Driving between South Bend and Indianapolis on US 31 bores me silly, except in Carmel/Westfield and Kokomo, where traffic crawling among endless stoplights always provides an exercise in patience. Today, I avoid US 31 as much as I can.
US 31’s history, however, has interested me for years because I grew up four blocks from it in South Bend. I heard stories as a child of a two-lane US 31 through town and south as a country highway through Plymouth, Rochester, and Peru.
A childhood friend shared my interest of US 31’s original alignment, so last September we plotted a course and made our way along as much of it as still exists.
We saw this grand old bridge in South Bend.
We saw long stretches of quiet country road.
We saw cities with proud business districts and towns whose best days had passed by.
And we finished with the grand homes along N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis.
We also saw a classic car show in Peru; followed a road in Rochester that was part of Indiana’s first highway system; and found out what the bypassed towns of Kokomo, Westfield, and Carmel actually look like. If you’re curious, ride along with us on our trip.