Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: Downtown Centerville

Once in a while I’ll wind up making the same photograph on two trips down the same road, separated by some years. It’s always interesting to see how things have changed.

Here’s the northwest corner of the main intersection in Centerville, in eastern Indiana on the National Road/US 40, as it was in 2009 and then in 2021. As you can see, these facades have received some TLC.

Centerville IOOF
Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Grand old houses along Indiana’s National Road

One reason I wanted to bicycle across Indiana was because when I drive it in my car, I whiz by things too fast to notice them. Even when I do notice them, frequently there’s no place to put the car so I can stop and photograph it. A bicycle stows neatly on even the narrowest shoulder.

The National Road is one of Indiana’s oldest roads, originally built in the 1830s. It opened travel into what was then considered the West from the East. As such, people settled on it. A number of homes from the 1800s still stand on the National Road all the way across Indiana. Here are a bunch of them. Each photo is geotagged on Flickr; click the photo to see it there and to access Flickr’s map.

You’ll find this beauty just west of Richmond.

Old house, US 40, west of Richmond

This house is across the street and slightly west of the one above.

Old house, US 40, west of Richmond

This house, a former inn, is on the east side of Centerville.

The Mansion House, Centerville

These two old brick houses are in the same block as the house above.


This large frame house is on the west edge of Centerville.


I found this sturdy brick house in East Germantown, in Wayne County.

Brick house, US 40

This incredible beauty is on the east side of Cambridge City.

Cambridge City

This is the Huddleston Farmhouse, which I toured some years ago and blogged about here and here. Those shutters need some maintenance.

Huddleston Farmhouse

This looks like two adjacent structures to me. They’re commercial businesses now, but I’ll bet they were originally residences. They’re in Dublin.

Dublin, IN

This house is also in Dublin. It looks newer than any of the others I’ve shared so far, late 1800s or even very early 1900s.

Dublin, IN

This old house is at the main crossroads in Lewisville.


You’ll find this house on the original National Road alignment west of Dunreith.

National Road west of Dunreith

I’m no architectural expert but I’ve learned some things over the years that help me date houses. I’m stymied by this one — could be anywhere from 1850 to 1920. It’s in Knightstown.


This beauty is also in Knightstown.


As is this one.


This stylish frame house stands west of Charlottesville in Hancock County. All the times I’ve driven the National Road across Indiana, and I’ve never noticed this house before. Bicycling my way across helped me see it.

Old house, Hancock County

Many interesting old houses face the road in Greenfield, but this one looks the oldest to me.


There’s a dot on the National Road map called Philadelphia, and you’ll find this house there.

Old house, US 40

This grand house in Indianapolis’s Irvington neighborhood has been adapted into a church. It’s not actually right on the National Road, but it’s incredibly visible from it.

Irvington on old US 40

We’re now on the west side Indiana’s National Road, in Plainfield.

Old house, Plainfield

This one is also in Plainfield.

Old house Plainfield IN

This house is west of Plainfield and serves as the main building on a golf course. It’s just east of the abandoned US 40 bridge.

Old house on US 40 W of Plainfield

This is Rising Hall, right on the Hendricks/Putnam County line. I will likely write a longer post about this house alone.

Rising Hall on US 40

This house stands alone on the road in Putnam County.

Old house on US 40, Putnam Co.

This is the McKinley House, which stands near Harmony in Clay County. I’ll certainly do a Then and Now post about it, as I photographed it many years ago when it wore a different paint scheme.

The McKinley House

This appears to be among the newer homes in this collection, but I like it. It’s on State Road 340, the original alignment of the National Road, near Cloverland.

Old house on SR 340

These are the interesting old houses that I photographed. I’m sure I missed some, including several in Vigo County that I didn’t photograph because it was raining. I’ll have to go back and get them another day!

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Film Photography, Preservation

A quick visit to Central State

I’ve written about Central State before — it was Indiana’s first residential hospital for the mentally ill, and by all accounts it was just as awful as you’ve ever heard such places were. Today, new housing is being built on its grounds, which should begin the gentrification of Indianapolis’s Near Westside.

A cluster of original Central State buildings remains on the site’s western edge. Some of them have been renovated and put to good use, and some stand still dilapidated. I visited recently with my Pentax IQZoom 170SL and made some photos on Fujicolor 200.

Central State
Carpentry hall
I wonder
Painted brick
Path to the abandoned building

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The statues from the demolished Marion County Courthouse

It’s been gone since about 1963, but there used to be a grand Marion County Courthouse in Downtown Indianapolis. It was razed after the current City-County Building was built right behind it. This 1963 photo shows the courthouse, its cupola already removed, in front of the skyscraper that replaced it.

Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission photo

A group of eight statues used to stand high on the building, overlooking the city. They represented commerce, law, justice, agriculture, the north, the south, the east, and the west. Someone photographed six of them after they had been removed.

Courtesy The Indiana Album; source page here

Remarkably, several of them still exist. Two are at Holliday Park in Indianapolis, flanking The Ruins near the front center of the park. The first I’ve photographed over and over; it’s one of my favorite subjects. She lost her head somewhere along the way. She’s second from the left in the photo above.


Here’s the other one, which I seem to have only ever photographed in black and white. She’s the fifth statue from the left in the photo above.

At The Ruins

I found two more at Crown Hill Cemetery, although I’ve heard there are three there. This one is third from the left in the photo above. You’ll find her near the bridge that carries 38th Street over a lane in the cemetery.


I found the fourth on the way up the hill to the James Whitcomb Riley gravesite. Riley is buried at the highest elevation in the city, and signs point the way. She’s the leftmost statue in the photo above.


If you’d like to know more about the Marion County Courthouse and the City-County Building, check out Ted Shideler’s fantastic articles about them on his Courthousery site here and here.

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Preservation, Travel

Homes in Lexington’s South Hill Historic District

Whenever we visit Kentucky, we are frequently struck by how many very old homes still stand. Here in Indiana, buildings from before about 1850 are rare. Not so in Kentucky — we’ve seen homes built in the late 1700s there.

The South Hill neighborhood in Lexington is just southwest of downtown. You can see the city’s tallest building, Lexington Financial Center, from all over the neighborhood — indeed, from many places in the city.

South Hill’s homes were built from the early 1800s through the early 1900s, and are a mix of architectural styles. Here are a few of the homes.

South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District

Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor

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Just arrived at the club

Just arrived at the club
Canon PowerShot S95

The Columbia Club is the best-known private club in Indianapolis. It is arguably the most visible, as well, given its prime location on Monument Circle in the heart of Downtown.

Its current building was completed in 1925. Designed in the Tudor style, it features a gothic arch over its entrance.

Margaret and I stayed here once, in early 2020, when her company held their annual party there. (The company’s owners are members.) I shared photos from that visit here.

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Photography, Preservation

single frame: Just arrived at the club

A photo of the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.