I took a day off work a few weeks ago to clear my head and get out of my box. I decided to drive the oldest alignments of Indiana’s State Road 67 from Indianapolis to Muncie. A good road trip always presses my mind’s reset button.
I don’t often document the old roads’ paths through Indianapolis. There’s often no place to park my car, and I often find myself in bad neighborhoods. But northeast from Downtown, State Road 67 follows Massachusetts Avenue, which is beautiful, interesting, and safe enough.
The heart of Downtown Indianapolis is Monument Circle, which is in the lower left on the map above. Downtown is a grid of streets, as is so common in Midwestern cities. But four diagonal streets radiate from near the center: Virginia Avenue to the southeast, Kentucky Avenue to the southwest, Indiana Avenue to the northwest, and Massachusetts Avenue to the northeast.
When State Road 67 was routed in 1926, it entered Indianapolis on its northeasterly journey along Kentucky Avenue. At Illinois Street, one block west of the Circle, it headed north to New York Avenue, where it headed west to, and then along, Massachusetts Avenue.
For most of the 20th century, a lot of state and US highways passed through Indianapolis. Most of them led straight through Downtown. The Indiana Department of Transportation, eager to not maintain city streets, started routing all of those highways along the Interstate 465 loop around town in the 1990s.
But in the intervening years, highway routings through Indianapolis changed several times. I feel sure that this was done to alleviate traffic pressure Downtown, as most of these reroutings bypassed the city’s “mile square” core.
State Road 67 in particular would get a new routing by 1937: Kentucky Avenue to West Street, north on West, which became Northwestern Avenue (the Michigan Road), to 38th Street. Then it followed 38th Street west to Massachusetts Avenue, where it resumed its 1926 path. But the section of Massachusetts Avenue from Downtown to 38th Street remained a state highway, numbered 367.
From Downtown northeast, SR 67 shared its routing with US 36. This concurrency ran about 28 miles to Pendleton. That concurrency still exists, but it begins now at I-465 on Indy’s Northeastside, where those two highways exit that city loop.
From Indianapolis, the 1926 alignment of SR 67 went to Pendleton, then to Anderson, where it largely follows what is now SR 32 through Daleville and Yorktown, ending in downtown Muncie. By 1937 the road was rerouted from Anderson on a more southerly route that skirted Daleville on its southern end, skipped Yorktown entirely, and entered Muncie from the south.
I drove the 1926 alignment to Muncie, and the 1937 alignment home from Muncie, on this trip. I’ll share the highlights in a few posts to come, and will eventually do a proper, thorough trip report here.
Thanks to the late Richard Simpson for his excellent research about this highway, and to Ted Shideler for his research into the Anderson-to-Muncie alignments here, here, and here. Their work meant that all I had to do was drive this old road!