Preservation, Road Trips

Touring the Huddleston Farmhouse, part 1: the exterior and grounds

It’s a commanding presence on the National Road, this, the Huddleston farm. It’s in Wayne County, between the towns of Cambridge City and Mt. Auburn, on the south side of the road. You first see the big house itself, built in 1841, as you approach along what is now US 40. It is just steps away from the road.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

When John Huddleston built it, the road was much narrower and so was a little farther away from the house. But the house was still plenty close to the road so travelers wouldn’t miss it, as Huddleston opened his home as an inn for travelers. He operated it with his wife Susannah and their 11 children.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

Travelers rested in the yard, on the porch, or in one of three rooms on the house’s ground floor. In those days, those rooms were accessible only from the outside. Travelers could also rent one of two kitchens, which I presume were in outbuildings.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

While travelers used the rooms on the ground floor, the Huddlestons lived in the upper two floors. A kitchen, dining room, family room, and parlor are on the middle level, and the family slept in rooms on the upper level. Later this week I’ll share photos I took of the middle level, which is arranged and decorated with period-correct furnishings.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

On the grounds you’ll find buildings that were a pump house, a smoke house, a large barn, and a small barn. The large and small barns are the two photos above. The smoke house is the photo below; it is a reproduction and the only non-original building on the property.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

Below is the pump house, built over the well.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

It was just a few steps outside from the kitchen to retrieve water. That was pretty modern in 1841.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

Indiana Landmarks has owned this property since 1966 and restored it in the 1970s. The house’s brick was originally not painted, but Landmarks painted it in the restoration. I’m not sure they’d do the same today, but the standards of preservation were different in the 1970s.

Come back all week for more photos from the farm. On Thursday I’ll share photos from the interior, the middle floor, which is furnished as it might have been in the Huddlestons’ time.

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Centerville, Indiana, is known for its arches. You’ll see them when you visit: passageways in many of the buildings to courtyards behind them. It’s a distinctive architectural feature of this small National Road town, which was founded in 1814.

Centerville is also known for its antique shops. It’s one of the towns on Indiana’s famous Antique Alley. Centerville and nearby Cambridge City are probably the most prominent towns on that tour.

But Centerville is not known for its doors. That’s a shame, because they are lovely. Here are many of the doors you’ll find in Centerville right on the National Road, better known today as US 40.

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Centerville door

Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL

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Photography, Preservation, Road Trips

Thursday doors: Centerville, Indiana on the National Road

In this installment of Thursday Doors, we check out those on the National Road in Centerville, IN. This town was laid out in 1814 — about as old as it gets in Indiana!

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Indiana Statehouse

Indiana Statehouse at night
Canon PowerShot S95
2018

Margaret and I stayed Downtown to celebrate our second anniversary. Our room had a commanding view of the city, including this view of the Indiana Statehouse. Lit as it was at night, it looked like a cardboard model.

The S95 did all right with the low light but I surely wish it handled lit signs better.

The Statehouse, as well as our room, were on the old National Road, later known as US 40, always known as Washington Street in Indianapolis.

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single frame: Indiana Statehouse at night

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History, Road Trips

The bridges that carried the National Road and US 40 over the White River in Indianapolis

Today it carries only pedestrians in White River State Park in Indianapolis. But this seven-span concrete-arch bridge was built in 1916 to carry the National Road across the White River. It was the latest of several bridges that carried the National Road and US 40 here.

Former US 40 bridge

It opened a year before Indiana formed the State Highway Commission, which would become the Indiana Department of Transportation. In 1917 that body formed a small network of highways out of existing major roads. The National Road was one, bearing the name “Main Market Highway No. 3,” or, later, State Road 3. In 1926, with the creation of the national highway system, it became US 40.

