Road Trips

The National Road/US 40 at Reelsville, part 2

If you’re just joining us, we’re following two old alignments of the National Road near Reelsville, Indiana. Last time, we followed what is probably the National Road’s original alignment here, highlighted in green on the image below. This time, we’re going to follow an alignment built in about 1923, highlighted in red. The two routes’ overlap is highlighted in yellow.

The 1920s alignment is in two sections. The eastern section is in pretty good shape up to where the older alignment turns away, but doesn’t appear to get much maintenance west of there. It provides access to a few houses, but beyond them it fades away, as this photo shows.

Old US 40 alignment

This alignment used to be continuous, of course, but the current road’s right-of-way appears to have overlapped a few hundred feet of the older alignment, and when that happens, old road gets ripped out. The western section begins here.

Old US 40, Putnam County

This section is badly overgrown end to end. The road has gotten very little maintenance and is broken and potholed – but that’s not too bad for concrete poured so many decades ago. If it weren’t for a couple houses along this road, I’d call this abandoned. 

Old US 40, Putnam County

Soon the road crosses Big Walnut Creek over this bridge. The deck and railings are in poor condition.

Old US 40, Putnam County

I took this photo of the bridge from US 40’s current alignment.

Old US 40 alignment

This is where the 1923 alignment ends, curving left to a T intersection with US 40. It used to curve to the right, through what is now woods, and flow into the older National Road alignment. The concrete road still exists along that alignment, as I wrote about last time.

Old US 40, Putnam County

UPDATE: Later research revealed the timeline of every one of these old alignments. Read about it here.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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2 thoughts on “The National Road/US 40 at Reelsville, part 2

  1. There’s something really appealing about the process of ferreting out “how things were”. You are a road archaeologist! Thanks for sharing your sleuthing. You make me want to go out and explore.

  2. Pingback: Changing a Road’s Path « Explore U.S. 40

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