Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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Pure Michigan BywaysScenic Heritage Route Marker

Historic Byways & Heritage Routes

Below are listings and details for each of the current Historic Byways & Heritage Routes around the state, including the limits of the Route, its length, notes and related links.

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US-2 Route MarkerIron County Heritage Route logo

Iron County
Heritage Trail

Western End:   Iron River
Eastern End:   Crystal Falls
Length: 16 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "Located in the southwest corner of Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, Iron County is steeped in the rich history of two industries that built a state and nation: mining and logging. Rustic mining camps, museums, parks and period houses usher visitors back in time as they travel the 16-mile route and intersecting roadways. It’s the perfect venue to learn what made iron king, an amazing story started some 1.2 billion years ago and entailing the Bronze Age, Industrial Revolution and world conflicts."
  The US-2 Iron County Heritage Route was designated as a Heritage Route in 2000.
  While the officially-designated Historic Heritage Trail is the 16 miles of US-2 from Crystal Falls to Iron River, the "Iron County Heritage Trail" itself is"composed of a 36 mile loop connecting 14 premier sites that provide visitors the opportunity to discover the historic and recreation resources of Iron County." The loop continues south from the Heritage Route's western end in Iron River via M-189, then turns east via CR-424 through Caspian, Gaastra and Alpha, before returning to Crystal Falls via US-2/US-141. Thus, the Iron County Historic Heritage Route is only a portion of the overall Iron County Heritage Trail.
Weblinks: Updated Iron County Heritage Trail - the official site of the Heritage Route from the Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region.
  Updated Iron County Heritage Trail Corridor Plan - the plan compiled by the WUPPDR to help manage the Route.
  US-2 Route Listing
   
US-12 Route MarkerU.P. Hidden Coast Heritage Route logo

US-12
Heritage Trail

Western End: New Buffalo
Eastern End: Downtown Detroit
Length: 209 miles
Notes: While two short segments of US-12 has been previously designated as Historic Heritage Routes, in Saline and Clinton/Clinton Twp, on June 9, 2004 the entire length of US-12 from New Buffalo on the Lake Michigan shore to the eastern terminus of US-12 in downtown Detroit was designated as a Historic Heritage Route in its entirety. And while most of the other Heritage Routes in Michigan have been designated with a descriptive name, this route continues to be known as just the US-12 Heritage Trail.
  From MDOT: "US-12 is among the oldest road corridors east of the Mississippi River and accesses some of the most extensive and significant historic, cultural, scenic and recreational resources in Michigan," said Pete Hanses, MDOT's Heritage Route manager. "It begins in downtown Detroit, just blocks from the Detroit River, and extends through southern Michigan to the Michigan/Indiana border south of New Buffalo. It was originally a network of centuries-old trails created by Native Americans. Over the years it has had many names such as Sauk Trail, Chicago Road, and Michigan Avenue."
  Also from MDOT: "Centuries in the making, the US-12 Heritage Trail connects man, animals, commerce, culture, and nature. From its origins as a network of Native American trails, the US-12 Heritage Trail became one of the most important migration routes for settlers into the Michigan territory. The road was paved in 1920 when Ford sold over a million cars and was officially designated as a United States highway in 1926. Today the 212-mile US-12 Heritage Trail stretches from Detroit to New Buffalo, continuing to be the backbone of Southern Michigan and an access point for exploration and discovery. Rich in colorful character, remarkable history and an ever- changing landscape, the US-12 Heritage Trail invites the traveler to journey its winding road, meet its people, explore its places and uncover its hidden treasures."
Weblinks: US-12 Heritage Trail website as managed by the Southwestern Michigan Planning Commission.
  "US-12 historic designation approved by Heritage Route Committee" press release from MDOT.
  "US–12 Heritage Trail Seeks Designation As A Michigan Historic Heritage Route" from the Michigan Tourism Business publication.
  US-12 Route Listing
   
