the new town with a 25 acre land donation and a grant of $150,000. The university was tucked between the two railroads that ran through the area, and along the western edge of the town.

Greensburg

On 31 December 1821, the Indiana General Assembly created a new county from lands that were part of the unorganized Delaware County. The county would be made official on 4 March 1822. That county would be named after United States Naval Commodore Stephen Decatur. Also in 1822, Thomas Hendricks founded a town near the center of the county. He named it after his wife’s home town in Pennsylvania: Greensburgh. It would become the county seat of Decatur County in July of the same year.

Greensburgh (spelling of the town’s name until 1894) would become a central point with transportation facilities that would connect it with the rest of the nation. The first big one, however, was a state road. The Michigan Road was built through the town, connecting Madison on the Ohio River to Shelbyville and Indianapolis on its way to Lake Michigan.

Several more state roads were built to the town around the same time. Roads were built to Columbus, Vernon, Rushville and Batesville. State roads at the time were paid for by the state, then turned over to the county for maintenance. This would give Greensburg connections to most of the state.

In 1853, the Lawrenceburg and Upper Mississippi Railroad was built through the town. The stretch from Indianapolis to Lawrenceburg, 90 miles of track, opened in 1853. At the end of that year, the company would change its name to the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad. 14 years later, in 1867, the I&C was consolidated with the Lafayette & Indianapolis to create the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette Railway.

It would be early in the 20th Century when the next transportation system connected to Greensburg. The Indianapolis, Shelbyville & Southeastern Traction Company would terminate in the city. This company would last until 1931.

The Auto Trail era brought three trails to the city: the Terre Haute, Columbus Cincinnati Highway; the Michigan Road; and the Tip Top Trail. The first two roads are self-explanatory. The Tip Top Trail would leave Greensburg toward Rushville and New Castle. More information on this highway is available in the post “Tip Top Trail.”

When the original batch of numbered state roads started appearing in 1919, Greensburg was included on two of the new state roads. One was SR 6, which was the Michigan Road through the area. The other was SR 36, which connected Greensburg to the National Road near Dunreith. By 1923, the THC&C Highway was added to the state road system from Greensburg to Lawrenceburg as SR 53.

With the Great Renumbering, Greensburg found itself on SR 3, SR 29, and SR 46. SR 3 started at Greensburg and worked its way north along the SR 36 corridor. Later, SR 3 would be extended southward toward Vernon. SR 29 would become US 421 in 1951. In the early 1960’s, another facility was added to the city, or at least close to it, when Interstate 74 was built.

Towns of Pike Township, Marion County

As I have covered much of Marion County when it comes to the little towns that have crept up due to the transportation facilities in Pike Township. For all intents and purposes, there really are only three places that could be mentioned here: Augusta; New Augusta; and Traders Point.

1889 map of Augusta, IN

Let’s start with Augusta. This town was created along the Michigan Road in 1832. It had been platted by David G. Boardman. Naming of the town has never been determined with any certainty. But it would lead to the creation of the Augusta Gravel Road Company, a toll road using the old Michigan Road right-of-way.

The original plan of the town included basically two blocks paralleling the Michigan Road centered on what was called Meridian Street (now 77th Street). The backing streets that were parallel to the Michigan Road were called Spring St. (now Spring Lane) and Parallel Street.

The southern most street of the original plat was Walnut Street. This, today, is called 76th Street. The cemetery shown in the map image to the left is still there. It is located on the curve of 76th Street as it leaves the town itself.

The town of Augusta grew slowly, providing services to local residents and travelers along the Michigan Road. Stagnation occurred when the Indianapolis & Lafayette Railroad was built through the area, located about a mile or so west of the town. This would create the second town I want to cover.

1889 map of New Augusta, IN

The Indianapolis & Lafayette Railroad built, in 1852, what would be called by the railroad “Augusta Station.” It would be the closest location to the town of Augusta above. The station was located just north of the survey line that would later become 71st Street.

The old town of Augusta found itself in a strange situation. Between the railroad and the fact that the Michigan Road became a toll road (The Augusta Gravel Road), within a few years, a town grew up around the station. There were two names for the village came to be used – Augusta Station and Hosbrook. In 1878, the United States Postal Service decided the issue of the town name. The post office was given the name New Augusta.

1889 map of Traders Point, IN.

West of both Augusta and New Augusta is Traders Point. Or, more to the point, more or less was, Traders Point. The original town sprang up around the mill built by John Jennings and Josiah Coughran in 1864. It was located along Eagle Creek where it was crossed by the old Indianapolis-Lafayette Road. The origin of the name is unclear. There are stories about it having been the location of a Native American trading post. It could also have been named simply because it was a convenient place to do business.