And so it remained until the mid-1980s, when a new bridge was built to the south and US 40 was routed onto it. The old bridge and the land on either side of it would become White River State Park. The first park attraction was the Indianapolis Zoo, which opened west of the bridge in 1988. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened next, in 1989. An IMAX theater followed in 1996, and the Indiana State Museum in 2002. The NCAA relocated its headquarters to the park in 1999. These two map excerpts, courtesy MapIndy, show the area before (in 1979) and after (in 2017).

US40IndyWhiteRiver1979US40IndyWhiteRiver2017

Here’s a view of the park from the JW Marriott hotel, which abuts it. The 1916 bridge is at far left, and the NCAA complex at right. But notice the tree-lined walking path that borders the NCAA buildings? Remarkably, it is the original alignment of the National Road.

White River State Park

Here’s a ground-level view that shows it.

NCAA

This 1852 map of Indianapolis, part of a larger Indiana map I found at the Library of Congress, shows this alignment clearly. It’s always less expensive to build and maintain a bridge built perpendicular to a river’s banks, and that’s almost certainly why the road angles slightly north here.

1852 Indianapolis map - Library of Congress

The bridge here was a wooden covered bridge. The only images I can find of it are drawings; this is the best of them, from History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, by B. R. Sulgrove, published 1884 (available here).

WhiteRiverNRCoveredBridgeIndy

Remarkably, I find later maps showing two bridges here, one on the original alignment and one on the later. Below are two snippets of maps of this site, the first from an 1889 atlas and the second from 1903 by Rand McNally. I wonder whether the upper bridge carried westbound traffic and the lower bridge eastbound.

WashingtonStWhiteRiver-1889AtlasWashingtonStWhiteRiver-1903RandMcNally

But I was puzzled. It is well known that the Great Flood of 1913 destroyed the bridge here — and some resources say it was the wooden covered bridge. But photographs from the day of the flood show a deck-truss bridge (a bridge with metal trusses below the bridge floor) — and only a deck-truss bridge. A second bridge, if it existed, would have been so close to this one it certainly would have made it into some of the photos! Here’s one photo of that bridge, taken an hour before it collapsed in that flood. Image courtesy The Indiana Album, Barbara Stevens Collection (viewable here).

WhiteRiverNRBridge1913

So I asked the fabulous Indiana Transportation History group on Facebook. The founder, Richard McLelland Simpson, found this article from the June 29, 1901, issue of The Indianapolis News, which shines some light.

IndianapolisNews29Jun1901

This doesn’t look like the bridge that was eventually built, which the group thinks opened in 1904. But the article does confirm the existence of two bridges, and a plan for this new bridge to replace them both.

The 1916 bridge has clearly been the hardy one, standing firmly for more than 100 years.

Former US 40 bridge

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The S Bridge at Blaine

The S bridge at Blaine
Canon PowerShot S95
2011

This is one of my favorite road-trip photos. I just love the juxtaposition of the 1828 stone-arch S bridge against the 1933 open-spandrel concrete-arch bridge. Both are engineering and visual marvels in their own ways.

But what I love most about this photo is that my friend Jeff, in his orange shirt, cuts across the scene. He provides such visual interest, injecting orange and blue into an otherwise beige and green scene. He also shows the massive scale of these two bridges.

The newer bridge runs so much higher than the older one because it means to level out what had been a steep hill. The ascent from the end of the older bridge was quite challenging for cars of the day.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: The S bridge at Blaine

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Addison Toll House

Addison Toll House
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom
2009

Shortly after the old National Road enters Pennsylvania from Maryland, you come upon this odd little building. It was a toll house, built in the 1830s when the government turned the road over to the states through which it passed. They had to pay somehow to maintain the road, and so Pennsylvania tolled it.

A tollkeeper lived in the toll house rent free, and was paid a salary for his work.

The toll rate depended on what you were driving. And I use that term broadly: either you were driving a vehicle, usually beast-drawn, or you were driving herds. But if your vehicle had wheels wider than eight inches, it was free, because it helped compact the road.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Addison Toll House

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