Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

The Bloomington Road


Recommended Posts

I went out yesterday and drove Indiana State Road 42 end to end. It runs from Mooresville (a southwest Indianapolis suburb) to Terre Haute. More about 42 another day. I am very familiar with the segment between Terre Haute and the I-70 exit near Brazil, IN, which is one county east, because when I lived in Terre Haute I used to drive it for fun.


I was mapping out my SR 42 jaunt when I noticed a short bit of abandoned road along that segment I was so familiar with. I had never noticed it while driving the road. Click the link below to see it.


Abandoned Segment-ette


It seems that at one time there was a fork here. I looked it up in one of my 1920s maps. The link below shows the area zoomed out a bit for context. My 1920s map suggests that what is labeled Sugar Grove Dr. used to go all the way into Terre Haute (it is interrupted by an airport today) and then crossed the creek and flowed into what is now SR 42. The Bloomington Road forked south at about this point. But later, maybe because of the airport, the road was rebuilt to swing northeast. It looks like the fork was maintained for a while but later, as what is now SR 42 became the more important road, the fork was rebuilt so you had to make a hard right turn and a quick curve onto the Bloomington Road. I am guessing that 42 became the important road because, just to the south, SR 46 became the better way between Terre Haute and Bloomington. Indeed, the Bloomington Road itself shortly meets, and then follows, SR 46 the rest of the way to Bloomington. Adding insult to injury to this poor road, when I-70 went in an overpass was not built. You can detour over I-70 on Tabertown Rd. and then get back on the Bloomington Road, though.


Bloomington Road


ANYway, I stopped here to look, and lo and behold, there it was: the remnants of the fork built when what is now SR 42 was moved to swing northwest. Here are some photos; click to see larger. First two photos are eastbound, the third is westbound. Notice the bridge next to my car.








I wonder if there were once twin bridges here, one for each side of the fork.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very neat! I too have driven that stretch many a time, and have never noticed that alignment and fork. SR42 is a fun drive to between Terre Haute and Brazil, and the old mining roads turning off of it always intrigued me. Have you ever driven the entirety of Bloomington Rd.? It passes through the post-apocalyptic wasteland that was once the AMAX coal mine. When you cross Light Rd., be sure to jaunt south on it to see the old cemetery that is now a wooded island on the barren plains.


I also wonder if Bloomington Rd. once turned East at Ashboro and was once Ashboro Rd.? Looking at the map, it makes sense. SR 46 begins a straight-west alignment right where the two meet. Does your 20s map show anything about this?




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wes, my '20s map is a state map, so it doesn't give very much detail at that level. But I do think that the Bloomington Rd. did turn east at Ashboro (off of what is now SR 59) and became the Ashboro Rd. Look at how it neatly flows into the current SR 46 roadway. It's about as sure of a sign as there is.


I never knew the Bloomington Rd. existed until I planned for this trip on SR 42! I'm very intrigued by the trip through the AMAX area and I just found the cemetery on the map. One of these days I was planning on a road trip along SR 46 from Blgtn to TH and perhaps now that just became a Bloomington Road trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



An SR 46 trip would be a nice drive indeed - I love that road. If you take it, keep in mind that you should check out the old Chevrolet dealer in Lockport (now Riley). Also, the Wabash and Erie Canal crosses 46 twice, and there are still intact lock walls north of Riley. By the way, in Riley, you'll see an old DX service station next to a liquor store. I used to live in the house behind that liquor store, not 100 feet from 46. There's also a truss bridge somewhere between Spencer and 59/46 crossroads, and pilings from a rail bridge (The Terre Haute and Worthington Line, I believe) in the creek south of the crossing by Bowling Green.


Oh yeah - I know you like steel bridges. On the National Road somewhere south and slightly east of Greencastle, a small farm road intersects. If you go north on this road, you can still cross a very small and very old steel truss bridge. Just the kind I'd like to have in my backyard...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wes, I had a girlfriend in Bloomington my junior year at Rose, so I drove 46 endlessly and that's where I came to appreciate the road. Actually, passing under the steel truss bridge on 46 all those times is what made me come to appreciate them.


When I worked on 46 (at Moyer Rd.) we sometimes went to Riley for lunch (back then, there was nothing out there; you had to go down to Riley or well into town for food), but in those days my roadgeek genes had not switched on and I did not notice much about the town. Next time I'm out, though, I will have to look for the things you mention.


Found that little bridge you mentioned! There are probably several of these left, lurking on little-used country roads in Indiana.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...