Posts Tagged ‘I-94’

Fun with Highways: Wisconsin

2 Comments

Our “Primary Highways” series continues apace with the state of Wisconsin. We begin with the state capital, Madison, which I wrote about during last year’s protests. We begin with a image of those protests. It looks very cold there, but also quite exciting. Some of us watched these protests in the hope that it would be the start of a resurgent progressive movement.


[Photos by Lost Albatross (Emily Mills) on flickr. Shared under Creative Commons license.]

In the eastern section of the capital, we encounter aptly named “Badger Interchange”, in which no fewer than three major interstates converge, I-90, I-94 and I-39. The interchange also includes state highway 30, a short freeway that connects to downtown Madison.

Highway 30 ends at US 151, which traverses the isthmus that holds downtown Madison and separates lakes Mendota and Monona. I don’t know of too many other cities concentrated on an isthmus like that. Certainly, the location between the two lakes makes for interesting views and architectural opportunities. Consider this view from Lake Monona featuring the State Capitol building book-ended symmetrically by large buildings and standing behind Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace.


[By Emery (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]

The city is also hope to the University of Wisconsin, and an arts and music scene. It might be a good place to play as part of that mythical “upper Midwest tour” that I keep saying that I want to do.

It of course did not take long for us to encounter a building by Frank Lloyd Wright, a native of Wisconsin. His summer home and studio, Taliesin, is in Spring Green, west of Madison. We take US 14 west from the capital through a green hilly landscape – it’s not hard to see why this might been inspiring for Wright’s prairie style architecture, with its use of horizontal lines and low angles that reflect the expanse of the landscape. Taliesin Preservation, Inc. now occupies the estate and is dedicated to the architect’s legacy.


[By Marykeiran at en.wikipedia [GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons]

If we head north from Madison along I-39 to its end near the city of Wausau, we can see several examples of Prairie School architecture, including additional Wright houses. This one has a more distinctly modern feel than Taliesin, with more emphasis on straight lines.


[By Originally uploaded by Americasroof (Transferred by Arch2all) (Originally uploaded on en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]

We return to Madison again, and this time stay with I-90/I-94 westward after they split from I-39. The highway goes by Wisconsin Dells, which looks like a major tourist trap. But the name actually comes from the interesting sandstone rock formations along the Wisconsin River. Skip the amusement parks and head to the river.


[Dells of the Wisconsin River taken in May of 2002 by Amadeust]

These formations which are vaguely reminiscent of the higher-elevation features in the southwest, were supposedly cut during catastrophic flooding as an ancient lake drained. The wide river and lush green vegetation, however, make it quite a different environment.

It was along I-90/I-94 that I also had a chance to sample Wisconsin’s famous dairy products in its basic form: milk out of a carton at a truck stop. I was skeptical that it would really be that much different, but I have to admit that the chocolate milk was better than anything I had in college (or public school before that). My time on that trip was limited, so I didn’t have a chance to explore the real product I was interested in: cheese. Of course, one can get Wisconsin cheese here in California, and I can live vicariously through blogs like Cheese Underground until I get a chance to go back.

Next, we head east from Madison on I-94 towards the state’s largest city, Milwaukee. As we approach the city, we pass through the Zoo Interchange, one of the states oldest and busiest. It currently serves as the junction of I-94 with I-894, the “Zoo Freeway” and US 45. I like the name “Zoo Freeway”. Of course, the name of both the freeway and interchange derives from proximity to the Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens.

I-94 continues towards downtown, passing through another large interchange, the Marquette Interchange with I-794, I-43, and US 41. It does look like a complicated tangle.

Heading north on I-43 from the interchange, we exit at WI 145 to see the former Pabst Brewery Complex, a shrine to contemporary hipsterdom.


[Taken by Jeramey Jannene, on September 8th, 2005 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (CC BY 2.5)]

The complex closed in 1997. I have to admit, the derelict buildings of the brewery appeal to me at least as much the beer would have. Another great place to photograph, and this one is the National Register of Historic Places so it can’t be torn down (at least, I don’t think it can). Sections have in fact been reopened recently as a “Best Place” and there is a major redevelopment project planned for the entire complex. It is certainly possible to have modern, functioning business inside of a post-industrial shell, so I hope this place does not lose its charm in the development process. I would love to hear from people in Milwaukee about what is happening here.

