Romona, Indiana, is a scattering of houses along a railroad track in Owen County, Indiana. A road snakes through, making two hard turns where it crosses those tracks. This road was once State Road 67.
State Road 67 has bypassed Romona since at least 1938. The old road not only hugged the White River for a stretch, making it subject to flooding, but it also hugged that railroad track all the way, crossing it four times. That’s not the kind of road that’s fit to be a highway long term.
When SR 67 was commissioned in 1926, it followed Main Street west out of town. The road shortly becomes Romona Road, meandering along the tracks through Romona, on its way to meet up with current SR 67. This map shows its path in blue.
Here’s where the southbound road to Romona begins on Gosport’s west edge. As you can see, it’s a narrow gravel road. It’s marked as a dead end because where the road crosses Mill Creek immediately north of Romona, an old bridge there is closed.
I chose not to drive Romona Road toward that bridge. Google Maps satellite view shows a tight, narrow road. I worried I’d get deep in there and have no good way to turn my car around, and perhaps no mobile signal if I were in trouble. The last several hundred yards of this road appears not to have been maintained in ages, anyway. Here’s the satellite view of Romona Road where maintenance ends.
This is the Romona Road bridge, a Pratt through truss built in about 1910. A bridgefan named Tony Dillon made this image in 2009.
We drove back to current SR 67 and followed it to the other end of Romona Road. It’s signed as Country Club Road briefly before turning right and being signed Romona Road. From there we drove to Romona; the road was paved all the way.
Here’s Romona Road southbound from Romona.
We intended to stop, make a couple quick images, and go. I’m never comfortable being an obvious stranger in small, out-of-the-way places like this. But immediately a fellow came out to greet us and find out what we were up to. When I said that we were out exploring Old State Road 67, he smiled and said, “Yes, this used to be the highway! You can walk the railroad trestle up to see the bridge if you want. The deck’s collapsed but otherwise it’s still there.” We said that we had stopped only for a minute and would soon be on our way. He then pointed out the rock by a small tree that spelled out the town’s name, spelled Ramona rather than Romona. I suppose he knows where he lives better than Google Maps does! He told us he made that stone some years back.
I might not have visited Romona at all, except that fellow roadfan Richard Simpson and I had planned to make this trip together and he was very excited about seeing Romona and the bridge. Unfortunately, he passed away unexpectedly in early 2021. I visited Romona in his honor. He wrote an article for his blog about Romona and the old road here; read it here.
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