1930: A New Bridge over the Wabash at East Mount Carmel

Atlantic-Pacific
Highway marker

East Mount Carmel, Indiana. A train stop along the Southern Railway connecting Louisville, Kentucky, to St. Louis, Missouri. The town was also located on an Auto Trail called the Atlantic-Pacific Highway. Across Indiana, it would connect East Mount Carmel on the Wabash to Cincinnati via Princeton, Jasper, Paoli, Salem, Scottsburg, Madison, Vevay, Rising Sun, and Lawrenceburg.

But at East Mount Carmel, traffic was still fed across the Wabash River via ferry. As mentioned in other articles here on Indiana Transportation History, getting a bridge across the Wabash or the Ohio River, given that it would cross a state line (usually – the US 41 bridges actually are all in Kentucky, although they cross the Ohio), was a long process that often met with delays.

Hope was to be had when it was announced on the front page of the Mount Carmel (Illinois) Daily Republican-Register of 10 April 1930 that “Bridge Will Soon Span Wabash – Illinois-Indiana Highway Bridge That Will Span the Wabash River at Mt. Carmel.”

The bridge was the work of many years of planning. The State of Indiana wanted a bridge at Vincennes. They also wanted the State of Illinois to help with the cost. Illinois, however, had other plans. They wanted a bridge at Mount Carmel. And Illinois wanted Indiana to help pay for it. Neither state would budge on their plans…until the agreement was made that both bridges would be built.

Money for the Mount Carmel bridge was allotted by the Illinois General Assembly in 1927. A total of $225,000 was set aside for the construction. This new bridge would connect Illinois State Road 1 and Illinois State Road 15 to the Indiana State Highway system. This would become an extension of Indiana State Road 64.

The new bridge would be located 1000 feet south of the Southern Railway bridge that crosses the river near Mount Carmel. It would consist of a 22 foot wide roadway on twelve 225-foot spans. The bridge would provide 25 feet of clearance from the low steel to the high water mark of 1913. The Illinois approach was to be built at an elevation of three feet above the 1913 high water mark.

10 Apr 1930, Mount Carmel Daily Republican-Register

The bridge would be completed in 1932. By 1985, the bridge had fallen into disrepair. A plan to renovate the bridge was created while waiting for both Illinois and Indiana to decide to replace the bridge…which it did. The new bridge was placed just south of the original bridge.

Indiana Auto Trails, Revisited

Indiana. The Crossroads of America. When the Auto Trails came to the state, there were quite a number of them. In 1922, there were 34 to be exact. While the State Highway Commission was busy putting state road numbers everywhere, people at the time still followed the colorful markers that appeared on utility poles throughout the state. In November 1922, an article was published in several newspapers across Indiana describing those Auto Trails. Those articles showed the signs that were posted along the way, and a brief description of the route. Anyone that has seen these lists in person know that the order of the highways is a bit weird. Yellowstone Trail is always listed first. Why? Because Rand McNally, when publishing the “official” Auto Trails maps in the late 1910’s and early 1920’s listed it first. It wasn’t the first such road…but Rand decided it would be.

Auto Trails Quick Take, Part 2

This is part two of the quick description of the Auto Trails, as listed in the Lafayette Journal and Courier of 1 November 1922. It gives a general idea of the roads that most of which would be accepted into the State Highway System. The numbering used corresponds to the numbers used on the Rand McNally Auto-Trails maps of the late 1910s through the mid 1920s.

(Note – all information in this entry comes directly, word for word, from the mentioned newspaper. Some may disagree with what was written.)

(25) The Dixie Highway originally was laid out over what is now known as the Michigan road running from South Bend, but later the routeing came from Chicago to Danville, Ill., and then into Indiana at Covington, and through Crawfordsville to Indianapolis (which road is now hardly used because of its condition), and then to Martinsville, Bloomington, Bedford, Paoli, and New Albany. Originally marked by the Dixie Highway association units at various places along the route. Later in parts re-marked by the H.S.A.A., and the Crawfordsville-Indianapolis-Paoli route now is being entirely repainted by one of the H.S.A.A. painting outfits.

(26) The Michigan Road, extending through Indiana by way of South Bend, Rochester, Logansport and Indianapolis, and on south to the Ohio River. Established by the state of Indiana in the early history of the state, right-of-way having been granted by the Indians. Marker adopted by the H.S.A.A. and the marking promoted through the motor clubs enroute – on list for remarking.

The only part of the historic road that didn’t make it as part of this Auto Trail is the section from Napoleon to Bryantsburg. The Auto Trail runs through Versailles, which was east of the original road.

(29) Crawfordsville to Anderson, marked by clubs enroute, but now replaced by state road markings practically all the way.

(30) Corn Belt Route, going entirely across the state of Illinois and entering Indiana at Kentland, extending to Goodland, Remington, Wolcott, Monticello and ending at Logansport. Marked by clubs along the route; due for re-marking.

(34) Lincoln Highway, extending through Indiana by way of Goshen, Ligonier and Fort Wayne. Established and marked by the Lincoln Highway association.

(36) Hub Highway, extending across Indiana from Lafayette through Frankfort, Tipton, Elwood, Alexandria, Muncie, Winchester, and Union City, and across Ohio by way of Dayton, Xenia to Washington Coury House. Marked by clubs enroute; now being re-marked by Hoosier State association.

(39) Custer Trail, principally a Michigan trail, but extending south through Angola, Waterloo, Auburn to Fort Wayne. Marked in Indiana by H.S.A.A.

(42) Hills and Lakes Trail, extending from Indianapolis by way of Noblesville, Elwood, Wabash, North Manchester to lake resorts. First marked by Hoosier Motor club and other clubs along the route, principally from Wabash; later re-marked by automobile association and soon to receive additional attention. Construction work on main route had held up matter of repainting the poles up to this time.

(43) The Dunes Highway, extending from Michigan City through the Dune region by way of Gary, Indiana Harbor and Whiting to Chicago, connecting with Sheridan pike at Chicago and with West Michigan pike at Michigan City. Established by the Dunes Highway association, marked by the H.S.A.A. Hard pavement now under construction between Gary and Michigan City.

(47) Pike’s Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway. This route extends from San Francisco to New York, entering Indiana at Montezuma, extending by way of Rockville, Bainbridge, Danville, Indianapolis to Richmond and on east. Established by Pike’s Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway association, marked by clubs in Indiana. Now being rerouted by the Pike’s Peak Highway association.

(48) South Bend to Knox, marked last year by the H.S.A.A.

(56) Atlantic-Pacific Highway, extending from Los Angeles, Cal., to Washington, D. C. The most recent national highway across the state of Indiana, entering at Princeton, crossing the state by way of Oakland City, Jasper, French Lick, Paoli, Salem, Scottsburg, Madison, Vevay, Rising Sun, Aurora and on to Cincinnati. Marked this year by H.S.A.A.