Meet the Face Behind the Place: Lloyd Expressway

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Mead Johnson complex in Evansville, Indiana. The road intersection is St. Joseph Avenue and Pennsylvania Street (later becoming the Lloyd Expressway), 1966. Source: UASC, MSS 184-0671.
Mead Johnson complex in Evansville, Indiana. The road intersection is St. Joseph Avenue and Pennsylvania Street (later becoming the Lloyd Expressway), 1966. Source: UASC, MSS 184-0671.

Most Evansvillians have a love-hate relationship with Indiana State Road 62, better known locally as the Lloyd or Lloyd Expressway. It is a common road to travel and one of the few roads that go all the way through east to west, even if an expressway has stoplights. The expressway has a unique history in Evansville and most residents have varying opinions. The story of its namesake is heartbreaking, to say the least.

Aerial view of the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville, Indiana, n.d. Source: MSS 184-1564.
Aerial view of the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville, Indiana, n.d. Source: MSS 184-1564.

By the 1950’s, construction started on the expressway on the west side of Evansville by extending Pennsylvania Avenue. The expressway would extend from the Posey County line on the west side to Interstate 164, now known as Interstate 69, on the east side of Evansville. During the 1970’s, funds were secured by then-Evansville mayor, Russell G. Lloyd, Sr. The expressway was not completed for close to thirty years. Finally, on July 19, 1988, the expressway was officially open for business. The originally renamed of the expressway was Division Street-Pennsylvania Expressway until 1980, when it was renamed to honor Lloyd.

Russell G. Lloyd, Sr., served as Evansville mayor from 1972 to 1980. He was born on March 29, 1932 in Kingston, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a law degree. Lloyd would move to Evansville and make a local political career there. He served as an alternate delegate for Indiana in the 1972 Republican National Convention and become the mayor for Evansville, serving two terms. Lloyd would leave office in 1980 but he was assassinated by Julie Van Orden on March 19, 1980. Van Orden had issues with local officials and believed Lloyd was still in office. She decided to voice her opinions to Lloyd at his home and after a belief argument, Van Orden pulled a gun and shot Lloyd. Two days later, Lloyd passed away. In 1981, Van Orden was found guilty by insanity and sent to the Logansport State Mental Hospital until her death in 2014.

Interested in learning more about local history? Check out the UASC Digital Gallery, https://digitalarchives.usi.edu/, from the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library. There are over 50,000 photographs and over 1,000 oral histories relating to local history and various subjects.

References

AA Roads. (2013). Lloyd expressway: State road 62 and state road 66. https://www.aaroads.com/guides/lloyd-expwy/

Driving Division was frustrating, scary. (2007, Sept. 27). Evansvile Courier and Press. https://web.archive.org/web/20070927212427/http://web.courierpress.com/features/150/hist1116.htm

Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. (n.d.). Browning genealogy. Browning Genealogy: Evansville Area Obituary Search. Retrieved May 21, 2021, from http://browning.evpl.org/

Lutgrieg, T. & Gross, E. (n.d.). Moments that shaped our city. Evansville Living. http://www.evansvilleliving.com/articles/moments-that-shaped-our-city

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