In 2012, I drove a section of the Dixie Highway from the Illinois state line to Indianapolis along the corridor that is now US 136. I’m bringing that trip report here from my old Roads site.
Up next is New Ross, which hugs the Boone County line. The Dixie went right through New Ross, but US 136 bypasses it.
That US 136 passed New Ross by doesn’t seem to have bothered it. There are plenty of signs of life here, most notably the delightful 1878 Browns Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, which has been well kept.
There’s a branch of a bank here, and behind it this monstrous contraption, which dominates the view in town.
Beyond the stop sign the old Dixie Highway leads to a few homes before dead ending at a creek. On the other side of the creek, the road enters Boone County.
The Dixie Highway spends very little time in Boone County, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in the greatest old alignment west of Indianapolis. It’s paved in brick! Have I ever mentioned how happy it makes me when I find an old bridge or old pavement that used to serve on an important highway? Oh my, but it does.
Looking at the map above, it’s easy to tell this road’s story. The Dixie Highway originally passed through New Ross about 12 miles southeast of Crawfordsville, but just east of town the road crossed a railroad track awkwardly. Indiana’s highway engineers devised a new route that crossed the tracks more safely, bypassing New Ross in the process.
At some point, the bridge that carried the Dixie’s older alignment was demolished. The brick road begins east of where the bridge was, just inside Boone County. This entire alignment was once paved in brick, but this remnant is all that’s left. It provides access to one property. The resulting ultra low traffic is certainly why this segment has never been covered in asphalt.
Here’s a westbound shot of the brick road as it heads toward the creek.
When you zoom the map in a little closer, another bridge becomes visible – the one I was hoping to see. It carried an interurban line originally. I wouldn’t be surprised if the old bridge is still used by the landowner.
Sadly, I found no way to get to that bridge without trespassing. I sure would have loved to see it. But at least I got to see the old brick road. Here it is just north of where it crosses the railroad tracks.
Just less than four miles from here, just before the road leaves Boone County, it enters little Jamestown.
Some effort has been made to keep Jamestown looking nice, though it seems to have come in the form of covering up what might be crumbling building facades rather than to repair and restore them.
This former bank made me sad. It’s such a hodgepodge of repairs and remodelings that its original identity is almost lost.
Next: Old alignments in Hendricks County, plus Pittsboro and Brownsburg.