With the coming of the Auto Trail era, all three towns would be included. Traders Point and New Augusta would be included on the Hoosier Motor Club’s Dandy Trail, an 88 mile circle around Marion County. It would skirt Augusta to the south, having been run along the 71st Street/Westlane Road corridor through the area. Augusta would once again appear on the Michigan Road, this time the Auto Trail, that mostly covered the same roads as the original Michigan Road built in the 1830’s. Traders Point would also was on the Jackson Highway.

In 1919, with the creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission, the Jackson Highway north from Indianapolis became part of State Road 6. Later, the old Michigan Road, at least from Indianapolis to Logansport, would become part of State Road 15. SR 6, at least through Traders Point, would be changed to US 52, and SR 15 would changed to SR 29, when the Great Renumbering happened on 1 October 1926. New Augusta would find itself left off of the state highway system all together.

Traders Point would cease to exist as it was originally planned with the coming of Eagle Creek Reservoir in the 1960’s. The town was determined to be on the flood plain for the new man made lake. The location isn’t under water now, and visiting there has very little in the way of sights. The name Traders Point has been placed on quite a few things removed from the original town. Even on shopping centers miles away at 86th Street and I-465.

New Augusta would find itself removed from most of the commercial building craze of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Augusta would get those facilities as shopping centers and the like were built along Michigan Road. The railroad tracks that helped create New Augusta are still in place, but no longer connect to any towns north of New Augusta. They now connect to industrial park areas near 79th and 86th Streets, connecting to the Park 100 area.

All three areas of the county would be absorbed into the City of Indianapolis when UniGov went into effect. Neither Augusta nor Traders Point appear on the Indiana State Highway system, with Traders Point being the first to be removed since US 52 was the first state road in Marion County to be detoured around on Interstate 465.

Some Sources for Maps

I want to make a quick entry to answer some questions that I have been getting through direct messages about where I find the maps that I use for my research. I want to share a few of my favorites.

One of my newest favorites is a Map of Indiana 1923. This map shows the railroads, interurban lines, Auto Trails, and the state road numbers – before the first renumbering in late 1923. As opposed to the Indiana State Official Highway Map of 1923. The second map shows the new numbers for the state roads. And of course the Indiana State Official Highway Map of 1926, which I have used quite a bit. It is dated 1 October 1926, which was the day of the Great Renumbering.

Of course, the almost entire collection of the state highway maps, at the Indiana State Library is available here.

The IUPUI digital library also has a nice map collection. The major difference between the State Library collection and the IUPUI collection is simple: the State Library will allow you to download the maps that you are looking at. This comes in really handy.

The best map, and photo, source for Marion County is MapIndy. This site will allow you to look at photos, maps, and property records.

I know this is a short entry. I won’t have one for Thursday, due to work commitments.

I want to wish all of you in the Indiana Transportation History community a Happy Thanksgiving. And please…stay happy, stay safe, stay yourself!

Original SR 31 and the Pike’s Peak Ocean-To-Ocean Highway

Just a short post to show how state roads have changed.

I have covered Auto Trails and the original state road numbers several times over the past nearly two years. I had done a post about the rerouting of the Pike’s Peak Ocean-To-Ocean Highway through Indiana. But the original route, as covered by fellow blogger (and ITH Facebook Group co-admin) Jim Grey, traveled across the western part of the state using the US 36 corridor. (The latest is “US 36 and the Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway in Danville, Indiana,” among others) I’d like to say it followed the current US 36, but it’s been moved several times over the years.

As I had mentioned in other posts along the way, many of the roads that were added originally to the state highway system were part of the Auto Trails systems that crossed the United States. When the Pike’s Peak road was taken into the state system, it was given the designation “State Road 31.” Well, sort of.

OSR 31 started in the west at OSR 10, across the Wabash River west of Montezuma. From there, it went through Montezuma, Rockville, and Bainbridge to Danville. From Danville, the PPOO rumbled across Hendricks and Marion Counties along what is now Rockville Road (and Rockville Avenue – because Rockville Road didn’t connect to Washington Street directly until later). The original SR 31, however, connected to the National Road (then Original State Road 3) at a completely different location.

Strangely, the route of the original SR 31 is now not part of the state highway system. Current SR 39 leaves Danville via Cross Street south towards Martinsville. Original State Road 31 turned south from Main Street on Jefferson Street. Jefferson Street turns into Blake Street, then Cartersburg Road. The state road connected to OSR 3 southeast of Cartersburg.

The drive from Danville to Cartersburg is quite a nice one.

