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M-121
Former M-122 Route Marker On to Next Route:
M-123
M-122 is a former state trunkline route existing from June 28, 1928 until September 8, 1959
Western Terminus*:    US-2/Burdette St (present-day BL I-75 ) immediately east of the cnr of Church St & Burdette St in the southern part of the City of Saint Ignace
Eastern Terminus*:   Michigan State Highway Department Ferry Dock No.3 at the cnr of Ferry Ln & S State St in southeasternmost Saint Ignace
Final Length*: New! 0.705 miles
Maps: New! Route Map of Former M-122
Notes: *The termini and final length for M-122 reflect the beginning and ending of the route and its length as of the time of its decommissioning in September 1959.
  New! M-122 was conceived for one purpose, but by the end of its existence, the highway served a very different purpose. As designated in 1926 (and signed in the field in 1927), the debut of the US Highway System resulted in US-31 actually crossing the Straits of Mackinac via auto ferry from Mackinaw City to Saint Ignace, then continuing northerly along what later became US-2 (Mackinac Trail) to a northern terminus at US-2 at Rogers Park (present-day cnr H-63/Mackinac Trail & M-123). Prior to the coming of the US Highway System, M-12 ran across the Upper Peninsula from Ironwood to Sault Ste Marie, running just north of Saint Ignace with a spur route/third leg of M-12 running from Rogers Park southerly into downtown Saint Ignace. But as of 1926-27, US-2 replaced the mainline of M-12 across the U.P. and the spur connecting Rogers Park with downtown Saint Ignace was designated as the northernmost part of US-31. Just prior to this (in 1924), Straits State Park was established, albeit as a day-use park without any camping facilities.
      M-122 was initially created as a spur state highway route serving the relatively new Straits State Park leading southerly from the "end" of US-31 at the ferry docks in downtown Saint Ignace, for just shy of a mile to a point near the original entrance to Straits State Park entrance. US-31's route in the U.P. began in downtown Saint Ignace at the cnr of S State St & Fitch St and proceeded northerly out of town toward the US-2 junction. The route of M-122 began at that same point and continued southerly via S State St to a terminus at Paro St. The original State Park entrance was at the cnr of Paro & Hombach Sts, exactly ¼ mile west of the southern terminus of M-122. (Why M-122 did not terminate at the park entrance itself is unclear. Later in the 1940s, the Straits State Park entrance moved to the cnr of Paro & Church Sts, while the terminus of M-122 was never relocated.)
      Meanwhile, after having operated the State Highway Ferries from downtown Saint Ignace, first from State Ferry Dock No.1 then additionally from State Ferry Dock No.2 (formerly the Ore Dock), both directly accessed from US-31 (until 1937) and US-2 (from 1937 on), the State Highway Dept purchased the former Martel Furnace site in the southeasternmost portion of Saint Ignace near the tip of Graham Point near the intersection of Paro & S State Sts. The Martel Furnace was an iron ore blast furance that processed ore taken from U.P. mines and shipped to Saint Ignace via rail prior to being processed into high-grade charcoal iron used in the manufacturing of wheels for railroads cars. The iron ore smelting furnace was completed in 1881 and operated until the Panic of 1893 and then only sporadically after that. The entire complex burned to the ground in 1903, but was purchased by the State Highway Dept in December 1930 four future ferry dock use. After World War II, cross-Straits vehicular traffic continued to rise, back-ups to travel across the Straits were getting longer, and the need for a much larger auto ferry was becoming clear. The State then commissioned its largest (and, ultimately, final) auto ferry to cross the Straits, the Vacationland. The Vacationland was much larger than the previous ferries and could not be accommodated at Docks No.1 or No.2 downtown. Thus, the Martel Furnace site was converted into State Ferry Dock No.3 and on January 12, 1952, the Vacationland made its first trip from Saint Ignace at Dock No.3. However, prior to this, state trunkline highway changes were made to accommodate the new dock and the new 360-foot long ferry which could transport up 150 vehicles, up to three times as many as the existing ferry boats.
      After 23 years as being primarily a state highway spur route from, first, US-31 in downtown Saint Ignace, then later US-2 in the late 1930s, toward the entrance of Straits State Park, M-122 would be "redirected" to a new purpose. The State Highway Dept constructed a brand new highway beginning at US-2/Baudette St immediately east of the Church St intersection which proceeded southeasterly in a gentle, sweeping curve to merge into Paro St between Hombach St and S State St. The new highway continued along Paro St to S State St (ironically, also the existing southern terminus of M-122) at the entrance to the new State Ferry Dock No.3. (This new highway is today's Ferry Lane.) The M-122 designation was transferred over to the new highway alignment, but the existing M-122 route along S State St between Paro St and US-2 remained in the state trunkline highway system. It's not clear at this point whether the State St segment also retained its M-122 signage, but evidence indicates that segment became an unsigned trunkline while the Ferry Lane alignment was the sole route signposted as M-122.
      With the Vacationland's debut in 1952, the other existing boats still remained in service, so motorists wishing to cross the Straits of Mackinac to the Lower Peninsula could either use M-122 to access State Ferry Dock No.3 and the Vacationland, or continue to use the smaller ferries from Docks No.1 and No.2 downtown, directly accessed off US-2/State St. However, construction on the Mackinac Straits Bridge began only two years later and the Vacationland only served motorists at teh Straits for six years before being retired from active service on November 1 1957—the date the Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic. M-122 likely had its route markers removed from Ferry Lane at the end of 1957, although both Ferry Lane and the portion of S State St from Paro St northerly to US-2 (the "original" segment of M-122) remained as state trunkline highway routes (likely unsigned) for two more years until they were turned back to City control in early September 1959. Today, with the exception of the intersection with BL I-75 (formerly US-2) in front of the Family Fare Supermarket, which was realigned in the late 1980s or early 1990s into a standard a ⊤-intersection, the remainder of Ferry Lane looks very much like it did in the 1950s when motorists used it as either their first or last legs of their U.P. journeys to access or depart from State Ferry Dock No.3.
