Sections of Auto Trails that Were Left Behind By the State Roads

When the Indiana State Highway Commission was created, and the state road system being expanded, it was natural to believe that most of the Auto Trails at the time would have been incorporated into that new state system. Most Auto Trails were created to put in place a hard surface, easily traveled, road to make it easier to cross the country by car. And yet, the plans and the results often weren’t the same.

When I discussed the coming of the way from Indianapolis to Martinsville, the powers that be at the time were making a choice between two routes – one west of White River, and one east of White River. Today, we know those as the SR 67 corridor and the SR 37 (I-69) corridor. But there was a third route that would be forgotten in the discussion. The Hoosier Highway, connecting Evansville to Detroit, left Indianapolis to the southwest along what was known, then, as the Mooresville Road. It ventured away from that road west of Friendswood, taking a more stair step route into Moorseville. South of Mooresville, it went back to following the Indianapolis-Vincennes State Road, of which teh old Mooresville Road was a part. The Hoosier Highway parted ways again with the old road at Centerton. Here, the Auto Trail followed that is now Blue Bluff Road from Centerton to Martinsville, coming into the later on what is now Main Street. The Hoosier Highway then turned west, crossing the White River to meet the old Vincennes Road again. That westerly turn would be part of the state highway system from 1920 on. But the Blue Bluff Road route would never be part of the highway system.

The Hoosier Dixie Highway was a Dixie Highway feeder road that connected Goshen to the Dixie Highway in two places – one at Cincinnati, and the other at Dublin. One of the branches of the Dixie Highway would traverse the Indiana countryside from Indianapolis to Richmond via the old National Road, which would become part of the National Old Trails Road. The Hoosier Dixie section from New Castle to Dublin would connect the three highways. And even the promoters of the Hoosier Dixie Highway made sure to avoid using a direct road between the two. The Dublin Pike, a former toll road connecting New Castle and Dublin, would have been the most logical to use. And, for the southern and northern ends, it does. Out of New Castle, it follows Dublin Pike until it reaches what is now Henry County Road 300S. The HDH turned due east along this county road, then turned south along Henry County Road 600E. It then connected back into Dublin Pike when 600E ends, following the old Pike into New Lisbon. Coming out of New Lisbon, the HDH turned due south on (what is not) Wilbur Wright Road for a journey to Henry County Road 700S. Turning east on 700S will take the HDH traveler back to the Dublin Pike, and on into Dublin and a crossing of the National Road.

The Tip Top Trail, connecting Madison on the Ohio River to Rome City near the Michigan state line, had mainly been taken into the state highway system by 1923. One section, connecting Oakville to Muncie, however, didn’t make it. Before it was moved, the original SR 13, which would become part of SR 3 with the Great Renumbering, followed what is now Prairie Road north to Main Street in Springport. It then turned west along Main Street to what is now County Road 50W. North along CR 50W, at the town of Oakville, the new SR 13 and the Tip Top Trail parted ways. The TTT continued north into Cowan. There it turned west on what is now County Road 600S just to turn north again on Cowan Road for its journey into Muncie. At Hoyt Road, the TTT would turn northeast. This section of Hoyt Avenue would later become SR 67. The Tip Top Trail entered Muncie from the southwest, the new SR 13 entered from the southeast.

These are just a few examples of roads that would connect the small towns of Indiana to each other, but were left behind when the Indiana State Highway Commission started its work. These sections of roads never made into the state highway system. Others would be taken into the system, then either just dropped or bypassed for a better route. I will be covering more of these in a later post.

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.

Some Auto Trails and Original Indiana State Roads

In the 1910’s, organizations were being set up all over the country to support building a system of roads, called Auto Trails, to facilitate the moving of traffic across the state and across the nation. I have covered several of these of the past 11 months: Lincoln Highway, Hoosier Dixie, National Road, Michigan Road, Dandy Trail, Crawfordsville to Anderson, Hoosier Highway, Ben Hur Route, Jackson Highway, Tip Top Trail, Riley Highway, Illinois Corn Belt and the Midland Route. The purpose of these organizations was to create good, hard surface roads, allowing better, faster and safer transportation across the United States. Some organizations were successful. Others were not. And some of these were brought into the early Indiana State Road system.