M-25 Route Marker

Center Avenue Heritage Route/
Bay City Historic Route

Western End: Madison Ave in downtown Bay City
Eastern End: Bay City east city limit
Length: 1.5 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "M-25 through Bay City was designated as a Historic Heritage Route. The City of Bay City in conjunction with MDOT nominated the 1.5 miles long portion of M-25 which runs from Madison Avenue to Livingston Avenue. Visible from the road is the Bay County Building, which is on the National Register for Historic Places. The area also contains 48 pre-1900 and 32 1900–1929 structures, which are also on the National Register as part of the Center Avenue Historic District."
  Also from MDOT: "Travel this Heritage Route and you’ll return to an era when lumbering, ship building, agriculture and commerce flourished in the city by the bay. From its picturesque tree-lined streets, to majestic mansions, to a beautifully restored county building and business district, Bay City is a preservationist’s dream. The Center Avenue (M-25) neighborhood features more than 250 structures in the National Historic Register district, many of them late 1800s mansions of lumber barons and shipping industrialists. You’ll marvel at 150 years of building technology and architecture gracing one of the Great American Main Streets."
Weblinks: Center Avenue Corridor Management Plan from the Bay City Area Transportation Study (BCATS).
  M-25 Route Listing
   
I-94BL Route Marker

Marshall's Territorial Road
Historic Heritage Route

Western End: Marshall west city limit
Eastern End: Marshall east city limit
Length: 2.3 miles
Notes: Designated as a Historic Heritage Route on January 11, 2001.
  From MDOT: "The country’s largest National Historic District in the Small Urban category is the focus of this Heritage Route covering a 14-block area of Marshall. The route features 14 official Michigan historic markers, the most of any Michigan community outside Detroit. The markers recall Marshall’s early importance in Michigan history, especially in areas of government, education, abolition, railroads, unionism and architecture. Marshall’s tradition of historical preservation and restoration began in the 1920s and continues today with one of the Midwest’s finest historic home tours conducted annually since the 1950s."
  The portion of BL I-94/Michigan Ave in Marshall designated as a Heritage Route is the only such route signed in its entirety along an Interstate Business Connection.
Weblinks: "MDOT And City Of Marshall Join Efforts To Preserve City's Culture" press release from MDOT.
  BL I-94 (Marshall) Route Listing
   
M-125 Route Marker

Monroe Street
Heritage Route

Southern End: Monroe south city limit
Northern End: Monroe north city limit
Length: 1.5 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "M-125 through the City of Monroe was designated as a Historic Heritage Route. The City of Monroe in conjunction with MDOT nominated the portion of M-125 which runs through the Old Village Historic District, and is contiguous to the East Elm–North Macomb Historic District, and the Custer Equestrian Monument."
Weblinks: Monroe Street (M-125) - information at the Wildernet website.
  M-125 Route Listing
   
