Hub Highway

Muncie Morning Star, 27 September 1917

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 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.