Now, when I say brought into the system, it should be known that occasionally I will be talking about corridors…although many of the the roads were taken directly by the State Highway Commission.

The Yellowstone Trail: The Yellowstone Trail connected Plymouth, Massachusetts, to Seattle, Washington, and both to the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. From Valparaiso to Fort Wayne, the Yellowstone Trail became SR 44 originally. Later, in 1923, it would be changed to SR 2. That designation would be gone in 1926, when the corridor became that of US 30.

Dixie Bee Line: Designed as a more direct route to the south, as opposed to the older and more famous Dixie Highway, the Dixie Bee Highway separated from its namesake at Danville, Illinois. It entered Indiana northwest of Cuyuga, and went roughly due south through Terre Haute, Vincennes and Evansville. In 1920, the section from Cuyuga south became SR 10. It would later become SR 63 to Clinton, then US 41 to Evansville.

Range Line: This route became part of, arguably, the most important north-south route in Indiana. The Range Line Road, connecting Indianapolis to Peru via Kokomo, started life in Indianapolis as the Westfield Road. It got its Auto Trail name from the fact that it followed a survey line, called the Range Line, up to west of Peru, where it ended at the Wabash Way, mentioned later. It was so important that the route would be made a Main Market Road in 1917, given the number 1. It became SR 1 in 1919. It was changed to US 31 in 1926.

Lincoln Highway: The original version of this first transcontinental highway connected across Indiana via Valparaiso, LaPorte, South Bend, Elkhart, Goshen, Ligonier, and Fort Wayne. Again, due to its importance, it became one of the first five Main Market Roads in 1917, given the number 2. It then became SR 2. In 1923, the Fort Wayne to Elkhart became SR 46, Elkhart to South Bend became SR 25 to Rolling Prairie, and the rest of the original Lincoln Highway to Valparaiso became SR 42, while the future Lincoln Highway became SR 2 along the Yellowstone Route corridor. The two ends of the road in Indiana became US 30, while from Valpo to Rolling Prairie, and from South Bend to Fort Wayne, became SR 2 again. Later from South Bend to Fort Wayne became US 33.

National Old Trails Road: While most of the way across Indiana, this Auto Trail follows the nation’s first highway, the National Road, it is not entirely the route. While most of the NOTR became Main Market Road 3 in 1917, then SR 3 in 1919, the portion east of Richmond was left out of the state road system. At Richmond, the NOTR turned toward Eaton and Dayton, before connecting back to the original National Road at Springfield. Later, in 1926, that section of the NOTR would become SR 11…then US 35 in 1935.

Dixie Highway: Ironically, that which was the first transcontinental north-south highway would only become part of the state road system in sections. From Danville, Illinois, to Crawfordsville would become SR 33, the Indiana-Michigan state line to Rochester became SR 1, Martinsville to Bedford became SR 22, Bedford to Paoli would become SR, originally Main Market Road, 4, and from Paoli to New Albany would be SR 42. This changed in 1923. SR 42 became part of SR 5, SR 4 became an extension of SR 22, as did the route from Martinsville to Indianapolis, from Indianapolis to Logansport became SR 15. 1926, and the number of state roads the old Dixie Highway became is large: SR 25, SR 29, US 31, SR 34, SR 37, and US 150.

Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean: This road had two routes through Indiana in its history. The first route came into Indiana west of Montezuma. From Montezuma to Danville, the original route became SR 31. By 1923, instead of SR 31 connecting to SR 3 (later US 40) near Cartersburg, it connected to SR 3 west of Indianapolis at where the (original) Rockville Road connected to the National Road. The new route would cross Indiana north of Indianapolis, with the route entering Indiana from Danville, Illinois, with the Dixie Highway. From Crawfordsville to Lebanon, it would become SR 33. From Westfield to Union City, the 1920 road number was SR 37. 1923 saw SR 33 extended from Crawfordsville to Union City, with the SR 37 designation from Anderson to Muncie. In 1926, SR 33 would be changed to SR 32. This was also the route of the Crawfordsville to Anderson Auto Trail.

There are far more routes that crossed the state. I will cover more of them at a later date.

