Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Woodside Drive, a former US 40 alignment in Richmond, Indiana

For years I’ve wondered about Woodside Drive, a curved street on the far east side of Richmond, Indiana less than a mile west of the Ohio state line. It begins and ends at US 40, which sure makes it look like an old alignment.

Image ©2021 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, State of Ohio/OSIP, US Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency. Map data ©2021 Google.

Side note: the road at lower left marked “Old National Rd E” is the Dayton Cutoff, which I documented here.

Woodside Drive was never the National Road. The National Road followed a couple different routings from the Ohio line to about this point. Reader Rush Rox left several comments on this post where he did some research into these routings. That spurred me to do a little research of my own. I found an 1856 map of Wayne County here that shows the National Road running straight through, as US 40 does today. Note the Dayton Cutoff at lower right.

Excerpt from Map of Wayne County, Indiana from government surveys and the most authentic sources by Condit & Wright, Land & Greneral Agents ; Middleton, Wallace & Co. Lithogrs., 1856. Courtesy University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Library (here)

Rush Rox supplied the rest of the maps in this post. By 1876, for reasons I haven’t been able to uncover, the National Road’s route was changed here to cross the railroad tracks after a left turn, and follow a road down to the Dayton Cutoff. This might be why that road is signed as Old National Road today.

Excerpt from Map of Wayne County. (Published by Baskin, Forster & Co. Lakeside Building Chicago, 1876. Engraved & Printed by Chas. Shober & Co. Props. of Chicago Lithographing Co.). Courtesy the David Rumsey Collection (here)

This 1910 map of postal routes suggests that the National Road now followed a road east of the tracks to reach the Dayton Cutoff. I’m not an expert in postal maps; I always wonder if they omit roads not germane to postal routes.

Map of Wayne County, Indiana showing rural delivery service, U.S. Post Office Dept. (Washington D.C.), 1910. Courtesy the Indiana State Library (here)

In 1936, the Indiana Highway Survey Commission published a map that shows the Woodside Drive alignment:

Excerpt from Map of Wayne County. Cultural, Indiana Highway Survey Commission, 1936. Courtesy the Indiana State Library (here)

Rush Rox speculates that Woodside Drive was probably built to hug a streetcar or Interurban line. The wide gap between the road and the utility poles on the north side of the road strongly suggest he is right. (Update: commenter TScheidler discovered that it followed the Dayton & Western Traction line that was extended to Richmond in 1903.

Image ©2021 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, State of Ohio/OSIP, US Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency. Map data ©2021 Google.

I bicycled the length of Woodside Drive on my Ride Across Indiana. Here’s where it begins on its east end.

Woodside Drive, Richmond

This road has a width typical of 1920s-1930s Indiana highways.

Woodside Drive

There’s a small concrete-arch bridge on this road, and it looks very typical of bridges the state built on its highways in these years. It looks a little rough.

Bridge on Woodside Drive
Bridge on Woodside Drive

Could the rusty strips of steel be old-style guardrails? When you see old infrastructure like this, it suggests that the road ceased to be a state-maintained highway before more modern infrastructure could replace it as part of regular maintenance. As I found and documented in this post, the four-lane US 40 was built in the 1940s here. Woodside Drive probably served as US 40 for less than 20 years.

Bridge on Woodside Drive

According to the last recorded inspection, this bridge is “somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is.” The data I’m able to find claims that this bridge was built in 1950, which I doubt severely; it looks much more like 1930s to me based on its design.

Bridge on Woodside Drive

Earlier this year, a contract was awarded to replace this bridge. I’m glad I happened by before demolition began.

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