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The Michigan Road


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#21 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 09:48 PM

Jim,

I don't think the Flickr shots are up yet but the video of the one lane is. It looks like another facinating bridge at 18 seconds into the video. Any story there?

BTW, are you sure you stopped behind the white line at that stop sign? laugh.gif

I'm glad you left the lawn to grow and the shrubs to branch. We need the fresh air, and they will be there tomorrow! You will never regret driving the Michigan, and you'll never miss not mowing the lawn.

Keep the Show on the Road

Dave

#22 mobilene

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 09:59 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ May 24 2008, 09:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
BTW, are you sure you stopped behind the white line at that stop sign? laugh.gif


Oh! In Indiana, that's optional!

We're also allowed to treat the white-bordered Stop signs as Yield signs, too.

jim


#23 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 02:27 PM

Jim,

OK, now I have seen the new Flickr shots…great! You have obviously gotten the roadside architecture bug…and there seems to be a lot worth noting along the Michigan Road.

The old service station was interesting, as was the abandoned house…which looked to be in good shape. Whenever I see a place like that I see a family growing up inside, playing in the yard, eventually the kids leaving, and one day the oldsters passing on. It is an idyllic image, unlike the oft time reality of a string of destructive tenants or unreasonable landlords.!

I really liked the photos of names on cornerstones and entryways….there is a story that goes with each and every one. Oh, I am just reminded that many small towns in the mid west ended up in Birds eye views in the 1800's. They often show every building. Look first on the Library of Congress American Memory site. It is splendid and a great use of my tax dollars

One of my pet peeves was also illustrated in photo 3595. Wait ten years and none of those beautiful building faces downtown will be visible behind the trees. I know the trees are an asset, but I can’t count the number of times I have tried to see or photograph a great sign, marquee, or building hidden behind a downtown beatification tree. Tell the Chamber of Commerce to leave a few openings in the forest.

Looks like the Michigan Road is a goldmine. When will you be publishing your first tour/ driving guide?

Keep the Show on the Road!
Dave

#24 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 03:23 PM

Jim,

One of the fun things on two lane roads is then and now photos. The two below aren’t strictly “Then and Now” because the two buildings don’t match, but the businesses do. You will recognize the second photo! You may need to squint to see Minear Dry Goods Co. in the old one from the Indiana Historical Society.

I bet with just a little web work you could find several “then” photos for your Michigan Road Guide Book. The same site has a great shot of a car being pulled by oxen through Greensburg…looking for gas….and I bet it was on the Michigan Road!

http://images.indian...m...OX=1&REC=14

First it was alignments, then it was maps and blue books, next it was roadside architecture, and soon it will be “Then and Now.” Waiting for the book…..

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave







#25 mobilene

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 07:56 PM

One of the things I have long noticed as I've driven the Michigan Road between my home and South Bend is how many old houses sit on it. Within three miles in either direction of my house I count at least 4 structures built in the 1800s along the MR. One of them, essentially around the corner from my house, is for sale! I haven't covered every inch of Indiana road, but in my experience anyway no (once or currently) major Indiana road boasts the density of old homes as the Michigan Road. The homes also help tell the road's story. The road went in, and people built on it to capitalize on it. I think the turn of events that preserved the road also helped preserve these houses. If the MR from here to Logansport had become an Interstate, for example, or even a four-lane divided US highway, most of these homes would have been lost.

I do plan to do as much then-and-now stuff as I can as I write my road reports for jimgrey.net. I regularly search eBay for postcards from along the road, and I have found a few sites like the one you link to that has photos. I was so excited to get out on the road that I didn't have my research lined up for these two trips, but that only means, drat the luck, that as I find photos from Indy south that I want to check out today, I'll just have to force myself to drive back down there! I do have some worry about rights. Photos published before a certain time -- 1910? 1916? something -- can be published freely, but after that there are rules. If I get something from some library's digital archive, I don't want to abuse it.

The only way I could tell that the Minear building in the before photo you linked was in the same block is because of the Oddfellows building at the north end of the block (the tallest building) -- most of that block is different today.