The Riley Highway

Indiana had been a very busy state when it came to roads built during the Auto Trail era. With the creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1919, the Auto Trails didn’t just disappear from the landscape. Many of them were absorbed into the new state highway system. For the longest time, the old highway names were still used along side the new state road numbers in those areas. But one would have thought that the coming of the state road would lead to the end of the creation of new named highways. That was far from what happened. These roads would still being created after the state entered the road building business. The logical question would have been “why bother?” One such named highway would be planned as the Riley Highway.

I covered part of this route when I discussed the coming of SR 9 to locations south of Greenfield. But what wasn’t covered was the actual plan of the complete route. Planning started for this highway in 1925, long after the ISHC had taken a lot of roads into its care. It was Summer 1925 when organizations started planning a “Jame Whitcomb Riley Memorial Highway” from Petoskey, Michigan, to Miami, Florida, through the poet’s hometown of Greenfield. Yes, you read that right. A cross country route through Greenfield.

Memberships in the organization was launched in Goshen in October 1925. (South Bend Tribune, 23 October 1925) It was hoped to sell 125 memberships at a cost of $25 a piece. The primary selling point of the road was that it would cut the travel from Michigan to Florida by nearly 600 miles compared to the already establish Dixie Highway. Strangely, the plan for the new named highway would use other Auto Trails that were already in place between Elkhart and Anderson. From Elkhart to Goshen, the Lincoln Highway would be used. The 110 miles between Goshen and Anderson would follow the route of the Hoosier Dixie Highway.

From Anderson to Greenfield, the plan was to use what was then SR 11 between the two cities via Pendleton. This had been the original Anderson-Greenfield State Road. South of Greenfield, the a collection of roads would be used to connect to Shelbyville, Hope and Seymour. South of Seymour, the Riley Highway would use what was then SR 1 to New Albany and Kentucky. The planned route had, for the most part, the benefit of already having been improved by the state of Indiana.

In my other post about the Riley Highway, I had mentioned that the route left south out of Greenfield using Franklin Street. This wasn’t entirely accurate. But the difference was not by much. According to the Hancock Democrat of 8 October 1925, signage was being posted along the Greenfield section of the new highway. These signs were posted along North Main Street, West Main Street, and South Riley Avenue. Part of this routing was to ensure that the highway bearing Riley’s name would pass by the homestead of the poet. From there, the highway would run west along what is now Tague Street to Franklin Street. From there, it was a relatively straight shot (as straight as could be accomplished in early Indiana!) to Fountaintown. A winding path would be followed from there to Shelbyville. From Shelbyville south, the road was relatively straight through Norristown and Hope, skirting to the east of Columbus, before curving to the southwest, then south, onward toward Seymour.

Shelby County would be an early adopter of the Riley Highway plan. The committee for the road had been put in place as early as mid-August, 1925. (Greenfield Daily Reporter, 15 August 1925) The committee included 36 businessmen from the Shelbyville area, and six residents of Fountaintown. Shelby County would have to come up with at least 100 memberships in the Riley Highway Association before there was even consideration of routing the road through Shelby County. These memberships cost either $10 a year or $25 for three years. One of the advantages that was touted for the Riley Highway was that the Fountaintown Road would become part of the state highway system. This wouldn’t happen until late 1931.

Marking of the route through Shelby County was started, according to the Shelbyville Republican, in October 1925. $2,500 was raised to sign and advertise the road through the county. (The Shelbyville Republican, as printed in the Greenfield Daily Reporter, 8 October 1925) “The road, designed to run from a point in Michigan to Miami, Florida, leads from Greeenfield, the boyhood home of Riley, into Shelby county. It comes from Fountaintown to Shelbyville, over what is known as the Greenfield road, and from here passes along the Norristown road, south and west to Hope.” Again, the selling point of the state highway system was used to raise the money. “It is figured that at the end of the three years the road would be taken over as a part of the State system of highways.” Along with marking the route, signs at all points of danger were also posted, as were curves along the route. The road was marked at road intersections along the way.

