Bourbon Sesquicentennial


A road crew lays brick on East Center Street near the fairground horse barns.

Roads Were The Rage ....

As of 1923 people traveling from Bourbon to do business in Plymouth still did not have a direct route to the county seat. A Pilot-News article printed in October, 1923, states that, "The Yellowstone Trail, heretofore numbered as Indiana State Road No. 44, has been changed to State Road No. 2 and will be marked by the state road men. (Through Marshall County, this road is now more familiar as county road 12B and, to old-timers, "the Leesburg road") The old Lincoln Highway from Fort Wayne west heretofore had been known as state road No. 2.

Surveys of the state crews at the time indicated that the route would be changed east of Plymouth so that "A road may be opened up north of the Pennsylvania tracks and paralleling the railroad most of the way to Fort Wayne." The road was a dirt road that followed the path of 12B Road through Bourbon township. It met what is now State Road 15 north of Warsaw to the east and, to the west, it hit the Michigan Road south of Plymouth. In the Fall of 1925, the State Highway Commission announced plans for the following year to pave this State Road 2 between Warsaw and Plymouth (which would include Center street through Bourbon) and they were still expressing a desire to keep the road north of the railroad tracks. In Bourbon township the only stretch of road north of the tracks was less than a mile long and ran from the Gumwood Road crossing to the crossing at Bob Goftschalks. The shortest route between Bourbon and Plymouth would crisscross the railroad at least 6 times.

State Road 2 was one of the few Indiana roads that was to be included in the Federal highway system. Yet the Spring of 1926 found the paving work being done further west in LaPorte and Porter counties. Even into August, the State Highway Commission was still having problems securing the right-of-way for the best possible route through Marshall county. They continued plans to keep the road bed completely on the north side of the railroad. Disagreement among factions in Plymouth over the route the road should take through the city almost caused the road to bypass Plymouth completely. It took some unselfish property trading in Bourbon to get the road diverted to the north side of the tracks west of Bourbon Street. The curves in the highway at

that point were a compromise to avoid the destruction of prominent homes in that area.

In October of 1926 the newspapers announced that all state highways would be renumbered under a permanent numbering system to conform with the schedule adopted by the Federal Bureau of Roads. East and West roads would be given even numbers and North/South roads would have odd numbers. Until this time each state numbered the roads that ran through their state. A Federal road would often change names when it crossed from one state into another. Under the Federal system, the Michigan Road became U.S. 31 and State Rd. 2 became U.S. 30. In October of 1928 it was announced that U.S. 30 was completed across the United States and all paved in some manner except for 21 miles of road.

Every road has a tale to tell. In 1922, Thirteenth Trail or "Dogleg" Road still zigged and zagged south of the railroad between Beech Road and 331 just as it does today and just as it did in 1880. Apple Road, south of the Leesburg Road meanders a bit to the east of "Dogleg" and at one time continued over the tracks and on south to 14th Road. In a township with a checkerboard road system, what could be the story behind these two unique roads?

Written by Judy McCollough for the

Sesquicentennial History Committee


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