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mobilene

Old Us 31 In Northern Indiana

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Mobilene,

 

I see your friend is a rail fan....old roads and rails....they go together. I have some old rail stuff in the collection, but since that hobby is a bit “overrun” with aficionados already, I lean toward the old roads.

 

Lots of really great stuff as I read your report! Too much for individual comments, but fun to see and read! Let it just be said...great trip so far (I’m up to Peru)

 

I dug out a 1916 TIB (Tourist’s Information Bureau) guide. It might be fun to plot the 1916 turn by turn in your ABB against my 1916 TIB map below of your route (its a big file)

 

You mentioned a couple of rail crossings that had been removed. Look at how the railroads served every little burg in 1916. Practically every town has a railroad crosssing!!

 

BTW, as you no doubt realize, at one time Indiana was one of thr most active states in automaking. The Model was made in Peru. The 1907 model Model (Note the keen play on words, there!) had a detachable body so you could use it as a typical 4 seat passenger car or a two seat runabout. Its 24 horsepower engine could carry it along at as much as 40mph...quite a clip.

 

I like the fact that your buddy is getting hooked on the old roads. The more the merrier!

 

More comments as I read further!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

KOKOMO.jpg

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For the rest of you all, if you're in the midwest I HIGHLY encourage you to visit Sal's http://scenicroadrallies.com site and try one.

 

I did and I hope to.

 

It's been nearly 20 years since I ran in a road rally. They were great fun (even have a trophy around here somewhere for a runner-up finish in one).

 

Have my eye on several dates that I might be able to make, especially the Butternut Run rally that begins and ends at the Sherman House in Batesville. Stayed there a couple of years ago and the rally would be a great excuse to visit again.

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I dug out a 1916 TIB (Tourist’s Information Bureau) guide. It might be fun to plot the 1916 turn by turn in your ABB against my 1916 TIB map below of your route (its a big file)

 

Dave, you have no idea how badly I wanted to spend the entire morning trying to compare TIB to ABB to Google Maps. As it was, I sunk a half hour into figuring out the roads between Peru and Kokomo. I was able to trace the route okay to just north of Kokomo. The road along the Wabash River just south of Peru doesn't go through anymore by where the railroad track appears -- that's about where the Old 31 bridge is now. But otherwise it's all there. IIRC, the ABB sends the driver through Bunker Hill, and then back west across where US 31 would eventually be, just as TIB does.

 

Anyway, one of these days I'll compare TIB to ABB. When I have a minute, I'll scan and post the 1916 and 1924 ABB routes here so you can look, too (or do you already have these ABBs?).

 

You mentioned a couple of rail crossings that had been removed. Look at how the railroads served every little burg in 1916. Practically every town has a railroad crosssing!!

 

Makes me wonder what happened to the rail beds. Are they still there (trackless probably) and I just don't notice them? My experience with the online map sites is that old rail beds look like scars on the land. If you look at where the rail crossing at US 31 in Lakeville used to be, the map clearly shows the scar except for where they made it all pretty at US 31. I'm not noticing much more modern evidence of the old railroads, other than that. Perhaps serious railfans could fill in some blanks.

 

BTW, as you no doubt realize, at one time Indiana was one of thr most active states in automaking. The Model was made in Peru. The 1907 model Model (Note the keen play on words, there!) had a detachable body so you could use it as a typical 4 seat passenger car or a two seat runabout. Its 24 horsepower engine could carry it along at as much as 40mph...quite a clip.

 

Yeah, in the years the auto industry was getting its feet and then kind of shaking itself out, Indiana was pretty active. But as the industry increasingly centered around Detroit, Indiana turned to supplying the industry. Kokomo was huge with Chrysler and GM; the Chrysler plant(s?) are on current US 31. Fort Wayne actually assembled GM trucks for a long time. Indy had GM plants too, and I think Ford. But these have increasingly closed or been spun off. In modern times, there is still a good amount of industry in Indiana that supports the big-three auto industry, but a lot of it is private. For example, in the late 80s and early 90s my dad was plant manager for a company in Goshen that made mufflers and catalytic converters, and one customer was Ford. But it's not like the big manufacturing jobs are gone. We make Toyota trucks and Subarus here, and we will soon make Hondas here as well.

 

But I'd never heard of the Model before!

 

Peace,

jim

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Jim,

 

Regarding posting your 1916 ABB turn by turns...I hope you will...regardless of whether I have one. The continued growth of interest in old roads will make your posts invaluable in the future, and posting the ABB will help folks in the future follow and enjoy the trip.

