Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 6, 2012

WHO WE ARE: Infrastructure changes with needs

GOSHEN — Elkhart County residents have come along way since settlers traveled on foot and horseback through the forests on Indian paths 180 years ago.

Today local and state leaders are constantly widening and improving roads and intersections to move the ever-increasing load of traffic through the county.

Chicago to Fort Wayne road

The earliest “roads” in Elkhart County were little more than Indian foot paths. Of course there were no road markers or maps to help travelers on these crude routes.

The most prominent pathway in the early-1800s was the Chicago to Fort Wayne trail that is generally the route of U.S. 33 through Elkhart County.

The Fort Wayne Road was laid out in 1832 and was built in 1833. That 76-mile highway from Fort Wayne to South Bend, was authorized by the state legislature. The first real road in the county was the Logansport Road, authorized by the legislature in 1830. That route entered the south part of the county at Milford Junction, ran north along what is now Ind. 15, then headed northeast on the Middlebury Road to the Michigan state line.

A second road was ordered built by the county commissioners in November, 1831, and was laid out that winter. That was the Mishawaka Road, from Dunlap to the west county line.

Also, in January, 1832 the legislature authorized a road to be built from the county seat of Grant County to Goshen. That is why C.R. 23, south of Goshen to Syracuse and beyond, was called the Syracuse-Huntington Road.

In the mid-1800s, road location was the principal item of business for the county commissioners. Gravel road companies were organized by residents to build and maintain the roads. Each male resident worked two days a year to maintain the roads.

But in the late-1880s, counties bought up these companies and took over the maintenance of the roads.

Bridges, like highways, were built after action of the state legislature until county governments were given the authority to build bridges in 1855. Since 1870 counties have had the sole responsibility for the care of bridges.

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