      The U.S. Coast Guard relocated from Mackinac Island in the mid-1960s to a portion of the State Dock No.3 property and MDOT still uses part of it today as a highway garage facility. Since Saint Ignace's M-122 was cancelled as a trunkline route in 1959, the M-122 designation has not been used anywhere else in the state, since.
  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 one thing for the loop of state trunkline routes either currently or formerly signed as M-122 during that timeframe: decomissioning and turnback to local control. The reason being is that the more recent purpose for the existence of M-122, which was as a trunkline connection between US-2 and State Highway Ferry Dock No.3, had been closed to public travel since November 1, 1957 when the Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic. The even earlier purpose for M-122, as the trunkline connection serving Straits State Park, was also no longer applicable, as the entrance to the state park had been relocated to the corner of Church & Paro Sts in the 1940s and was much more accessable directly from US-2 via Church St than the former M-122 route. As such, the two reasons for M-122's existence were both moot points and, therefore, the State Highway Dept had transferred the route to City control in September of 1959. (Why M-122 made it to the 1960 planning maps is unclear, to be honest, since it had already been cancelled and transferred to local control some months earlier!)
History: 1928 (June 28) – The 0.9 mile segment of S State St in Saint Ignace from the southern end of the existing state trunkline route (currently designated as part of US-31) at Fitch St southerly to Paro St near the former Martel Furnace iron smelting site is determined as a state trunkline highway route, transferred to state control and given the designation M-122. The new highway route essentially serves a state trunkline connection between US-31 and the newly-designated Straits State Park, the entrance to which is at the cnr of Paro & Hombach Sts, ¼ mile west of the southern terminus of the new M-122.
  1937 (Aug/Dec) – At some point in the last half of 1937, either in August or December, US-2 is completed on its new Lake Michigan shoreline routing in Mackinac Co between Brevort and Saint Ignace. US-2 now enters the city from the west along Burdette St to Church St before utilizing a newly-built sweeping curve to connect into State St at Fitch St just south of the State Highway Ferry Docks downtown. The new US-2 segment connects at the southernmost point of the US-31 routing in the U.P., which is also the northern terminus of M-122 (at present-day cnr S State St & BL I-75). The M-122 routing doesn't change, rather its northern terminus is now at US-2 instead of US-31.
  1951 (Oct 29) – During 1951, the State Highway Dept purchases 17 complete or partial parcels of land in the southern part of Saint Ignace and constructs a brand-new state trunkline highway, beginning at US-2/Burdette St immediately east of the Church St intersection and running southeasterly then gently curving to merge with Paro St approximtely halfway between Hombach and S State Sts, ending at the southern terminus of M-122 at the cnr of S State & Paro Sts. The MSHD also constructs State Highway Ferry Dock No.3 on the Martel Furnace site it had purchased in 1930 to accommodate their new auto ferry, the Vacationland, which was too large to be able to use State Highway Ferry Docks No.1 and No.2 downtown. The M-122 designation is added to this newly-built trunkline highway (present-day Ferry Lane), while indications are the M-122 markers may have been removed from its 1928–1951 routing along S State St between US-2 and Paro St at this time. Thus, M-122 is transformed from existing mostly as a state trunkline connection from US-2 to Straits State Park into being the state trunkline connection from US-2 to State Highway Ferry Dock No.3.
      As an interesting aside, all 17 parcels for the constrction of the Ferry Ln segment of M-122 have "US-2" listed on the deeds instaed of "M-122" or another State Highway project name. Whether that means the State Highway Dept had plans to route US-2 via Ferry Ln at some point is unclear or possibly the department hadn't settled on a route designation for Ferry Ln when they were acquiring the properties.
  1957 (Nov 1) – After decades of dreaming, many years of planning and designing and four actual yeras of construction, the five-mile long Mackinac Straits Bridge connecting Michigan's two peninsulas is finally complete and open to traffic. Just prior to the bridge opening, the Vacationland makes its final run (after only six years in aervice) and the entire purpose for the existence for M-122—access to State Highway Ferry Dock No.3—no longer exists. At some point in the next two years, likely sooner than later, the M-122 route markers are removed from the route, makig it an unsigned state trunkline route for the tme being,
  1959 (Sept 8) – Nearly two years after the completion of the Mackinac Straits Bridge, which resulted in the end of the State Highway Dept's ferry service across the Straits, the entire former loop route of M-122 is cancelled as a state trunkline highway and transferred to city control. Thus ends the 31 year existence of M-122 as a state route designation which has not been reused on another highway since.
  1966 (May 18) – Seven years after M-122 along Ferry Ln is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route and turned back to City of Saint Ignace jurisdiction, all of the right-of-way the State Highway Dept acquired in 1951 to construct Ferry Ln is sold to the City of Saint Ignace as well. While the City had jurisdiction and maintenance responsibility over the street itself since 1959, it now also directly owns the right-of-way in which it exists as well.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-122 was freeway or expressway.
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