 

I claim no authentic expertise following old railbeds, but I have followed a few, including the narrow gauge line that connected Olympia with the mainline in the 1800’s. In fact, our house is built on a logging railroad bed...so I guess I can say I’m living on the railroad!

 

Railroads didn’t climb grades or take sharp curves. Thus a rail bed is flat and straight, or almost so.

 

Rail beds were typically elevated above the bottom land (unlike lots of old roads) on fill, and they didn’t do dips. Thus you will usually observe a flat elevated road bed across any ground that gets water logged in the winter. I often distinguish between old roads and rail beds by the lack of dips and the flat character of a rail bed.

 

Also, much more than old roads, railroads used cuts, for the obvious reason they had to maintain a low gradient without sharp curves.

 

I find it fascinating to step back to the late 1800’s when every village was served by a railroad, and interurbans served the suburbs and outlying towns. I almost always do a little railroad/ interurban sleuthing when I am on the old roads. They were so intertwined, it is practically impossible not to.

 

I really enjoy reading your posts! They make me wish I had another 25 years to develop my knowledge. When I started messing with the old roads 25 – 35 years ago, it was a pretty lonely activity. Now I can’t even keep up with the activity here alone! Your and others’ posts signal that the critical mass has been reached.

 

I picked up a used book the other day by Floyd Clymer covering cars built between 1877 and 1925 which is primarily old auto ads. Indianapolis was home to the Premium air cooled, Pope-Waverley electric stanhope, the American, the Marmon, and no doubt others. I don’t think we can claim that many in any western city!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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I'm gonna regret this tomorrow, but I'm up way past my bedtime tracing the 1916 ABB route on Google Maps.

 

1916_1.jpg

 

1916_2.jpg

 

1916_3.jpg

 

I got everything but the stretch between Miami and Kokomo. The roads between the two points just don't seem to do anymore what the ABB claimed they did in 1916. Click the link below to see it. You can zoom in to see the route at whatever level you want -- actually, at the initial magnification it's not very interesting at all, so zoom in, already. Look for the blue placemarkers, which note the endpoints and places where I had to make judgment calls as I interpreted the ABB.

 

Google Maps trace of 1916 ABB route

 

And for the hardcore amongst us, here's the 1924 ABB route between the same points. I'm too tired to trace it on Google Maps tonight.

 

1924.jpg

 

jim

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Jim,

 

I don't know how I missed your turn by turn ABB post, .....but I did until this morning. I hope you have caught up on your sleep by now!

 

Can't those ABB directions be frustrating at times!! I've been doing that for at least 20 years, and I still give up lots of times. When I combine old (historic) USGS maps and ABB directions, I can usually figure it out. I always get a small "rush" when the directions, mileages, and comments fall into place on a route I'm tracking....to each his own, I guess!

 

Well, I want to continue reading about the trip, so more later.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Jim,

 

OK, I’m up to Kokomo. I think downtown Kokomo is quite interesting. The fire department is a classic design. Those arched windows were the doors, and you can imagine the fire horses and wagons standing there for photographs, or rushing out with bells ringing to a fire. Odds are that the rest of the building was City Hall at one time.

 

I liked the B-17 shot. I have the pilot’s log and many photos from a WWII B-17 pilot. I’m not a war guy, but his comments and story are quite fascinating. I have been able to trace his post war activities up to his death in the mid 1990’s. Like the football star who reaches his zenith in high school, Thomas never got the recognition he sought in later life.

 

And Apperson Way...named for the Kokomo car company that produced the Jack Rabbit...its memory lives on.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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You know, I'll be US 31 itself messed up the ABB instructions. There may not have been a road there in 1916, and it going in may have truncated or bifurcated some roads. That's my guess, anyway.

 

Did you notice that the Descriptive Outline in the ABB calls out the Apperson, as well as the Haynes? I think Kokomo has an Automotive Heritage Museum, might even be on current 31 IIRC. I might have to go look someday.

 

You clearly know way more about military aircraft than I since you could identify that B-17. My ex-wife used to be in the Air Force at the time of the F-4 and the F-16 and I think I could maybe identify the 16 if I saw one today, but that's as far as my knowledge goes.

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You know, I'll be US 31 itself messed up the ABB instructions. There may not have been a road there in 1916, and it going in may have truncated or bifurcated some roads. That's my guess, anyway.

 

I wouldn't be surprised.

