Monday, January 3, 2011

Samuel Moore Parkway (Old State Road 67)


Recently I saw a street sign at Old State Road 67 and Indianapolis Road in Mooresville, Indiana, which announced that I was driving along Samuel Moore Parkway. Historically, this was State Road 67 (now, "old" because the "new" S.R. 67 bypass had been opened in 1959 and became dual lane south of Mooresville in 1964-65). "Old" 67 entered town, not surprisingly, as it still does, becoming Main Street and running up to the Indiana Street intersection, when the "old" state road turned left and moved south toward Brooklyn and Martinsville.

This was the main artery moving traffic through and into Mooresville. According to the local newspaper, last July (2010) the Mooresville Town Council voted not to rename Old S.R. 67 as Samuel Moore Parkway. The article says "Sammy Moore Parkway," which may be accurate as far as the council's discussion was concerned, but nobody familiar with the town founder would have called him Sammy. "There was nothing Sammy about Samuel Moore," concluded Wanda Potts, Mooresville historian and Indiana Room Librarian at Mooresville Public Library (1966-2002). Now, Sammy is a fine nickname (just ask my daughter), and I think it quite descriptive of some famous, courageous Mooresvillians (e.g., Sammy L. Davis, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient), but it is too informal to capture the austerity, formality, and reservation of Samuel Moore.

Renaming the old stretch of state highway after the town founder makes sense. Moore platted the village in 1824, and the town bearing his name still expresses the mark he made on its geography, business development, social structure, growth, and historical significance. The first frame construction business was Moore's general store, which stood where Hadley mini-park is located today. The heart of Mooresville was Samuel Moore; therefore, it seems logical to rename the original heart of the town's transportation network, Old S.R. 67 (before it joins Indianapolis Road), after him.

There is, of course, the perfectly valid argument that "Old 67" is so entrenched in the public consciousness that renaming it would be more symbolic than practicable. There, too, is considerable history behind the old state road designation, and this should not be lightly discarded.

Perhaps I missed mention in the Mooresville-Decatur Times of the renaming in the latter half of last year, but if it were done, it is certainly a welcome historical tribute to a man whose vision launched the town many of us call "home."


William R. Buckley
MPL Reference Coordinator & Indiana Room Historian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us

SOURCES:

Blevins, Aaron. "Old Ind. 67 stays Old Ind. 67 for now," Mooresville-Decatur Times, July 10, 2010, p. A1.

"Rd 67 dual lane set for 1964-65," The [Mooresville] Times, March 7, 1963.

"Rd. 67 bypass ribbon cutting at Rd. 144 cross scheduled today," The [Mooresville] Times, Dec. 10, 1959, p. 1.




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