Just to the east, we approach the downtown area and the Milwaukee River. The urban riverfront has pedestrian access via the Riverwalk.


[Image from Wikipedia. Licence:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/]

This looks like a great way to see the city and its connection to the river, with buildings coming right up to its edge. The walk continues is segments north and south, including into the historic Third Ward with its older buildings, wedged between the river and I-794 (the Lake Freeway). We can travel along the lake on I-794, and then continue north on city streets back into the downtown. Here we can see the spectacular modernist wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum (designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava) jutting out onto Lake Michigan.


[By en:User:Cburnett (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Milwaukee’s traditional architecture is more of the decorative style we see from American cities that grew in the early 20th Century, but also reflects the city’s German heritage (along with the beer).


[By Illwauk at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-2.0], from Wikimedia Commons]

From Milwaukee, we head north back into the state on US 41 towards Lake Winnebago, the state’s largest inland lake and the only lake in the U.S. named after a recreational vehicle. Along the lake, we pass the well-known towns of Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. This sunset view is looking from the east side of the lake towards Oshkosh, which is hidden below the setting sun.


[By Royalbroil at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons]

US 41 passes the town crossing over Lake Butte des Morts (named for a nearby Native American burial ground) and the Fox River, continuing around Lake Winnebago and heading northward towards Green Bay.

There is one primary reason most of us are familiar with Green Bay: it is home of the successful NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, and the only major team is non-profit and community owned. And quite successful, too. Their fans wear cheese-shaped hats. You can see the approach into downtown Green Bay on US 41 via this video:

We turn south onto I-43 (which ends in Green Bay) over the mouth of the Fox River and come to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, a large urban nature preserve. It is an opportunity for people in the city and beyond to see wildlife up close, in addition to being a center for the rehabilitation of local wildlife. Of course, we must feature one of the wild cats.


[Photo by tyle r on flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

US 41 continues north along the western side of the Bay of Green Bay (as distinguished from the city of Green Bay), passing by more natural landscape before entering into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Wisconsin does not have much shoreline on Lake Superior compared to its neighbors – in particular, Michigan extends quite a bit westward along the south shore of the lake, but it does have the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. We can get there from Michigan on US 2, passing along the edge of Chequamegon Bay before turning north onto WI 13 along the waters edge to the Apostle Islands. In addition to wildlife and great views of Lake Superior, the islands have unusual “sea caves”, such as these at the edge of Sand Island.


[By Jordan Green JWGreen (en:Image:Apostles sandisland.jpg) [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons]

In some ways they resemble the Dells that we saw much earlier in this article. We conclude with this lighthouse on the same island, one of several here that guide ships along this edge of the Lake Superior.

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fun with Highways: Illinois

1 Comment

Our primary highways series continues today with a visit to the state of Illinois.

Throughout this series, I have been drawn to many of the large cities of the Midwest and Great Lakes. And none of these looms larger than Chicago. And none is taller. Chicago is home to the tallest building in the United States, the Sears Tower (officially, it is now called the Willis Tower but I doubt too many people call it that).

Downtown Chicago is a true vertical city, with not just a few tall buildings, but the densely packed skyscrapers that form deep canyons, much like Manhattan. But the presence of the Chicago River cutting a channel through the middle of downtown is quite unique. The buildings seem to come up to the water’s edge.


[Photo by mdesisto on flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

The Chicago River connects to Lake Michigan, but thanks to the miracles of human engineering, it actually flows in the other direction away from the lake (UPDATE: thanks to an astute reader on DailyKos for the correction!). US 41, Lake Shore Drive crosses at the mouth of the river in this unusual double-decker drawbridge. (The Aon Center is the tall building in the background. It reminds me a bit of something else.)

US 41 / Lake Shore Drive continues north and south of bridge as a scenic expressway with city buildings to one side and beaches along the lake to the other. The south end of the expressway is in the Hyde Park neighborhood, home of a certain Barack Obama.

