Road Trips

Driving Indiana State Road 236

In late July of 2009, I took my sons to Turkey Run State Park in west-central Indiana for some hiking. That was one of our favorite places to spend a day. I wrote about that day here.

Turkey Run is on State Road 47 at US 41. On the way home, I drove south on 41 a little bit so that I could drive the length of State Road 236. I’d been on parts of it before and it made me eager to follow it from end to end.

When I made this trip, I didn’t know that there was another segment of SR 236 in Hamilton County, a 60-mile drive from the eastern end of this SR 236 segment. It’s weird how Indiana creates discontinuous segments of some of their minor highways. Anyway, I drove the entire western segment of SR 236!

I never wrote a comprehensive report on this trip, so I’m doing that now.

Indiana State Road 236

SR 236 runs a skosh over 40 miles. It’s western end is just west of Marshall and it then heads east through Guion (GUY-un), Milligan, and Roachdale. When it reaches US 231, it follows that north-south road briefly before heading east again through Barnard and North Salem. There it turns southeasterly to where it ends just outside Danville.

I’ve outlined this segment of SR 236 below on a screen shot of Google Maps. I included the Illinois/Indiana state line and the western edge of Indianapolis so you can see the road in context.

Map data ©2022 Google

Above I showed SR 236 eastbound from its western end. Here’s that western end, at US 41.

Indiana State Road 236

SR 236 is a long, narrow two-laner, a minor highway. A drive on SR 236 is interrupted only by a stop sign at US 231. This is the archetypical SR 236 scene.

Indiana State Road 236

SR 236 wasn’t part of the initial wave of signed Indiana state roads. On the 1932 state highway map the portion from US 231 (which was then SR 43) to near Danville was shown as a proposed addition. The next map I have access to is from 1945; the US 231-Danville section shows up there as SR 136. On the 1950 map the road is finally extended back to US 41, but this portion appears to follow a slightly different path, meeting US 41 at a slightly more southerly point and almost immediately making two hard turns to the current path. West of Milligan it hooks north to run through Rusellville and then back south to the current path. Just east of what’s now US 231 it hooks south and meets US 231 at a more southerly point than currently.

In 1950, US 136 was routed along what had been State Road 34 from Indianapolis through Crawfordsville to the Illinois state line. Indiana doesn’t allow State Roads to have the same number as US highways, so it renumbered SR 136 to SR 236.

During these years, SR 236 was a dirt road from US 41 to current US 231, and a gravel road from there to Danville. By 1960, the western section had been realigned to its current path. From US 41 to Guion it was a gravel road. From there to just east of Milligan it was an “intermediate type” road meaning it could have been oiled or even paved in wood chips! From there to current US 31 it was hard surfaced, either asphalt or concrete. The rest of the way it was a gravel road. This kind of thing was still common then as the state worked to improve State Roads to hard surfaces all around the state. By 1970 the entire route was hard-surfaced.

Back to the road trip. SR 236 shortly makes a hard right and enters Marshall, where it passes under this impressive arch.

Marshall, IN

It then immediately turns left and continues eastward.

Marshall, IN

As I passed through the towns on this road, most of the rest of them didn’t compel me to stop.

Indiana State Road 236

In North Salem, there was enough of a “there” there that I did stop and make several photos.

North Salem, IN

North Salem is a fairly old town in Indiana, having been laid out in 1835. But it never grew large, with a population of just over 500 today.

North Salem, IN

The building above was an Odd Fellows lodge, and the building below was a Masonic lodge. You see buildings like these in pretty much every Indiana town.

North Salem, IN

As the road exits North Salem it makes a curve to begin its southeasterly journey toward Danville.

North Salem, IN

Here’s where SR 236 ends at SR 39, just north of Danville.

Indiana State Road 236

Here’s that same end looking westbound. Notice that the road curves to meet SR 39 at a right angle.

Indiana State Road 236

I feel certain that SR 236 used to form a fork with SR 39. Notice how the edge of the field in the lower right of this map snippet follows the line of SR 236.

Imagery ©2022 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2022 Google.

It may also be that at one point SR 236 was signed with SR 39 from here to Danville. I’ve not been able to find any authority to prove or disprove that. In my lifetime it’s been Indiana’s habit to eliminate concurrencies like that except when strictly necessary.

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Road Trips

The arch at Marshall, Indiana

On the way back home from our recent Turkey Run trip I drove the length of State Road 236. It starts at US 41 just south of the park and almost reaches Danville about 41 miles away. It’s so minor that it’s not even worthy of a writeup on my roads pages.

As it heads east, the first little town it enters is called Marshall. Check out its arch! What visions of grandeur, since unrealized, did Marshall’s residents have that prompted them to build such a monument to their little town?

Marshall, IN

One thing’s for sure: there’s no mistaking that you’ve entered Marshall. And there’s no forgetting Marshall, either. I came through here once before, probably 20 years ago. The whole point of the trip down SR 236 was so that I could see this arch again.

Marshall, IN

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