My friend Dawn and I made our annual road trip together not long ago. We set out to follow SR 46 from Terre Haute to Nashville. To research the route, I turned to the small but mighty online cache of early Indiana highway maps at Indiana University. There I learned that SR 46 didn’t come along until 1931, well after Indiana established its highway system. I also learned, to my surprise, that the highway used to extend west all the way to the Illinois line, passing through Terre Haute. Today, SR 46 ends at US 40 on Terre Haute’s east side. On this excerpt from the 1932 map, I’ve highlighted SR 46 in green and marked the approximate location of this brick segment with a red arrowhead:
SR 46 entered Indiana from the west on what is now US 150 and flowed south into West Terre Haute, where it joined US 40 on its way east into Terre Haute. It turned south in town, almost certainly following US 41, which followed 7th St. in those days. It looks to me like SR 46 then followed Hulman St. east, and 25th St. south out of town.
My 25th St. theory was confirmed when I found this brick segment near Terre Haute’s south city limit. It picks up where 25th St. ends, at Margaret Ave. It’s a slight jog east of 25th St. This photo looks northbound toward Margaret Ave.; 25th St. continues to the north past that Marathon station.
Here’s the crazy thing – when I lived in Terre Haute in the early 1990s, I drove right by this brick road every day on my way to work, and I don’t recall whether I ever noticed it.
I’ve traced the original path of SR 46 in green on this current map. The red arrow shows the brick segment’s location. I-70 now interrupts the path of old SR 46. The brick road ends just before the railroad track, which flows under I-70. What was SR 46 resumes at E. 30th Dr., although if any bricks remain, they’re underneath the asphalt with which that road is paved today. I’m guessing that E. 30th Dr. and Sidenbender Rd. were built as part of the I-70 project to resolve the broken path of old 25th St.
This brick road isn’t quite abandoned; it provides access to two small businesses. A Private Property sign is posted just south of the second business’s driveway, so we didn’t walk back to see where the old road ended.
To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe!