After I originally published my long report about my 2008 survey of the Michigan Road in Indiana, I got separate emails from Fred and Estelle Hargitt about what they believed to be an old alignment of the road that passed through their property. Fred and Estelle live on the road in northwest Decatur County, just south of a little town called St. Omer and north of where the road crosses the Flatrock River.
The road’s route has definitely changed over time in this area. Here’s an excerpt from an 1882 atlas. I’ve highlighted the Michigan Road in green. Next to it is a screen shot of about the same area from Google Maps that I made in January of 2022.
It looks very clear to me that the Michigan Road was moved slightly west from just south of the Flatrock River to just before its entry into St. Omer.
Fred Hargitt wrote that he moved to this area in 1934 as a small boy, when the Michigan Road was State Road 29 here. He said that it was about this time that the original alignment of SR 29 was abandoned and a new alignment built. He said that traces of the old road still run through his property. I’ve studied the aerial images on Google Maps many times over the years and can’t see with certainty any elements of the old road.
On this excerpt from a current Google Maps aerial image, I’ve marked in green my best guess at where the original Michigan Road used to go here.
I ought to contact the Hargitts to see if they still live on the land and could show me the traces of the original road.
I have been unable to find what kind of bridge was built over the Flatrock River here when the road was moved in the 1930s. Steel truss and concrete arch bridges were typical in that era. I feel certain that the bridge here today is a replacement of that bridge, and is probably a common steel stringer bridge.
As a bonus, here’s some shaky, handheld video I shot in 2008 of me driving the road northbound to cross the Flatrock River.
Unfortunately, when I reached St. Omer I didn’t properly document this small town. I did, however, photograph its schoolhouse, which is a residence today.
Next: The Michigan Road as it enters Shelby County.
I’ve documented Indiana’s historic Michigan Road extensively. To read all about it, click here.