Backers of the road were many. According to the Greeenfield Daily Reporter of 26 August 1925, towns that had contributed to the plan were listed: Elkhart, Goshen, Warsaw, Wabash, Marion, Alexandria, Anderson, Pendleton, Shelbyville, Columbus, Seymour and New Albany. One sentence in the article is tinged with irony. “Every town and city in the State through which the road passes has contributed its quote of finances except Greenfield.”

Not all outside Indiana were onboard with the project either. An editorial in the Grand Rapids Press, republished in the South Bend Tribune of 14 May 1926, mentions that “Western Michigan had better make serious inquiry into the why and wherefore of the Indiana Riley Highway proposition before it subserviently hands over its Mackinaw trail designation and its established good will to the purposes of a one-man promotion scheme from another state.” It wasn’t finished there. “In the first place, it might be a wise precaution to send investigators into Indiana, to discoved (sic) what actual possibilities there are behind the optimistic ‘Riley highway’ plan to run another north and south road through that state. It is one thing to name a road and another to build it.” The editorial goes on to question what the ISHC would say about the project. “What does the Indiana state highway department say about this proposition? What does it say about the projected highway from Alexandria to Wabash, dodging the present state route?” The article ends with the question “wouldn’t cooperative work toward these highway linkings be a more practical and profitable plan for Michigan than the blind surrender of our Mackinaw trail with its traditions dating back to the romance of earliest Michigan history?”

Greenfield City Council voted in April 1926 for the improvement of “Riley avenue from Main street south to Tague street, and thence west on Tague street to the west corporate limits, by grading, draining and paving with cement or concrete in such manner and to such extent as may be ordered bu the county commissioners in a petition for improvement of this part of the proposed Riley highway, now pending before said Board.” (Hancock Democrat, 22 April 1926)

Though only parts of the ultimate route would be marked by the white and yellow bands of the Riley Highway, the name was used all over the state to give directions. Especially for the section from Greenfield south to Hope. A popular location in Shelby County was the Flat Rock Caves. Those caves were just off the Riley Highway at the Flat Rock River. The road is now Vandalia Road connecting Shelbyville to Geneva and Greensburg. (The road was originally part of the state road connecting Franklin to Greensburg.) The caves are still there, but have been closed for many years.

Ultimately, it looks like the national trail idea fell through. From what research I can gather, the Riley Highway designation was mostly only used from Pendleton to Seymour. This was especially true in Shelby County, which still maintains that as the name of the road, even though south of Shelbyville it is marked as SR 9. Most of the road can still be followed between these points, with a few places where the state replaced turns with curves. And, with the exception of Pendleton itself, and the section from Greenfield to Shelby County Road 750N, the route was, indeed, taken into the state highway system as SR 9.

Tip Top Trail

By 1920, the state of Indiana was crossed by a vast number of named routes, called Auto Trails, that connected many of the bigger towns of the state. Some of these were cross country routes. But many were only in Indiana. Today, we are focusing on the Tip Top Trail, one of those Indiana only roads. The maps included in this post are from the Rand McNally Auto Trails Map of 1920. The Tip Top Trail is labelled as [3] throughout those maps. A downloadable copy of this map is available from the Indiana State Library.

This route crossed eastern Indiana, starting near Madison on the Ohio River. Technically, the road ended at the Michigan Road in North Madison. Starting due west along what is now SR 62, the TTT turned northwest along the old Indianapolis-Madison State Road which is now SR 7. This routing took travelers through Wirt, Dupont and Vernon to enter North Vernon. At North Vernon, the French Lick Trail crossed west to east across town. The French Lick Trail here would later become US 50. The French Lick Trail is marked on this map as [90].

As the Indianapolis-Madison State Road continued to the northwest, the TTT left North Vernon due north aiming the same direction as what is now SR 3. This connected Brewersville, Westport, Letts and Horace before connecting, and multiplexing, with the Terre Haute-Columbus-Cincinnati (THCC) Trail (labelled as [82]) west of Greensburg. West of Greensburg, the THCC became, roughly, the route of SR 46. East of Greensburg, the THCC connects to Batesville and Lawrenceburg, where the above mentioned French Lick Trail begins at the junction of the THCC.

At Greensburg, the TTT crosses what Rand McNally labels as [26], known as the Michigan Road. The southern end of the TTT actually ends at the same road.

