Blog Changes…

With the passing of Richard, Myself and Jim Grey are taking over the Indiana Transportation History Blog.

In the last week or so I’ve been playing with WordPress to figure out how to make the blog easier to find things like old posts and such, because Richard previously had all of his blogs loading into a single page and you had to keep scrolling back to view older posts.


I updated the ‘home page’ header and added a “Transportation Categories” link to the top next to the “Home” that was already there. This Transportation Categories page is basically a bulleted list of the transportation categories that have been created.

Because of how WordPress works, adding and managing categories is tedious. I had started making a sub-category entry for every city, road or railroad company but the category list just got so big and because they don’t have the means to display it as a collapsed list that you can expand as you need, I was having to scroll through all the categories to find the one I needed, which was a pain in the butt!

So, I decided the categories would be basic categories under which to organize the posts. So, if you want to see the articles about bicycling in Indiana, I finished marking those posts last night and there are 18 posts about bicycling.

If you have any suggestions for categories, or find that some of the categories are too general or broad, I’m open for suggestions!


And then there are Tags… For the tags, these are much easier to dynamically add as needed. So, as I’m reading through a blog post, I’m tagging each year, city, road, river, bridge, canal etc that I come across.

Then, I added a Tag Cloud to the home page. This Tag Cloud shows a lot of the tags with higher usage counts and you can click on one to see a list of the blog posts which have been tagged with the tag. For example, right now I can click on the Lincoln Highway and there are 30 tagged posts about the Lincoln Highway!

It is going to take a while to get all of the blogs tagged, but I’ve got a good start. So far, any post that mentioned “Auto Trail”, “Bicycle” or “Canal” have been tagged.

Here is where I need help!!! I’m finding duplicate similar worded Roads and such that I don’t know if they are the same or not. I’d love to get them corrected in the blogs and then tagged correctly.

An example:

Belt Railroad – from a post “Bicycling the Shelbyville Road

Belt Railway – from a post “Bicycling the National Road West from Indianapolis

Which is correct? Or are they 2 different train companies?

So, as I continue to add tags and categories, the blog may keep changing… but hopefully in the long run it will make it more usable.

New Content – Contributors

This blog cannot die with Richard. It is such a great resource, and Jim and I would like to see it continue to be used and added to.

Jim and I have discussed it via email and we’d love to sign people up to be ‘contributors’. As a contributor you would write your blog post in a subject matter fitting for Indiana Transportation History blog, doing all of the necessary research and adding pictures and maps accordingly.

Then Jim and I would then approve and publish the blog entries as they are submitted.

If you would like to become a contributor, contact Jim or myself and we’ll get the ball rolling. It is all new to us so have patience with us as we figure out how to add the proper processes, procedures and blog infrastructure to handle the changes being made!


A 1933 Indianapolis Map and Why It Interests Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SR 32/SR 67 in Madison and Delaware Counties

Today on a map of Indiana, there are two state highways connecting Anderson and Muncie. As the subject suggests, they are SR 32 and SR 67 (even though SR 67 actually hasn’t entered either for decades. But it wasn’t always that way.

When the Great Renumbering happened in 1926, SR 32 only connected Crawfordsville to Anderson, much like the Auto Trail of the same name. SR 67 would be applied to Ohio Avenue and Mounds Road. The original road crossed what is now the Anderson Municipal Airport to connect (as now Anderson Road) in Chesterfield to what is now SR 32. From there, SR 67 continued its journey to Muncie. While technically Mounds Road and Anderson Road are still connected, the road in place today is a replacement around the airport, as the old road west straight across what is now the runway.

At Muncie, what is now SR 32 east of the city was originally SR 28. That would change in 1931, when SR 28 (east out of Muncie) was changed to SR 32. According to the map sources that I have seen, however, the only state road connecting Anderson to Muncie was still SR 67. In 1933, the connecting road would share both the numbers 32 and 67.

Things got interesting in the Anderson area in 1934/1935. Two new state highways were being constructed along 53rd Street and 38th Street. The 53rd Street route was being added to the state highway system from SR 9 to Middletown as SR 236. The 38th Street route was, from information available, to become an Anderson bypass of SR 67. That route would travel across 38th Street to Rangeline Road, then connect to the then current SR 32/67 along Mounds Road.

Things changed again in 1936, when it was decided by the State Highway Commission to build a new state highway staying south of the Big Four (“B” Line) railroad, staying south of Daleville, and crossing Delaware County in a relatively straight line to Sharps, then turning toward, but not actually entering, Muncie until meeting SR 21/US 35. By this time, SR 236 was completed to Middletown. The new route would use 53rd Street, and the 38th Street route was removed from the pending state highway status.

53rd Street in Anderson was officially made SR 67 from SR 9 to Rangeline Road in 1937. SR 32 still used the Ohio Avenue/Mounds Road/Anderson Road route. The two state roads would reconnect using what is now Madison County Road 300 East. This short section would connect Mounds Road (SR 32) in the north to Union Township Pike (SR 67) in the south.

The new route of SR 67 would be along the corridor that is still SR 67 today across Delaware County. This would be what is also Delaware County Road 550 South to Honey Creek Road. From there, would again follow what is now SR 67 for a short distance, then the current route turns east before the 1937 route continued northeast to Fusion Road. It would then turn northeast, then north, along Madison Street, where it would combine with SR 21/US 35 into Muncie.

The new State Road 67 route would be completed by 1938. At that time, the State Road 32 route would still be located on the Mounds Road/Anderson Road route. What is now Madison County Road 100 N was given the number SR 232 from between Mounds Road (SR 32) to Union Township Pike (SR 67).

The next change would occur in 1960, when SR 32 was rerouted out of Anderson along the Third Street/University Boulevard corridor. Here it would connect to the original SR 67/32 route at Chesterfield. The old SR 32, along Ohio Avenue/Mounds Road to the Union Township Pike route of SR 67 would be changed to SR 232, which most of it is today. In 1965, the designation SR 232 would be truncated into Mound State Park, no longer connecting to a soon to disappear SR 67.

SR 67 would be rerouted along Interstate 69 from SR 9/67 between Pendleton and Anderson to near Daleville. The 1937 route of SR 67 would be returned to Madison County, and is currently referred to as Old State Road 67.

In the 21st Century, slight changes in SR 67 in Delaware County would occur, making the very long “S” curve that exists today.

The Original State Road System, as Shown in 1932

When I was writing yesterday’s blog entry, I had mentioned the fact there were two Official maps issued in 1932. The September 1932 map included something on the front that I had never seen before. It was a small map in the lower right hand corner (given the shape of the state of Indiana, this makes sense that this corner has always been used for the legend and such) that shows “pavement on original system.” Today, the whole purpose of this entry is to show that small map. It gives an idea of who much the state highway system had expanded since 1920. It didn’t include any state road numbers.

A glance at that map gives an idea of what “important” roads were not included in the original state highway system. For instance, not included in the Indianapolis area: the Crawfordsville Road (SR 34/US 136); the Michigan Road north (SR 29/US 421); and the Pendleton Pike (SR 67 and US 36). They were important roads prior to the state highway system…and became major routes after they were added.