West Michigan Pike Logo

West Michigan Pike
Historic Byway

US-12 Route MarkerI-94 Route Marker I-94BL Route Marker M-63 Route Marker I-196 Route Marker US-31 Route Marker M-120 Route MarkerI-196BL Route Marker US-10 Route Marker
Southern End: New! Along US-12 at the Indiana state line south of New Buffalo in Berrien Co
Northern End: New! Ludington
Length: New! ~190 miles
Notes: New! Descriptive text from the "West Michigan Pike" Michigan Historical Marker in New Buffalo:
"At the turn of the twentieth century, deep ruts and sand made West Michigan roads nearly impassable. In 1911, the West Michigan Lakeshore Highway Association was founded to promote the construction of the first improved highway along Lake Michigan in order to bring auto tourists from Chicago to Michigan to support the new resort industry that grew up when logging ended in the region. Completed in 1922, the West Michigan Pike extended from the Indiana state line to Mackinaw City. It was designated one of the first state trunk lines (M-11) in 1917, as part of the Dixie Highway in 1923, and incorporated into the nations first federal highway system as US-31 in 1926. Straightened and realigned over the years, it is also known as the Red Arrow and the Blue Star Memorial Highways. The West Michigan Pike, advertised as 'Lake Shore All the Way Chicago to Mackinaw,' was completed as a paved highway in 1922. Tourists, particularly those from Chicago who sought cooler temperatures by coming to Michigan, gained greater access to communities dotting the Lake Michigan shore between the Indiana state line and the Straits of Mackinac. In 1926 the pike (M-11) was designated US-31. By then, traffic congestion and poor road conditions were again impeding travel. The West Michigan Pike Association, which had started the road, advocated for US-31 to be widened and rerouted in 1929 as a 'superhighway.' A full-blown tourism industry with lodgings, restaurants, and attractions grew up along the West Michigan Pike and flourished into the twenty-first century."
  New! After having been relegated to history for over eight decades, a revival of sorts for the West Michigan Pike becomes reality on July 25, 2016 when the state's newest Pure Michigan Byway (formerly Heritage Route) is unvelied by MDOT, Travel Michigan and local tourism officials in a ceremony at Muskegon's Heritage Landing. Only the portion of the former West Michigan Pike corridor from the Indiana state line northerly through St Joseph, South Haven, Holland, Grand Haven, Musekgon, Whitehall-Montague, and Pentwater to Ludington is designated as part of the new tourist route. Planning for the 21st Century version of the route began in 2006 and was spearheaded by the Michigan Beachtowns association of Lake Michigan shoreline tourist organizations. After studies and historical inventories were compiled over the course of a decade, the West Michigan Pike Historic Byway officially became the second of the tourist routes to be designated under the new banner of "Pure Michigan Byway." (The effort had begun while it was still titled the Michigan Heritage Routes program.)
  New! As with any Pure Michigan Byway route, the West Michigan Pike Historic Byway is designated along state trunkline routes between Indiana and Ludington, even though the historic route of the West Michigan Pike followed a much less direct, often meandering route along the highways that existed in the 1910s and 1920s. The Michigan Beachtowns association, however, is interested in a dual-route approach. According to published statements by the group, "It is the intent of the corridor management entity, the Michigan Beachtown Association, to sign both the byway route and the historic route through each beachtown community, giving potential visitors two opportunities to experience the West Michigan Pike, depending on their time and interests."
  New! The route of the West Michigan Pike Historic Byway:
  • US-12 from the Indiana state line south of New Buffalo northerly through New Buffalo to I-94 at Exit 4.
  • I-94 from Exit 4 near New Buffalo northerly to BL I-94/Red Arrow Hwy at Exit 23 north of Stevensville.
  • BL I-94 from I-94 at Exit 23 northerly through Shoreham and into downtown St Joseph.
  • M-63 from downtown St Joseph northerly to I-196/US-31 at Exit 7 near Hagar Shores.
  • I-196/US-31 from M-63 at Exit 7 northerly to BL I-196 at Exit 18 south of South Haven.
  • Through downtown South Haven via BL I-196 between I-196/US-31 Exits 18 and 20.
  • I-196/US-31 from BL I-196 at Exit 20 northerly to the I-196 & US-31 split at Exit 44 south of Holland.
  • US-31 from I-196 at Exit 44 northerly past Holland and through Grand Haven to BUS US-31 at Exit 110 in Norton Shores.
  • BUS US-31 through downtown Muskegon from US-31 at Exit 110 to jct M-120.
  • M-120 from BUS US-31 on the north side of Muskegon northerly and northeasterly to US-31 at Exit 118 near North Muskegon.
  • US-31 from M-120 at Exit 118 northerly to BUS US-31 at Whitehall and Montague at Exit 128.
  • BUS US-31 through downtown Whitehall and Montague between US-31 Exits 128 and 131.
  • US-31 from BUS US-31 northeast of Montague at Exit 131 northerly to BUS US-31 near Pentwater at Exit 154.
  • BUS US-31 through Pentwater between US-31 Exits 154 and 158.
  • US-31 from BUS US-31 north of Pentwater at Exit 158 to US-10 east of Ludington at Exit 170.
  • US-10 west into Ludington?
Weblinks: West Michigan Pike: History New! – from the Michigan Beachtowns organization
West Michigan Pike – 1915 Tourist Directory New! – from the Michigan Beachtowns organization
Southwest Michigan RoadMap: The West Michigan Pike, Vol.1New! a 2010 assembled by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office
Southwest Michigan RoadMap: The West Michigan Pike, Vol.2New! continuation of the 2010 assembled by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.
Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike by M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. WilsonNew! from Arbutus Press: "Seasoned authors M. Christine Byron & Thomas R. Wilson tell the story of this road’s early beginning as serpentine sand trails and rutted dirt pathways and its transformation to US-31 used by today’s traveler."
  US-12 Route Listing
I-94 Route Listing
BL I-94 (Benton Harbor/St Joseph) Route Listing
M-63 Route Listing
I-196 Route Listing
US-31 Route Listing
BL I-196 (South Haven) Route Listing
BL I-196 (Holland) Route Listing
BUS US-31 (Muskegon) Route Listing
BUS US-31 (Whitehall-Montague) Route Listing
BUS US-31 (Pentwater) Route Listing
US-10 Route Listing
   

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