Category: History

  • Philosophical questions along the National Road in Indiana

    Since the National Road was built in the 1820s and 1830s, it has been straightened, leveled, widened, and outright moved many times. So how many times must a road’s path change before it’s not the same road anymore?

  • This post about the National Road in Pennsylvania is brought to you by the letter S

    I have this writer/artist friend who tries to get my engineering-school-educated roadgeek goat by saying things like, “Bridges are named after people who stir the soul, the poets and the artists! That’s why you never see bridges named after engineers!” In response, I usually make pshh noises and say things like, “Seeing his design built…

  • 270 miles of history

    If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know about my fascination with the Michigan Road. It’s Indiana’s first state-funded road, built in the 1830s to connect southern Indiana to northern Indiana through the capital at Indianapolis. Amazingly, it is still mostly intact. With a couple minor detours, you can drive all of it still…

  • A historic byway

    Indiana’s Michigan Road is a state Historic Byway.

  • Peeling back the layers of time

    Looking at the intersection of 86th and Michigan in Indianapolis over the years.

  • The Fairmount House

    The Michigan Road begins in Madison with winding Michigan Hill and its Ohio River view and weeping limestone wall. The Fairmount House overlooks it all from the hill’s crest. Completed in 1872 by Aurelius H. Gibson, who made a fortune in barrel staves and lumber, this home is said to be filled with all the…

  • Where cars no longer go

    We all have our hobbies. Some people follow pro football, some run, some make lovely quilts, some fish, some solve the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.  I like to explore abandoned roads. Yeah, that’s a great conversation starter at parties. I’m not sure where this vigor comes from. All I know is that the first time I found…

  • The Corbin House

    The Corbin House, on the Michigan Road in Plymouth, Indiana, was built by the town’s first mayor. Read the story of the house and Horace Corbin here.

  • Clinched: The Michigan Road

    Over Labor Day weekend I finally finished driving the Michigan Road. Here is what stands at its end: You might think it’s the open to The Simpsons brought to life, but it’s actually the cooling tower of the fossil-fuel-fired Michigan City Generating Station. I didn’t count on how built up Michigan City would be and…

  • The Michigan Road as it was in Burlington, Indiana

    I recently bought a book that sketches the history of Burlington, Indiana, a town about 20 miles south of Logansport on the Michigan Road. The 1978 book is heavy on photos, light on text. But oh, the photos! I’ve been hoping I’d find some good old photos featuring the road, and this one was so…

  • The Boardman House

    A quick look at one of the oldest houses in Indianapolis, built 1832 on the Michigan Road.

  • Learning to see

    In case you can’t tell by my recent posts, I have the Michigan Road coming out of my ears. Most of my road trips take me places I’ve never been, and my Michigan Road trips have been no different. If you look back at my early trips, such as along the National Road in western…