Road Trips

The Michigan Road and the Dixie Highway in Hamilton and Boone Counties

In 2008, I surveyed the Michigan Road from end to end, documenting the road and its built environment. Here is an installment of that trip report. While this article refers exclusively to the Michigan Road, another historic highway, the Dixie Highway, was routed along this portion of the Michigan Road.

Hamilton County was founded in 1823 and had an agricultural economy for most of its history. But after World War II, Indianapolis expanded northward and Hamilton County’s communities increasingly became Indianapolis suburbs. It is now one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation and certainly the fastest growing county in the state. It is also the wealthiest county in the state, as measured by median household income.

Only 1¾ miles of the Michigan Road lie inside Hamilton County. The road cuts across its southwest corner. On this map, the green line is the Marion-Hamilton line and the blue line is the Boone-Hamilton line.

Carmel is a city in Hamilton County. It has been on an annexing bender since the mid 1990s, reflected in its population growth – about 32,500 in 1996 to almost 69,000 in 2007. Somewhere along the line Carmel assumed all of the land around the Michigan Road within the county. Where Carmel goes, roads are improved and shopping centers are built.

Carmel

A massive improvement to the road was finished in 1997, making it what you see here. When I moved to Indianapolis in 1994, if my memory serves the road was four lanes undivided for a short distance north of Indianapolis, and then narrowed to two lanes.

106th St. and Michigan Road

Boone County, founded in 1830, was named after Daniel Boone. Despite bordering Indianapolis, the county is mostly rural. It has maybe 20% of the population of neighboring Hamilton County. The Michigan Road cuts across the county’s east side, never encountering a town of any consequence.

Looking southbound from just inside Boone County, you can see where the highway narrows. No need for all those lanes out here – yet. New subdivisions keep being built out here, so it’s probably just a matter of time before increased traffic demands a widened road.

Southbound, Boone County

But for now, fields and old farmhouses are the norm.

Old farmhouse in its context

Here’s a closer look at the old farmhouse.

Old farmhouse

I caught these horses grazing in another field nearby.

Horses

Rosston was once a place where trains stopped to pick up grain. I’ve seen old references to the place as “Rosston Station.”

This is Rosston’s old general store, just north of the train tracks which have long been removed. I’m not sure why I didn’t photograph the old grain elevator.

Storefront in Rosston

I haven’t been able to find out anything about the unincorporated town of Waugh.

This old house, but not much else, stands in Waugh.

Old house in Waugh

Where the Michigan Road intersects State Road 47 stands the Christian Liberty Church. Its sign says 1885, but I couldn’t tell whether the building is that old, too.

Christian Liberty Church

After a few more miles of farm fields, the Michigan Road exits Boone County and enters Clinton County.

Next: The Michigan Road and the Dixie Highway in Clinton County.

I’ve documented Indiana’s historic Michigan Road extensively. To read all about it, click here.

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Film Photography

Shooting Kodak ProImage 100

I’ve been meaning to try Kodak ProImage 100 for some time now, so when I needed to order something else from Freestyle Photographic I threw in a couple rolls of it.

I shot the first roll in my Olympus XA2. I kept it in my bike’s saddlebag and shot things I saw as I rode around. I love doing that! When I got the roll back from the developer, I instantly disliked the muted, sickly greens I saw. Unfortunately, on this roll most of what I shot was green. Welcome to late spring in rural Indiana!

Barn and tree
Cornfield
Yellow barn

The film captured yellows, blues, and reds pleasingly, and with good fidelity to real life.

Bike by the barn
On the farm
Silos

Despite unsatisfying greens, I like how this photo turned out compositionally. There’s a saying in Indiana: knee high by the fourth of July. That refers to corn, and how tall it should be by Independence Day. I photographed this corn in the second week of June — it’s ahead of schedule.

Cornfield

My favorite photo from the roll is this one, which I made when I drove Downtown to meet my brother for a drink. This bar has arguably the most extensive whiskey selection in Indiana. I had a delicious whiskey from Oregon that reminded me of a peaty scotch, and an unremarkable whiskey from Nebraska. The ProImage 100 delivered true-to-life reds and excellent blacks.

Liberty Street

I put a second roll of this film into my Pentax Spotmatic F and screwed in my 35mm f/3.5 SMC Takumar lens. The camera came with me to work, so most of the roll features images from Downtown Indianapolis. I got far better results this time. It’s probably valuable to note that I used a different lab to process and scan these, which might also play in these results. But bottom line, the sickly green caste was gone.

The Slippery Noodle
The Lacy Building
Bank of Indianapolis
Harry & Izzy's

The meter on my Spottie was fussy through the roll, and it quit registering altogether toward the end. I brought the camera home and blew through the last of the roll using the Sunny 16 rule. The greens were not so sickly this time.