1932 Indiana Official State Highway System inset of “Pavement On Original System.” Map was officially issued on 1 September 1932.

Keep in mind that all state roads technically ended at city limits. The Indiana State Highway Commission, when created, was not authorized to route state highways along city streets. It was up to the city to decide those routes. The state would post “trailblazers” pointing the city picked best route to get back to the official state road on the other side of the town.

2020: Merry Christmas To All!

What a year. The Indiana Transportation History blog will be taking the day off. But I want to wish you all a safe, fun and happy holiday. I hope that everything goes your way on this holiday. Celebrate how you wish, and how you can given the situation.

Since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, the next blog entry will be posted on 28 December 2020. See you then!

And for some fun, check out last year’s Christmas post: 2019: Merry Christmas To All! It included the covers of my own Christmas cards.

Thank you for a great year!

Tarkington Street? Not so fast.

When running through newspapers looking for things to write about, some articles just stand out as both a historic fact and a fun story. Thus, today’s story from the Indianapolis News of 19 January 1903. The headline starts with a simple “Tarkington’s Name Too Long For Street.” That was enough to catch my interest. But this story also drips with a kind of irony that makes it worth it.

The lead paragraph, as is taught in Journalism class (I know from experience), gives a good idea of what is going on. “The fame of Booth Tarkington, author-politician, will not be impressed on future generations by having a street in classic Irvington named after him. They will have to remember him by his book and his reputation as a legislator.”

Yes. The idea was to rename a street in the college town of Irvington after the author of “The Magnificent Ambersons,” among others.

The topic of street name changes came up because the town of Irvington had just been annexed by the City of Indianapolis. Another neighborhood, Tuxedo, was also taken into the city around the same time. Tuxedo was located between the old city limits and Irvington. Or more precisely, between Sherman Drive and Emerson Avenue, from Washington Street to 10th Street. This required a large number of street names to be changed to avoid confusion between the two. I will include the list below.

But the subject name, Tarkington Street, is what I want to discuss first. The plan by the City Engineer’s office, was to change the name of Maple Avenue to Tarkington Street. Oh, but then the protest letters started pouring in. Tarkington was too long a name. Those on Maple Avenue wanted a name that was easier to pronounce. That was the argument. So, the city engineer decided to change the name of Maple Avenue to Bolton Avenue.

Another name change that brought the ire of Irvingtonians was that of Downey Avenue. Downey was the name of one of the original founders of the town. He was also the one that came up with the name “Irvington” for the community. The thought that it would be changed to Thompson Avenue did not go over well in the newly annexed town. Another reason involved a church. The “Downey Avenue Church” would have to change its name, as well. As it turned out, the reason they wanted to change the name is to avoid confusion with Downey Avenue in the city. It, however, did not have a sentimental connection to the neighborhood. It was changed to Orange Street.

The street names changed in Irvington and Tuxedo were as follows:
Central, Irving and College Avenues, from Brookville Avenue to Lowell Avenue: Audubon Road.
Detroit Street, from Huron to English: Mozart Avenue (later changed to Bosart).
East Street, from Washington to PRR: Sheridan Avenue.
Parkman Avenue, Ivanhoe Street south: Catherwood Avenue.
Warren Street, Washington south to PRR: Catherwood Avenue.
Orchard Street, Washington south to PRR: Webster Avenue.
Parkman Avenue, Oak north to PRR: Webster Avenue.
Prescott Avenue, B&O tracks north: Webster Avenue.
South Avenue, between the B&O and University Avenue: Good Avenue.
Perry Avenue, Julian Ave. to PRR: Berry Avenue.
Maple Avenue, PRR to Lowell Avenue: Bolton Avenue.
Pleasant Avenue, Lowell to Chambers: Bolton Avenue.
Maxwell Avenue, Lowell to Chambers: Hursh Avenue.
Green Avenue, Lowell to Chambers: Lesley Avenue.
Pleasant Street (first west of Emerson): Bancroft Avenue.

I will just include the newspaper article list of names that were changed in the city to avoid confusion. There were also a collection of streets that were finally given a name in this batch of street name changes.

The name change of Quincy Street to McKim Street ended up being pointless, although still understandable. The Quincy Street that remained would be in the Tuxedo neighborhood, west of Emerson Avenue. Depending on where you are, it is either two west of Emerson (on Washington Street) or three west of Emerson (New York Street north). Later, it would be changed to DeQuincy Street.

I hope that you find this as interesting as I did.

Bankruptcy of the Southern Indiana Railway, Part 3

In May, 2019, I wrote an article about the Milwaukee Road in Indiana. For the last two days, I have been covering the bankruptcy of one of the predecessor roads, the Southern Indiana Railway. Two days ago (Bankruptcy of the Southern Indiana Railway, Part 1), I covered the main line. Yesterday (Bankruptcy of the Southern Indiana Railway, Part 2), I covered the branch lines. A lot of legalese, defining exact locations of what was where. Today I want to focus on the spur lines that were defined in the Notice of Sale.

When compiling the list of railroad property, people don’t realize that it requires a complete detailing of the entire operation. These include spur lines for customers.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company nine-tenths (0.9) miles South of Hulman Street, Terre Haute, Indiana, extending in a Westerly direction One and Eight Tenths (1.8) miles to a Gravel Pit.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company One and One Tenth (1.1) miles North of Coalmont, Indiana, extending in a Westerly direction in Clay and Sullivan Counties, Indiana, to a plant of United States Power Company.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company at Coalmont, Indiana, extending in an Easterly direction Five Tenths (0.5) miles to the Pierson Mine.

Mines around the Coalmont, Indiana, area, 1915.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company One and Seven Tenths (1.7) miles South of Coalmont, Indiana, extending in an easterly direction Two (2) miles to the Island Valley and Vivian mines.

Mines in the Jasonville, Indiana, area, 1906.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company in Jasonville, Indiana, extending in an Easterly direction One (1) mile to the Northwest mine.

A Spur from a point in Latta Yard of The Southern Indiana Railway Company extending in a Westerly direction Two and Three Tenths (2.3) miles to the Lattas Creek mine.

A Spur from a point in the Latta Yard of The Southern Indiana Railway extending in a Westerly direction Five Tenths (.5) miles to the Letsinger mine.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company four tenths (0.4) miles North of Midland, Indiana, extending in an Easterly direction One and Six Tenths (1.6) to the Tower Hill mine.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company Two and Seven Tenths (2.7) miles North of Linton, Indiana, extending in a Westerly and Northerly direction Two and Six Tenths (2.6) miles to the Hoosier and Templeton mines.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company Two and Two Tenths (2.2) miles North of Linton extending in a Southwesterly direction Seven Tenths (0.7) miles to the Black Creek Semi Block mine.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company One and One Tenth (1.1) miles North of Linton extending in a Northeasterly direction One and Two Tenths (1.2) miles to the North Linton mine.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company Two and Five Tenths (2.5) miles South of Linton extending in a Westerly direction Six Tenths (0.6) miles to the Island Valley mine.

