Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: Original National Road/US 40 alignment in Plainfield, Indiana

On the far east side of Plainfield, Indiana, within sight of the west border of Indianapolis, used to be an old alignment of the National Road and US 40. This is what it looked like in 2006, when I first visited. Eastbound:

Old National Road east of Plainfield

Westbound:

Old National Road east of Plainfield

Notice the orange Road Construction Ahead sign in the photo above. Ahead, the road was closed as the Ronald Reagan Parkway was being constructed. I didn’t know that the plan was to close this alignment permanently; it would not provide access to the new Parkway when that road was completed.

I further didn’t know that the plan was to remove this road entirely. Here’s the scene from my Ride Across Indiana this year. Eastbound:

Fmr NR/US 40 alignment, Plainfield IN EB

Westbound:

Fmr NR/US 40 alignment, Plainfield IN WB

I wonder why the city went to the expense of removing the road. They could have simply closed it at much lesser expense.

Pro roadgeek tip: whenever you see a line of utility poles like this, you may be looking at a place where a road used to be.

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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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History, Road Trips

Whispering Winds on the Brookville Road

Some years ago I photographed this old house on Brookville Road, US 52, in southeast Indianapolis.

House overlooking abandoned Brookville Road

I was with my buddy Sherrel, and we were on our way back from The Kopper Kettle restaurant on our Indiana Fried Chicken Tour. What we didn’t know is that for many years, this house was also a family restaurant that served fried-chicken dinners.

We stopped here because I saw an abandoned segment of the old highway, and because I’m a roadgeek I wanted to photograph it. This photograph is westbound. The photo of the house above is from about the same place, but I was facing the other way.

Abandoned Brookville Road

This house used to be the Whispering Winds restaurant. I didn’t know that until someone found information on my site about Brookville Road, and emailed me to ask if I knew anything about the Whispering Winds restaurant. She ate there many times while it was open, and wondered if the house still stood. I did a little research and found this photograph on a Facebook group. The poster said that the people in the photo were her grandparents and aunt, and they owned and operated the restaurant.

The house was built by Andrew Morehouse, although I’m unable to find exactly when. Morehouse’s family was said to live here for many years, and his wife died in 1864, which leads me to think the house predates that. Indiana University Library posted online a newspaper article telling some of this house’s story here.

Brookville Road is a historic road from Indiana’s early days. It connects Indianapolis to the town of Brookville, which is near Cincinnati. A historic marker is posted at this abandoned alignment that tells the road’s story in thumbnail.

Abandoned Brookville Road
Abandoned Brookville Road

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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
1899
Dilapidated

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Downtown Stonegate

Downtown Stonegate
Pentax IQZoom 170SL
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200
2021

This might look like the heart of a classic Indiana small town, but it’s not.

Stonegate is a tony neighborhood here in Zionsville. The heart of Zionsville, the original town, is 3½ miles to the east. Over the last 20 years or so, Zionsville annexed a lot of land to its west as farmers sold out and developers built new neighborhoods.

As you drive (or, as was the case for me this day, biked) along Stonegate’s curved main street, at about the midpoint you come upon this little business district. These buildings are fashioned to look like they were built a century ago. They stand in a part of Stonegate where the houses look like modern takes on early 20th-century house designs — foursquares and bungalows with prominent front porches.

It’s all rather charming. It’s also rather expensive, but that’s life in Zionsville.

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Film Photography

single frame: Downtown Stonegate

A look at a fake downtown.

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Road Trips

Abandoned school near Middlefork, Indiana on the Michigan Road

When I surveyed the Michigan Road from end to end in 2008, I stopped to photograph this abandoned schoolhouse near Middlefork, where State Road 26 intersects. The building faces SR 26; it’s actually on a short segment left behind when the highway was improved.

Abandoned school
Abandoned school

It was in sad shape, but it was intact. It was much the same in 2013 when I stopped to photograph it again. The upstairs windows were gone.

Abandoned school
Abandoned school

In the years since, every time I drove past here the school was in worse shape than the last time. When I drove by a couple weeks ago, I finally stopped to photograph it again. It’s not pretty.

Abandoned, dilapidated schoolhouse
Abandoned, dilapidated schoolhouse
Abandoned, dilapidated schoolhouse
Abandoned, dilapidated schoolhouse
Abandoned, dilapidated schoolhouse

I’m surprised this building hasn’t been razed by now. I wonder how much more of it will collapse before someone finishes the job and carts the bits away.

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