To the left
Old farmhouse
Escape
Chicory

I’ve not been thrilled with my Olympus XA2’s performance at all this year, with any film. So perhaps it was a poor choice to test Kodak ProImage 100. When I shot the film in my Spotmatic, I got fine results. This is a good all-purpose film. Its color palette is slightly muted compared to Kodak Gold 200 and Kodak Max 400, which is nice. But I don’t see myself buying it much when I can buy Gold and Max for far less. Both films look wonderful with a stop of overexposure, bringing them in line or close to ProImage’s speed — and both films cost a lot less than ProImage.

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Film Photography

Fujicolor 200 in the Olympus Trip 35

This summer as I’ve ridden my bicycle around, I’ve slipped whatever camera had film in it into the pannier. It hasn’t worked out as well as I’d hoped; camera after camera, roll after roll, many of the images are quite hazy from (I presume) a lens fogged by the humidity inside the bag. When my Olympus Trip 35 found its way into the pannier, it suffered from this, too. Here are some images I was able to rescue well enough in Photoshop.

This bar and restaurant is a couple miles north of the house in old Whitestown.

LA Cafe

I was surprised to find this sign on a country road. I probably shouldn’t have been; there are plenty of horses out here, and plenty of wealthy people who would use the word equestrian instead of horse.

Equestrian Xing

I love the look of this property and have photographed it several times. The trees near the end of the lane are probably peach trees — last time I drove by, there were big buckets full of fruit, labeled “Free Peaches,” at the end of their driveway.

Toward the orchard

One of my usual rides takes me over I-865. Here it is northbound, its end visible in the photo.

I-865 NB

It was a gray day when I dropped one of our cars off at my mechanic’s in Carmel and rode home. I seldom get to ride out here and made sure my route home passed by the stunning Mormon Temple.

Mormon temple

That route home took me past Coxhall Gardens, a park I’ve photographed many times. You can see a little haze still in this photograph.

Coxhall Gardens

By the time I got back to Zionsville, my lens had gone all foggy. I wish I’d checked it and wiped it before making several shots. Perhaps I need to find a different way to carry a camera while on the bike. This pedestrian bridge is near Lions Park on the east edge of town.

On the ped bridge

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Film Photography

Shooting Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400

Blue becomes green, green becomes purple, yellow becomes magenta, and red and white stay true to color. That’s Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400 film in a nutshell. It gives an otherworldly look to your images, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not, but it was interesting to try this film anyway just to see what turned out.

Lomography has improved this film at least once; the latest is “the 2019 emulsion,” but because I didn’t hang onto the box I don’t know which version this is. I shot it in my Olympus XA2, which I slipped into the pannier on my bike. All of these photos are from various bike rides this summer.

Someone gave me this film several years ago. It was a little bit expired by the time I got around to shooting it, and I’d stored it at room temperature the whole time, so it’s possible that these images don’t look the same as they would have when the film was fresh.

Here’s my favorite photo from the roll, of a lovely old home on a country road in Boone County, Indiana.

Old house

This photo of a boutique’s entrance in Zionsville looks almost like it was shot on normal film.

Southern Fancy Boutique

Here’s my blue bike on a pedestrian bridge in Zionsville.

My bike on a bridge

This photo isn’t terribly interesting, but it does show that this film renders white as white.

Barn

I don’t like how Lomochrome Purple renders a deep blue sky as a sickly blue-green.

Barn

I got a lot of that blue-green sky in my images as I shot largely on clear days. I like how red things look normal against the otherwise alien landscape.

Barn

I made the photo below on a hazy but bright day, which turned the sickly skies to white.

Boone County gravel road

The XA2 flared when aimed even partly toward the sun. This is new behavior; it never used to do this.

Tree row

I didn’t love Lomochrome Purple. But I liked it a lot better than the company’s Redscale film, a roll of which I shot last year. That film just tinted everything red. At least it was interesting to see how this film rendered various colors.

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Road Trips

Michigan Road historic marker in Boone County, Indiana

Not long ago I shared photos of the new historic marker on the Michigan Road at Sycamore Row. It’s one of several historic markers along the 270-mile route built in the 1830s.

One marker is not far from my home in Boone County. Placed in 1966, it tells the road’s story in thumbnail.

Michigan Road marker

This marker received a restoration since I first photographed it in 2008. The Indiana Historical Bureau, which manages these markers statewide, seeks volunteers to repaint faded markers. This one found its volunteer somewhere along the way.

Historical marker

This marker stands on the west side of the road, at Valley Meadow Road, which is north of E CR 550 S and south of E CR 500 S in Boone County.

Michigan Road marker

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Autumn at the farmhouse

Autumn at the farmhouse
Minolta Maxxum 7000i, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Minolta AF Zoom
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200
2020

At the rate I’m going, my review of the Minolta Maxxum 7000i won’t show up here until January. But I wanted to show you this photo from it now.

Within my subdivision, a few houses still lurk that predate it. This old farmhouse is one of them. I gather that this subdivision was built on land owned by the Ottinger family; was this the Ottinger farmhouse?

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Film Photography

single frame: Autumn at the farmhouse

A tree decked in late-autumn red guarding an old farmhouse, on Fujicolor 200.

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