Day 9: July 9, 2006
Through Indiana



This motel popped up just when I needed one and I recalled having a favorable impression of it from a few drive bys. That impression only improved with this stay. Jeff & Lea Ann Golden have been running the place since 1980 but the motel is considerably older than that. It isn't particularly stylish; Bathroom colors and fixtures are certainly from another decade. But it is quite clean and reasonably priced. It even offers some things you might not expect like a refrigerator and microwave and wired broadband internet access. I know one night in one room is not all that much of a sample but I have absolutely no qualms about recommending the Golden Inn to anyone without an unlimited travel budget. A look at my slightly slept in room is here.

ADDENDUM: Sep 27, 2008 - I stayed at the Golden Inn again last night and found it just as nice as I remembered; a little nicer, actually. Jeff credits my 2006 photo as the inspiration behind replacing what he called "the old looking sinks" with the new units shown here. Plus, this time, besides providing a good place to sleep, the Goldens pointed out a tree where the Red Delicious apples were ready for picking and I grabbed a couple for an afternoon snack. It turned out to be a midnight snack but they were... delicious.

Richmond, IN, should get some sort of award for sprucing up the local Madonna of the Trail for the National Road's bicentennial. Granted, the Madonnas aren't exactly National Road symbols but the National Road does pass five of them. Indiana's is the only one of those five that appears to have received any recent attention. The Maryland statue is on a NOTR spur rather than on the actual National Road. Even so, letting the lady languish in a parking lot for a year and a half doesn't seem right. Maybe Bethesda should reconsider giving her to Cumberland.

But the folks in Indiana are paying attention. The old gal has a brand new walkway and appears to have been given a good scrubbing. Looks good.

The Indiana National Road Association has a pretty nice brochure. I know you can pick them up at the Old National Road Welcome Center in Richmond and probably some other places, too. It mentions two surviving mile markers around Centerville but does not give locations. I called the Bremers in Indianapolis to see if they knew where they were. No but they did know where the internet was. With Jennifer doing the research and Pat doing the... well, Pat held the phone... they soon had locations for me. Even with that information, I only found the most western marker. Until I saw it, I had no idea what an Indiana National Road mile marker looked liked and I'm sure there is a family on the east side of Centerville who are telling their friends about the goofy guy from Ohio who walked across the road to take pictures of the property line marker (or something equally mundane) in their yard.

Older alignments, marked as part of the Historic National Road Byway, are to be found off of the current US-40. One includes this early version of the divided highway.

On Washington Street in Knightstown, Trump's Texaco is a 1950s time capsule. The gymnasium where the movie Hoosiers was filmed is just a little further up the same street. I haven't seen the movie so probably wasn't as impressed with the gymnasium as I should have been. I was more impressed with the chimney standing next to it. That chimney belongs to the 1876 Knightstown Academy.

I don't usually get into drag races at stoplights but I didn't see any cops around and I thought I could take this guy. He did get the jump on me coming off the line but I was gaining when he turned off. I think I could have caught him in a few more yards.

In Indianapolis, I hooked up with the Bremers to be chauffeured to a few road related sites in the Indiana capital. First stop was this large marker where the National Road and the Michigan Road once crossed.

Lunch was at the Fountain Diner. It's a relative new (1994) creation but has certainly captured the flavor of a '50s diner. All the counters came from Indianapolis stores. The one shown here is from a nearby Woolworth. Others are from Hooks and G. C. Murpheys. The diner includes two duck pin bowling allies and what was once a theater. The converted theater is available for banquets, etc. Good diner fare is served including optionally flavored (cherry, vanilla, chocolate) fountain Cokes. Truly cool.

Next a visit to White River State Park which incorporates the Washington Street Bridge that once carried US-40. US-40 now curves around the park and the bridge approaches are paved with grass rather than asphalt. A really nice park that has apparently helped restore life to downtown Indy.

The last picture is the only physical proof I have that I actually saw the Bremers. That tiny figure on the right is Jennifer taking a break in an area on the west side of the bridge.

Walking around the north west corner of the Indiana State Museum provides a great view of downtown and more evidence of the revitalization. Outside the museum is a steam clock. The clock mechanism isn't driven by steam but steam is used to play "Back Home Again In Indiana" on eight brass whistles. Pat carefully orchestrated our walk so the we were treated to the full on the hour performance just as we walked up. We walked through the museum lobby then out the other side to return to the car passing the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art on the way.

I got a few pictures of old alignments on the way to the state line.

And then it was time to start a whole new state.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Home] [Contact] [Next]