Back in downtown, we find the complicated Circle Interchange, where I-90 and I-94 intersect with I-290 and the Congress Parkway. This interchange, which is often considered one of the worst bottlenecks in the country, connects the downtown to the lakefront and to the suburbs south and west of the city.


[By Stratosphere (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

If we take I-290 west from this geometric oddity of an interchange, we come to the suburb of Oak Park. It was here that Frank Lloyd Wright began his storied architectural career. His home and studio in the town is a landmark, and there are numerous early examples of his prairie-style houses. Looking at his home and studio, one can see the elements that would be later refined in prairie style.

There is so much in Chicago I could go on about with regards to art, architecture, music and culture, but space is limited. I do have to give a shout-out to the Art Institute of Chicago, however. It’s collection is large and encyclopedic, but they do have sections that focus on both American and contemporary art. I would particularly like to see the new modern wing, both the building and the art contained within. For music, I invite readers to share the ideas and suggestions of what to explore in the city.

Back at the Circle Interchange, we head south on I-90/I-94, the Dan Ryan Expressway., one of the widest and busiest highways in the country. It has wide sections for both local and express lines, and a line of Chicago’s “L” runs down the center. I-90 veers off onto the Chicago Skyway, but I-94 continues south (though designated as “east”) on the Dan Ryan Expressway until the junction with I-57.


[By Zol87 from Chicago, Illinois, USA (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zol87/2721964632/) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Continuing south on I-57, we pass by our friend I-80 in the southern suburbs of Chicago and eventually come to Champaign and Urbana after crossing I-74 – it does seem that Illinois has a lot of interstate highways. This cities are home to the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois. It hosts the NCSA (The National Center for Supercomputing Applications) that created the first graphical web browser Mosaic.


[By Ragib Hasan (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]

It’s hard to imagine life without this technology now, it is ubiquitous and integrated into so much of information, communication and entertainment. Of course, without it you would not reading this article, and I would probably not be writing it. Earlier in its history, the University was home to ILLIAC. At the time it was activated in 1952, it was the largest computer built and owned by an American university. This huge vacuum-tube based machine had 5 kilobytes of main memory and 64k of drum memory. For perspective, consider how much more memory and computation is in an iPhone now.

Before we overdose on computer history, we exit Champaign-Urbana on I-72 heading westward. (Did we mention that Illinois has a lot of interstate highways?). This view along the highway suggests just how flat the landscape is in this region, with the road completely straight.


[By Dual Freq (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]

Continuing on I-72, we come to Springfield, the state capital.


[Éovart Caçeir at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons]

Springfield is steeped in the history and mythology of Lincoln, probably more than any other city in the state. He lived there for 24 years and launched his political career there. And his final resting place, Lincoln’s Tomb is in Springfield.


[Lincoln’s Tomb, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, 2006. Robert Lawton (self), via Wikimedia Commons.]

We also find another well-known Frank Lloyd Wright home in Springfield, the Dana-Thomas House. It has rather large and often considered a “prairie mansion”. It does contain the horizontal forms and low angular ceilings characteristic of prairie style, but the most notable features that distinguish are the windows.

We head south from Springfield on I-55, on another incredibly straight stretch of highway through very flat landscape. For those who have lived among hills our entire lives, these flat plains are a novel experience. It’s not only the land, but also the sky.


[Photo by tlindenbaum on flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)]

There is a significant break in the flat landscape of western Illinois along the Illinois River. Illinois Route 100 runs along the the west bank of the river amidst trees and bluffs. It then crosses a bridge and continues along the east side until the Illinois River meets the Mississippi River.

[Photo by kittell on flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

IL-100 continues along the Mississippi as part of the the Great River Road. As one can see, the landscape here is no longer flat.


[By Kbh3rd (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

The Great River Road continues past the end of IL-100 and into the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. As the landscape along the river becomes more suburban and then urban in St. Clair county, the road bounces around many other designations, including I-70 in East St. Louis. From here we can continue across the Mississippi to St. Louis itself, or continue southward on the Great River Road as IL-3.

