Road Trips

US 31 and the Dixie Highway south from the Indiana/Michigan state line

On September 15, 2007, one of my oldest friends and I went in search of the original alignments of US 31 in Indiana from the Michigan state line to Indianapolis. I wrote about this trip on my old Roads site back then, but am now bringing those articles over to this blog.

Just after sunrise, Brian and I headed for the Michigan border. As the photo below shows, we were reminded that Hoosier hospitality is no accident. Neither is it an accident that tobacco and fireworks are available at the border – Indiana’s tobacco taxes are lower than Michigan’s, and Indiana allows fireworks that Michigan doesn’t. When I was young, Hoosiers of a certain age liked to visit the liquor store that used to stand on the other side of State Line Road, because you could buy beer at 18 in Michigan then. Hoosiers sure called that hospitality! Michigan’s legal age was 21 by the time I was old enough to care.

Indiana state line

Old US 31 enters Indiana as a five-lane slab on a straight line from Michigan, as this map shows.

Windows Live maps, 2007

The US 31 strip at the border was a blight during our childhoods and remains so now, as this southbound photo shows.

SR 933 & M-51 (old US 31) at the Indiana/Michigan line

On the Indiana side, the road is State Road 933. In Michigan it becomes M-51. But to all of us who lived in Michiana before the bypass, this road will always be “31” — or Dixie Way, a nod to it being part of the Dixie Highway.

SR 933 & M-51 (old US 31) at the Indiana/Michigan line

An old motel, which at night is just an otel, sat a few buildings south of the state line. The building wasn’t much to see, but the sign might please neon fans.

Otel

Roseland begins as soon as you drive under the Indiana Toll Road (I-80 and I-90), as the map below shows. The town is known today for its ongoing political squabbles. Just two days before our trip, a notorious member of Roseland’s town council was ejected from a council meeting for being too argumentative. The story goes that he then lipped off to the town marshal, who roughed him up. Roseland’s quite the Peyton Place, it seems. But when I was a kid, it was just a sea of neon you had to pass through at exactly 35 mph or get stopped for speeding. Much of the neon’s gone, but as I entered Roseland at 55 mph, Brian had to remind me that the cops still love to enhance town revenue with speed traps.

Windows Live Maps, 2007

The photo below shows the Toll Road overpass with Roseland framed beneath it. The road just north of the overpass is Cleveland Road. It was never US 31, but is currently designated Business 31 west of this intersection because it provides a connection to current US 31.

Old US 31 southbound, Roseland

Next: Old US 31 and the Dixie Highway in South Bend.

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week, click here to subscribe!
To get my newsletter with previews of what I’m working on, click here to subscribe!

Standard

9 thoughts on “US 31 and the Dixie Highway south from the Indiana/Michigan state line

  1. DougD says:

    That’s an interesting arch building at the used car place, I wonder what it was originally built for. A restaurant?

    And seriously, who wants to mess with the world’s cheapest fireworks? That sign seems more like a warning than advertising.

    • It might have been a restaurant. It might also have been a grocery store. I have a dim memory if it being a liquor store when I was a kid. You’ll be pleased to know that the cheap fireworks place is out of business.

      • Dan Cluley says:

        I’m going to guess that it went out of business about a decade ago, when Michigan relaxed it’s fireworks law.

        I remember when you could buy fireworks in Indiana that were illegal in both Michigan & Illinois. It is just about 50 miles across Indiana on I-94 between those states and I don’t think there was a single exit that didn’t have at least one, maybe two places to buy fireworks in the Summer.

      • Dan Cluley says:

        The style of the arch roof building said grocery to me, but based on the drive thru in the back it must have been a bank at some point, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the original use.

  2. Darts and Letters says:

    Hoosier Hospitality is No Accident. That’s an interesting sign. It seems very Midwestern.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.