Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Small National Road towns in eastern Indiana

One reason I wanted to bicycle across Indiana on US 40 is because on previous US 40 road trips, there wasn’t always somewhere to put my car when I wanted to photograph something. On my bicycle, I could stop anywhere. Also, taking it at bicycle speed over four days would give me plenty of time to linger.

In reality, I was so focused on the riding that I rode right by some things I wanted to stop and see, unaware that I was passing them. Still, I managed to see many things I wanted.

In eastern Indiana, between Cambridge City and Knightstown lie the three small towns of Dublin, Lewisville, and Dunreith. All three are quite small, but all of them offer something to see.

Dublin is a short distance west of Cambridge City, just beyond the Huddleston Farmhouse. You’ll find this pair of 1800s brick buildings on the town’s eastern edge.

Dublin, IN

I wonder the recent history of this building. My read on it is that it really was J. Burney’s Carriage Shop back in the day, but people have repainted the sign in recent years to keep the memory alive.

Dublin, IN

Closer to the heart of Dublin stands this building, which currently houses an antique store. You can shop for antiques all up and down US 40 in this part of Indiana, although most of the shops are in Cambridge City and Centerville.

Dublin, IN

Lewisville is about 8 miles down the road, and you have to pass through Straughn to get there. But I didn’t stop in Straughn because it’s a bunch of houses and a post office. Lewisville has a small downtown, anchored by this row of buildings.

Lewisville

This is by far the best cared-for building at Lewisville’s main intersection. It appears to be in use as essentially the Lewisville town hall.

Lewisville

Across the street was this little store, which advertises “Harold’s hamburgers.” I wish now I’d gone in to try one.

Lewisville

This is the westbound view down US 40 from in front of the general store.

Lewisville

Dunreith is about 4½ miles down the road from Lewisville. There isn’t much to it.

Dunreith, IN

Dunreith has seen happier times, for sure.

Dunreith, IN

A couple blocks off the National Road stands the Flamingo Motel, an old-time motor court that still operates. This is the only hotel near the road between Richmond and greater Indianpolis, so I stayed here on my bicycle tour.

Flamingo Motel

The room was clean and the attached restaurant offered good diner fare. The restaurant had closed early the afternoon I arrived, which was going to be a problem for me as there are no other restaurants nearby. The owner of the hotel and restaurant took pity on me and made me a cheeseburger and fries.

Flamingo Motel

Here’s my bike in front of my room. My photos inside the room didn’t turn out great so I’ll just tell you that it was small inside and dominated by the bed. The floor was tiled and the small bathroom was spartan. But it was big enough for me and the bike, and the bed was comfortable.

Flamingo Motel

Dunreith is where a four-mile original alignment of the National Road begins. It leads directly to Knightstown.

National Road west of Dunreith

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Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

A canal in Cambridge City

Cambridge City

Cambridge City was envisioned as a transportation town when it was platted in 1836. It’s on the National Road, of course, but it’s also on the Whitewater River, the Whitewater Canal, and several rail lines.

I want to focus on the Whitewater Canal for a minute. In the early 1800s, Indiana was figuring out transportation routes in the fledgling state. It may seem obvious today that roads are the way to go, but it wasn’t then. Canals had proved valuable out East, and so Indiana decided to try its hand. One of several Indiana canals to be built was the Whitewater Canal, and it passed through Cambridge City. Read the canal’s history here.

I had never noticed this canal along the north side of the National Road in Cambridge City until I passed slowly by on my Ride Across Indiana. The Whitewater Canal was more or less a north-south canal but this canal runs east-west through town. But whatever other canal could this be? I’m not aware that Cambridge City got more than one canal!

I’ve tried to trace this canal’s route through town, but it disappears. I’m sure some parts of it were filled in.

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Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: Downtown Centerville

Once in a while I’ll wind up making the same photograph on two trips down the same road, separated by some years. It’s always interesting to see how things have changed.

Here’s the northwest corner of the main intersection in Centerville, in eastern Indiana on the National Road/US 40, as it was in 2009 and then in 2021. As you can see, these facades have received some TLC.

Centerville IOOF
Centerville
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Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Picturesque barns along the National Road and US 40 in Indiana

As a city boy, old barns don’t draw me in as much as old houses do. But I noticed and photographed these barns as I bicycled across Indiana.

This dilapidated barn is on an original alignment of the National Road west of Dunreith.

National Road west of Dunreith

I stopped to rest near this barn in Henry County.

Henry County on US 40

In Hendricks County, this is the barn that accompanies the gorgeous Rising Hall home that I’ve featured on this blog before.

Rising Hall on US 40

This old barn is right up against the road in Putnam County.

