Indiana State Road 58 is one of southwest Indiana’s best routes to travel when you’re in the mood to enjoy a road that isn’t straight as an arrow. Its 122 mile path cuts through the typical Indiana farmland, but it also winds you through parts of the Hoosier National Forest. It’s one of those roads where you want to find yourself on a weekend in the Fall. The colors can be spectacular.
IN-58 starts in Merom, Indiana, some 30 miles south of Terre Haute.
Merom is home to less than 300 citizens, but is also home to the Merom Conference Center. Opened in 1862 as the Union Christian College, the Merom Conference Center now serves as a retreat for the United Church of Christ.
IN-58 angles southeast out of Merom, crossing over US 41 at Carlisle, which is “home” to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.
IN-58 continues to zig-zag southeast to Freelandville.
58 straightens itself somewhat at Freelandville and cuts across to Elnora. A visit to Elnora isn’t complete without a visit to the Graham Farms Cheese store, located on the north end of Elnora on IN-57. East of Elnora, IN-58 starts to wind through the hills as it approaches Bedford.
Approaching Bedford, IN-58 follows IN-37 south for a short distance before heading east on its own in Bedford. Bedford, population 14,000, is noted as the Limestone Capital of the World. Limestone from Bedford can be found in structures such as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and the National Cathedral. Bedford also lays claim to a couple of historic highways as well: The Dixie Highway and US Route 50, traversing some 3,000 miles across the United States from Ocean City, Maryland to West Sacramento, California.
East of Bedford, IN-58 continues its twisty two-lane trek across parts of the Hoosier National Forest. This particular area is a good section to test your driving reflexes or just to see how well your car handles tight curves. 🙂 Plus, you get to see a wide array of warning signs along the way you won’t often see elsewhere.
Just up the road is the tiny town of Heltonville. Boasting a population of 1200, Heltonville is the boyhood home of Indiana basketball legend Damon Bailey. Bailey’s fame began when he was in 8th grade and Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight targeted him as a recruit to play for the Hoosiers in the years to come.
Bailey went on to set the Indiana state scoring record in basketball, which also garnered him the coveted title of “Mr. Basketball”, given to the state’s top senior hoops player. He eventually signed to play college ball at Indiana University. Today, Heltonville honors its native son with a limestone monument, which chronicles his achievements, in front of the grade school he attended.
Past Heltonville, IN-58 continues snaking through the countryside…
before entering Freetown, a town seemingly lost in time with its old time grocery…
and its gas station.
IN-58 begins to angle northeast out of Freetown for its remaining 17 miles through Spraytown…
and finally Ogilville.
Indiana State Road 58 quietly ends its 122 mile journey just past the interchange with Interstate 65.
IN-58 has much to offer if you’re looking to kill a day with a drive. I highly suggest making this trip during the peak foliage season in October. It’ll give you a good dose of happiness before a loooong winter season.