There are places between North Vernon and Greensburg where the old TTT would later become part of the state road system. Other places, the TTT went screaming across rural Indiana on county roads that, in some circumstances, have been removed from maps.

The next section of the road continues along the SR 3 corridor north on its way to connect to the National Road at Dunreith. Before getting there, the towns of Sundusky, Williamstown, and Milroy are traversed before the county seat of Rush County, Rushville. Here, the Minute Man Route crossed west to east. The Minute Man route, although connecting several county seats, was almost not ever included in the state highway system later. It would be long after the Great Renumbering that it would make it…I covered that with the post “Fight for Adding SR 44 from Martinsville to Rushville.”

Still following, roughly, the SR 3 corridor, the TTT continues northward. 13.5 miles north of Rushville, the TTT connected to, and multiplexed with, the National Old Trails Road. This multiplex only lasted about one half mile. Here the TTT turned north out of Dunreith on West Street, soon to become Old Spiceland Road. This carries the route through Spiceland into New Castle. The TTT is crossed by the Hoosier Dixie Highway.

Parts of the old TTT would be added, and removed, from the route of future (current) SR 3 between New Castle and Muncie. It leaves the current SR 3 south of Mount Summit, continuing due north (more or less) before turning west due east of Springport. There it, again, aims due north through Oakville to Cowan. West of Cowan, the TTT turned north once again, following Cowan Road and Hoyt Avenue into Muncie. At Muncie, the TTT connects to the Hoosier Highway (connecting Muncie to Indianapolis and beyond) and Hub Highway (Greenville, Ohio, to Lafayette).

The Hoosier Highway and the Tip Top Trail travel together north out of Muncie. At Hartford City, they split ways, with the Hoosier Highway multiplexing with the Auto Trail called the Belt Line, which winds its way across Indiana. The Tip Top Trail continues north toward Warren.

North of Warren, the road keeps going toward Huntington. Here, the TTT connects with three Auto Trails. First is the Wabash Way [81]. This trail connects Fort Wayne with Peru, Logansport, Delphi and Lafayette. Second is the Ben Hur Route, which I covered earlier. Third is another Indiana only Auto Trail called the Huntington-Manitau-Culver Trail, connecting Rochester, Indiana, to Lima, Ohio.

The next destination for the Tip Top Trail is Columbia City. Here, the east-west Auto Trial that connected to the TTT was a coast-to-coast highway known as the Yellowstone Trail. Later, after the creation of the United States Highway System, the Lincoln Highway was rerouted along roughly the same corridor.

From Columbia City to the end of the Tip Top Trail roughly follows the current SR 9 corridor through Merriam, Albion, Brimfield, and ends at Rome City. At Merriam, the TTT crossed the original routing of the Lincoln Highway. At Brimfield, the Toledo-Chicago Pike crosses east to west. At Rome City, the end of the Tip Top Trail comes with the junction of the Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Way.

Auto Trail Quick Take, Part 1

This entry is a 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.)

(1) The Yellowstone Trail enters Indiana from Chicago, extending by way of Gary, Valparaiso, Plymouth, Warsaw, Pierceton, Columbia City, Fort Wayne and thence to Cleveland. Well marked with metal signs on poles.

(2) The Chicago Trail barely cuts the corner of the state, extending from Detroit to Chicago, entering Indiana and Michigan City, passing through Gary, Indiana Harbor and Whiting.

(3) The Tip-Top Trail, extending from Lagrange on the north straight south by way of Albion, Columbia City, Huntington, Hartford City, Muncie, Newcastle, Rushville and Greensburg. Thoroughly marked by H. S. A. A. (Hoosier State Automobile Association).

(4) The Dixie Bee Line, extending from Chicago down the edge of Illinois, entering Indiana near Danville, Ill., going through Clinton and Terre Haute, and leaving at Evansville to cross Kentucky and Tennessee to Florida. Thoroughly marked and re-marked by the H.S.A.A.

(8) The Range Line, extending from Indianapolis to Rochester by way of Carmel, Westfield, Kokomo and Peru. Was marked by the county organizations enroute and is now replaced by State Road No. 1.