I hope to get started writing this up pretty soon, but I'm about to enter a busy few weeks, so we'll see. This will be different from my past writeups in that in the past, I write it up and that's that. But this will be a living set of Web pages for some time as I find more information and make return trips to experience/photograph things I missed before.

jim

#26 Chris Rowland

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 08:19 PM

QUOTE (mobilene @ May 25 2008, 07:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This will be different from my past writeups in that in the past, I write it up and that's that. But this will be a living set of Web pages for some time as I find more information and make return trips to experience/photograph things I missed before.

Kind of like a living 'reference work'--definitely something I will probably refer to in the future!

We're headed northbound out of Indy on the Michigan Road on June 22...

Chris

#27 mobilene

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 08:34 PM

Be sure to catch Sycamore Row! And if you go through Logansport, I have under high authority that the Char-Bett on SR 25 has fabulous ice cream.

#28 Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 09:48 AM

"I bet with just a little web work you could find several "then" photos for your Michigan Road Guide Book. The same site has a great shot of a car being pulled by oxen through Greensburg…looking for gas….and I bet it was on the Michigan Road!"

Pulling a car with an oxen - or mule or horse. Probably be an option real soon, the way gas prices are going up. LOL

Hudsonly,
Alex Burr

#29 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 11:18 AM

QUOTE (Alex Burr - hester_nec @ May 31 2008, 07:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"I bet with just a little web work you could find several "then" photos for your Michigan Road Guide Book. The same site has a great shot of a car being pulled by oxen through Greensburg…looking for gas….and I bet it was on the Michigan Road!"

Pulling a car with an oxen - or mule or horse. Probably be an option real soon, the way gas prices are going up. LOL

Hudsonly,
Alex Burr


Alex,

Is an Ox and Gas powered car called a hybrid? rolleyes.gif laugh.gif huh.gif

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave




#30 Chris Rowland

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 12:06 AM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ May 31 2008, 12:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is an Ox and Gas powered car called a hybrid? rolleyes.gif laugh.gif huh.gif

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

Oxen were corn-powered long before Ethanol. Truly ahead of their time. Although I'm not quite sure how clean their exhaust was...

Chris

#31 mobilene

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 05:58 AM

I have started writing about the Michigan Road on my Roads pages, http://www.jimgrey.n...ds/MichiganRoad. I have written about my trip up to Napoleon, Ind. so far.

Why read this report when you've already seen the Flickr photostream? Because I've included extra information and old photographs of some of the spots along the route.

Normally, when I write up a road trip, that's it, I'm done writing. But I expect that as I find out more about the Michigan Road, I'll be adding to pages I've already written and posted. And I'll keep adding new segments to the writeup as I can. So stay tuned.

#32 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:43 AM

QUOTE (mobilene @ Jun 20 2008, 03:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have started writing about the Michigan Road on my Roads pages, http://www.jimgrey.n...ds/MichiganRoad. I have written about my trip up to Napoleon, Ind. so far.

Why read this report when you've already seen the Flickr photostream? Because I've included extra information and old photographs of some of the spots along the route.

Normally, when I write up a road trip, that's it, I'm done writing. But I expect that as I find out more about the Michigan Road, I'll be adding to pages I've already written and posted. And I'll keep adding new segments to the writeup as I can. So stay tuned.


Jim,

Wow! I have only gotten as far as Madison Part 1, but what a terrific job! I sensed when you first got interested that the Michigan Road could well be a “hidden” gem, and you are proving it.

Your photos and descriptions have me leaning forward in my easy chair and reaching for the car keys! Nothing short of terrific! What a treasure! And your excellent work does the subject justice.

I appreciate your care in identifying sources. You are doing some original research and later you and others will want the sources.

If I can help let me know. I have a few 1800’s US travel guides, but I have always been disappointed when it comes to finding good citations. None the less, I’ll take a look.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#33 mobilene

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 02:27 PM

Thanks Dave! I am sorely tempted to make local copies of my sources given how Internet sites are here today, dead links tomorrow. I'm quietly making copies of the photos I'm finding online, for the same reasons.

