US 50 in Indiana

The Jim Grey PageRoads

Ripley County

As the road passes into Ripley County, it becomes wooded and a little twisty.

US 50 in Ripley County

It's a fun drive.

US 50 in Ripley County

Soon the road enters Versailles, which is pronounced verSALES.

This is where US 50 intersects with US 421, which is the "auto trails" alignment of the Michigan Road. You'd think that this would be the heart of a bustling downtown, but Versailles built its downtown just north of here. It made sense at the time, as the major north-south road wasn't US 421 or the Michigan Road, but a plank road that followed Adams St. north out of town. That route was bisected when the lake north of town was created by the Army Corps of Engineers.

US 50 in Versailles

US 421 and US 50 briefly run concurrently in Versailles.

US 50 in Versailles

West of Versailles, US 50 intersects the Michigan Road's original alignment. At a quick glance, you'd never guess you were crossing a historically significant road.

US 50 at the Michigan Road

If you look to your left, though, you might notice this historical marker. It could use a little TLC.

US 50 at the Michigan Road

Since my 2008 Michigan Road trip, Ripley County erected this marker on this corner, as well.

US 50 at the Michigan Road

Shortly the road comes upon tiny Holton. Or, should I say, the road bypasses tiny Holton.

Do you see near the map’s right edge how US 50 curves away from its formerly straight path, yet a road continues straight from that fork? That just screams old alignment. That road is even labeled Versailles St., which is a good sign as that is the next town to the east, and old highways very often were named for the towns they connected. Versailles St. continues westbound for another mile beyond the edge of the image above, but then it forks widely, and neither fork reconvenes with modern US 50. So I got out my Automobile Blue Books. My 1916 ABB tells the driver to “cross RR. at Holton Sta. 58.5.” 58.5 is the number of miles from the beginning of this route, which began in Cincinnati. It continued: “59.5. Left-hand road; turn left. 60.0. Cross RR. and immediately turn right. Caution for downgrade, cross bridge 61.6, running upgrade beyond.” The 1924 ABB describes the same path, even calling it “State Highway No. 4.” So after you cross the railroad tracks on Versailles St., you drive a mile, turn left, drive another half mile, cross the tracks again, and turn right. Well, exactly one mile west of the railroad tracks in Holton is that long driveway at the left edge of the map image above. That driveway was once the highway! It continued south of the farmhouse and crossed the tracks. That crossing was removed somewhere along the way. At any rate, here's where the two roads diverge.


The 1916 ABB talks about crossing a bridge at 61.6 miles. When I trace the route and count the miles, there’s a bridge on modern US 50 at that point. But Google Maps shows something else just south of the current bridge – an older, abandoned bridge! I was pressed for time and had not done full research before I made my recent trip along this portion of US 50. I didn’t know about this bridge and so missed the opportunity to photograph it! (Fortunately, a bridgefan passed through here before me, photographed the bridge, and shared his findings at Here's the bridge from the air. See it there, just below the current bridge?

I'll have to go back one day to see that bridge.


Start01 Dearborn County • 02 Ripley County • 03 Jennings County04 Jackson County
05 Lawrence County06 Martin County07 Daviess County 08 Knox County


Created 2 January 2011.
Photos subject to the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license unless otherwise specified.

Text copyright 2011 by Jim Grey. (Replace # with @ if you click that link to send me e-mail.)
Maps are screen shots from Google Maps. All copyrights acknowledged.