A Spur from a point on the Latta Branch of The Southern Indiana Railway Company One and One Tenth (1.1) miles Southeasterly from Gilmour, Indiana, extending in a Southerly direction Two and One Tenth (2.1) miles to the Antioch mine.

A Spur from a point on the Sullivan Branch of The Southern Indiana Railway Company Four Tenths (0.4) miles North of Sullivan, Indiana, extending in a Southeasterly direction Nine Tenths (0.9) miles to the Citizen’s mine.

A Spur from a point on the Coalmont Branch of The Southern Indiana Railway Company Fouth Tenths (.0.4) South of Coalmont, Indiana, extending in a Westerly firection One and Two Tenths (1.2) miles to the Freeman mine.

A Spur from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company at Coxton, Indiana, extending in a Northerly direction 3.4 miles to the E. F. Gilberson & Co. stone quarry.

For those that have been following along, this brings me to 1.5 columns of nine of the legal notice in the Indianapolis Star.

Bankruptcy of the Southern Indiana Railway, Part 2

In May, 2019, I wrote an article about the Milwaukee Road in Indiana. Yesterday, I started covering the absolute minute detail that comes when a company is for sale after filing for bankruptcy. Today, I want to show, in detail, the descriptions of the branch lines that the Southern Indiana Railway had at the time of the sale. Keep in mind, this legal announcement of sale would lead to the company that would be leased by the Milwaukee Road.

Notice of Sale of the Properties of The Southern Indiana Railway Company, Indianapolis Star, 28 September 1910.

There is a lot of survey jargon in this one. But it spells out in detail the beginning and end of each branch…with a rough idea of how it got between those two points.

Sullivan Branch: Beginning at a point of connection with the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company in the Northeast Quarter (N. E. 1/4) of the Southeast Quarter (S. E. 1/4) of Section Sixteen (16), Township Ten (10) North, Range Eight (8) West of the Second Principal Meridian, Vigo County, Indiana, at a point 198 feet from where center line crosses the north line of the Northeast Quarter (N. E. 1/4) of the Southeast Quarter (S. E. 1/4) of said Section Sixteen (16), and extending thence in a general Southerly direction through Vigo and Sullivan Counties to a point 50 feet Easterly from the center line of the Evansville & Terre Haute Railroad and 207 feet south of Washington Street in the City of Sullivan, Indiana.

The town of Blackhawk, Indiana, is located in Section 16, Township 10 North, Range 8 West.

Shelburn Branch: Beginning at a point of connection with the Sullivan Branch of The Southern Indiana Railway Company in the Southwest Quarter (S. W. 1/4) of the Southwest Quarter (S. W. 1/4) of Section Twenty Seven (27), Township Ten (10) North, Range Eight (8) West of the Second Principal Meridian, Vigo County, Indiana, at a point 83 feet south of the north line of the Southwest Quarter (S. W. 1/4) of the Southwest Quarter (S. W. 1/4) of said Section Twenty Seven (27), and extending thence in a general Southerly direction through Vigo and Sullivan Counties to a point of connection with the Sullivan Branch 271 feet Southwesterly from the East line of the Northwest Quarter (N. W. 1/4) of the Northeast Quarter (N. E. 1/4) of Section Twenty Three (23), Township Eight (8), Range Nine (9) West of the Second Principal Meridian.

Section 27, Township 10 North, Range 8 West is located northwest of the town of Lewis, Indiana. The southwest corner of Section 27 is at the corner of All Street and State Road 246, almost due south of Blackhawk.

Latta Branch: Beginning at a point of connection with the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company in Green County, Indiana, in the Northeast Quarter (N. E. 1/4) of the Southwest Quarter (S. W. 1/4) of Section Nine (9), Township Eight (8) North, Range Seven (7) West of the Second Principal Meridian, 312 feet North of the south line of the Northeast Quarter (N. E. 1/4) of the Southwest Quarter (S. W. 1/4) of said Section Nine (9), and extending thence in a general Southwesterly direction through Greene County; thence in a general Easterly direction through Sullivan County to a point 556 feet west of the north and south center line of Section Seventeen (17), Township Eight (8) North, Range Eight (8) West of the Second Principal Meridian.

1906 Map of Wright Township, Green County, Indiana. The red square is Section 9, Township 8 North, Range 7 West…or the beginning of the Latta Branch of the Southern Indiana Railway.

Coalmont Branch: Beginning at a point of connection with the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company in Clay County, Indiana, in the Northwest Quarter (N. W. 1/4) of the SOutheast Quarter (S. E. 1/4) of Section Thirty (30), Township Nine (9) North, Range Seven (7) West of the Second Principal Meridian, 62 feet Northwesterly from the south line of the Northwest Quarter (N. W. 1/4) of the Southeast Quarter (S. E. 1/4) of said Section Thirty (30), and extending thence in a general Southwesterly direction through Clay County and Sullivan County to a point of connection on the Latta Branch 987 feet Westerly from where the center line of the Latta Branch crosses the east line of said Section Fourteen (14).

1915 map of Coalmont, Clay County, Indiana. The number 30 below the word Coalmont shows that to be the Section 30 listed in the description of the beginning of the Coalmont branch of the Southern Indiana Railway.

St. Bernice Branch: All the right, title and interest acquired, or which may hereafter be acquired, by The Southern Indiana Railway Company, or Myron J. Carpenter as Receiver, in a branch railroad extending from a point on the main line of The Southern Indiana Railway Company at or near St. Bernice, Vermillion County, Indiana, in a general Southeasterly direction for a distance of approximately five and one-half (5 1/2) miles to the mines of the Clinton Coal Company, said branch railroad being at the date of entry of said decrees in curse of construction under authority granted to the said Receiver by order entered May 19th, 1910.

Thus are all the branch lines of the Southern Indiana Railway as of the sale in late 1910. If you read yesterday’s post (Bankruptcy of The Southern Indiana Railway, Part 1), or saw the first image in this entry, you can see that it is a very detailed legal notice. To the point that this, the second part, only got to the bottom of the first column of the notice. The complete notice takes nine columns…none full page columns. Again, this shows the level of detail any land transaction in Indiana entails…and even more so with something like a railroad that covers a long distance.

Bankruptcy of the Southern Indiana Railway, Part 1

This post is going to include a LOT of legal jargon. But, I think it is important to show how the legal definitions of railroad right of ways are documented. It really isn’t “let’s build this this way, damn the consequences.” Well, not entirely.

In May, 2019, I wrote an article about the Milwaukee Road in Indiana. One of the roads that made up what would become part of that western railroad that wandered east was the Southern Indiana Railway. The creation of the railroad will be covered at some point. But while looking at a map of Clay County, there was a proposed Southern Indiana Railroad that went across Clay County that went through Saline City and north of Bowling Green. So I tried looking it up. But all I found was the one connected to what would become the Milwaukee Road.

But the topic of this post is the bankruptcy of the Southern Indiana Railway. It made the newspaper legal notices in September, 1910. And it took a complete page and a half in the Indianapolis Star. Yes, a page and a half. I have included the first page below. Do I expect people to be able to read. Oh, no. But to give you an idea of the complete railroad property bankruptcy, this picture sums it up.

