I’ve documented Richmond before, on a 2009 trip by car down the National Road in eastern Indiana. Read about it here.
As you head west on the National Road, when you enter Indiana you immediately meet Richmond. Since the 1940s, the National Road and US 40 have been a four-lane highway here.
After you push through the suburban-style strip malls, you come to Glen Miller Park. Named for Colonel John Ford Miller rather than the famous big-band leader, it’s been a Richmond city park since 1885. Two elements of the 185-acre park face the National Road: the sprawling Richmond Rose Garden and Indiana’s Madonna of the Trail statue.
At Glen Miller Park, the National Road passes through a section of large older homes. Most of them are well cared for, but a few are not.
As US 40 heads toward downtown Richmond, it diverges from the original National Road route for several blocks. Westbound it follows Main Street to 16th Street, then 16th north to N. A Street, then west to N. 3rd Street, then south to S. A Street. Eastbound, it follows S. A Street to S. 11th Street, then 11th north to Main Street, then Main Street east. The National Road follows Main Street westbound all the way across the White River, where it then turns south on 1st Street, and then west on National Road West.
Downtown Richmond looks typical for a downtown of this size in Indiana. For many years, the National Road here was closed to traffic as the area was a pedestrian mall. Today, the road in the heart of downtown offers one narrow lane in each direction for vehicles.
On a National Road trip I made in 2015, I discovered Veach’s, a family-owned toy store in downtown Richmond. Sadly, it closed after 79 years in 2017. Here are photos before and after.
After coming through downtown, the National Road passes by the imposing Wayne County Courthouse.
The National Road then crosses the Whitewater River on a grand bridge completed in 1920. Before this bridge was built, a steel bridge crossed the road here. Before that, the road curved south here and crossed the river over a large wooden covered bridge. See a photograph here.
Just beyond the bridge, the National Road turns left onto 1st Street and then right onto National Road West. On its way out of town, the road passes by Earlham College. In the late 1980s I went to engineering school at Rose-Hulman, at the other end of Indiana’s portion of the National Road in Terre Haute. We were in the same sports conference as Earlham then, and played them often. They usually beat us in every sport.
Shortly past Earlham, the road exits Richmond proper and takes on a country feel.
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.