 

Did you notice that the Descriptive Outline in the ABB calls out the Apperson, as well as the Haynes? I think Kokomo has an Automotive Heritage Museum, might even be on current 31 IIRC. I might have to go look someday.

 

Might be an interesting stop. I didn't realize that the Indianapolis area was such a hub of auto making activity until I started following your US 31 trip and noted ads in the stuff I was looking at.

 

You clearly know way more about military aircraft than I since you could identify that B-17.

 

Have I mentioned that I flew B-17's and P-51's during WWII......as plastic models when I was 4 and 5. Being right handed, my best maneuver was the left banking dive. :rolleyes:

 

Keep the Show on the Road

Dave

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Look for the blue placemarkers, which note the endpoints and places where I had to make judgment calls as I interpreted the ABB.

 

jim

Jim, Your questionable point in Bunker Hill at 74.6 where it says to jog left and then right is the intersection of Elm and Washington--it looks more smoothed out now than it probably was back then. The hint is to look at the mileage showing it is .2 miles south of Bunker Hill (74.4), and this is about that distance south of Broadway.

 

However at 75.0 when it says "Turn right" you accidentally turned left on 800 South. Fixing that will mean that later at 75.4 when it does a "turn left" along the telephone poles, it should actually be turning south onto 200 West (which is .4 miles west of Elm). This fits a lot better also with the next instruction saying that the road ends on the edge of Miami, which 200 West does but 150 West doesn't stop there.

 

I'll look at the other questionable parts too and if I have any bright ideas, I'll let you know.

 

Chris

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I got everything but the stretch between Miami and Kokomo.

 

Here's your solution for Miami to Kokomo. Using the mileage really helps. Using the knowledge from my previous comment that we are in Miami at 200W and 1050S, the even mileage should make it apparent.

 

at 77.8 you "turn right with poles" onto 1050S and follow one mile west to what is now US-31 (300W)

at 78.8 the 4-corners is 1050S and US-31 (300W). Turn left, which is south on US-31.

at 80.0 the 4-corners is 1250S (IN-18) and US-31 (300W). Turn right, which is west on IN-18.

at 81.7 the 4-corners is 1250S (IN-18) and 400W. Turn left onto 400W.

at 84.7 the end of road is the corner of 450N (US-35) and 100W (400W turned into 100W as it changed counties), this is still an end of road today! It says to turn left on US-35 east and then right on the next street, onto 80W heading south.

at 86.4 the end of road is the corner of 300N and 80W, this is still an end of road today! It says to turn left onto 300N (east) and then right on the next street which would be onto Webster Street, heading south.

 

This hooks up perfectly with your other endpoint on Webster in Kokomo.

 

Hope this helps solve the mystery between Miami and Kokomo!

 

Chris

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Look for the blue placemarkers, which note the endpoints and places where I had to make judgment calls as I interpreted the ABB.

Here's detail of an atlas at IUPUI of Rochester City. You put the marker at the right corner for the jog right and left, after all. Check out how sharp the corner was in the bottom right of this image south of the corner of Peru and Perry:

 

gallery_3329_28_101092.jpg

 

Even the name of the street "Peru" gives an indication that it was probably the way to head toward Peru Indiana.

 

You can still see the small jog on Google, but this map really delineates it. I'm not sure why the ABB calls it Wabash, but maybe it was called that at that time. Definitely Wabash is on "the other side of the tracks" these days...

 

Chris

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Chris, you rock!!

 

Let's start in Rochester. First, I find it interesting that the city changed its named streets to numbered streets somewhere along the way. I wish I could see what happens to Peru St. in your old map south of where it cuts off, but yes, it looks like it would be the road to Peru. Today, that street, called College St., ends three blocks south at 17th St.

 

Then in Bunker Hill, clearly I would have benefited from using the mileages, because I would then have noticed the jog on Elm St. And, as sometimes happens with me on online maps, I turned my right, not "map" right. When I use paper maps, I always turn them the direction I'm giong to avoid that problem, but that's hard to do with my monitor.

 

I'll remember to follow the mileages when I try this in the future -- they really do seem to unlock some of the mystery.

 

The updated map is here.

 

 

jim

Edited by mobilene

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Jim and Chris,

 

It is good to see a team effort using the old guides! I wish i had had either of you guys along over the years...I would have been lost a lot less! We have an exceptional bunch here on the American Road Forum!

 

Well, back to the story...more comments later.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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I'll remember to follow the mileages when I try this in the future -- they really do seem to unlock some of the mystery.

Looks great, Jim!

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