A friend asked me a question the other day.
He wanted to know if I was working on another project and when would I be writing?
Welllll, I am working on a project and I normally write about it when it is done, or I have answered the ultimate question.
Right now it is not done and I can’t answer the question.
Let me say a bit in background. In my more than 25 years on the earth I have lived in or visited all 50 states. I have dipped into Canada and Mexico and spent some time in Korea and Japan.
I have traveled by boat, plane, train, bus, car, horse, mule, donkey, bicycle and I have walked. Oh yes, I once paddled a canoe down Sugar creek.
In this vein I have been at the controls of a Cessna 150 aerobat, a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 182……. For a few moments.
I have flown in a Huey, and a Piper recon plane used by the U.S. Army, a DC4, DC6, DC8, Boeing727,737,747,757.
Let’s say I have used many modes of transportation.
When I was a bit younger, (during my first 25 years) I wondered why there are small towns spread across the landscape. That realization became most apparent when I came back home to Indiana and when I spent time in Iowa, and South Dakota.
I observed that many towns are situated between 10 and 20 miles apart – about the distance a person could walk in a day’s time.
Even Pony express stations were stationed between 15 and 20 miles apart –about as far as you could run a horse in a day.
Well, then what is my big Question? What are all those squiggly lines in the asphalt roads I drive on today?
I know, it seems kinda foolish but then it is my idea.
About 75 years ago I lived in Columbus, Ga.
At that time there were railroad tracks that ran down the middle of 8th street level with street grade. Cars drove on them all the time but I never saw a train.
I observed similar tracks in other towns. Some drivers hated them and others loved them. On a nice day you could drive the rails for a smooth ride.
I have lived in Boone County for 20 plus years and certain marks in the road have caught my attention. I even took out my measuring tape and measured them. They are essentially in the range of 5 feet apart. Too wide for a ditch to lay most water lines and sewer pipes that I have observed. And the marks, made by asphalt crack sealant, only occur on certain streets.. In town they line up with my experience. But I see them in the country where I know there are no sewer lines or even water pipes.
So why? Well, I suspected rail tracks but that did not make sense.
Then I thought of trolley tracks. But in the country….?
A conversation with the county surveyor and a look at an old map and I discovered that Lebanon was a hub in the Indiana Interurban rail system.
Trolleys ran the length of Lebanon Street, North and South, and on South street East and West and along Indianapolis Avenue. It was the interurban that helped farmers get produce to town and families to get into town and shop between 1890 and 1937. Before 1902 when the first trolley was run in Lebanon a person moved about by walking, riding a horse of by carriage.