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.
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.
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.
But for now, fields and old farmhouses are the norm.
Here’s a closer look at the old farmhouse.
I caught these horses grazing in another field nearby.
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.
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.
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.
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.