The Madison State Road in Indiana: Finding the original road in southeastern Johnson County and northern Bartholomew County

The Madison State Road in Indiana: Finding the original road in southeastern Johnson County and northern Bartholomew County

The Madison State Road in Indiana: Finding the original road in southeastern Johnson County and northern Bartholomew County

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The Madison State Road in Indiana: Finding the original road in southeastern Johnson County and northern Bartholomew County

From Franklin through Edinburgh to Taylorsville, the Madison State Road differs greatly from current US 31. This article locates the Madison State Road as best as my research can illuminate.

This 1923 map from the Indiana State Highway Commission shows the Madison State Road, which was then part of the Indiana highway system as Original State Road 1. It is not hard surfaced south of Franklin, but it would be by 1927 when this road became US 31.

1923 State Highway Commission of Indiana map showing the Madison State Road

Here’s what I believe the Madison State Road’s route was south of Franklin. The road used to pass directly through the tiny town of Amity.

Map data ©2024 Google

You can still drive some of the original road through Amity. Here’s the turnoff from US 31.

Original alignment

Here’s a through-the-windshield photo of this road southbound near its end.

Old US 31

South from Amity the road flowed straight south, along what is now CR 550 E across Sugar Creek.

Map data ©2024 Google

Here’s the southbound road in this section.

Old US 31

The road crosses Sugar Creek on a bridge that looks to me to have been built in the 1920s or 1930s. I didn’t photograph it on this trip, but I did on one in 2008. I first wrote about it here.

Old bridge

I climbed down below to see what kind of bridge this is — a concrete arch, it turns out. Considerable spalling of the concrete reveals some of the rebar.

Old bridge
Old bridge

The Madison State Road follows current US 31 to State Road 252, where it follows that road toward Edinburgh.

Map data ©2024 Google

The road crosses the Big Blue River over this bridge, in this northbound photo.

Madison State Road at Big Blue River

When I visited in 2008, this house was on the right just past the bridge.

At Thompson Mill

It is gone now. Here’s the same spot.

Madison State Road at Big Blue River

This was the site of Thompson Mill. A turbine and a historic marker are all that remain.

Madison State Road at Big Blue River

From here, the Madison State Road follows Eisenhower Drive through Edinburgh. For a while after US 31 was rebuilt to the west, Eisenhower Drive was signed as State Road 79.

The last left-behind bits of the Madison State Road are in Taylorsville. A curve was smoothed out.

Map data ©2024 Google

This northbound photo is from the section of former US 31 that’s west of current US 31.

Original alignment, Taylorsville

I turned around from the same spot to make this southbound photo. The original alignment jogs slightly left just ahead.

Original alignment, Taylorsville

After the original road crossed over current US 31, it becomes what is now Friendship Drive. Here is Friendship Drive northbound from its end.

Friendship Drive

There’s a short bridge here that’s far wider than the road itself. This suggests to me that when this road was improved to become US 31, it was built with expansion in mind.

Friendship Drive

Just south of the bridge, the road ends. Ahead lies US 31.

Friendship Drive

At the very end, asphalt ends and a little bit of the original concrete road surface emerges. The aggregate used to make it contains some largish chunks. Every other time I’ve seen this on an old Indiana highway, the road dates to the 1920s.

Friendship Drive

Next: The Madison State Road in Columbus.

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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