Unless you live in Terre Haute, if you were to drive down 7th street you would not be impressed. You might look out your car window and think, “Some of these houses were beautiful at one point.” And you would be right. Like many older cities that relied heavily on industry, think small towns in Michigan abandoned by the auto makers, the oldest parts of Terre Haute’s neighborhoods have fallen into some disrepair. What’s interesting is that you might look out the window and realize these older homes were once fantastic works of architectural significance, but you would never guess what you could find inside. If I told you a lot of those homes have walk-in safes that were once filled with priceless jewelry, you might have a hard time believing me. The Terre Haute we know now was drastically different just fifty years ago. Before that, even, it was a hub of industry and commerce. All brought to the area by railroads.
Just about everyone that resides in Terre Haute knows the term “railroaded.” While its derogatory use may be applied in several ways, it generally refers to an instance in which one is driving a vehicle and is unable to pass over a railroad track because a train is moving through town or, in the worst cases, has stopped completely. Students trying to get to Indiana State University commonly use being railroaded as an excuse for being late to class. Parents are infuriated by stopped trains when trying to lug their kids to soccer practice on time. Neighborhoods, usually quiet with no traffic, suddenly become flooded by angry drivers trying to find a way around long lines of rail cars in order to get to work on time.
Continue reading the article at National Road Magazine.