Old and abandoned alignments of Indiana’s Lafayette Road, part 2

On Monday, I shared a couple old concrete alignments of the Lafayette Road in Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana. The Lafayette Road was built in the 1830s to connect Indianapolis to Lafayette, and later became US 52. Today, most of it in Marion and neighboring Boone Counties is a local road. On Monday I shared the old alignments in Marion County; today, it’s Boone County.

After the Lafayette Road leaves Marion County, it passes through maybe 1,000 feet of Hendricks County on its way into Boone County. Just beyond the county line the road once curved twice, but when the road was widened to four lanes in about 1935 those curves were straightened. Here’s what that spot looked like in 1937, the old alignment clearly visible and still in use for local access.

Courtesy MapIndy, http://maps.indy.gov/MapIndy/

This same spot is barely recognizable from the air today. I-65 was built right through here in the 1960s, bifurcating the old alignment. And then the construction of a subdivision removed its northern tip.

Imagery and map data ©2016 Google.

As you enter it northbound from the south, at first this alignment is paved in asphalt. But if you follow it back a little ways, you find this short strip of concrete. This is a southbound shot.

Concrete alignment

Another bypassed segment of the road lies a couple miles north of here, at Whitestown Parkway. I did some research in historic aerial imagery and maps, and discovered that this segment was bypassed as early as 1939.

Imagery and map data ©2016 Google.

The short section south of Whitestown Parkway is abandoned. The concrete we found up to now looked to be 16 feet wide, but this seemed to be wider — 18 feet probably. This is a southbound photo.

Abandoned alignment

Walking in a ways, we found what looked like the foundation of a building lying across the road. My research led me to a 1961 aerial image (that I’m not showing here because it is overlaid with copyright watermarks) that shows a small building with a pitched roof right here. What could it have been?

Abandoned alignment

Walking in farther, we could see the end of the line. A ditch lies beyond that pile of brush, the bridge that once spanned it long gone.

Abandoned alignment

North of Whitestown Parkway, this road is still driveable. It’s signed as Cozy Ln. here.

Cozy Lane

The Lafayette Road originally passed right through Lebanon. But by 1951, when this road had been US 52 for almost a quarter century, a bypass was built around town. It was two lanes wide at first, but by the early 1960s it had been widened to four lanes. And then as I-65 was built here shortly afterward, it was routed along this bypass. But north of Lebanon, I-65 takes a more northerly route than US 52, and the two roads diverge there. It left a short segment of that bypass behind. It’s been abandoned ever since.

Imagery and map data ©2016 Google.

Here’s what it looks like on the ground. It appears to be used for access to some sort of business, which you can see in the background. The lane on the left is the original Lafayette Road alignment.

Abandoned four-lane highway

Here you can see where the old southbound lanes line up with current US 52, which from here to the north mostly follows the Lafayette Road the rest of the way to Lafayette.

Abandoned four-lane highway

One last old alignment, about two miles north of State Road 47.  It’s hard to see on this aerial image, but it lies on the east side of the current road.

Imagery and map data ©2016 Google.

This old alignment led to a bridge that no longer exists. South of Sugar Creek, the road looks to be in bad shape, perhaps even reverted to gravel. But north of the creek, it’s still paved because it serves one property. This shot is southbound.

Abandoned alignment

This shot is northbound. It’s just a short little segment.

Abandoned alignment

What’s interesting is that this road might not actually be the original Lafayette Road alignment here at all. My old maps show the road going through Thorntown, which is about three miles southwest of here. They suggest that the blue route below was the Lafayette Road’s original path! The green star shows where this bridge was. It appears that the current alignment of US 52 was built about 1925, and even then, this segment near Sugar Creek wasn’t even paved at first.

Imagery and map data ©2016 Google.

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4 responses to “Old and abandoned alignments of Indiana’s Lafayette Road, part 2”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Jim, I have to say, I find your “urban archaeology” posting to be highly fascinating…I used to do a lot of this driving around and checking out defunct roads and towns when I was in Wisconsin; I’m glad I can read your travels about Indiana!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Andy, thanks! If you’re ever bored, just plumb this blog’s archives — the joint is full of old-road info.

  2. DougD Avatar

    Very interesting stuff Jim, my parents have been going to the same campground in cottage country for 50 years, the highway was realigned through the bush in the early 60’s, as a kid I remember lots of evidence of the old road but it is scarce today.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I found something like that once on vacation a few years ago! https://blog.jimgrey.net/2011/05/02/an-abandoned-road-in-the-woods/

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