Indianapolis Star, 28 September 1910. This is the first page of the “Notice of Sale of the Properies of The Southern Indiana Railway Company.”

The entire property of the railroad is so detailed in this legal notice that it will take a few blog entries to cover the entire thing.

The Southern Indiana Railway filed for bankruptcy in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Indiana on 27 May 1910. There were several plaintiffs in the complaint. First was the First Trust and Savings Bank, as trustee. The second was the Girard Trust Company under a deed dated 1 February 1901. Another plaintiff was Alfred M. Chapman. The offices of the railroad were located on Hulman Street, between 14th and 14 and 1/2 Streets, in Terre Haute.

The first parcel listed in the sale of the railroad was described as “all and sigular the main track of railway of the Southern Indiana Railway Company existing at the date of the mortgage or deed of trust made by the Southern Indiana Railway Company to the First Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago, dated May 1, 1906.” This trackage was listed as “commencing at the extreme northwesterly limit of said line as then constructed in Vermillion County, Indiana, at or near the line between the States of Illinois and Indiana, at or near Quaker Hill in the State of Illinois, thence in a southeasterly direction to and into and around the city of Terre Haute in Vigo County, Indiana, and thence in a southeasterly direction in and through the counties of Vigo, Sullivan, Clay, Green, Daviess, Martin, Lawrence, Jackson, Bartholomew and Decatur to the town of Westport in the last name county.”

This description would also include “all its branches diverging from said main lines at or near Black Hawk, Coalmont, and Latta in the State of Indiana and extending to or near Sullivan in said State, said branches being otherwise known as the Sullivan Branch (which includes the Hymera Branch), the Shelburn Branch, the Coalmont Branch and the Latta Branch, and also all other railroad tracks, extensions and branches which said The Southern Indiana Railway Company owned on May 1, 1906, or at any time thereafter constructed.”

Also included in this were “all buildings, lands and interests therein, rights of way and property of every kind on May 1, 1906, owned by The Southern Indiana Railway Company or at any time thereafter acquired.” There is one exception, which goes to show the original planned extent of the railroad. It is listed as “except the lands which it then owned in Wayne County, Indiana.” The original plan for the railroad was to reach to Richmond, in Wayne County. The Southern Indiana ended, at the time, at the Big Four Railway south of Greensburg. That is quite a distance from Wayne County.

1893 Map of Wayne County showing the proposed route of the Evansville & Richmond Railroad through Washington, Centre and Wayne Townships. This route would connect Centerville and Richmond south of the Panhandle Route (PRR).

The main line of the railroad was described in the following legal manner: “Beginning at a point of connection with the railroad of The Chicago Southern Railway on the state line between the states of Illinois and Indiana in the Southwest quarter (S. W. 1/4) of the Section Seven (7), Township Sixteen (16) North, Range Ten (10) West of the Second Principal Meridian.” Legally, most of the state of Indiana is surveyed from the Second Principal Meridian, also called the Paoli Meridian. (The First Principal Meridian forms the line between Ohio and Indiana.)

From there, “and extending thence in a general Southerly direction in and through said county of Vermillion, thence in a general Southerly direction through Vigo County, also from a point in the center line of the right of way of The Southern Indiana Railway Company 33 feet Northeasterly from where said center line crosses the south line of Section 3 (3), Township Eleven (11) North, Range Nine (9) West of the Second Principal Meridian and extending thence in a general Northerly direction to Wabash Avenue in the City of Terre Haute, Indiana, thence in a general Southerly direction through Sullivan County, Clay County, and Greene County; thence in a general Southeasterly direction through Daviess County; thence in a general Easterly direction through Martin County, Lawrence County, and Jackson County and into and through a part of Bartholomew County; thence in a general Northeasterly direction through part of Bartholomew County and a part of Decatur County to a point of connection with the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway.”

To give you an idea of how much information is in the above listed article, I have only covered the first half of the first column in this entry. I will be covering more in entries to come. I know these can be a bit boring, but it is also important to transportation history. Not many railroads in Indiana did not go through a bankruptcy. These types of legal announcements would have been made for each and every one of them, if they were required to publicly announce them. Just looking at one of them sheds a light on all of those things that most people don’t see when it comes to the railroads.

1913 Indianapolis Car Sales Ads in the Indianapolis Star

While doing the article that will appear tomorrow, the newspaper I was looking at had car and tire ads. What stood out to me were the locations of the sales. Also, the prices on those things at the time. This would be 28 June 1913.

Tire ad from the Indianapolis Star of 28 June 1913.
Indianapolis Star, 28 June 1913, used car sales ad.

The following one is what really caught my attention. It looked like a plea to return a car. But no. It was an ad for a car. The location also grabbed my eye: 20 West Wabash Street. For those unfamiliar, that is the alley just north of the Circle, and just south of Ohio Street.

The last things I want to share are personal sales ads that were included in that newspaper.

I know this isn’t normal fare for my blog. But this is transportation history, of a sort. I thought it was interesting. I hope you do, too!

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 1911

If there is one thing that Indianapolis is known for, it is fast cars running around in circles in May. And the transportation history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can not be denied. The 2.5 mile rectangle in a farm field five miles northwest of downtown was built to test cars in the early days. The four men that created the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company were car people. Carl Fisher and James Allison owned Prest-O-Lite, a maker of headlights and batteries for cars. Frank Wheeler made carburetors. Arthur Newby owned the National Motor Vehicle Company.

I want to go into a little more history before getting into the pre-coverage of what would, decades later, become the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing.” Carl Fisher wanted to create a place to test automobiles. Local roads were not of sufficient quality, and the new one mile oval track at the Indiana State Fairgrounds was not good enough either. Fisher’s first plan was to create a five mile track at French Lick. (For those of you that have read my article on the routing of the Dixie Highway through Indiana – “Winners and Losers, Routing the Dixie Highway Through Indiana” – know the irony in that plan.) That plan, obviously, did not happen. And so, in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was born.

We look at the speedway today, and we look at the three (max) races held there every year. In 1910, there were MANY races held at the track. As many as 42 in one three-day weekend. This led to poor attendance, and a plan to have one great big race with a lot of money to the winner. This created the first of what would become the Indianapolis 500.

That “extravaganza” was publicized well. The Indianapolis Star of 28 May 1991, had “a history of the careers of the drivers who will pilot the cars in the 500-mile race at the Speedway Tuesday.” I want to focus on their exploits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The first one mentioned was Ralph De Palma. He started racing on his own in April 1908, even with broken tendons in his arms after a wreck as a mechanicman. In August 1909, he scored four second place finishes with a Fiat stock car. He also won time trials in August 1910 with a 200 horse power Fiat. He also won a ten-mile free-for-all.

The next mentioned was Charles Merz. His first racing experience included crashing through a fence, demolishing his car and narrowly escaping death. That was 4 November 1905. At a race. In Indianapolis. The car company that supplied his racing vehicles was the above mentioned National Motor Vehicle Company. His experience at the Motor Speedway included races in August 1909, May 1910 and September 1910. In these, he either placed first of second. Including running 100 miles “without a stop.”

