Posts tagged will geer
Anyone looking at a map of Indiana State Road 75 thinking it’s non-stop from US 40 west of Stilesville to its terminus some 78 miles north at Camden may be in for a surprise….like I was.
I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary when I recently took a Sunday afternoon to explore this north-south route through Indiana’s western half. I’ll fill you in on that later. Like many of Indiana’s state highways in this area, IN-75 slices through Indiana’s rich farmland. It quietly begins its northern journey at US 40 a few miles west of Stilesville.
It skirts the east side of the Coatesville before taking a straight shot north where it intersects US 36 at New Winchester, which is little more than a grain elevator, a couple of businesses, and a smattering of homes. Standing as a tribute to gas stations of a bygone era quietly sits a relic on the northwest corner of US 36 & IN-75.
North of US 36, IN-75 curves through Hendricks County and has a series of 90 degree turns around various farms on its way into North Salem.
In North Salem sits the Eel River School, once an “all grades” school that now is North Salem Elementary. This is one of the few examples of a small town school that survived after consolidating with other small towns. There are many examples dotted throughout the Indiana landscape of former schools such as this that are sitting silent with shattered windows and overgrown weeds. The Eel River escaped that image.
Just past the town limits of North Salem on the west side of IN-75, a field has what appears to be an unnatural hill. Legend has it that when my grandmother was a little girl in the 1910’s, she’d play out in that field and would often find various Indian arrowheads and other articfacts like that. It’s always been thought this little hill is an ancient Indian mound.
Between North Salem and Jamestown, an abandoned section of IN-75 can be seen. Looking south here, old 75 is on the right and used to make a hard left turn over Big Walnut Creek before joining the current alignment of 75 on the left of the photo.
Entering Jamestown, the Tucker Auto Sales building sits on the southwest corner of US 136 and IN-75. Of note, US 136 through Indiana was one of the many alignments of the fabled Dixie Highway, the brainchild of Lincoln Highway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher.
North of Jamestown is the town of Advance (prounounced AD-vance in these parts).
Other than the intersecting of a couple of popularly named streets….
and a cool old DX Service Station…..
there’s not a lot going on in Advance these days.
Now, remember what I said about the surprise I encountered earlier with this route? Arriving in Thorntown….about halfway through IN-75’s length…..I encountered at IN-47 a sign that stated “End Indiana 75″.
Huh? How could this be? My maps looked as if it should piggyback IN-47 east and then resume north piggybacking IN-39 into Frankfort. A little cornfused, I followed what I thought should be the route up to Frankfort, which was some 17 miles. Following my route through Frankfort, I got my answer. IN-75 is essentially two highways. It restarts on the north side of Frankfort.
Frankfort’s a neat little city of 16,000, and is the county seat of Clinton County Indiana. Frankfort is known for several things, one of them being the hot dog. No, Frankfort’s not a hot dog hub, but Frankfort High School’s nickname is the “Hot Dogs”. Every last weekend in July on Main Street in Frankfort you’ll find Frankfort’s Hot Dog Festival.
Frankfort’s town square is very vibrant, with the beautiful Clinton County Courthouse as the centerpiece. On the northwest corner of the square are murals depicting Clinton County’s history. Part of one mural honors Frankfort’s favorite son, Will Geer, who portrayed Grandpa Walton on “The Waltons”. And no visit to Frankfort is complete without a visit to the Zachary Confection factory, located on the west end of Frankfort on IN-38. They’ve got a shop at the factory where you can purchase some of your favorite chocolate covered goodies when in need of some good “road food”.
IN-75 departs Frankfort and heads north for another 23 miles through Sedalia, Cutler, and Flora before REALLY ending in Camden.
Camden’s main drag through town is IN-218. It was a quiet little burg when I was through, but the old Masonic Lodge is worth a look, as is the local library with the cool old fire escape.
Thus ends our journey on Indiana State Road 75…..both of them!