A TRAIL OF A DIFFERENT COLOR—FOLLOWING THE BLUE LINE POGUE
Trails don’t always have to be paved, or even gravel, stone, or shaved grass in order to allure wandering feet down their winding tracks. Ever since the early 1900s, the Indianapolis creek called Pogues Run has, for a good part of its length, been doomed to meander a subterranean bed. It was routed through an underground aqueduct as the city grew over it. But it’s still there, and meander it does. However, thanks to project artist Sean Derry’s efforts, the Pogue no longer has to be forgotten under our cars and economies.
Derry’s “Charting Pogue’s Run” project was first proposed in 2004. He marked the stream’s course underground by placing a thermoplastic blue line across urban and downtown streets, parking lots, and sidewalks so that, today, as we sometimes come upon it, we may recall what is now hidden. There are also a number of permanent medallions inserted into this unusual trail.
Following the underground Pogue’s Run can be a weekend work or an afternoon hike, depending on your speed, sleuthing abilities, and how often you get side-tracked by lunch or watering-hole breaks. Having a map or two of Indianapolis will help, both a modern one, and also a vintage variety. The modern ones lend themselves to current street names and buildings, but they show neither Derry ’s blue line nor the once bubbling Pogue. The 1899 Bicycle and Driving Map of Indianapolis, published at the time by Dessecker and Sandstrom, can be found at the Indiana Historical Society, or the Indiana State Library. In addition, it conveniently shows where Pogues Run runs, and its confluence with the White River .
Derry estimates the blue-line track to be about 4½ miles. The Pogue begins its underground journey near New York Street and where the Exit 110 east off-ramp descends from Interstates 65/70. Right at the outset, a trail navigator is set a riddle, because the line appears to run into the embankment. Go across the railroad tracks over to Ohio Street , though, and you find the blue-line Pogue once again.
This kind of guesswork and map-reading is the norm as you follow a generally southwest course across the city-scape. You find passersby and workers who know what the blue line is about, and some who are probably wondering about your sobriety.
Other Indy landmarks on the journey include the Marion County Jail Processing Center , the old Service Supply Company building, heliport, Conseco Fieldhouse, the Slippery Noodle, and Lucas Oil Stadium.
Newly-paved areas, such as that near the stadium, can create confusion, as the blue line succumbs to street updating. The key to remember is the general direction of the flow. This is where the 1899 map is very handy. Eventually, you can get to the mouth of Pogue’s Run, where a final medallion marks the spot. Good luck and good sleuthing!