Robert Burman drove for Benz. His history included driving the very first car built by the Buick Motor Company. He raced several Buick entries across the country. His first experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway included several wins in long races in July 1910. But his cars were disqualified, meaning so were his wins.

Indianapolis Star, 28 May 1911

“Happy” Johnny Aitken of Indianapolis. He also drove National Motor Vehicles. His list of accomplishments at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is rather long. To the point that his list from 1909 is included to the left. Another list of his exploits is included below that. This doesn’t include his running at the December 1909 sessions at the Speedway.

There are more…I plan on a second post.

Original State Roads 11-15

Today, I want to give a brief overview of the next five original state roads that were created with the law that created the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1919. I have covered the first ten, if you are interested, in these articles: “Dec 1917: Main Market Roads Officially Announced” and “Original State Roads 6-10.”

Original State Road #11: This road started in Greenfield, traveling north through Pendleton, Anderson, Alexandria, Marion, Mt. Etna, Huntington, and Roanoke ending at Fort Wayne. Most of the road in Grant, Huntington and Allen Counties was originally built as part of the Fort Wayne State Road, connecting the county seat of Allen County to Indianapolis. From Greenfield to Huntington, it would later be designated SR 9. The original US 24 used the rest of the original State Road 11.

Original State Road #12: This was the designation given to the original Indianapolis-Vincennes State road built in the 1830’s from Bruceville to (almost) Martinsville. It actually ended on the west bank of the White River opposite Martinsville. The southern end of the road was at original State Road 10 at Bruceville. In 1923, the state added the rest of the route from Martinsville to Indianapolis to the designated SR 12. That was discussed in the article “Original SR 22 – The “Fight” For the Way to Martinsville.” With the Great Renumbering, OSR 12 became part of State Road 67. (There is a reason for this road given the number 67…and I covered it in the article “SR 67 – Why?“)

Original State Road #13: Starting at Lewisville, on the National Road/OSR 3, heading north through New Castle, Muncie, Hartford City, Montpelier, Bluffton, and Ossian, to end with OSR 11 at Fort Wayne. The Great Renumbering changed this road to SR 3. Later, the northern section from east of Montpelier would be changed to SR 1 later.

Original State Road #14: This road started at Cannelton on the Ohio River, then north through Tell City and English, ending at Paoli. This road was marked on maps as going in a (as) straight (as possible in southern Indiana) line between English and Tell City. This road would become the new SR 37, sort of. The route would be changed along the way, especially from English to Tell City.

Original State Road #15: Starting at Logansport, the road travelled through Royal Center, Winamac, Knox, and Laporte to end at Michigan City. At the northern end, this road was part of the Michigan Road, but only a short section of it. (Basically the section from what is now the intersection of US 35 and US 20, following E. Michigan Boulevard into Michigan City.) As such, for all intents and purposes, it became a “Michigan Road” shortcut, connecting Logansport to Michigan City more directly. When the Great Renumbering happened, it was numbered as such…SR 29, the same number the ISHC gave to the Michigan Road from Logansport to Madison.

Acton and Wanamaker

In Franklin Township, Marion County, two towns were established to make use of the transportation facilities available. One was founded with the creation of the Michigan Road. One was created to make use of the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad. Both would be so important in their function that they would be connected together by the interurban at the turn of the 20th Century. Those towns are Acton and Wanamaker.

1889 map of New Bethel, Indiana, along the Michigan Road.

Let’s start with the first created of the two: Wanamaker. The Michigan Road had been cut through Marion County in the 1830s. It was in 1834 when a man named John Messinger platted a town along the Michigan Road east of the Noblesville-Franklin State Road. The original plat called for 22 lots fronting the Michigan Road, with a perpendicular street near the middle. The town would be called New Bethel. When mail service was finally extended to the village, it did not have the post office. The post office was located on the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad at the Franklin State Road crossing. That post office was called Gallaudet.

1889 map of Acton, Indiana.

The other town that came into being due to transportation facilities was platted in October 1852 along the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad. The town would originally be called Farmersville. The name would later be changed to Acton, reportedly after a local resident. According to property records, the Marion County government still lists the some of the properties as in Farmersville. Some are listed as Farmersville (Acton).

The original plat of the town was located in two places. The first was on the west side of the county road that connected the town to the Michigan Road about a mile and a half north, along the railroad. The second centered on what was originally Oak Street, now Virgil Street.

North of town, a campground, opened in 1859, operated by the Southeast Indiana Conference of the Methodist Church was created at the junction of the road connecting the town to the Michigan Road (now Acton Road) and the dirt road connecting Acton to Southport (now Southport Road).

The I&C railroad would help bring people to the campground. This would help Acton grow quicker than Wanamaker. The campground would include a pavilion, a hotel, and other facilities. Several fires occurred at the location, but it was rebuilt each time.

In 1889, the town of New Bethel would change its name to Wanamaker, apparently named after the postmaster general under the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. It was not entirely unanimous when it came to the name change. For 50 years afterwards, road signs and residents used both names for the town.

1905 map of Franklin Township, showing the Indianapolis, Shelbyville & Southeastern Traction Company lines connecting Indianapolis to New Bethel (Wanamaker Post Office) and Acton.

In 1902, the Indianapolis, Shelbyville and Southeastern Traction line was built through Franklin Township. It would follow the Michigan Road from Prospect Street, near Sherman Drive, to what is now Hickory Road. From there, it would follow Hickory Road to the original Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad. As it would get close to Acton, it would depart the railroad right-of-way along what is now Swails Street (formerly known as Washington Street). Before Swails Street turns due east to become Lemont Street, the old traction line turned even more southeast to connect back to the railroad right-of-way for the traction lines connection to Shelbyville.

Three years after the interurban connected to Acton, the Methodist campgrounds would suffer complete destruction after another fire. The facility would not be rebuilt after this fire.

The Indianapolis, Shelbyville & Southeastern Traction Company would change its name to the Indianapolis & Southeastern Traction Company around the same time as the campground fire. Many mortgages were made for the traction company property. The first, to the IS&S, was made on 1 January 1902. The next would be to the I&S, dated 14 July 1905. Another name change would occur before 26 December 1910. This time, the company would become the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Company. That date, a mortgage on the property to the Central Union Trust Company of New York.

The towns of Wanamaker and Acton started to more or less stagnate when it came to resident growth. They both would slowly grow over the years.

Wanamaker would get the next transportation improvement. In 1919, the Indiana State Highway Commission took over the old Michigan Road in Marion County. It would be given the number State Road 6. This caused the town of Wanamaker (New Bethel, whichever particular people preferred even at that time) to be located on the state highway system…again. The Michigan Road was built as a state road originally, but it was built to connect two places and given to the counties almost immediately after construction.

The interurban that connected to the two towns would run into major problems in 1928. The entire company, with the mortgages listed above, found itself sold at foreclosure due to orders from the Rush Circuit Court in Rushville. This foreclosure was entered on 31 March 1928. It also included the I&C Light and Power Company, which supplied power to the traction line. The foreclosure consisted of four busses, all property not covered by liens of the mortgages, all nine shares of the I&C Light and Power Company, and that section of the railway from Colescott Street in Shelbyville to the end of the line in Greensburg, among other things. The official beginning of the line was located 1.31 miles east of Keystone Avenue in Indianapolis. The line would become the Indianapolis & Southeastern again. But it wouldn’t last long. Abandonment would begin in 1931.

The two towns would continue on. Both would become part of the City of Indianapolis with the passing of UniGov.

West Newton and Camby

In keeping with the last entry in the Indiana Transportation History blog, and a question posted in one of the Facebook groups I post to, I want to cover two towns in Decatur Township which have a shared history: West Newton and Camby. Decatur Township has been, historically, the most “rural” of the townships in Marion County. The number of villages in Decatur Township in small compared to the rest of the county. But, the township is also the smallest in the county.

The story starts with the Mooresville State Road that, ultimately, connected Vincennes to Indianapolis. Christopher Furnas found a spot in the south central part of the township, along the then Mooresville Toll Road, in 1851 where he laid out the village of Newton. The town was laid out at a bend in the road. The new village would be 2.5 miles south of the then village of Northport.

The town name would be changed to West Newton by the Post Office, since there already was a Newton in Indiana. The new town’s major connection to the world was the Mooresville Road.

When the Indianapolis & Vincennes Railroad was built, it missed the village of West Newton. The railroad was built in a relatively straight line, due southwest, across Decatur Township. At least from what would later be Hanna Avenue southwest. But there would be a station built along the railroad that would be called “West Newton Station.” It would be located along the Indianapolis & Vincennes at what is now Camby Road.

1888 map of Decatur Township showing both West Newton, along the Mooresville Road, and West Newton Station, along the Indianapolis & Vincennes Railroad. West Newton Station would soon after this change its name to Camby.

The town of Camby was laid out after Don Carlos and Mary Alice Morgan purchased the land and moved to the area. When Mr. Morgan was asked about a name for his new “town,” he recommended the name Camby, after, apparently, a Brazilian town. The plan was to start a new station at the location, but since West Newton Station was already there, the railroad decided to rename it Camby.

This would make the two related towns separate. With the coming of the state highway system, the winner would be the town of West Newton. But not for long. By 1936, the state started to move what was then SR 67 to along the old interurban line from Indianapolis to Martinsville. It ran right along the edge of the old Indianapolis & Vincennes, at that time the Pennsylvania Railroad.

When the state was completed with the new SR 67, Camby was along the road, and West Newton found itself off the beaten path. These two towns, related from the beginning, found themselves both becoming part of the city of Indianapolis when UniGov was enacted. Today, West Newton is still a rural area, while Camby has become very commercialized.

Valley Mills (and the Naming of Southport)

I have to start to tell the story of a Decatur Township village by telling the story of another village in Perry Township. Many people looking at a map of Marion County would recognize, almost immediately, a different colored area in the south central part of the county. That area is Southport, an excluded city in Marion County. An excluded city (or town) is one in which is not included in the city of Indianapolis after the creation of UniGov. Southport has its own city government, but they also vote for the chief executive of Marion County…which happens to be the Mayor of Indianapolis, as well.

Southport was platted in 1849. Many people from the area know the story about how the city got its name. Being a Southport High School graduate, I have heard it many times. But one fact that seems to fall through the cracks when it comes to Southport is the name. Yes, it does have to do with being south. But not only its southern location in the county. It also had to do with the subject of this article. Southport is actually south of another town, in Decatur Township, called Northport.

Northport was a small village that was platted in 1839. There was very little in the area of the county that would become Northport. The Mooresville State Road, connecting Indianapolis to the Morgan County town, passed very close by to the village. A branch of that road, running along the survey line located five miles south of Indianapolis (now mostly known as Thompson Road) went directly to the little village.

The road that led to Northport would become a toll road, as would the Mooresville State Road. The road would acquire the name of “Northport and Mars Hill Road.” Today, it would be Thompson Road from Kentucky Avenue to High School Road, then Mooresville Road to Mann Road. This was the only access the town would have to the city of Indianapolis, and anywhere else, for many years to come.

In 1859, the town was replatted as the town of Fremont. This name wouldn’t last long, as there was already a Fremont post office in Indiana, located in Steuben County. That Fremont acquired its current name in 1848, and the post office of that name the same year. When the post office was to be named, the chosen title was Valley Mills.

Valley Mills would acquire a second access to the city of Indianapolis when the Indianapolis & Vincennes Railroad was chartered in 1865, and completed between 1867 and 1869. This history of the Indianapolis & Vincennes was covered on 16 August 2019. This railroad connected the tiny village in rural Decatur Township to the rest of the nation.

The road that was called the Northport and Mars Hill became a free gravel road when the county purchased it back from the toll road company. The Indianapolis & Vincennes Railroad, which helped the town grow, didn’t actually find itself as profitable as it was led to believe. But it did help people in the rural part of the county reach county government offices, and shopping, in the city. It would connect Canby, Valley Mills, Mars Hill and Maywood to the capital. Mars Hill, the town, was founded in 1911…but the area where the town was built had been already called that. The high point in the area was called Marr’s Hill, after a settler in the area.

When the Army was looking for a place to put a post in the Indianapolis area, the front runner in that race was an area near Valley Mills. The Indianapolis Journal of 17 January 1903 stated that “the proposition to establish a military post at Indianapolis has resolved itself into the simple question of how to get enough money to buy the Valley Mills site.” The installation was, as announced in the Indianapolis Journal of 7 May 1902, already named: “The decision of President Roosevelt to call the new military post to be established near the city Fort Benjamin Harrison is a thoughtful, graceful and appropriate act. Incidentally it may be remarked that it practically assures the location of the post.” It was decided later that the Valley Mills site would not be used. Instead, a site in Lawrence Township would be used.

1905 Map of the Valley Mills area of Decatur Township, Marion County.

When the interurban system was created, Valley Mills would find itself in the path of the Indianapolis and Martinsville Rapid Transit Company traction line. This was mainly due to the fact that the traction line ran parallel to the Indianapolis and Vincennes/Vandalia Railroad, just to the south of the steam railway. At least in Marion County. The traction line would soon be owned by the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern, the owner of most traction lines in and out of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Street Railway, and the Indianapolis Traction Terminal. Stop 7 along that line was at what is now High School Road and Kentucky Avenue. Valley Mills, the village, had a stop as well. And, like Southport on the Greenwood line, it did not have a number. Stop 8 was at a point halfway between High School Road and Mendenhall Road.

Valley Mills still found itself slightly off the beaten path when it came to the road system. When the state highway system was created in 1919, the new state road 22 would use the old Mooresville State Road, which was part of the Vincennes State Road. This put Valley Mills about one half mile from the state highway system.