I figure that the stuff I find online plus what I find on the road as I drive will be all I accomplish this summer. But then I'll want to go visit libraries in counties along the route and find other physical resources to put the story together more.

What I'm doing right now is primarily experiential and historical. But I haven't found a solid focus yet, something I could turn into a book. I'd like to do that. I've been published before, albeit while writing computer books -- but at least I do get how publishing works.

--

Weather permitting, I plan to drive the MR through Marion County (Indianapolis) over the weekend. There are a couple former communities left along the way, including Wanamaker and Augusta, that were consumed to varying degrees by the city after Unigov merged city and county. There is also a whole lot of malaise along the MR through Indy -- some places I'll be a little worried about my safety if I get out of my car for a photo.

jim

#34 mobilene

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 08:49 AM

Photos of the MR through Indianapolis are up and minimally tagged. Sorry, not geotagged yet. That's a dang lot of work. I'll get to it eventually.

http://www.flickr.co...57605001968216/

#35 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 12:05 PM

Mobilene

I looked at the 1852 map of Indiana at the Library of Congress site and note that the Michigan Road is identified as a “plank road,” apparently a reference to a high grade road that was planked, even though I doubt that the entire road was planked. So perhaps a “plank road” was one that was planked in soft or wet areas, and the term “plank road” is reference to a quality standard. I wonder.











Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#36 mobilene

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 01:43 PM

Great images, Dave. I'll have to go to the LOC and look them up.

According to connerprairie.org:

Plank roads, literally the building of a floor of timber as roadways, were once considered a viable solution for transportation problems in the United States. This was especially true in muddy, rural areas where they were looked upon as the perfect answer to providing smooth, dust-free roads.

A plank road craze swept Indiana in the early 1850s as builders foresaw a way to provide cheap, efficient toll roads. Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis constructed their first plank roads in 1849 and within two years over 400 hundred miles of the timber highways had been built throughout the state.

The plank road phenomenon ebbed before the Civil War due to the rapid deterioration of the roads, insufficient revenues, and competition from railroads.


I also read at michigan.gov today that plank roads were primarily used to provide a secure and dust-free road surface, while corduroy (log) roads were laid in soft/wet areas.

So who knows, it's possible that much of the MR was planked.

#37 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 02:13 PM

Mobilene,

Well, I just learned something….I have considered planked and corduroy as interchangeable terms, but now that you have enlightened me, it is obvious why the terms differentiate planks from logs!

I guess you could measure the plank roads shown on the map and determine if they exceed 400 miles in total…and thereby decide if a “plank road” was planked for its entire length. But then, what’s the point? But can you imagine the labor in cutting, smoothing, and laying 400 miles of planks? Brutal, nasty, back breaking work…no wonder you were old at 40! And then the wagon traffic tore them up in a season or two. Not surprising that rails were preferred!

Oh, and the map is worth your time to peruse. Search for American Memory, once there select maps, and then enter Indianapolis. The last map on the list is the 1853 one I posted.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#38 DennyG

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 04:57 PM

Plank roads were used in several states. Miller Brewing started in the Plank Road Brewery in Wisconson and a plank road crossed the sands west of Yuma, Arizona, as recently as 1926.

#39 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:59 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jun 30 2008, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Plank roads were used in several states. Miller Brewing started in the Plank Road Brewery in Wisconson and a plank road crossed the sands west of Yuma, Arizona, as recently as 1926.


Denny,

Yep...here is a quote about travel on the old desert plank road....

Many fights broke out over who had the right of way which caused traffic jams of eight to ten cars that could not move until the antagonists settled their argument. Quite often it took many hours to back up the jammed cars to a turnout so the other cars could pass. These fights occurred more frequently the farther one traveled down the road. During this period, trips took as long as two days as traffic jams, fights, and wea­ther caused many delays

The whole great piece is here:

http://www.sandiegoh...pring/plank.htm

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#40 mobilene

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 06:12 AM

I always thought plank and corduroy were the same, too, but in hindsight it just doesn't make sense does it?






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