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.

After leaving Bedford, the Dixie Highway continues south, first on the east side of current State Road 37, and then crossing over to the west side, and then back to the east side, before entering the town of Mitchell. Strangely, the road only skirts Mitchell’s west end. The Dixie is the blue line on the map below. There wasn’t much to see outside of a sprawling cemetery and some houses, so we didn’t stop.

Imagery ©2023 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2023 Google.

South of Mitchell, the four-lane SR 37 expressway ends, and SR 37 resumes its original alignment along the Dixie Highway. Shortly, after it exits Lawrence County and enters Orange County, it passes right through the small town of Orleans.


Orleans is in surprisingly good condition for a small Indiana town. So many of them have declined sharply over the last 50 years or so. But there were plenty of businesses operating and people on the street.

This building below began its life as a gas station, but now houses a couple other businesses.


I am unclear how the Dixie Highway exited Orleans. Some sources say it followed current SR 37 directly south. But the 1926 Indiana Highway map shows a different route for SR 37. I marked what I think that route is in blue.

Imagery ©2023 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2023 Google.

Here’s a snippet from that 1926 map showing SR 37 from Orleans to Paoli. Clearly, it veered east, where current SR 37 veers west, leaving Orleans. We’ll look into this more in the next article, where we consider the route from Orleans to Paoli.

Next: Paoli and its circle.

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2 responses to “The Dixie Highway in southern Indiana: Mitchell and Orleans”

  1. J P Avatar

    Mitchell is notable for being the home of Gus Grissom, one of the original Mercury astronauts. There is a limestone replica of a Gemini rocket downtown and a small museum in a state park outside of town

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I did not know that!

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