In October, 2012, I followed the Dixie Highway (a.k.a. State Road 37) from Indianapolis to Paoli. I’m finally sharing my full report from that trip here.

The Dixie Highway entered Bloomington from the north along Walnut Street. Today, Walnut Street is one way north; one block to the east, College Avenue is one way south. It’s not likely that this arrangement existed in 1915, when the Dixie Highway was created; the road likely followed Walnut Street south into Bloomington.

Mike Curtis, who has researched the Dixie Highway’s route, believes the Dixie followed Walnut to 6th Street, where it turned west, to College Avenue, and then headed south on College. It continued to 2nd Street, where it turned west to Rogers Street, and then headed south on Rogers past the city limits. Here’s a screen shot of his map of the route through Bloomington. The green line represents the route, except for the purple segment along Walnut Street. Because Walnut is one way north today, you must instead follow College Avenue southbound.

Map data ©2023 Google. Dixie Highway routing by Mike Curtis.

As you drive the Dixie through Bloomington, you pass the Monroe County Courthouse.

Monroe County Courthouse

The courthouse’s main entrance is on the building’s south side along Kirkwood Avenue.

Monroe County Courthouse

This is a northbound photo of Walnut Street from the northeast corner of the courthouse square.

Northbound, Bloomington

When I made this trip, I incorrectly assumed that the Dixie Highway followed the State Road 37 routing through town, which followed Walnut Street south out of town. That’s the route I drove, and it connects with the Rogers Street routing just south of town. But in the Dixie Highway’s early years, Walnut Street didn’t connect with Rogers Street. On this 1910 USGS topographical map section I’ve drawn in the rough path of the missing road.

1910 USGS Topographical Map, South of Bloomington

Next: The Dixie Highway until it dead-ends at a quarry north of the town of Oolitic.

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3 responses to “The Dixie Highway in southern Indiana: Bloomington”

  1. brandib1977 Avatar

    This looks like such a fun trip!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Bloomington is worth visiting on its own. College town; lots to do, and a progressive place. Easier to be a vegetarian there than in most places in Indiana.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        I spent a day in Bloomington a few years ago but didn’t do as much as I wanted. College towns really are the best for finding options and interesting things.

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