We opt for the latter, passing through towns with Egyptian sounding names until we come to Cairo, at the southern tip of the state, where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. We meet I-57 again and then continue into the town itself on US 51. Cairo (pronounced KAY-RO) was once a significant center of trade along the rivers. But it has been in a long decline, and now has a population of about 2,800. Indeed, some views of the town make it look nearly abandoned.


[Photo by gobucks2 on flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

The photo almost looks like something from Doug Rickard’s series. It’s sad, but also quite interesting in a way. It’s a long way between Chicago and Cairo, but it would be great to see and photograph both of them in one big trip across the state.

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fun with Highways: Michigan

3 Comments

Today we continue our “primary highways” tour with a virtual visit to Michigan, and in particular to Detroit.

My most significant visit to the state took my to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan for a music technology conference. The conference was a great experience, of course. The campus what quite interesting as well. As with many traditional college campuses, it has an iconic bell tower, Burton Tower. But it has a second one as well on the modernist North Campus. Our conference required going back and forth between the two where we could easily see the contrast between the traditional collegiate architecture and the modernist, which I quite liked but my colleagues derided.

If instead of going west from airport to Ann Arbor on I-94 we had instead gone east, we would have arrived in Detroit. I have yet to visit Detroit, and as such the city has taken on a mythical quality. I-94 enters the city as the Edsel Ford Freeway, mostly staying to the north of the city center. We can turn south onto I-75, the Chrysler Freeway to head downtown. One would expect the “motor city” to have an impressive network of freeways. I-75 runs along the edge of downtown as the Fisher Freeway, and together with I-375 and Michigan Highway M-10 form a loop around downtown, anchored by some large interchanges on either end.

As one can see in this map, the loop frames the downtown and Grand Park Circus. The famous People Mover is primarily located within the boundaries of the loop as well. But us now turn our attention to the surface level, beginning with this view from the connection between M-10 and I-75.


[Photo by ifmuth on flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)]

That large building behind the highways is Michigan Central Station (or sometimes Michigan Central Depot, perhaps someone can tell us which is the correct name actually is).


[Albert duce [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons]

The massive and once upon a time grand train station now sits alone and abandoned. It symbolizes much about the city and its history, both rise and decline; and people have very strong opinions about it. It’s “heartbreaking” to some who love Detroit. Some see potential for it to have new uses in the future, perhaps as green revitalization project. Others simply see it as an “eyesore” that needs to be removed. For me, it is quite captivating as a quintessentially American form of “ruin.” We tend not have ruins, preferring to remove that which offends us in favor of bigger, faster, newer, etc. And ruins from the 20th century seem even more vulnerable to our need to remove and remake. But perhaps more than most large cities, Detroit stands out for its ruins that remain. This in part because the city was the center of our iconic automobile industry, and quite prosperous with grand buildings and streets. The decline and decay are quite dramatic, but happened in such a way that many of the places are still there in their decayed state. I first became fascinated with this through the website The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit, which is a loving tribute to the city and its ruins, albeit a melancholy one. And for me, these ruins can be as much a source of creative inspiration as the landscape of Arizona that we explored yesterday. Indeed some of the basic elements of color, shape, texture and sound have things in common, although the human factor is quite different. There is definitely more that Dystopian feel here. I could certainly see music and image inspired by visiting the ruins of the abandoned Packard Automobile Factory.


[By Albert duce (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons]

I hope to have the opportunity to visit the city and explore creativity and meet people in the local community there, and make something to share. I hope perhaps the city can find a way to live with its ruins and draw from them without it having to be “blight”, and that vital communities, perhaps greener communities, can grow up within them. Some of the old towers around Grand Circus Park are being redeveloped at this time. And this is all the context of positive news from “Detroit” the automobile industry.


