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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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Former M-12
M-13 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Southern Terminus:    I-69 at Exit 123, 1½ miles south of downtown Lennon
Northern Terminus:    US-23, 2.4 miles south of downtown Standish
Length: 72.341 miles
Map: Route Map of M-13
Notes: From Saginaw northerly, M-13 runs along the former pre-freeway routing of US-23 through Bay City, Linwood and Pinconning to the Standish area. In fact, the Michigan Dept of State Highways originally designated M-13 from Kawkawlin to Standish as ALT US-23 ("Alternate US-23") when the current I-75/US-23 freeway was completed in 1967. The story goes that the MSHD actually posted the former US-23 as "ALT US-23," but when the designation was not approved by AASHO, the department gave in and extended the M-13 designation along the route as of December 1, 1968!
  Had the proposed US-23 inland freeway between Standish and Tawas City come to reality, there was a distinct possibility M-13 would have been extended from its northern terminus at Standish. If the freeway had been built, MDOT supported the idea of keeping the former shoreline alignment of US-23 in the state trunkline system. M-13 would have been the likely candidate to take over the shoreline route.
  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 several major upgrades to the route of M-13 during that timeframe. They included:
  • Constructing an M-13 freeway parallel to and just to the east of the existing route of M-13 from M-78 (present-day I-69) near Lennon north past Montrose and Burt. At Verne, the proposed freeway would bend to the west (echoing a similar nearby sweeping curve along existing M-13) then back north again to continue parallelling existing M-13 approximately ½ mile to the east. After passing under S Washington St, the proposed freeway was to have bent to the east and terminated at an intersection at Williamson St just west of Sheridan Ave. There, M-13 would have continued north as surface street along Sheridan Ave into downtown Saginaw, turning northeasterly via Cherry St, then north again along Sixth St back to its existing route at N Washington Ave on the north side of the city. The existing route of M-13 from M-78 at Lennon north to Sixth St & N Washington Ave in Saginaw would have been turned back to local control had this new routing been implemented as planned.
  • While the completion of the I-75/US-23 freeway from Bay City north to Standish was still eight years away, MDSH planners had already earmarked the M-13 designation to replace the US-23 routing between Kawkawin and Standish. However, as of 1960, those planners envisioned a future US-23 freeway departing I-75 southwest of Standish and running almost due northeasterly toward the US-23 & M-65 junction and beyond. Under those plans, the M-13 designation would have continued through a US-23 interchange about one mile south of downtown Standish to a terminus at M-61 in downtown Standish.
Of course, the first concept went nowhere, while the second was largely realized, although of the US-23 freeway had ever bypassed Standish, it would seem logical that MDOT would create a BUS US-23 designation to run through the city as opposed to extending M-13 into or through town.
  1920 – In the days before the debut of the US Highway system, M-13 ran along what was later designated US-131, from Indiana south of Mottville, northerly through Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Cadillac and Petoskey to end in Harbor Springs. Interestingly, the 'original' M-13 doesn't follow the later course of present-day US-131 directly from Walton to Fife Lake in southeast Grand Traverse Co, but rather running northerly along present M-113, then east along present M-186 back to Fife Lake!
  1921 (Apr 15) – The Grand Traverse Co Board of Commissioners adopts a resolution naming the segment of M-42 (present-day M-37) from the southern Grand Traverse Co line near Buckley northerly to its northern terminus at Chums Corners, then the portion of M-13 (present-day US-31) from Chums Corners south of Traverse City northerly through Traverse City to the Grand Traverse/Antrim Co line south of Elk Rapids as the "Hamilton Way" in honor of Traverse City's Frank Hamilton, the so-called "father of the good roads movement in Northern Michigan." The suggestion for the naming originated with the Traverse City Rotary Club. "Four or more suitable markers" are planned to be erected at first with eventual plans to place signs along the highway each mile bearing the name "Hamilton Way" and the distance to Traverse City.
