Road Trips

The Michigan Road in northwest Shelby County, Indiana

In 2008, I surveyed the Michigan Road from end to end, documenting the road and its built environment. Here is an installment of that trip report.

A few miles northwest of Shelbyville the Michigan Road crosses I-74. The green line is what I think the original route was. From here, the Michigan Road serves as a frontage road to I-74 for about the next 8½ miles.

This photo shows where the Michigan Road curves to pass over I-74.

Crossing I-74

The Indiana Downs track (as of early 2022, this is now the Horseshoe Indianapolis track and casino) stands at the next I-74 exit. On this map, the green line shows the road’s original route, the blue line shows how the road was rerouted when I-74 was built, and the magenta line shows how the road was rerouted again when Indiana Downs was built.

This is what was left of the I-74 rerouting in July, 2008, northbound from the left turn on the map’s blue line.

Hoosier Downs

This is the original Michigan Road route, southbound, where the magenta line intersects the green line. None of this exists anymore; it’s parking for the horse track now.

Hoosier Downs

Here’s what it’s like to travel right next to I-74.

Michigan (Frontage) Road

At the next I-74 exit, London Road, the road ends. Starting here, I-74 was built on top of the Michigan Road.

To follow the Michigan Road, you have to get on I-74. Being able to go 70 mph didn’t quite make up for losing the original road.

I-74 and the Michigan Road

After less than a mile, however, I-74 curves away and you can see the Michigan Road re-emerge on the right.

Pleasant View

I-74 was built around the tiny town of Pleasant View. There’s almost nothing to Pleasant View, making the routing a bit puzzling – you’d think the government would just have bought the town under eminent domain. But at least a mile or so of the Michigan Road was saved.

The city of Indianapolis’s Web site used to make available an aerial map of Marion County from 1937. The 1937 image set includes just enough of Shelby County to show Pleasant View as it was then.

This southbound shot shows the Michigan Road emerging from the northbound lanes of I-74.

Pleasant View

This old Dodge, circa 1946, sat in the grass between I-74 and the Michigan Road, watching I-74 traffic go by.

Dodge in Pleasant View

I’ve seen aerial photos of the area that show I-74 not yet built in 1956, but complete in 1962, so this northbound shot shows a road bypassed, and probably only minimally maintained, for about 50 years.

Pleasant View

You can exit I-74 into Pleasant View via Walnut St.

Pleasant View

Pleasant View is in the northwest corner of Shelby County, within spitting distance of Marion County. Across the street from the sign above stands the sign below, showing Marion County’s name for the Michigan Road on the county’s south side, Southeastern Ave. It’s interesting how Walnut St. is signed Pleasant View Rd. here, too.

Pleasant View

This is Pleasant View. There are a few houses along the road, too. Just beyond Pleasant View is the Marion county line.

Pleasant View

Next: The Michigan Road in southeastern Marion County (Indianapolis).

I’ve documented Indiana’s historic Michigan Road extensively. To read all about it, click here.

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