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This 1878 shows the layout of Six Points. Notice how the intersecting National Road is not even labeled (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This 1878 map shows the layout of Six Points. Notice how the intersecting National Road is not even labeled. (Image: Indiana State Library)

Sometimes you just can’t stop “progress.” As the sprawl of Indianapolis spreads further past the boundaries of Marion County, small, independent communities are being gobbled up, their identities lost. Today, t appears that this phenomenon is happening to a west side crossroads known as Six Points.

This 1950s postcard shows the 40 Motel and adjacent Oasis Diner. The sign for the motel was taken down recently and it appears the property will be redeveloped (Courtesy Jeff Kamm)

This 1950s postcard shows the 40 Motel and adjacent Oasis Diner. The sign for the motel was taken down recently and it appears the property will be redeveloped. (Image: Jeff Kamm)

The area known as Six Points can trace its history back to 1851, during the construction of the Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad. The railroad crossed the old National Road near the Marion and Hendricks County lines at the intersection of another north and south road, creating a six-pointed intersection. This setup had the potential to create havoc with horses of both the natural and the iron variety. By 1925, the automobile had become commonplace, and the once nearly deserted National Road became part of the new United States Highway System. As traffic increased, the six-pointed intersection proved to be a treacherous liability.

This weathered white building was once a Mobil gas station. The elderly proprietor lived in the white house behind it and managed to keep shop until the 1990s. The 1950s vintage gas pumps remained in front until U.S. 40 was widened in 1999. The Plainfield Fire Department has burned the houses seen in this picture.

This weathered white building was once a Mobil gas station. The elderly proprietor lived in the white house behind it and managed to keep shop until the 1990s. The 1950s vintage gas pumps remained in front until U.S. 40 was widened in 1999. The Plainfield Fire Department has burned the houses seen in this picture.

To handle all of the new traffic, the State of Indiana began widening U.S. 40 between 1936 and 1943. The Six Points area was completely bypassed by a new four lane highway that included an overpass over the railroad. Businesses took advantage of the advantageous location between Indianapolis and Plainfield. Several motels popped up, complete with flickering neon signs. In 1954, the iconic Oasis Diner was shipped in from New Jersey by rail. Despite being completely bypassed once again in 1969 by Interstate 70, the traveler’s oasis remained relatively intact throughout the 1990s.

The Oasis Diner has been saved. After being condemned by the County Board of Health Indiana Landmarks arranged to move the structure further west down U.S. 40 in Plainfield. The signage has been restored to the 1954 design.

The Oasis Diner has been saved. After being condemned by the County Board of Health, Indiana Landmarks arranged to move the structure further west down U.S. 40 in Plainfield. The signage has been restored to the 1954 design.

These days, it’s getting much more difficult to discern where Indianapolis ends and Plainfield begins when driving along West Washington Street. It appears that Six Points will soon only be a memory. A gorgeous ribbon neon sign advertising the 40 Motel was recently demolished, and it appears the entire property will soon be redeveloped. On the other side of the road, an abandoned Mobile gas station crumbles as the Plainfield Fire Department has recently burned some of the few remaining homes for training purposes.

The silver “Oasis” rail car diner was condemned in 2009, and likely would have met a similar fate had Indiana Landmarks not stepped in to move the structure further west. The spot where there was once a unique rest stop for weary travelers will likely be covered with a growing collection of warehouses and car dealers.

What roadside landmarks do you miss driving by?

Printed Sources:

Indianapolis Star, June 11 2014

Driving the National Road in Indiana, Mary Beth Temple, 2006

3 responses to “At Your Leisure: A Lost Oasis”

  1. Greg Cafouros says:

    I miss the Teepee drive-ins, the one on Madison Ave particularly. Any old photos or history? It was a family favorite.

  2. Donna Winsted says:

    I had forgotten about Six Points! Thanks for the article. I grew up in Ben Davis so we were fairly close to Six Points – my girlfriend and I used to walk there once in a while during the 1950s. I believe the north/south street on that old map is County Road 1050 East which is almost in Marion County. The old Mobile station was on the southeast corner of W Washington St (US 40) and CR 1050 E. The Oasis Diner (which we went to if we had the money!) was on the north side of 40, west of 1050 E (if I remember correctly).
    My daughter and I visited the Oasis Diner at its new location in Plainfield and it was like stepping back in time! The food was really good, too! 😀

  3. Mary Williams says:

    …… I would like to find some information on Bridgeport Indiana

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