US 40 has changed its routing several times through Terre Haute, the last major town on the original National Road westbound before the road reached Illinois. When I moved to town in 1985, US 40 went all the way through town and crossed the Wabash River on a single bridge. But the road diverted from the original National Road route, Wabash Ave., somewhere downtown. The westbound US 40 turned north on 9th St. and then west on Cherry St.; the eastbound US 40 followed Ohio St. to 12th St, I think, and then turned north and then west on Wabash again.

Imagery © 2020 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies USDA Farm Service. Map data © 2020 Google.

Later the one bridge was replaced with two, one eastbound and one westbound, that merged on the west side of the Wabash River. Still later, US 40 was routed around Terre Haute entirely, following SR 46 on the east side of town south to I-70, and then I-70 all the way into Illinois.

That change hadn’t happened yet when I made my 2006 road trip along US 40 and the National Road in western Indiana, allowing me to get this photo of a US 40 shield — the one that directed drivers north on 9th St.

Terre Haute

Terre Haute is justifiably proud of where Wabash Ave. meets 7th St. — this is where US 40 and US 41 used to intersect. This intersection saw a great deal of traffic from all over the nation on these two major roads. Originally, US 40 stretched from one coast to the other. I believe US 41 still runs from the top of Michigan to the bottom of Florida. Here’s 7th and Wabash from the northwest corner, as it was in 2006.

Terre Haute

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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8 responses to “US 40 in downtown Terre Haute, Indiana (as it was in 2006)”

  1. Jim Hanes Avatar

    I lived in Terre Haute from 1963-1979. Before I-75 bypassed the city, the downtown was thriving. One of your photos, looking west on Wabash Avenue, is taken from in front of the Clabber Girl museum at the old Hulman company, and two blocks ahead, is the new History Museum and beyond that, the Tribune-Star building where I picked up my papers for my first job, the Merchants Bank building where I financed my first motorcycle and just a block further, the camera store where I bought miles of Tri-X to feed my old Kowa SLR

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I lived in TH from 1985-1994. I remember reading an article in the Tribune-Star about the day I-70 opened, and how it was like turning off the stream of traffic on Wabash Ave. as if turning off a faucet.

      It sounds like you have great memories from your time in TH.

  2. Michael Avatar

    I can’t believe you left out “Crossroads of America”. For shame! :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve sung all the verses to that song many times on this blog, so I think I’m covered!!

  3. Roger Meade Avatar
    Roger Meade

    My sister and I live 1500 miles apart, me in Michigan and she in Florida, but we are both just blocks from US-41!

    Your blog has definitely gotten me more interested in US highways (as opposed to interstates). Two years ago my wife and I went west to visit my brother in Arizona. We took US-54 through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and into New Mexico. Loved it! We ate a Bob’s burger and stopped at the Dalton Gang Museum in Meade, Kansas, ate at a Nicaraguan restaurant in Guymon, OK, and did a legal 75mph across Texas where you can see about ten miles of telephone poles lined up in front of your windshield. The old Rock Island “Golden State” route alongside was a bonus.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Excellent! My nefarious plan is working! There’s adventure to be had just like you describe on the old roads.

  4. Janice Goble Caloia Avatar
    Janice Goble Caloia

    I was born in Union Hospital and grew up in Illinois. However, Terre Haute was where I had organ lessons at Paige’s, dance lessons at Cezak School of Dance, went shopping at Meis, Roots, Levinson’s, and Becker’s; dining at The Goodie Shop, bought chocolates at Fanny May and had various doctor appointments. That doesn’t even begin to cover the memories of my parents—Pink Ladies at The Terre Haute House after Prohibition and getting married at the Vigo County Court House in 1935. I miss US40 going straight through the city on Wabash Avenue. Many good times there!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It sounds like your Terre Haute years were prime. There’s nothing like Root’s or the Goodie Shop or Paige’s there anymore.

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