With the Great Renumbering in October 1926, original state road 31 became US 36. Again, sort of. The section from Danville to Cartersburg was removed from the highway system at that time. US 36 continued on into Marion County, as shown in the article “Road Trip 1926: US 36.” Just like the original eastern end of OSR 31, the original eastern end of US 36 is now gone, ending at a parking lot.

I also covered a reroute that was put in place along US 36, after the Great Renumbering, at Bainbridge.

Original State Roads 6-10

1919. The second law creating the Indiana State Highway Commission was passed, and passed Constitutional muster. When the original law was passed in 1917, the fledgling ISHC created five state roads, called Main Market Roads. They were covered in my post “The First Five State Roads, and the Auto Trails They Replaced.” (Indiana Transportation History Blog, 18 October 2019) But legal issues were brought up in regards to the Indiana constitution of 1851. That Constitution was created after the debacle that was the Mammoth Internal Improvements Act. (Indiana Transportation History Blog, 23 August 2019)

The second law had answered a majority of the Constitutional questions when it came to funding roads. Some people saw the ISHC necessary, not for the creating of a state road system, but for a method to get the money the federal government was spending on creating the system. The federal government would only give money to states that had a state transportation agency in place. No money was to be given directly to any government entity smaller than the state.

The Indiana State Highway Commission wasted no time in adding roads to the state highway system. It should be noted here that the ISHC could not just take roads into the system. There were financing concerns, obviously, but also the fact that the roads in question were actually owned by the county. Most had been toll roads previously, which means the counties had to buy them back from the toll road companies in the decades prior to this.

A quick look at a map of the first state roads, when compared to Auto Trails at the time, shows that the ISHC started by using roads that were already supposed to be upgraded for car transportation. (Check out these maps at the Indiana State Library: ISHC Official Highway Map of 1920; and the Standard Series Map of Indiana, 1919.) I will be mentioning those as I cover the second five original state roads. I want to note here that when I use the term “original state road,” it is in reference to the current state roads and their numbering. All of the roads that are listed here, and the ones in the first five article, were renumbered on 1 October 1926, something I have been calling “The Great Renumbering” since I started the ITH Facebook Group on 31 May 2014. Also, the old state roads, those built by the state between 1820 and 1850, had names that showed their destinations, not numbers. Numbered state roads, at least in Indiana, are a 20th Century invention.

Original State Road 6: This road connected Madison to Monticello, via Versailles, Greensburg, Shelbyville, Indianapolis, Lebanon, Frankfort, and Delphi. For those of you keeping track at home, it may sound like the southern end looks miraculously like the Michigan Road, or at least the Auto Trail of the same name. And you would be right. From Madison to Indianapolis, it followed the Michigan Road Auto Trail. The difference between the historic Michigan Road and the Auto Trail is basically the section that runs from Bryantsburg to Napoleon. Versailles is on the Auto Trail, not the historic road.

North out of Indianapolis, OSR 6 followed the old Indianapolis-Lafayette State Road to Lebanon. From there, it used the old state road to Frankfort. This was the route used by the Jackson Highway from Indianapolis to Frankfort. From Frankfort, the ISHC just charged “cross country,” using county roads, to complete the route through Delphi to Monticello.

OSR 6 would become, in 1926, SR 29 from Madison to Indianapolis, US 52 from Indianapolis to Lebanon, and SR 39 from Lebanon to Monticello.

Original State Road 7: From the Illinois-Indiana State line west of Kentland, via Kentland, Monticello, Logansport, Peru, and Wabash, to Huntington. Map geeks will instantly recognize this by its post-1926 designation: US 24. From west of Kentland to Logansport, it was part of the Illinois Corn Belt Route (Indiana Transportation History Blog, 2 December 2019). Between Remington and Wolcott, the route was shared with the Jackson Highway, which led to Lafayette and Frankfort, where it connected to OSR 6. OSR 6 ended at OSR 7 at Monticello. From Logansport to Huntington, the ISHC used the route of the Wabash Way to create OSR 7.

Original State Road 8: From Remington, north through Rensselaer and Crown Point to Gary. The route was also the Jackson Highway from Remington to Demotte, and from due south of Crown Point east of Lowell to Crown Point. When the Great Renumbering occurred, OSR 8 became part of SR 53 from Remington to SR 2, then SR 2 to where SR 55 would come later. From Crown Point to Gary, the route became SR 55 in 1926.