Old barn on US 40, Putnam Co.

This barn is part of Kastle View Farms, a Hoosier Heritage Homestead, meaning it has been in the same family for more than 100 years.

Kastle View Farm on US 40, Putnam Co.

Advertising was once commonly painted onto barns. Part of an advertisement remains on this barn in Putnam County near Putnamville.

Barn

This striking green barn is in Clay County.

Green barn, Clay Co., US 40

Here’s another view of the green barn.

Green barn, Clay Co., US 40

Finally, near Cloverland in Clay County stands this old barn that looks like it may have been used as a store at some point.

Barn in Cloverland

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Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Grand old houses along Indiana’s National Road

One reason I wanted to bicycle across Indiana was because when I drive it in my car, I whiz by things too fast to notice them. Even when I do notice them, frequently there’s no place to put the car so I can stop and photograph it. A bicycle stows neatly on even the narrowest shoulder.

The National Road is one of Indiana’s oldest roads, originally built in the 1830s. It opened travel into what was then considered the West from the East. As such, people settled on it. A number of homes from the 1800s still stand on the National Road all the way across Indiana. Here are a bunch of them. Each photo is geotagged on Flickr; click the photo to see it there and to access Flickr’s map.

You’ll find this beauty just west of Richmond.

Old house, US 40, west of Richmond

This house is across the street and slightly west of the one above.

Old house, US 40, west of Richmond

This house, a former inn, is on the east side of Centerville.

The Mansion House, Centerville

These two old brick houses are in the same block as the house above.

Centerville
Centerville

This large frame house is on the west edge of Centerville.

Centerville

I found this sturdy brick house in East Germantown, in Wayne County.

Brick house, US 40

This incredible beauty is on the east side of Cambridge City.

Cambridge City

This is the Huddleston Farmhouse, which I toured some years ago and blogged about here and here. Those shutters need some maintenance.

Huddleston Farmhouse

This looks like two adjacent structures to me. They’re commercial businesses now, but I’ll bet they were originally residences. They’re in Dublin.

Dublin, IN

This house is also in Dublin. It looks newer than any of the others I’ve shared so far, late 1800s or even very early 1900s.

Dublin, IN

This old house is at the main crossroads in Lewisville.

Lewisville

You’ll find this house on the original National Road alignment west of Dunreith.

National Road west of Dunreith

I’m no architectural expert but I’ve learned some things over the years that help me date houses. I’m stymied by this one — could be anywhere from 1850 to 1920. It’s in Knightstown.

Knightstown

This beauty is also in Knightstown.

Knightstown

As is this one.

Knightstown

This stylish frame house stands west of Charlottesville in Hancock County. All the times I’ve driven the National Road across Indiana, and I’ve never noticed this house before. Bicycling my way across helped me see it.

Old house, Hancock County

Many interesting old houses face the road in Greenfield, but this one looks the oldest to me.

Greenfield

There’s a dot on the National Road map called Philadelphia, and you’ll find this house there.

Old house, US 40

This grand house in Indianapolis’s Irvington neighborhood has been adapted into a church. It’s not actually right on the National Road, but it’s incredibly visible from it.

Irvington on old US 40

We’re now on the west side Indiana’s National Road, in Plainfield.

Old house, Plainfield

This one is also in Plainfield.

Old house Plainfield IN

This house is west of Plainfield and serves as the main building on a golf course. It’s just east of the abandoned US 40 bridge.

Old house on US 40 W of Plainfield

This is Rising Hall, right on the Hendricks/Putnam County line. I will likely write a longer post about this house alone.

Rising Hall on US 40

This house stands alone on the road in Putnam County.

Old house on US 40, Putnam Co.

This is the McKinley House, which stands near Harmony in Clay County. I’ll certainly do a Then and Now post about it, as I photographed it many years ago when it wore a different paint scheme.

The McKinley House

This appears to be among the newer homes in this collection, but I like it. It’s on State Road 340, the original alignment of the National Road, near Cloverland.

Old house on SR 340

These are the interesting old houses that I photographed. I’m sure I missed some, including several in Vigo County that I didn’t photograph because it was raining. I’ll have to go back and get them another day!

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Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: Veach’s in downtown Richmond, Indiana on the National Road

When my friend Dawn and I made our trip along the National Road in eastern Indiana in 2015, we came upon an audacious toy store in downtown Richmond. Family owned, Veach’s had been selling toys in Richmond for more than seven decades. We were astonished and delighted that the store had survived all of the changes in retail since the 1980s. Unfortunately, when I rode across Indiana this year, Veach’s was gone.

Downtown Richmond
Downtown Richmond, National Road

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