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mga707

Old Us 40 Segment, Reelsville In

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Sorry I didn't take any photos, but on a trip to central Indiana this past weekend I spent an enjoyable Saturday motoring along US40 between Plainfield and Brazil. Just east of Brazil at Reelsville there is a short old alignment segment that is marked at both ends ("Historic National Road") and is obviously of quite some vintage. Cracked, narrow concrete and an old narrow bridge over Big Walnut Creek. Teens or Twenties, I would say. Check it out if you're in the area.

In Brazil I was looking for any evidence of an old motel called the Beacon Motel. Did not find it, or any old structure that looks like it could have been a motel at one time. There is a well-kept older motel on the west side of town called the Villa, but no Beacon. My gut instinct guessed that it could have been on the east end of town where the Wal-Mart now stands. The Beacon could very well be buried under the Wallymart parking lot! If you're wondering why I was looking, my family spent a night there in 1959 on our relocation trip west when I was but a small child. There's another old motel in Joplin MO that I would like to try to find as well!

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Sorry I didn't take any photos, but on a trip to central Indiana this past weekend I spent an enjoyable Saturday motoring along US40 between Plainfield and Brazil. Just east of Brazil at Reelsville there is a short old alignment segment that is marked at both ends ("Historic National Road") and is obviously of quite some vintage. Cracked, narrow concrete and an old narrow bridge over Big Walnut Creek. Teens or Twenties, I would say. Check it out if you're in the area.

In Brazil I was looking for any evidence of an old motel called the Beacon Motel. Did not find it, or any old structure that looks like it could have been a motel at one time. There is a well-kept older motel on the west side of town called the Villa, but no Beacon. My gut instinct guessed that it could have been on the east end of town where the Wal-Mart now stands. The Beacon could very well be buried under the Wallymart parking lot! If you're wondering why I was looking, my family spent a night there in 1959 on our relocation trip west when I was but a small child. There's another old motel in Joplin MO that I would like to try to find as well!

 

I looked in a couple of period touring publications, but, alas, no Beacon Motel in Brazil.

 

A small suggestion: It was common practice for motels in the days past to print post cards and leave them in your room (in that drawer with the Gideon Bible and phone book) or to give then out free at the registration counter. You might scout Ebay or some of the big post card dealers for a Beacon Motel post card. A little bit of a long shot, but perhaps it will turn up a real memory booster.

 

Another small suggestion. Local libraries often have old city directories or telephone books that would help locate an address and maybe even an ad.

 

Most of my stuff is packed away due to some house remodeling, so I can't do a thorough search, but another suggestion would be to look in a period AAA Tour Book, especially, if your folks were members and used the recommended motels. Good luck!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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A small suggestion: It was common practice for motels in the days past to print post cards and leave them in your room (in that drawer with the Gideon Bible and phone book) or to give then out free at the registration counter. You might scout Ebay or some of the big post card dealers for a Beacon Motel post card. A little bit of a long shot, but perhaps it will turn up a real memory booster.

 

 

"You are correct, sir!" (in Ed McMahon voice)...what triggered this entire trip down memory lane was my (older) brother's recent rediscovery of such a vintage postcard among his 'stuff'. In glorious black and white, no less.

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I looked in a couple of period touring publications, but, alas, no Beacon Motel in Brazil.

 

A small suggestion: It was common practice for motels in the days past to print post cards and leave them in your room (in that drawer with the Gideon Bible and phone book) or to give then out free at the registration counter. You might scout Ebay or some of the big post card dealers for a Beacon Motel post card. A little bit of a long shot, but perhaps it will turn up a real memory booster.

 

Another small suggestion. Local libraries often have old city directories or telephone books that would help locate an address and maybe even an ad.

 

Most of my stuff is packed away due to some house remodeling, so I can't do a thorough search, but another suggestion would be to look in a period AAA Tour Book, especially, if your folks were members and used the recommended motels. Good luck!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

I just checked a 1941 AAA Tour Book I have on the shelf - no Beacon Motel listed in Brazil, IN. Nor the April 1938 edition.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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I just checked a 1941 AAA Tour Book I have on the shelf - no Beacon Motel listed in Brazil, IN. Nor the April 1938 edition.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

 

That fits. From the postcard, the motel definitely has a postwar, '50s look to it.

One other question, for the Indiana experts. Approximately when was US40 realigned from downtown Brazil westward to the Clay/Vigo county line? The current four lane alignment runs just south of the older two lane, which is now Indiana SR 340, in addition to being signed as "Historic National Road". I drove both alignments.

Edited by mga707

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That segment of the National Road near Reelsville is one of my favorite old alignments anywhere. That cracked concrete dates to the 1920s. Triangulating from my road guides, I'm guessing 1924-1926. That bridge is from the same time.

 

There's actually a second old alignment of the NR in Reelsville -- so old, that it's gravel. It runs a bit north of the concrete alignment. These two blog posts explain both alignments.

 

http://jimgrey.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/the-old-road-at-reelsville-part-1/

http://jimgrey.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/the-old-road-at-reelsville-part-2/

 

I am not sure when US 40 was rerouted west of Brazil, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was when US 40 was four-laned across the state in the 1930s.

 

jim

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That segment of the National Road near Reelsville is one of my favorite old alignments anywhere. That cracked concrete dates to the 1920s. Triangulating from my road guides, I'm guessing 1924-1926. That bridge is from the same time.

 

There's actually a second old alignment of the NR in Reelsville -- so old, that it's gravel. It runs a bit north of the concrete alignment. These two blog posts explain both alignments.

 

I am not sure when US 40 was rerouted west of Brazil, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was when US 40 was four-laned across the state in the 1930s.

 

jim

 

Thanks for the info on the Reelsville alignments. Wish I had noticed the oldest alignment and had checked that out as well. Oh well...

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