(9) Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Way, extending from Cincinnati by way of Richmond. Fort Wayne and Kalamazoo, Mich. First marked by the county organizations and remarked by the state organization. Some parts of this route are yet to be remarked. “O-I-M” on the poles.

(12) The Toledo-Chicago Pike enters Indiana at Butler, extending west through Waterloo, Kendallville and joining the Lincoln Highway at Ligonier.

(13) The Belt Line, same being a continuation of the Bloomington Way in Illinois, entering from Hoopeston, Ill., crossing the state by way of Lafayette, Kokomo, Marion, Hartford City and Portland. Marked by the county organizations – on schedule for remarking by the state association outfits.

(16) Hoosier Dixie Highway, extending from Goshen to Cincinnati by way of Warsaw, Wabash, Marion, Anderson, New Castle, Cambridge City, Connersville and Brookville. Marked by the Hoosier Dixie Highway association through its county organizations and remarked in parts by the H.S.A.A.

(17) Minute Man Route extending from Farmersburg on the west, across the state by way Spencer, Martinsville, Franklin, Shelbyville, Rushville, Connersville and Liberty. Marked by state association – on our list from remarking now.

(22) National Old Trails Road, established by government, marked by red, white and blue bands partly by local clubs and partly by the state organization, but more dependable marked by special enamel steel signs placed at frequesnt intervals across the state. Coincides with State Road No. 3 across Indiana from Terre Haute to Richmond. (The section east of Richmond is not the same road established by the government.)

(23) Wonderful Way, same being a branch of the Atlantic-Pacific Highway branching off from that route at Paoli and extending south by way of Corydon, New Albany and along the river by Charlestown, Madison, Vevay, Patriot, Rising Sun to Cincinnati. Marked by the H.S.A.A.

(24) The Hoosier Highway, extending from Detroit to Memphis, crossing Indiana by way of Fort Wayne, Bluffton, Huntington, Muncie, Anderson, Martinsville, Spencer, Worthington, Washington, Petersburg, Oakland City, Princeton and Evansville. First marked by the Hoosier association with a red “H” on a white background and now remarked with a black “H” on a white background. Northern half of route just repainted.

Indianapolis: Crossroads City

Originally published 24 March 2015.

When the Good Roads Movement started in the late 19th century, the primary focus was on, more or less, two things: bicycle transportation and mail delivery. Cars came later into the discussion.

Indianapolis was already a crossroads city. Unfortunately, most of that was eclipsed by being a major crossroads in the world of railroads. While you could get to the city using the trails at the time, Indianapolis really took off when the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad came to town. And to be honest, Indianapolis WAS a town until the railroad was built. 1847 not only marked the coming of the M&I, but the incorporation of the City of Indianapolis.

When the named highways started appearing on the scene, they naturally followed the paths that were already there. The major roads into Indianapolis became a hodge-podge of named routes linking the city to far away destinations.

But what WERE those roads before they became the Dixie, or the Jackson, or any other of the names. That is the purpose of this post.

The National Old Trails Road for 80 years had a shorter name here: the National Road. For those that don’t know, the National Road was built along its route to connect the (then) capital cities of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. (The irony is that there STILL is a road to connect Indianapolis to the now capital of Illinois, it’s just not US 40, it’s US 36).

Pike’s Peak Ocean-to-Ocean: The original route from the west connects Indianapolis to Springfield, IL. (See above.) It came into town as the Rockville Road, leaving as the National Road to the east.

Dixie Highway: One route entered from the west along the Crawfordsville Road. The other route entered from the north along Indiana’s first state road, the Michigan Road. One route left the city along the Bluff Road (named for going to the bluffs of the White River at Waverly), the other, again, followed the National Road towards Richmond.

Jackson Highway: Entered from the northwest along the Lafayette Road, left southeast along the Madison Road.

Hoosier Highway: Entered from the northeast along the Oaklandon Turnpike (changed and shortened to Pendleton Pike), left southwest via the Mooresville Road.

Hill & Lake Trail: Entered from the north along the Fort Wayne (Allisonville) Road, left via the Three Notch Road.

Range Line: Entered from the north along the Range Line (Westfield) road, left south via the Madison road.

Some of you may notice that road names are still the same in some cases.