Around 1936, the Indiana State Highway Commission decided to widen and straighten what was by then called SR 67. The new route of the state road would, as was typical of the time, run alongside the Pennsylvania Railroad, the owners of the original Indianapolis & Vincennes. The location of the new State Road 67 was along the Indianapolis & Martinsville Traction line, which had been closed for several years at that point. The official abandonment of the traction line occurred in February 1932. Valley Mills would find itself attached to the state highway system.

Today, the area called Valley Mills is part of the unified city of Indianapolis, included in the annexation of most of Marion County into the UniGov plan. It is still served by SR 67. But, it has also been basically obliterated by the growth of the Indianapolis International Airport. Due to its nearly central location in Decatur Township, the high school serving the entire township is located near the old village. The area has become very commercialized, and to a certain extent, industrialized. Many businesses serving the airport are located in or near the town that ended up being the reason that Southport has south in its name.

When State Road Construction Required A Railroad Siding

1932 Indiana State Official Highway Map
of SR 3 from Greensburg to Rushville.

1933. The Indiana State Highway Commission started working on upgrading, and moving, State Road 3 between Greensburg and Rushville. As was typical of the time, the route of the state road wasn’t exactly straight, as shown in the 1932 map to the left. Before the state decided to move the road, it left Greensburg along the road that is still, to this day, State Road 3. At Decatur County Road 800 N, or Williamstown, the original route turned east to Rush County Road 100 W. At Milroy, or what is now SR 244, the road once again turned east for a mile, then north on Base Road for the rest of the trip to Rushville.

In another typical ISHC construction decision, the new SR 3 would run very close to the railroad track that is in place. In this case, the New York Central (Big Four until 1930) line that would ultimately connect Anderson to North Vernon through Knightstown, Rushville and Greensburg. And this is where the contractor that is building the new state road decided to use the resources at the location to his advantage.

The story was reported in the Daily Republican of Rushville on 20 June 1933. “Preliminary work on construction of a railroad switch which will handle shipments for the paving of State Road 3 has been started along the Big Four railroad two miles north of Milroy.”

1933 Indiana Official State Highway
Map of SR 3 between Williamstown
and Rushville.

The railroad company was putting in a 40 car siding for the arrival of construction supplies. The company name of the contractor for the road project, the Johnson Construction Company, would be the name of the siding, called “Johnson’s Switch.”

“Located near the point where the new state road will leave the present Rushville-Milroy pike to swerve across new ground to State Road 244 west of Milroy.”

Plans at the time were for 20 cars of material a day to arrive at Johnson’s Siding. The construction company would set up their office at the siding location. The materials that would need mixing would be done near the construction office. The Daily Republican reported that “several pieces of the company’s road machinery were unloaded at this site prior to opening the work on the spur track.”

1937 Indiana Official State Highway Map
showing the new SR 3 south of Rushville.

“Until the side track is ready to receive shipments of material and equipment, there will be likely be little labor done on the state road.

It was also reported that Rush County men were lining up to get jobs working on the road. 1933 was the low point of the Great Depression. Work projects were being started all over the United States. Unemployment in the summer of 1933 was around 25% nationwide.

Local men were gathering at the office of the Rushville Township Trustee, Harry Patton, hoping to get work on the new road. “But it was not known when the contractor will be ready to hire extra employees.”

Johnson’s Switch didn’t last long after the completion of the road project. There was no need for such a siding otherwise. The new State Road 3 would be listed as completed on the 1934 Indiana Official State Highway Map. But there was a small time in history when the railroad helped with the construction of the state highway system. This new route of State Road 3 would last past the end of the railroad that helped build it. The road is still in use today (2020). The section of railroad where Johnson’s Switch was located was removed from state highway maps in 1976, nearly 45 years ago. The railroad opened in 1881, and was closed a little over 90 years later. The replacement of SR 3 from Williamstown to Rushville has been around nearly that long now.

More about the railroad can be seen in the Indiana Transportation History blog entry of 9 March 2020: “Vernon, Greensburg and Rushville Railroad.”

19th Century Railroad Timetables

Today, I want to do a graphics intensive post. When railroads crossed Indiana in great numbers, the companies would advertise their routes in the newspapers of the day. I want to show some of those timetables available online in newspaper sources.

4 June 1864, Indiana State Sentinel
All Indianapolis Railroads

This image shows the need for standard time. Notice at the bottom where it states that Cincinnati is 12 minutes ahead of Indianapolis?

28 April 1865, Indiana State Sentinel
All Indianapolis Railroads

08 August 1881, Muncie Evening Press
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis

It should be noted that in the very same newspaper, right next to this ad, the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway, in addition to the Indianapolis & Vincennes and the Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis, both of the latter operated by the Pennsylvania Company, lowered passenger rates, except for short distances, three cents per mile. This meant a discount of at least 13%, and up to 25%.

4 December 1884, Steuben Republican (Angola)
Local Railroads

3 June 1891, Logansport Pharos-Tribune

12 July 1894, Muncie Evening Press
Lake Erie & Western Railroad

12 July 1894, Muncie Evening Press
Big Four Route

30 November 1894, Hamilton County Democrat
Lake Erie & Western

6 June 1895, Princeton Clarion-Leader
Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railway

14 October 1898, Logansport Pharos-Tribune
Pennsylvania Lines

14 October 1898, Logansport Pharos-Tribune

14 October 1898, Logansport Pharos-Tribune
Vandalia Line

Perry Township Additions, And the Greenwood Line Stops

Outside the city limits of Indianapolis, in Perry Township, several neighborhoods were being added to the Marion County landscape starting in the second decade of the twentieth century. I want to some time to discuss those. To give them an Indiana Transportation History connection, the most important thing mentioned in the advertisements for these new additions was how to get there – the Greenwood line of the interurban.

I have covered the Greenwood line several times over the past nearly two years. But here is the 30,000 foot view for those that have not read my other ramblings. The interurban, or electric traction, line to Greenwood began operation in 1900. Ultimately, it would take passengers from Indianapolis to Louisville, and all points in between. It travelled through Indianapolis along Virginia Avenue and Shelby Street, connecting to the old Madison Road (also known as the Indianapolis-Southport [Toll] [Free Gravel] Road). This would later become known as Madison Avenue. At the time, the traction line would go “cross country” from Stop 4, at Hanna Avenue, to the Madison Road. This “cross country” trip wouldn’t last long, as Shelby Street would be extended to Madison Avenue shortly after the line was built. Stop 5 was listed as 5.3 miles away from the Traction Terminal, placing it roughly at the south edge of what would become University Heights, or what is now Lawrence Avenue.

1917 map showing the first 10* stops on the Greenwood
Electric Traction (Interurban) Line
(* there are actually 11 – Southport had no number)

I have mentioned this elsewhere, but it does beg repeating: Stop 1 on the Greenwood Line, officially called the Interstate Public Service Company, was at Perry Street. This is just south of Troy Avenue, which separates Center and Perry Townships. The city streetcar line ended at Perry Street, and had a turnaround at that point for its return trip to downtown Indianapolis. Legally, the interurban companies did not enter the city. Or, did not enter as themselves. The electric traction companies would enter the city using the street car lines. The Greenwood interurban used the tracks of the Shelby Street line. This was the route that was approved by the city.