Original State Road 9: From Rockville north to Hillsboro, then west to Veedersburg, then north through Attica and Williamsport to Boswell. The route then travelled through Fowler to end at OSR 7 west of Goodland. This one was interesting at the time of the Great Renumbering. The original route had been moved to the west from Rockville to Veedersburg, instead of Hillsboro. The road that headed toward Hillsboro had become SR 59, but only to Grange Corner. And even then, not for long. A lot of the route became US 41. At least from Veedersburg to Boswell. Otherwise, the original route of SR 9 was mostly forgotten. Some of this had to do with the renumbering of 1923. (Indiana Transportation History Blog, 18 May 2019) The only section of this entire route that had been part of the Auto Trail system was from Attica to the Benton-Lake County line, which was part of the Adeway. (Indiana Transportation History Blog, 26 October 2020).

Original State Road 10: Evansville, through Princeton, Vincennes, Sullivan, Terre Haute, Clinton, to OSR 33 west of Covington. This long route made use of several Auto Trails. Leaving Evansville, OSR 10 follows the route of both the Dixie Bee Line and the Hoosier Highway. (Indiana Transportation History, 23 October 2019). The two routes parted ways at Princeton, with the Hoosier Highway turning east. The Dixie Bee Line was used for OSR 10 to Perrysville Station, along the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad. OSR 10 turned east to Perrysville, while the Dixie Bee Line turned west heading off to Danville, Illinois. The rest of the route of OSR 10 crossed the countryside along county roads until it ended west of Covington.

A quick glance at a map of Indiana, and the reader would think that OSR 10 became the original route of US 41 through the state. And from Evansville to east of Clinton, that would be correct. However, near Clinton, the route crossed the Wabash River. Here, in 1926, it would become SR 63 from Clinton to its end at OSR 33/SR 34.

By 1920, state road numbers would reach into the 40’s. Not many roads were added to the system by the time the first renumbering happened in October 1923. With the Great Renumbering, the state found itself dumping some roads, although it was to be temporary. These original numbered state roads would make a wonderful road trip. I plan on doing a series of that very thing soon.

Ben Davis and Mickleyville, Wayne Township, Marion County

1852. The Terre Haute & Richmond Railroad was building its main line from Terre Haute to Indianapolis. Six miles west of the center of town, the railroad decided that they would build a station. But only if someone would take care of it. There were no takers, and the railroad skipped the place. There was, however, a signal put in place in case someone did want to board or leave the train in the empty field 3/10th of a mile south of the National Road.

It would be over two decades before a platform was built at the location. This was after the assignment of a ticket agent, John Pierson, that would go to the railroad location to sell tickets right before train time. Mr. Pierson would go on to acquire a lease from the railroad, by this time the Terre Haute & Indianapolis, so that he could build a small station and store room. In 1877, the Ben Davis Post Office would be opened, and two years later an express office was added to the station.

1895 map of Ben Davis Post Office

But the station never belonged to the railroad itself, so John Pierson sold it to another person, Wilson Morrow. Morrow went on to sell the station, and the goods in storage, to Humphrey Forshea, the then current station agent. Forshea was also the name of the road that stretched south from the National Road to a point 1 mile south of what is now Minnesota Street, as shown in the 1895 map to the left. The end of the road shown on the map is roughly where High School Road turns east to go around the Indianapolis International Airport.

The station and post office was named after Benjamin Davis, a first customer of the Terre Haute & Richmond Railroad. Mr. Davis would ship loads of wood and lumber from the future Ben Davis to Indianapolis. He was born in Lewis County, Kentucky, on 27 October 1821. He died at his home at 2406 Parker Avenue, in Brightwood, on 24 January 1899. He had been a railroad contractor and the owner of a livery stable in the city.

Another town in the area was located where what is now Morris Street crossed the National Road. J. A. Mickley, merchant, built a store at the location that would later be called Mickleyville. Mr. Mickley would become a cobbler at Ben Davis after coming to Indiana from Pennsylvania in 1868. In 1873, he moved to the National Road location. Mickley Avenue, which is a block west of Washington Street and Morris Street, was named after the unincorporated town.

When the National Road was a toll road, the tollgate was located at what became Mickleyville. This makes sense since what is now Morris Street was also a privately owned road…called the Emma Hansch (Free Gravel) Road, which ran from the county line (now Raceway Road) east to the National Road. East from the National Road, along the same line of Morris Street, was the Jesse Wright (Free Gravel) Road that extended eastward to what is now Warman Street.