US Highways: They are actually State Roads

I originally posted the following in the Indiana Transportation History group on 11 Jun 2014. It has been slightly edited to correct some “oopsies” in my original.

For those old enough to remember (and I, unfortunately, am not one of them) before the Interstate system came into being, and US routes were the cross-country method of auto transport, this post is for you.

Somewhere lost in the history of transportation is the true story behind the US Highway system. Believe it or not, the Federal Government was late to the “good roads” party, and really only joined it half-heartedly. Let me explain.

Near the end of the 19th Century, there was a craze sweeping the nation – bicycling. The problem was that most roads at the time were basically dirt paths through the country. Some were graveled, yes. Some were bricked, but mainly only in towns. Those that rode bicycles started clamoring for better roads to reliably and safely use their new-fangled transportation method.

The US Post Office was also involved in this movement, mainly because mail was that important. And delivering the mail in some rural locations was troublesome at best.

With the creation of the automobile boom in the early 20th century, the Good Roads Movement started including the drivers of the horseless carriage. Again, because most roads at the time were dusty at best, and practically impassible at worst.

Clubs started nationwide to encourage auto travel (the Hoosier Motor Club was one). Clubs were also started to encourage the creation of travel routes that were more than dirt roads to the next county seat.

These last clubs led to many named highways throughout the nation. For instance, Indianapolis was served by the (Andrew) Jackson Highway, Dixie Highway, Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, National Old Trails Road, the Hoosier Highway, Michigan Road, the Range Line Road, the Hills & Lakes Trail, and the Hoosier Dixie.

The most famous of the Road Clubs was the Lincoln Highway Association, which crossed Indiana through the northern tier of counties. On its trip from New York to San Francisco, it passed through Fort Wayne, Ligonier (included because it was the SECOND Ligonier on the route – the other being in Pennsylvania!), Goshen, Elkhart, South Bend, La Porte, and Valparaiso. (As you can guess, it wasn’t exactly a straight line at first!)

In 1926, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Public Roads finalized a national route system that became the US Highways. This was to combat the numerous named highways that led to some major confusion among the automobile traveling public. The system was discussed starting in 1924, with a preliminary list issued in late 1925.

Named highways painted markers on utility poles most of the time. It, apparently, was not unheard of to have numerous colored markers on one pole. And new named highways were popping up monthly. (They even kept appearing after the numbered highways started appearing.)

A misconception is that a US Highway is a Federal road. US Highways have a distinctive shield with a number. It can also have, legally, a State Road marker. That’s because US highways were really just state roads that shared the same number for its entire distance. So SR 40 in Indiana was also SR 40 in Illinois and Ohio, and so on. (INDOT has even posted SR 421 signage on SR 9 at the entrance ramps to I-74/US 421 in Shelbyville.)

While US highway numbers have come and gone across the state, most of them appeared in one of two phases – 1927 and 1951.

The original US Highways in Indiana were: 12, 20, 24, 27, 30, 31, 31E, 31W, 36, 40, 41, 50, 52, 112, and 150.

The second major phase included US 136, US 231, and US 421.

Between these two phases, the following roads were added:
– US 6 (1928)
– US 33 (1937)
– US 35 (1934) It required changing SR 35 to SR 135.
– US 36 – Yes, it is listed twice. US 36 originally ended at Indianapolis from the west. It was extended east in 1931.
– US 152 – Mostly followed US 52 (Lafayette Road) north from Indianapolis from 1934 to 1938. It never left the state, so it was downgraded to mostly state road 53 (which, strangely, was added BACK into the federal numbering system as US 231).
– US 224 (1933)
– US 460 (1947-1977)

These were added to the system in sections. For instance, US 6 came into Indiana from the east and ended up being routed along what, at the time, was Indiana State Road 6.

There have been many changes in the original US highways. Some have bypassed towns in many places (like US 31). Some have just been removed from the system (like the northern end of US 33). Some were replaced by the interstate system created in 1956 (like US 27 north of Fort Wayne).

The beginning of the end of the major importance of the US Highway system started in 1947, when AASHO deemed it “outmoded.” This led to the creation of the interstate system with a law signed by President Eisenhower in 1956.