Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

A canal in Cambridge City

Cambridge City

Cambridge City was envisioned as a transportation town when it was platted in 1836. It’s on the National Road, of course, but it’s also on the Whitewater River, the Whitewater Canal, and several rail lines.

I want to focus on the Whitewater Canal for a minute. In the early 1800s, Indiana was figuring out transportation routes in the fledgling state. It may seem obvious today that roads are the way to go, but it wasn’t then. Canals had proved valuable out East, and so Indiana decided to try its hand. One of several Indiana canals to be built was the Whitewater Canal, and it passed through Cambridge City. Read the canal’s history here.

I had never noticed this canal along the north side of the National Road in Cambridge City until I passed slowly by on my Ride Across Indiana. The Whitewater Canal was more or less a north-south canal but this canal runs east-west through town. But whatever other canal could this be? I’m not aware that Cambridge City got more than one canal!

I’ve tried to trace this canal’s route through town, but it disappears. I’m sure some parts of it were filled in.

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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
Centerville
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Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Picturesque barns along the National Road and US 40 in Indiana

As a city boy, old barns don’t draw me in as much as old houses do. But I noticed and photographed these barns as I bicycled across Indiana.

This dilapidated barn is on an original alignment of the National Road west of Dunreith.

National Road west of Dunreith

I stopped to rest near this barn in Henry County.

Henry County on US 40

In Hendricks County, this is the barn that accompanies the gorgeous Rising Hall home that I’ve featured on this blog before.

Rising Hall on US 40

This old barn is right up against the road in Putnam County.

Old barn on US 40, Putnam Co.

This barn is part of Kastle View Farms, a Hoosier Heritage Homestead, meaning it has been in the same family for more than 100 years.

Kastle View Farm on US 40, Putnam Co.

Advertising was once commonly painted onto barns. Part of an advertisement remains on this barn in Putnam County near Putnamville.

Barn

This striking green barn is in Clay County.

Green barn, Clay Co., US 40

Here’s another view of the green barn.

Green barn, Clay Co., US 40

Finally, near Cloverland in Clay County stands this old barn that looks like it may have been used as a store at some point.

Barn in Cloverland

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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.

Centerville
Centerville

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

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.

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.

Knightstown

This beauty is also in Knightstown.

Knightstown

As is this one.

Knightstown

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.

Greenfield

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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Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: Veach’s in downtown Richmond, Indiana on the National Road

When my friend Dawn and I made our trip along the National Road in eastern Indiana in 2015, we came upon an audacious toy store in downtown Richmond. Family owned, Veach’s had been selling toys in Richmond for more than seven decades. We were astonished and delighted that the store had survived all of the changes in retail since the 1980s. Unfortunately, when I rode across Indiana this year, Veach’s was gone.

Downtown Richmond
Downtown Richmond, National Road

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Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: McDonald’s with classic sign in Richmond, Indiana

On US 40 (aka the National Road) in Richmond, Indiana, you’ll find a McDonald’s on the southwest corner of 18th Street. It features a classic Golden Arches sign from around 1970. Here’s a photo I made of it on my first visit in 2009. The restaurant was a classic red Mansard-roofed design, with a giant PlayPlace tacked on.

Old McDonald's sign

When I next visited, in 2015, I hoped the classic sign would still be there. I wasn’t disappointed. But the red roof had been reshingled in a dark color.

Old McDonald's sign

On my Ride Across Indiana, the sign was still there (yay!) but the restaurant looks to have been razed and rebuilt. McDonald’s architecture is so generic now.

McDonald's on US 40, Richmond

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