Stop 2 was 4.5 miles from the Indianapolis Traction Terminal, the world’s largest such facility. That would put it at roughly the corner of Sumner and Shelby. Stop 3 was 0.2 miles later, at what is now National and Shelby…the northern edge of the University of Indianapolis. Stop 4, when it was constructed, was 5 miles from the terminal (which would be built four years after the starting of operations on the Greenwood line), at what is now Hanna Avenue.

In my last entry of “More History Than Transportation,” I mentioned the Indianapolis suburb of University Heights. That town was designed by William Elder in 1902. It was located at Stop 4 on the Greenwood Line.

In the mid-1910’s, two subdivisions sprung up along the Greenwood line at Stop 6. Both of them straddled what is now Thompson Road as far as what is now State Street, basically one quarter mile east of the Madison Road. The addition north of Stop 6, designed by Edwin E. Thompson, would be called “Longacre.” The lots were not laid out like a normal subdivision. According to an advertisement in the Indianapolis News of 23 September 1916, Thompson was willing to sell lots of “5 acres in one tract.” However, “lots near stop, 80 x 400 feet, $700 to $900.”

South of the road that would mark Stop 6 was Ellerslee. This subdivision was located east of the Pennsylvania Railroad on what is now Mathews Avenue and State Street. In the same newspaper, Ellerslee was advertised as “half0acre lots sold on terms of $5.00 down and then $5.00 per month. Car fare 5c to city limits.” Lots in Ellerslee cost $300 and up.

Next down the line, and built four years earlier, was another development created by the same William Elder that created University Heights. This addition was advertised as being at Stop 7 of the Greenwood line, now Epler Avenue. The original scope of the development stretched from Shelby Street back to Madison Avenue east to west, and from Stop 7 to Stop 8 north to south. This addition would be called “Edgewood.” As mentioned before, Stop 7 is now Epler Avenue, explaining why the Perry Township School District’s elementary building on the north side of Epler Avenue was called the Edgewood School. The south end of Edgewood would be known by several names. It was called Center Church Road, Stop 8 Road, and (currently) Edgewood Avenue.

One half mile south of Edgewood, plans had begun for a new community to sprout up north of Southport at Stop 9 on the Greenwood line. This new addition was advertised as early as Spring of 1925. This new development, which would later become a town in its own right, was called Homecroft. Stop 9 would later become Banta Road.

At this point, I think it would be important to explain one thing that puzzled me for years…and probably just puzzled my readers that haven’t studied the interurban. Up to now, the traction stops have been basically half a mile apart. Stop 6 at Thompson Road, Stop 7 at Epler Avenue, Stop 8 at (now) Edgewood, and Stop 9 at Banta Road. But Stop 10 Road, named after the traction stop at that location, is one mile south of Stop 9. And what about Southport?

Well, in the day that the Greenwood line was built, towns like Southport would not have a number. It was simply called Southport. Numbers were assigned to stops outside towns. Since the line ended at Greenwood, originally, Greenwood as well would be given a name. The stops in Greenwood were Stop 14 (Frye Road), Stop 15 (around half-mile south) and Greenwood. As the line expanded south towards Franklin, the next stop added south of Greenwood, at what is now Smith Valley Road, would be numbered 17. Southport’s stop started as a purposely skipped number to show its importance. Five years later, it looked like a mistake. By the time the line expanded, it was too late to fix the counting.

The National (Toll) Road

In keeping with the way I normally write this blog, today’s will be filled with things that I found when researching yesterday’s. Except I decided to expand the coverage to the entire state. And I want to cover just one road – the National Road.

1889 map of Mount Jackson, Wayne Township,
Marion County.

Toll gates along the road had been moved from time to time. The Indianapolis News of 30 August 1875 had a single line concerning the topic: “The National road toll gate is to be set back to Mt. Jackson.” Mount Jackson, at that time, was actually a town located across the National Road from the Indiana State Insane Hospital, later to be Central State Hospital.

There was also news made when it came to the toll road. The Indianapolis News of 20 February 1877 reported that “an unknown man attempted to run the national road toll-gate near Cumberland Saturday night, and in the altercation which ensued was shot by the toll keeper, one ball taking effect in his body, the other in his leg.” 20 February 1877 was a Tuesday. The gatekeeper was fined $3, this being for assault and battery.

The whole mess, according to the Richmond Item of 25 June 1885, with the Cumberland Road was coming to a head. The Wayne Turnpike Company, having been in operation since 5 December 1848, was trying to claim that their road included 40 feet on each side of the centerline of the road. The National Road, through Maryland, Pennsylvania and (West) Virginia had been, by law, set at a width of four rods, or 66 feet. No such width was included for the additions across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The Item also made sure to point out that the companies were to maintain the road, and that no toll could be collected by the owner if the road were in disrepair. And, if it should remain in disrepair, the charter would be forfeited. The original act creating the Wayne Turnpike Company stated that toll gates could not be within five miles of one another. This was amended to allow two in ten miles, to be placed at the convenience of the company. “From the first gate west of Centreville to the first gate east of Richmond, the Glen Miller gate, can’t be ten miles, yet there are four toll gates within that distance.”

The Hancock Democrat of Greenfield on 16 May 1889, made a plea for the Hancock County voters to approve the county commissioners to buy the toll roads in the county. Greenfield could, at the time, only be reached by two free routes. The National Road, according to the editorial staff, “is the principal road to be purchased to secure this happy end.”

On 19 September 1889, the Indianapolis News announced that the Cumberland Gravel Road was returned to Marion County, at least in those sections between Indianapolis and Irvington. The News pointed out that people have, for years, been avoiding the Cumberland Toll Road. Especially those going to college in Irvington. If people didn’t just blow through the toll gates without paying the fee, then just avoiding them by using English Avenue, which ends close to Irvington was possible.

Wayne County was working on returning the National Road to free status in 1893. It was announced in the Richmond Item of 10 February 1893 that the county commissioners had decided on a fair market value for some sections of the old road. The Wayne County Turnpike Company, owning the road “being known as and called the National Road,” was offered $12,000 for “all that portion of the National Road lying in the said Wayne township.” Wayne Township includes Richmond, and reaches from the state line in the east to the Greenville Treaty Line, at least along the National Road, in the west.

The 22 April 1896 issue of the Indianapolis Journal reported that a petition had been presented to the Marion County Commissioners to purchase, and make free, three miles of the Cumberland Gravel Road between Irvington and Cumberland. Admittedly, it doesn’t say WHICH three miles should be purchased. Irvington stretches from four miles east of the Circle (Emerson Avenue) to roughly 5.25 miles east of the Circle (Sheridan Avenue). Cumberland is at least ten miles east of the Circle, if you consider Cumberland starting at German Church Road. The main intersection in the town, at Muessing Street, is actually 10.75 miles east of the Circle. The difference between 5.25 and 10.75 is a little more than three miles.

I am sure there are more resources available to expand on this view of the National Road in Indiana and its toll road era. That is something that will be for a future article.