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See It Now


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Not long ago, I found an old map that showed the following alignment of US 40 through West Terre Haute, Indiana. It answered some long lingering questions I've had.




Going westbound, the fork just screamed "old alignment" to me, but something about that hard turn just outside of town made me pause and refrain. Finding the old map that confirmed this was mighty exciting.


But what was more exciting was that back when I went to college in Terre Haute and had to pass through "West T" as we always called it to visit a girlfriend at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, I used to take the right side of that fork -- and it was a concrete road. My memory says that the concrete had a center seam and regular lateral seams. Since that was the original alignment of US 40, based on what I know now, that concrete had to be poured in about 1925.


I needed to go over to Terre Haute not long ago and was kind of eager to go photograph that concrete. But I decided to see if Google Street View had captured it -- and was very, very sad to find this:




This is just west of where the older and newer alignments fork. Somewhere along the line, it was asphalted. By the looks of it, it happened some time ago. I don't remember the concrete being in poor repair, but I last drove it in the early 1990s and I suppose a lot can happen to a stretch of road in 20 years.


This just reminded me that the built environment does change with time, and the best time to go see something is right now, before it's gone.


Other notes: US 40 was rerouted along I-70 a year or two ago and now bypasses Terre Haute and West Terre Haute. So the map above shows old 40 and old old 40 (or, more precisely, old State Road 3, which was Indiana's number for this road before the feds got involved). The concrete was almost certainly poured during the State Road 3 days. If you drive into West T on the old alignment, you drive through a block or two of dilapidated, mostly abandoned storefronts. 20-30 years ago I used to puzzle over why they were there, but given that this was on the highway 90 years ago it makes total sense now. Here's a link to Street View: http://goo.gl/maps/Em6p0.



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Whoa! A great find, and then spherical images to boot! I think I have seen it all now!


Seriously, a great story, and a great find. And I like the use of Google Maps street view. I am getting a little rusty in my presentation techniques, and I need to catch up.


Your comment about the built environment disappearing is right on. We can't stop change, and we shouldn't try..... most of the time. But if it's old and interesting better at least take a few photos. And while you are at it, document the present built environment a bit as well. I can tell you from a septuagenarian's perspective, a lot of it will change before you are pushing up daisies and you will wish you had photographed the "old days."


Did I miss a description of your newly found “old map.” Any back story there?




Keep the Show on the Road!

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Not much of a back story. I'm embarrassed to admit I can't remember where I saw the map -- it was a few months ago! I saw it and this alignment, and much later traced it on Google Maps as described here. Now I'm hoping to come upon this or a similar map again and this time get a photographic record of it.


I am finding that the photos I treasure most are those that show common things that have since changed.



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