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M-96
M-97 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Former M-98
Southern Terminus:    M-3/Gratiot Ave in northeastern Detroit (cnr Gunston Ave & Gratiot Ave)
Northern Terminus:    M-59/Hall Rd on the Clinton Twp/Macomb Twp border north of Mount Clemens (cnr Groesbeck Hwy, North Rd & Hall Rd)
Length: Updated 17.211 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-97
Notes: Updated M-97 bears the names Gunston Ave and Hoover Ave between M-3/Gratiot Ave and M-102/Eight Mile Rd in Detroit, and Groesbeck Hwy between M-102 and M-59/Hall Rd in Macomb Co. Governor Alexander J. "Alex" Groesbeck (1873–1953), who held the office from 1921–1926, was an early supporter of "good roads" in the state of Michigan. Construction on the present M-97 route began at the end of his tenure in office and was known for a time as "the Groesbeck Highway." Groesbeck's successor as Governor, Fred W. Green, then chose to rename the highway (c.1928–29), still under construction, after Archie M. Reid a druggist and politician from Detroit. After seeing some acceptance of the "Reid Highway" name during the 1930s, references to "Groesbeck-Reid Highway" and "Groesbeck (Reid) Highway" begin to become more common. By the end of World War II, the highway seems to have shifted back to its original name and all of M-97 from Hoover St in Detroit northerly is still known as Groesbeck Hwy to this day:
  Groesbeck is generally pronounced "grOHs-behk" (e.g. "grows-beck"), although some say it "gross-beck."
  New! In "State Trunkline Needs, 1960–1980," a set of maps prepared by the State Highway Dept's Office of Planning, Programming Division in 1960 showing possible additions, upgrades and improvements to the state trunkline system over the ensuing twenty years, MSHD staff recommended the following pair of changes to the route of M-97 during that timeframe:
  • By far the most monumental of the changes recommended was to construct an M-97 freeway as a continuation of a proposed "Gratiot Ave Freeway" which would run along the US-25/Gratiot Ave corridor from downtown Detroit northeasterly to the neighborhood of McNichols Rd & Schoenherr St. There, the freeway would turn northerly along the Schoenherr St corridor as an M-97 freeway, crossing into Macomb Co at M-102/Eight Mile Rd and continuing along Schoenherr Rd to Stephens Rd (9½ Mile) & Groesbeck Hwy where it would turn northeasterly to follow Groesbeck to an interchange with the proposed I-696 freeway along the 11 Mile Rd corridor. Neither the Gratiot Ave Freeway nor the M-97 freeway proposals, of course, ever came to fruition.
  • The only other change recommended for the route of M-97 was a 1¼ mile northerly extension from existing M-59/Hall Rd north of Mount Clemens along North Ave to a new northern terminus at a proposed M-59 freeway running approximately ¼ mile north of and parallel to 21 Mile Rd. As the M-59 freeway was never constructed, M-97 was never extended to meet it.
History: 1923 (Mar 12) – A new 12.0-mile state trunkline route with the designation M-97 is determined in Oscoda Co along a mixture of existing and not-yet-constructed roads. From M-33 in downtown Mio, the new M-97 runs southerly for 2 miles via Mount Tom Rd, then westerly 1 mile along Boerner Rd before turning south via Stitt Rd for a mile, continuing for 2½ more miles along an unconstructed facility to the center of Sec.12 where it turns easterly along an unconstructed road for 1½ miles, turning southerly to run (generally) along Hoy Rd for 3½ miles, then another mile along an unconstructed facility to a terminus on the Oscoda/Ogemaw Co line southeast of Happy Lake.
  1925 (Oct 24) – Just 2½ years after being officially designated along a mixture of existing and unbuilt roadways from Mio southerly, the route of M-97 is transferred to a more direct route, running due southerly along Mount Tom Rd for 10.1 miles from downtown Mio to a terminus at the Oscoda/Ogemaw Co Line near Loon Lake. The former route is either transferred to local control (for the constructed portions) or left unconstructed (for the unbuilt segments).
  1927 (July 21) – It is assumed the M-97 designation from Mio southerly to the Oscoda/Ogemaw Co line is officially supplanted by a rerouting of the M-33 designation due southerly from Mio at this point (or earlier), as a 10.7-mile state trunkline route is officially designated along present-day Groesbeck Hwy in Macomb Co. This second iteration of M-97 begins at Eight Mile Rd (future M-102) on the Detroit city limit and ending at Harrington St at the southern limit of Mount Clemens, although only the segment from Eight Mile Rd (future M-102) to 14 Mile Rd in Fraser may be signed or open to traffic initially.
  1928 (Jan 17) New! The two blocks (0.2 mile) segment of Reid-Groesbeck Hwy from Eight Mile Rd (future M-102) southwesterly to Hoover St in the City of Detroit is officially transferred to state control as part of a southerly extension of M-97 into Detroit.
  1928 (Dec) New! By the end of the year, eight miles of M-97 along Reid-Groesbeck Hwy from Eight Mile Rd northeasterly to almost 15 Mile Rd near Fraser is paved and opened to traffic.
