Road Trips

Abandoned Fall Creek Road

My recent Dandy Trail tour took me down a part of Fall Creek Road, which rolls and curves through a long portion of northeast Indianapolis. I drive this road often, as it is on one of the routes I follow to pick up and drop off my sons at their mother’s. It’s a lovely drive that makes the long trip between our homes a lot more pleasant. I shot a little video along Fall Creek Road to share with you.

In the video, the place where I come upon an intersection and bear right is near the upper right corner of the aerial image below. I then head west, and as the video ends I reach Shadeland Avenue and Fall Creek Road appears to end. You can see cars zooming along I-465 just beyond Shadeland.

In the Dandy Trail’s day, neither Shadeland Avenue nor I-465 existed, and Fall Creek Road used to go through. This aerial image from 1956 (by which time Shadeland had been built) shows how it used to be. The northern east-west road is Fall Creek Road and the southern road is Fall Creek Parkway.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why these roads had to be butchered so badly because of I-465. It’s not like they didn’t have to build a bridge over Fall Creek anyway; would it have been so hard to extend it over Fall Creek Parkway and build the other bridge over the original Fall Creek Road alignment?

A short segment of old Fall Creek Road lies abandoned in what is now Skiles Test Nature Park, along and just west of I-465 on the north side of current Fall Creek Road. I was amused to find a picnic table on this abandoned bridge.

Abandoned Fall Creek Road

I stood on the bridge and faced east to take this photo. I-465 is just beyond the brush.

Abandoned Fall Creek Road

I turned around to face west for this photo. Maybe 150 feet of pavement remain. This abandoned segment extended all the way to the current Fall Creek Road alignment until the mid 1990s, when most of it was removed so a hiking trail could be built. That trail leads back to the site of a large home, demolished in the 1970s, once owned by Mr. Skiles Test.

Abandoned Fall Creek Road

I-465 was built here during the 1960s, so this was last maintained more than 40 years ago.

Nature always slowly reclaims abandoned roads. Check out nature’s work on this abandoned US 40 bridge.

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Last updated on 24 March 2020 by Jim Grey

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10 thoughts on “Abandoned Fall Creek Road

  1. Lone Primate says:

    Oh, I love stuff like this. :)

    I’m having a hard time understanding why they abandoned the course of the Parkway to the south. That looked pretty substantial and established even in the 50s. I would have explored the section you did, too (love that little bridge with the picnic table!), but I also find myself itchy to have a look at the abandoned (?) sections of the old Parkway bisected by the interstate.

    • I was focused on the Dandy Trail this day, but I do plan to explore abandoned Fall Creek Parkway one day. The portion east of 465 is fenced off and well marked as private property; there appears to be a cell antenna tower on it. The portion west of 465, per Google Maps, is open to be explored. Part of it is used on the trail system in the nature park.

      I wonder if the Parkway was subject to flooding, as it skirted the creek there, and they solved that problem this way.

      • That’s a good point. I know the road I live on was moved north about 1/8 to 1/4 mile because of the flooding the creek used to do. In the winter thaw it would flood, then freeze. It used to be very windy and people would wipe out on the ice if they weren’t going slow enough. So they built a new road on higher ground and it’s perfectly straight now. Great for testing that V8 engine.

  2. I was thinking the same thing. When looking at both photos (which I love comparing the old with the new) I though “why did they cut it up like that? What was wrong with the alignment to begin with? Must have had a good reason for the county to approve it.

  3. Ted Kappes says:

    I wonder if funding for an overpass or underpass of I-465 had anything to do with the way the roads are now. I remember at the time that the interstates were being built here that there were some limitations for such funding. Like in rural areas only one overpass was allowed for every two miles. So that lead to a lot of roads being cut off.

    • That still happens. They’re making US 31 in northern Indiana a limited access highway (it’s currently a 4-lane expressway) and they’re overpassing only some of the crossroads.

  4. Mark says:

    Jim, I’m kinda fascinated by these old roads that get left behind. Here’s one in Guelph, Ontario, including a cool 1916 concrete bridge, that got left behind. This blogger says it was used up until just 4 years ago……but there’s no friggin’ way !!! For one thing, its a pretty busy stretch, and secondly, it was a one lane bridge !!

    http://valdodge.com/tag/concrete-bowstring-bridge/

    • Mark, my guess is that the current bridge is not the second, but the third bridge here. It replaced a previous bridge that came after the 1916 bridge. I’m glad to see this concrete bowstring still standing.

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