McGregor Road

Today, we bring you one of Sylvia Henricks’ “Remembrances.” You can read more of Sylvia’s columns weekly in The Franklin Township Informer, or in her book From The Ash Grove (available directly from the FTHS, and via the web site). 

Another of the early roads in Franklin Township is what is now known as McGregor Road. If we consider “early roads” those that seem simply to have grown from use, perhaps animal trails through the woods or along streams, or paths from one place to another, there are three such roads in our township. Shelbyville Road, that winds its way into Indianapolis, McGregor Road, which connects the south-east corner of Franklin Township to the north-west corner by a long-ago path to we now call Churchman Avenue, and a third (or fourth) road might be Vandergriff Road which winds through the north east corner of the township to Wanamaker. These old roads are interesting to contemplate.

On old maps what we call McGregor Road is clearly shown, running west from Acton (or east to Acton) along the north bank of Wildcat Creek. It makes a turn or two, and heads for the present-day Historical Society Meeting House on Franklin Road. There at one time, it followed the north property line due west for a short distance, and then went cross-country through the Deerberg farm. (I once visited the family, and, as we talked, I asked how it happened they had built their house so far off a road. “Oh,” Mrs. Deerberg said, “but there was a road. It went right by our house. Part of it is still our lane to Stop Eight Road.” A couple other jogs and the old road appeared to connect to the south end of Churchman Avenue.

I called Max Bridgford of Acton to ask if he knew anything about the road, or an earlier name. “It’s been McGregor Road all my life,” he said. He told me the names of five famiilies that have lived on it. John Meyers, Bill Meadert, Jerry Rabourn, Dr. Walter Rubush,and “Mr. Nolting who lived in the McGregor House until Mr. Mutz bought it.” Max also told me that Acton Road was another road paved with cement, as was the Shelbyville road. He remembered how some farmers driving horse-drawn wagons had to use the berm, if the road was too slippery for horses.

I plan to write something about William McGregor next week, and use an early photograph of his home, which the Historical Society came by in an unusual way. I know nothing about Vandergriff Road, where it got its name, who built it, or how old it is. Any information would be welcome.

Map (1900?) shows McGregor road north of Wildcat Creek, going through Mr. McGregor’s properties. The road is not named on the map. It runs north of the town, crosses Buck Creek, and into Shelby County.

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