[By Andrew Jameson (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons]

In the meantime, there certainly are plenty of cultural opportunities. The Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). We have been shadowing the artist Mark Di Suvero throughout this series, and the DIA has two of his works, including an older piece Tom made primarily from wood. Music of Detroit is of course legendary. I have a fondness for quite a lot of classic Motown, much of which was done before they moved – I tend to think it works best in minor keys or when the overall sound is a bit more melancholy than when it is at its most bouncy and upbeat, but that is perhaps just me. Detroit also has a place in the history of popular electronic music. To me, these are not as disparate as others might think, particularly when one considers the harmony. (On this note, I would also enjoy hearing suggestions of music in the comments.)


But it is time to get back on the road. We can head northwest from Detroit on I-96 to Lansing, the state capital. For those like me who are amused by highway trivia, in Lansing, I-96 and I-69 meet, and even run concurrently for a brief period of time. I think this only place where there is such a mirror-image concurrency (as I-87 and I-78 in New York actually never meet). A spur I-496 turns off into the center of Lansing, with the state capital building to one side.


[Criticalthinker at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

If from Detroit we head north on I-75, we pass through Flint (of Michael Moore fame) and then further away from the Great Lakes that define the state’s geography and into the center of the lower peninsula. But I-75 is also the main highway connection to the Upper Peninsula over the Mackinac Bridge.


[By Jeffness at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Sam at en.wikipedia. (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons]

North of the bridge, we can switch to US 2 which hugs the shore of Lake Michigan on the southern side of the peninsula. But we can also head inward on M-28, from which we can approach the northern shore along Lake Superior, traveling by many picturesque parks such as Tahquamenon Falls and Pictured Rocks.


[By Attila Nagy (anagy) (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]


[By MJCdetroit [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

M-28 continues on to Marquette, the largest city in the Upper Peninsula even though its population is around 21,000. It is home to Northern Michigan University and the Superior Dome, the largest wooden dome in the world.


[By Bobak Ha’Eri (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]

In researching this article, I came across the blog Michigan Architecture. This site’s author is a gradulate of Northern Michigan University and is still based in Marquette. I recommend checking out her blog and seeing some of her interesting photograph of unexpected places around the state.

We conclude in the northernmost part of Michigan, Isle Royal. It is far north within Lake Superior, and indeed closer to Minnesota and Canada than it is to the rest of Michigan. It has an odd geography, basically a series of parallel ridges sticking up from the lake.

The middle of the island is a lake, Siskiwit Lake. It is trippy to have a large lake in a large island in a larger lake.

But it gets better. When nearby Moose Flats pond is full, Moose Boulder becomes the largest island in the largest lake in the largest island in the largest lake in the world! I will leave readers to ponder this…

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fun with Highways: Madison, Wisconsin

3 Comments

Between Facebook stats and popular uprisings, there is a lot of “fun with highways” to be had. And who knew that the next Middle Eastern country to face large-scale protests would be Wisconsin?

We begin in the eastern section of the capital, Madison, where no fewer than three major interstate highways converge, I-90, I-94 and I-39. Appropriately, the interchange is called the “Badger Interchange”. It also includes state highway 30, a short freeway that connects into downtown Madison.

Highway 30 ends at US 151, which traverses the isthmus that holds downtown Madison and separates lakes Mendota and Monona. I don’t know of too many other cities concentrated on an isthmus like that. Certainly, the location between the two lakes makes for interesting views and architectural opportunities. Consider this view from Lake Monona featuring the State Capitol building book-ended symmetrically by large buildings and standing behind Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace.

[Photo by Emery on Wikimedia Commons.]

The area is anchored by the State Capitol complex and the University of Wisconsin. The area between the two along State Street seems a bit like familiar streets in Berkeley or sections of northern Oakland – or maybe more like Austin, TX. In addition to numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries and places to hear live music, it too has a reputation as a liberal/progressive center. It also might be a place to play if and when I ever do an upper-midwest tour.

Of course, it is currently also the sight of large-scale protests against the current governor’s plan to strip most collective bargaining rights from state workers. Thousands of protesters have been camping out in the state capitol building and out filling the streets. Here are some images:

[Photos by Lost Albatross (Emily Mills) on flickr.  Shared under Creative Commons license.]

One thing to remember about Wisconsin in February is that it is cold. Even colder than the really irritating freezing cold rain we have been having in San Francisco over the past few days. It makes the protests all the more impressive (and in fairness, the counter-protesters in support of governor also have to brave the cold weather).

