Let’s return to my 2007 road trip along US 36 and the Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway in western Indiana.

It’s hard now to imagine why it was necessary to move US 36 one block to the north in Bainbridge. But that’s just what was done in this small Putnam County town.

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

This bypass begins just a half mile west of the old alignment I shared last time, the one with the covered bridge over Big Walnut Creek. Here’s where the old and new alignments split.

Old US 36

The terrain rolls a little bit in this part of Indiana, and US 36 hugs it pretty good. This eastbound photo shows it from the beginning of the Bainbridge segment.

US 36

I passed a number of older houses set close to the road, and then I came to downtown Bainbridge, all two blocks of it. Its old buildings are left from when this town was probably quite vital. I suspect that the big building at right, at the corner of Main and Washington Streets, was once a hotel. An old-style bank with its door facing the corner was behind me.

Bainbridge, IN

As quickly as I entered Bainbridge, I left it. Here’s how Main St. flows into US 36 westbound.

Old US 36 to US 36

Here’s the eastbound approach to Bainbridge.

US 36 and Old US 36

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9 responses to “US 36 and the Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway in Bainbridge, Indiana”

  1. Sam Avatar

    Nice Jim. I’m not sure why but when I try to “like” your posts it doesn’t take. I’ll have to see what the problem is.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Are you on an iPhone? There’s a known issue with Liking from an iPhone, some security thing Apple decided.

  2. Jon Avatar

    Hi Jim, I stumbled across your blog looking up info about the Jewettsport Ford Bridge up near Battle Ground and have spent a good 20 hours of my life on your page this week lol. Have you ever been to the Cannonball Bridge over the Wabash just south of Vincennes? Keep up the great work I love this kind of stuff!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My site can really be a rabbit hole! I know of the Cannonball bridge but I’ve not driven it. Someday!

  3. Rush Rox Avatar
    Rush Rox

    Jim, your penchant for old bridges is well known — especially bridges that have been bypassed and abandoned. There is a bridge 7 or 8 miles west of Bainbridge that I’m not sure you’ve mentioned. I noticed this bridge 6 or 7 years ago when I used to commute from northwest of Indianapolis to Clinton every day. During my “crazy commute” years I explored as many of the western Indiana US 36 alignments as I could identify. The bridge in question is immediately west of Union Chapel United Methodist Church at CR 600 W. I have not done any “forensic” research on this structure, so I don’t know the years of its construction or abandonment. Its concrete sides have the appearance of a bridge built in the 1930s, by my reckoning. Here’s a URL for a Google Maps Street View…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Someone else pointed that bridge out to me some years ago. I hope to re-do 36 one day in the wintertime (to see Raccoon Lake’s level lowered) and I’ll go looking for it then. I wonder if the driveway of the Methodist church is old highway.

  4. Rush Rox Avatar
    Rush Rox

    I’m rethinking my comment about the old bridge having been built in the 1930s. From what little map and photo information I’ve uncovered, it appears this bypass occurred a bit earlier than I first supposed.

    1939 aerial imagery clearly shows the bridge bypass, but it also shows the path of the old road and its eastern approach to the old bridge. Westbound, the old road went straight until the junction with CR 600 W, then angled north slightly to approach the old bridge. Looks like you called it, Jim, the old road went through where the church’s parking lot now sits.

    More evidence of a pre-1930s bypass is found in the Indiana State Library Map Collection where we find a 1922 rural delivery map of Putnam County that shows the northward angle of the road beginning well east of CR 600 W, just like it does today. This bridge’s story is, indeed, a mystery, but not one that is overly compelling to me. I am much more fascinated by the old alignments west of there, towards Rockville and on to Montezuma, as you have noted in other posts.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s likely that this bridge was built while the road was Original State Road 31, then. It became that in probably 1919. That’s the earlies map I can find with it marked, and 1919 was the second advent of the Highway Commission and a time of great expansion past the original 5 “main market highways.” The Google Street View image is grainy and dark. If I could see better I could guess the bridge’s date better based on the railing. But if I had to guess I’d guess 1920s for it.

      Now I want to drive 36 again to see that strip of original road that is the church’s parking strip.

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      I found the 1939 aerial, and traced it west. That big curve just west of the bridge–it shows the old alignment it replaced. So I went to Google Maps looking for a trace. There’s a tiny bit of old pavement where the curve begins:


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