Road Trips

Short original segment of State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway north of Martinsville, Indiana

Let’s return to my 2007 road trip along Old State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway between Indianapolis and Bloomington.

Windows Live Local map, 2007

After the police chased me off the abandoned bridge, I shook off a shaky feeling and got back on the road. The next segment of the original State Road 37 alignment came about two miles later. It’s still in Morgan County, southwest of a dot on the map called Adams, just south of Egbert Road. Here’s the map of its northern end.

Notice that there’s no sign of where Old SR 37 went to the north of where the access road meets it. I found no sign when I stood in that curve, either. This photo shows the access road. The curve to Old SR 37 begins at the Marathon station.

To Old SR 37

I revisited this old alignment in 2017 and made this photo of the Marathon station. The project in 2020 to convert SR 37 to I-69 claimed this mom-and-pop business; the building is gone.

Country Marathon
Windows Live Local map, 2007

I wonder how many other businesses I-69 is causing to close permanently. I support the I-69 project overall. It stretches all the way to Evansville, finally giving that city a direct Interstate link to Indianapolis. I-69 already links Indiana to the Canadian border north of Detroit. When it is complete it will link Indiana to the Mexican border in Texas.

But back to 2007 and this road trip. There wasn’t much to this segment, which lasted 1.2 miles. It ended in a curve that met current SR 37. The original road continued beyond the curve. Here’s what it looked like at the curve.

Old SR 37

Unlike at the abandoned portion where the police chased me away, this time the old road was clearly and cleverly marked as private property. I stayed out.

Do you think they wanted me to stay out?

Next: The original alignment of State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway through Martinsville.

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9 thoughts on “Short original segment of State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway north of Martinsville, Indiana

  1. Cameron Miller says:

    You said, “There wasn’t much to this segment…”, but there are remnants of a pre-1939 alignment that you didn’t mention in your post. If you find the right aerial imagery, the old alignment practically jumps out of one’s monitor. That’s the only hint I’m giving, Jim, since the joy you derive from discovering old alignments is well-known in these parts. (Have fun!)

  2. Cameron Miller says:

    Nope, that’s not it, but the Exchange alignment is one of several I’ve identified between Indianapolis and Martinsville. Shame on me for bringing this up because there are so many old alignments of the Dixie Hwy/St Rd 37 that it wouldn’t be fair to expect anyone to try to document them all the way you have.

    Actually, I was referring to an old alignment just south of the Marathon station. Follow the private lane as it trails off west-southwest. Where the lane abruptly turns south, the old alignment continued on, arcing gently towards due west. It continued across Old St Rd 37 where the old alignment was repurposed as the “center” leg of a 3-entrance private drive system. Right about where the center leg intersects the southern leg, the old highway veered south-southwest, crossed Clear Creek and then rejoined the path of Old St Rd 37. I found a 1926 Morgan County plat map that confirms this marked “kink” in the road just north of Clear Creek. I’m not sure when this section was rebuilt, but I believe it was before 1936.

    • I see it now that you point it out. I would never have guessed it! I see no bridge remnants in the creek – that happens sometimes and provides a solid clue.

      I had never really thought about it but it makes total sense that what is signed as Old 37 was itself a serious improvement over an older road, realigning it where needed for smoother, swifter travel. I’ve seriously studied available aerial imagery of this road from Indy as far south as Paoli and alignments before the 1930s concrete alignment are nigh onto impossible to detect. You’d have to go back to very old maps to find them.

    • Now you’ve sent me down a rabbit hole. I’m looking at old maps of Morgan County. I see other possibilities for older alignments.

  3. Cameron Miller says:

    Yes, there are some obvious ones– Kristi Rd in Martinsville comes to mind. By my reckoning, that one lasted until about ’33 or ’34.

    I’m sorry I inadvertently lured you away from more gainful pursuits, Jim, but I can think of little that is more fun than searching for ghost roads. Such is the sad fate of those who succumb to oldalignmentitis, I suppose. It’s like solving a puzzle or working out the inexplicable twists of a grand mystery. The satisfaction derived from discovery is difficult to explain to most folks, as I suspect you already know.

    • Yes, I’ve driven that one. And it lines up with the old maps. I also think that further south Turkey Track Road/Pine Road is the old road. I’ve never managed to drive that one. Pity, it’s all blocked up thanks to I-69 now.

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