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Primary Highways: Montana and South Dakota

3 Comments

Well, this long process is nearly at it’s end. And this time, we really mean it, there are only two states left, Montana and South Dakota. I had an opportunity to visit both as a kid in 1988. It was only as I prepared to write this article that I realized this was twenty years ago!

We came into Montana at night on I-94, which we previously mentioned in this series when we visited Indiana and Detroit. The night sky in Montana is an amazing experience, as is the complete darkness if one stops the car and turns out the lights. A little eerie, actually. I grew up the suburbs north of New York City, so such clear and dark nights were a new experience.

I-94 ends quietly at junction with I-90 near Billings, the largest city in Montana. I don’t remember much about it.

We did visit Yellowstone National park, which is mostly in Wyoming. But the northern entrance, featuring the Roosevelt Arch, is in Montana:

We discussed Yellowstone in more detail when we wrote about Wyoming. But I didn’t mention the fact that I was there during the massive fires of 1988, that burned about one third of the park. The smoke and the various closures certainly colored my visit. I do need to go back again and experience Yellowstone as an adult and without the fires.

From Yellowstone, we traveled north and east, stopping in the town of Butte. Though quite small, I recall it looking rather large as one approached from the east at night on I-90. We at CatSynth would not deign to make jokes about the town’s name.

Ultimately, we headed north on US 93 to reach Glacier National Park. This was an altogether different experience from Yellowstone. Not only were the skies clear, but landscape was more the standard forests and lakes and mountains one associates with Rockies:

Among the striking features of Glacier Park are its lakes, such as St. Mary Lake (pictured here) and Lake McDonald. Lake McDonald in particular is quite deep, as it is formed from a valley between mountains, though not as deep as Crater Lake in Oregon. The park does of course have Glaciers, but they have been retreating quite dramatically, victims of climate change.


Our trip back from Montana took us through South Dakota on I-90. The main feature of I-90 in South Dakota were the frequent billboards advertising Wall Drug, which we of course did have to stop at, after having fun with the concept for the preceding hours. We did of course visit the more monumental attractions, including the dueling carved mountains of Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore.

We ultimately continued east on I-90 to Chicago, the hometown of the likely winner at the end of this long contest.


Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Primary Highways: Indiana

3 Comments

It has been a really busy week at CatSynth, but we're taking some time to continue our “primary highways” series with a visit to the state of Indiana. Appropriately for our series, Indiana is nicknamed the “Crossroads of America.” And that is how many of us know the state, passing from one place to another. It boasts eight major interstate highways: I-69, I-65, I-94, I-70, I-74, I-64, I-80, and I-90. These are indeed crossroads among major U.S. cities, New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston, Chicago. Detroit, Seattle and are hometown San Francisco.

I have traveled through Indiana en route from New York to San Francisco multiple times on I-80, which is part of the Indiana Toll Road. (Anyone surprised that we are once again traveling along I-80 during this series?)This highway runs along the extreme northern section of the state, passing through farmland, old industrial cities, and the suburbs of Chicago to the west. One can imagine along this landscape the demographic divisions currently being portrayed in the media. One can also observe Indiana's well-known reputation for being flat, particularly in the north. Though in the south, towards Kentucky, the landscape becomes more hilly.

In the northwest, near Chicago, I-80 shares its path with I-94. To the west, I-94 splits off to become the major freeway in downtown Chicago; beyond that it heads towards Milwaukee, then Minneapolis and the northern plains. In Indiana, it hugs the coast of Lake Michigan “before heading east on the long road to Detroit“.

A bit of amusing highway trivia involves I-69, which extends from Indianapolis north to Michigan and eventually the Canadian border. There have been plans for a while to extend I-69 south all the way to Texas and the Mexican border, creating another north-south transcontinental route. Former representative John Hostettler from Indiana was a strong supporter of the extension of I-69, but he also led a campaign to change its designation. Apparently, some “religious conservatives believe 'I-69' sounds too risqu

Share
Tags: , , , , , ,