When I drive the old alignments of a highway, I often encounter old pavement in brick and concrete. I hoped to find some on State Road 67, but I didn’t. Instead, I found a lot of gravel.
When Indiana established its highway network starting in 1917, it routed highways over existing roads. I’m sure every state did that. Then Indiana began improving those highways, straightening and leveling them, and paving them. It took a long time for Indiana to pave all of its highways. I read somewhere once that the last gravel highway in Indiana was paved in the 1950s.
Here’s a snippet from the official 1932 Indiana road map showing SR 67 between Spencer (in Owen County) and Worthington (in Greene County). Notice the shape of the road. The pattern in the road’s line means that the road is gravel or stone, treated with oil or calcium chloride to reduce dust. Just before the road enters Worthington, the line changes to solid black, which indicates that the road is hard surfaced.
By 1933, the road had been improved to be surfaced with an oil mat, bituminous mulch, or macadam. But the road follows the same route as in 1932.
The 1934 map looks much the same as the 1933 map. But the 1935 map shows that this segment of SR 67 has been heavily improved. The road is now hard surfaced, and has been significantly realigned to reduce the number of sharp curves.
The 1936 map shows no change, but the 1937 map shows that SR 67 now bypasses the community of Farmers.
Here’s what the original alignment of SR 67 near Farmers looks like today. It’s hard to tell for sure in the photo, but if memory serves this is a well-worn asphalt road lightly covered in gravel. (Thanks to goofing up some settings on my camera, I had a lot of trouble with camera shake on this leg of the trip. It blurred many of my shots a little, obscuring some details.)
I found a 1936 map of Owen County, which includes Spencer and Freedom. Notice the routing of SR 67, and also the roads that turn off it and soon right back onto it. Those little road bits are the original SR 67 alignment.
This photo is of the old alignment in the map above that is just north of Freedom.
These roads are all gravel today, even though they were oiled or otherwise sealed to keep dust down back in the 1930s. That kind of surface doesn’t last forever, and after the highway was realigned here I’m sure county road officials weren’t interested in the extra expense to maintain the old alignments to their former highway standards.