I’ve got the Michigan Road coming out my ears as I share my 2008 trip report here on Fridays. In my work with the Historic Michigan Road Association, I keep track of the Michigan Road wayfinding signs we’ve placed all along the route. I had heard that some signs were missing and had been meaning to take a sign inventory for some time so we could get missing signs made and installed.

While I was on bereavement leave in early January I spent a day by myself driving the Michigan Road in Marion, Shelby, Decatur, Ripley, and Jefferson Counties doing that sign inventory. It is always a tonic for me to drive an old road, listening to my music, stopping to make photographs when the mood strikes.

I hadn’t shot my Nikon N2000 in a while, so I mounted my 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Zoom Nikkor lens and loaded a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400. I sent the roll to Dwayne’s for developing and scanning, and for some reason they scanned only 18 of the 36 exposures. When I got the negatives back, the rest of the strip was blank. Now I wonder if something’s wrong with my N2000. I’m pretty sure those blank shots should have been scenes around Madison. My memory is sketchy, though; it was right after Rana died and I was in a fog.

Here are the best of the images from the trip down. Many of those images come from Shelbyville, where I stopped to see their remodeled and reconfigured Public Square. I need to make a special trip down to document it properly.

Shelbyville Public Square

The Sheldon Building on Shelbyville’s Public Square is probably my favorite on the entire Michigan Road.

Sheldon building, Shelbyville

I was sad to find that Sanders Jewelers has closed. Their neon sign, which you can see here, has been removed. I’m betting that Sigler’s is the name of the store that operated here before Sanders. I don’t know what store is in here now.

Former Sanders Jewelers, Shelbyville

When I reached Napoleon, I noticed that the original Napoleon State Bank building has been repainted with a mural. See its previous paint job in this photo.

Napoleon State Bank building

I drove the original Michigan Road alignment from the south end of Napoleon. Where it crosses US 50, there’s this historic marker about the road. It’s been restored since the first time I saw it (photo here).

Michigan Road marker at US 50

Finally, I stopped at one of my very favorite places on the Michigan Road, the circa 1910 Shepard Bridge.

Shepard Bridge

I’ll need to make more trips this year to inventory the signs on the rest of the road, so stay tuned!

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8 responses to “A drive down the Michigan Road in southern Indiana”

  1. J P Avatar

    I am always nostalgic for those little stores on the squares of small towns. As a kid I used to occasionally accompany my grandma into such stores where she lived. The creaky wood floors and pressed tin ceilings were so unlike the modern suburban stores of the city where I lived. The funny part is that while the individual stores come and go, some of those old buildings have outlasted the suburban shopping centers of my youth.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Shopping centers are hard to reuse for a different purpose. The old buildings on the square are much easier to adapt to other uses!

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Hold the camera up to the light with the back open, and press the button. See if the shutter opens….I noticed in the old days, that when shutters started screwing up, you could tell right away by sound, but in the era of metal vertical travel shutters, it usually sounds no different if the shutter slit is actually open, or not opening at all. Your shutter slit adjustment mechanism could have failed, resulting in no opening, and no exposure, but sound exactly the same….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah, I’ll do that when I have a minute. I really like this camera, even though it’s one of Nikon’s less popular ones. If it is broken, I wonder who could even fix it.

  3. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    It’s always good seeing your road trip images 👏🏻

    Regarding the camera issues, I had similar problems with an OM-2sp where the electromagnetic shutter-release did not fire reliable due to contact issues and on my Contax 167MT, where an electronics defect fired speeds above 1/500s so fast that there was not enough light to show an image on the negative. So yes, weird things happen in those cameras over time.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      They just age, and fail. It’s the way of the world.

  4. Michael Avatar

    Were any signs missing on that stretch?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Only one that was originally there was missing, but there were several that were never placed where they should have been.

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