History, Road Trips

For sale: Michigan Road Toll House

Toll house

When railroads came to prominence in the mid 1800s, traffic dropped dramatically on roads like Indiana’s Michigan Road. What followed was an early example of privatization: many roads were sold to private companies to operate.

Toll house marker

The Michigan Road was one of them. Several companies bought pieces of it, made various improvements, and operated it as a toll road. One such company was the Augusta Gravel Road Company, which operated a segment of the road that passed through northwest Indianapolis. In 1866, they built this toll house (read more here.)

And it’s for sale. With two bedrooms and one bathroom, this 1,100-square-foot house comes with two lots totaling more than 10,000 square feet. It’s been a rental in recent years, and is in sad condition inside. See photos at the listing on Zillow, which also has better exterior photos than mine.

Toll house

Its price is so low that if I weren’t in the middle of paying huge college bills for my sons, I’d buy it. I don’t know exactly what I’d do with it, as it’s too small for my family, but I sure would hate for this house to fall into the hands of someone who can’t appreciate its place in history.

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18 thoughts on “For sale: Michigan Road Toll House

  1. Jason Shafer says:

    If one can get past all the junk and debris, the bones of the house look good. It may not be a horrible price for what it is.

    • As an officer in the Historic Michigan Road Association, we hope that Indiana Landmarks buys it, stabilizes it, puts covenants on it, and then resells it. It needs that kind of protection! It is surrounded by two related large properties, the Light of the World Christian Church and the T. Garrott Benjamin Center, and I have a little worry that these entities would love to own this parcel and might not care about the house.

  2. DougD says:

    Nice heritage house.

    Some days I just have to remind myself that real life is not like Pokemon. You can’t catch em all. This applies to houses, cars, motorcycles, guitars and apparently cameras too. :)

  3. Heide says:

    If you start a GoFundMe page to purchase this property, Jim, I will very gladly contribute to the cause! :-) I do hope whoever ends up buying it appreciates (and preserves) the structure’s history.

  4. Steve Miller says:

    60k might be a good price for the lots. The house — from what I saw today — may be close to a complete rebuild.

    Hope it can be saved.

  5. Joel O'Neil says:

    I thought I would take a minute to introduce you to the new owners of the historical toll road house on Michigan Road. My wife and I, Joel and Kristina O’Neil, purchased the property near the end of 2017. We are excited to be a part of this piece of history. At the moment, we have been busy clearing out the inside and stabilizing the outside. The years of neglect have allowed uninvited critters to call 4702 N Michigan Road their home and we are attempting to evict them so we can finish wrapping up the repairs to the siding. It is our intent to uphold the current covenants placed on the exterior and have already replaced several feet of wood siding, replaced broken windows, restoring broken storm windows, rebuilt the center chimney, repaired a roof leak, and cleared much of the property from the over-grown vegetation. Our next steps will be to continue repairs to the fence and hopefully paint the fence and touch up the house where repairs have been made. The interior will undergo improvements to the small kitchen and bathroom and refinishing of all the hardwood floors, which are in surprisingly good condition. We hope to have some kind of open house this late summer to showcase this property that helped sustain the growth and commerce of our great city. Hope you all enjoy the home for many more years to come.

    • Joel, I and the other officers of the Historic Michigan Road Association (www.historicmichiganroad.org) are delighted that you and your wife purchased the Toll House and are stabilizing it! I hope you will let us know when you hold your open house because we would love to visit and meet you.

  6. Pingback: Toll Roads, and State Takeover – Indiana Transportation History

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