Recently, I read the Images of America: Dixie Highway in Indiana. This book provided many memories about my links to the Dixie Highway in Indiana. Authors Russell S. Rein and Jan Shupert-Arick provide a fascinating historical photo tour of this once major highway.
The Dixinana Cafe and Service Station south of La Paz
on the Dixie Highway
For me, these links begin with being born about a mile from where the Dixie passes by Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. I used to catch the bus home from high school across the street from the cemetery’s main gate at 34th and Boulevard. Also during high school, I caught butterflies and collected leaves in the cemetery. These days in the fall, my wife and I enjoy visiting the auto pioneer graves of James A. Allison, Carl G. Fisher, Howard C. Marmon, Harry C. Stutz, and the Duesenberg brothers.
The route was the brain child of Carl G. Fisher who proposed a highway linking Chicago to Miami Beach. In September 1915, the first brick was laid in Martinsville, Indiana, on the first official section of the Dixie Highway. Although Fisher’s goal was to encourage the growth of Miami Beach as a resort location, he also helped the economies of those Indiana communities along the Dixie Highway.
My first memories of traveling the Dixie are as a youth on trips from Indianapolis to South Bend. I remember going through the narrow stretch of sycamore trees in Carroll County that is now marked by the Sycamore Row marker. What an experience with the semis passing in the opposite direction.
Seeing the Crosley station wagon atop Roger’s Steak House in LaPaz reminded us that we were nearing South Bend. Other South Bend landmarks included Bonnie Doon’s Drive-IN restaurant, the Drake Motel, and the Studebaker factory just south of downtown.
On the way back home to Indianapolis, passing the Toll House at 4702 N. Michigan Road meant we were a few minutes from home.
All of these landmarks from my youth are documented, plus many more. Images of America: Dixie Highway in Indiana provides a compelling look at the route’s history. It’s one that you might enjoy contemplating a drive along the Dixie Highway in Indiana.
Peruse Images of America: Dixie Highway in Indiana at Amazon.com.