  1930 (June 30) New! Five miles of new state trunkline mileage are officially determined as a westerly bypass of the City of Mount Clemens in Macomb Co to become part of the route of US-25 when completed. The majority of the newly-designated route runs on new alignment—from Gratiot Ave & 16 Mile Rd north-northwesterly to Harrington St, then generally north-northeasterly west of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad to 20 Mile Rd (present-day M-59/Hall Rd), then easterly via existing 20 Mile (Hall) Rd back to Gratiot Ave north of Mount Clemens. The proposed route incorporates existing Evan St between Malow St and Cass Ave on the west side of the city as well as a portion of existing North Ave south of 20 Mile (Hall) Rd as well. This new bypass route intersects the route of M-97 one-third mile south of its intersection with Harrington St (the farthest north M-97 has been officially determined). A portion of this proposed bypass will figure prominently into the future route of M-97.
  1931 – By 1931, M-97 has been extended northerly via Reid Hwy to present-day Harrington St. The route of M-97 then turns easterly via a "Marked and Maintained" segment (not officially a state trunkline highway route, but signed as part of a trunkline route and maintained by the State temporarily) to end at US-25/Gratiot Ave in Mt Clemens.
  1931 (May 19) New! – Act 131 of 1931—the Dykstra Act—is passed allowing the State Highway Dept to take over control of state highways running into and through incorporated cities, thereby officially incorporating them as state trunkline highways. The 2.8 miles of Gunston Ave (from US-25/Gratiot Ave to McNichols Rd) and Hoover St (from McNichols Rd to Groesbeck-Reid Hwy two blocks south of M-102/Eight Mile Rd) in the City of Detroit are officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system and now under state jurisdiction.
  1931 (Oct 3) New! The Detroit portion of M-97 is completed and opened to traffic as Wayne Co road crews finish Hoover Ave northerly to a connection with the Reid Hwy segment of M-97 at M-102/Eight Mile Rd on the Wayne/Macomb Co line. It is assumed M-97 is signed south of M-102/Eight Mile Rd into Detroit to a terminus at US-25/Gratiot Ave by this time.
  1932–34 UpdatedPlanning for the proposed US-25 westerly bypass of Mount Clemens is shelved by the State Highway Dept, with plans announced to improve and widen existing US-25/Gratiot Ave through the city instead. Right-of-way for the bypass was purchased by the department in 1931–32, however.
  1937 (May 20) UpdatedBased on strong support from northern Macomb Co and St Clair Co farmers, the Macomb Co Board of Supervisors petitions the State Highway Dept to extend M-97 along the route of the previously-proposed US-25 westerly bypass of Mount Clemens to a connection with North Ave at M-59/Hall Rd, then continuing the route of M-97 northerly along North Ave through Armada and on to Berville in St Clair Co. Since the right-of-way has already been acquired, Macomb Co officials contend it would only cost $90,000 to finish the highway and $100,000 for a bridge across the Clinton River. A delegation visits the State Highway Dept in Lansing to personally make the request and while State Highway Commissioner Murray D. Van Wagoner agrees the project is definitely "worthy," it will remain unbuilt until the legislature provides additional funding to the department.
  1939 (Dec 28) UpdatedA delegation from Macomb Co travels to Lansing to once again ask State Highway Commisisoner Murray D. Van Wagoner to complete the M-97 route west of Mount Clemens, including the addition of a bridge spanning the Clinton River, along the right-of-way purchased by the state earlier in the decade for the never-built US-25 bypass of Mount Clemens.
  1946 UpdatedThe name "Reid Hwy" for M-97 from just south of M-102/Eight Mile Rd in Detroit to Harrington St southwest of Mount Clemens never seemed to completely catch on. It was continually referred to by its original name of Groesbeck Highway or sometimes "Groesbeck (Reid) Highway" or even "Groesbeck-Reid Highway" in media reports and by establishments situated along the route. The last known mention of "Reid Highway" for M-97 in the media is this year and from here forward, all of M-97 outside of Detroit (and a small segment in the city) is known as Groesbeck Hwy.
  1949 (Oct 20) UpdatedWith former Governor Alex J. Groesbeck a featured speaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a 3¾-mile long extension of M-97/Groesbeck Hwy is opened to traffic, bypassing Mount Clemens to the west. Beginning at Sargent St one-third mile south of the northern end of officially-determined M-97 (at Harrington St), the new bypass swings north-northwesterly via a new alignment across the Grand Trunk Western tracks, then curves north-northeasterly, crossing the Clinton River on a new bridge, then along what had formerlly been Evan St between Malow St and Cass Ave, then northeasterly on a new alignment to North Ave north of Oberliesen St, then northerly along what had been North Ave to a new northern terminus at M-59/Hall Rd. The one-third mile of existing Groesbeck Hwy built twenty years earlier (present-day Hilldale St) from Sargent St to Harrington St is retained as an unsigned state highway route for the time being, while the segment of Harrington from present-day Hilldale St southeasterly to US-25/Gratiot Ave was a "Marked and Maintained" route with ownership remaining at the county level, but with state trunkline signage and maintenance, which is now discontinued.
  @1991 (Nov 5) – The portion of Hilldale St from Groesbeck Hwy to Harrington St on the southwest side of Mount Clemens is turned back to local control. This segment of Hillsdale had been part of M-97 prior to 1949 and an unsigned state trunkline route for the past 42 years.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-97 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: New!The entirety of M-97 is on the National Highway System. from its southern terminus at M-3/Gratiot Ave in Detroit to its northern terminus at M-59/Hall Rd north of Mount Clemens. (M-97 was added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
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