There were other post offices started in Wayne Township, Marion County. Including one along the National Road, called Bridgeport. Others, which I will cover in a later post, included: Clermont (Crawfordsville Road and the Peoria & Eastern Railroad); Mitchell Station, at the Wall Street Pike and the Baltimore & Ohio; Brooklyn Heights, on the Lafayette & Indianapolis between what is now 34th and 38th Streets; Glendale, north of Crawfordsville Road (16th Street) on the Lafayette Road; Sabine on the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railway near what is now Girls School Road; Maywood on the Vincennes State Road and the same railroad; Haughville; and Mount Jackson, both of these last ones were along the National Road.

Richmond, 1907: Interurban Accident with City Street Car

I have mentioned several times that when interurban cars entered most of the bigger cities in Indiana, they would not run on tracks that were owned by the traction company, but owned by the city street railway. In cities like Indianapolis and Terre Haute, this really wasn’t a problem, since the street railways in both cities were owned by the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company. (That also meant that the THI&E paid a ton of money in franchise fees, but that is a story for a different day.)

Now, we go to 4 November 1907. A collision, involving a Richmond street car, a THI&E passenger car, and a THI&E freight car created such a stink in and around Richmond that it was thought that the city street cars were going to undergo a massive change in operations. The accident, according to the Richmond Palladium, occurred in “the western limits of the city.” This was located near the country club. Due to the accident, officials of the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern were holding a “court martial” and an investigation of the circumstances in their eastern division offices at Greenfield.

The purpose of the meeting in Greenfield was bluntly stated, in the newspaper, that the company was “fully realizing that the street car wreck of Monday….was the direct result of carelessness on the part of some of the operators.” And that carelessness was considered to be on the part of the street car operators, not the interurban ones. The people involved in the accident were “Motorman Elmer Rhodes of the city car, Raydo Flower of No. 68, the interurban, and Riley Cook, of the freight car.” Additionally, Conductors J. C. Beldsoe (sic…listed as Bledsoe later) and Oliver Hill were asked to go to Greenfield to attend.

The property loss to the interurban company was considered to be “great than at first thought.” The braking system of THI&E car #68 was completely destroyed. Car #68 was crashed into by the Richmond city car. The car also happened to be relatively new, only being in service between Richmond and Indianapolis for “a short time.” The freight car was considered to be a total loss, to the tune of $3,500.

“When asked to roughly estimate the property loss, Superintendent A. Gordon of the city lines, said he had not the slightest idea, but it would be heavy. When asked if $6,000 would cover it, he said it might, but he would not say.” In addition, the THI&E “will undoubtedly be defendant in several damage suits which will call for large amounts. Claim Agent Kitchner was on the spot immediately on his arrival in the city and secured the names of the injured and set about making settlements.”

One person was commended for his actions during the situation. Conductor J. C. Bledsoe gave a warning to the 28 passengers of the danger, and his quick actions getting the passengers off of the wrecked car. “Many men would have stood on the rear platform with head in a whirl,” stated Superintendent Gordon. “Had the passengers remained in the passenger coach longer than they did, it is very probable the list of injured would have been larger, as a panic would have ensued had the passengers known of the great danger.”

The newspaper went on to point out that street car officials have been under a microscope for the past week. Street cars were known to follow the interurban cars to closely, thought to have been due to a change in the interurban schedule. The change was made to shorten the time waiting in Richmond for transfers from the THI&E and the Dayton & Western, the interurban line connecting Richmond to Dayton, Ohio.

The major cause of the accident was thought to be in the hands of city street car motormen following the interurban too closely, and the interurbans stopping to pick up city passengers, something that is not done in other cities along the line where street cars and interurbans use the same lines.

Google Map of the location of the street car/
interurban crash.

All of the cars involved in the incident were heading west, which, according to the sub-headline of the Richmond Palladium of 4 November 1907, made “the accident one of the most peculiar on record.” This issue of the newspaper also mentions that the accident was “the third and most serious street car wreck that has occurred on the Richmond city street car lines within the past ten days.”

The accident occurred when Rhodes, operating the Easthaven street car, heard the cars of a man wanting to catch the street car. He brought his car to a halt a few feet east of the Clear Creek bridge, awaiting the arrival of Wilson Langley, the man who called for the street car. As Langley was boarding, the crash occurred. There was no scheduled stop at that spot on the line. Langley would suffer a broken left leg, badly cut face, and internal injuries. His condition was considered serious.

The crash occurred at the bottom of a small hill going westbound along the National Road. Tests were done with traction and street cars when it came to stopping while coming down that hill. The interurban operators had, during the test, turned on reverse power so high that, according to sources, “the wheels were spinning backward.” Slippery conditions of the rails, the stopped street car in a place where it should not have stopped, and the hill were thought to all be contributing factors.

Information after the wreck was limited in the newspapers…other than the people that were hurt recovering from their injuries.