  1922 – M-13 is realigned from the Indiana state line to White Pigeon in St Joseph Co. Formerly, M-13 began where present-day M-103 enters Indiana, then running due easterly along the state line for four miles before stair-stepping into White Pigeon. Now, M-13 runs north from the Indiana state line to Mottville, then easterly with M-23 (later US-112 now US-12) to White Pigeon, turning northerly resuming its former route. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1923 – M-13 is transferred to a new routing between Tustin and Cadillac. Formerly running easterly from Tustin for several miles, then turning due north into Cadillac, M-13 now turns west in Tustin, running about a mile before turning northerly into Wexford Co to a small hamlet called Benson. From there, M-13 now runs northeasterly with M-55 into Cadillac. The former route, however, seems to be retained for at least 3 or 4 years as an un-numbered state trunkline.
  c.1924–25 – The route of M-13 is slightly realigned near Fife Lake when, instead of proceeding westerly from Houseman (southwest of South Boardman) on present-day Woodman & Cedar Creek Rds to Fife Lake Rd, then south into Fife Lake, the route of M-13 now runs southerly from Houseman via Shippy Rd, westerly along Ingersoll Rd, then through Fife Lake on State St to its former alignment. Also, prior to this time, M-13 ran due south from Three Rivers via present-day Lutz Rd via Florence, then jogged southwesterly on Centerville-Constantine Rd to Kalamazoo St, then south on Kalamazoo St into White Pigeon. M-13 is now re-routed to run westerly from Lutz Rd via present-day Featherstone Rd into downtown Constantine, then south to M-23 (now US-12) just west of White Pigeon, where M-13 then picks back up on its old route. The former route of M-13 is turned back to local control.
  1926 – The US Highway System is finalized by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) and the new US-131 designation is to supplant the portion of M-13 from the Indiana state line via Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Big Rapids and Cadillac, to just west of Fife Lake in southeastern Grand Traverse Co. From Fife Lake northeasterly, through Kalkaska, Mancelona, Boyne Falls and Petoskey to Harbor Springs, the remainder of M-13 will be redesignated as M-131. This is due to Michigan State Highway Dept long-term plans to construct an all-new highway alignment for US-131 between Fife Lake and the "East Bay" area of Greater Traverse City where it would connect to its "parent route," US-31. Until that time, M-131 will provide that connection until such time as US-131 is completed.
  1926 (Nov 19) New! 2023-11 – News reports state the State Highway Dept has "ordered a rerouting" of M-13 (soon to become US-131) between Tustin and Cadillac. The existing alignment via Benson's Corners is 17 miles, while a new potential routing directly from Tustin to the south side of Cadillac (over the "cemetery hill") would only be 11 miles. Any further realignments between Tustin and Cadillac will be completed as part of the soon-to-be-designated US-131.
  1927 – Several changes to the route of M-13 occur prior to its redesignation to US-131 and M-131:
  • (Mar 19) – A 1.7-mile realignment of M-13 is added to the state trunkline system between Kalamazoo and Cooper Center while the former route via Old Douglas Ave is turned back to local control.
  • (Mar 28) – The former route of M-13 via Old Mackinaw Tr from just north of the Antrim/Charlevoix Co line northwesterly to M-75/Mill St in Boyne Falls is transferred to local control when a new routing of M-13 on the other (west) side of the Grand Rapids & Indiana RR line is assumed into the state trunkline system (following present-day US-131).
  • (Apr 20) – A new 8.7-mile long state trunkline highway route is officially established in central Saint Clair Co running between Avoca and the North Street/Gardendale area along the present-day route of M-136. Until the prior year, M-19 running southerly from Yale turned easterly at Brockway to follow Metcalf, Beard and Avoca Rds to Avoca, where it then turned southerly via Kilgore Rd to Lapeer Rd and easterly toward Port Huron. When M-19 was rerouted to run southerly through Emmett and Memphis in July 1926, this left the former route along Metcalf, Beard, Avoca and Kilgore Rds without a trunkline designation. Almost a year later, the 4-mile long Brockway–Avoca segment is paired with the new 8.7-mile long Avoca–easterly trunkline designated as a new northwesterly approach route into the Port Huron Area from M-19, terminating at M-51/North Rd south of the hamlet of North Street, while Kilgore Rd from Avoca southerly to Lapeer Rd is turned back to county control. This new highway temporarily does not have a route designation, but plans are to transfer the soon-to-be-replaced M-13 designation onto it in the next month.
  • (May 2) – The new US Highway designations across the state of Michigan officially become effective today, with US-131 and M-131 superseding the entire route of M-13 in Michigan, as noted above. Road crews erect temporary cardboard route markers over the existing state trunkline route markers for all new US Highways and changed state highways as a result of the new US Highways. This marks the end of the first iteration of M-13 after just 14 years. (The State Highway Dept plans to have permanent markers in place by midsummer.) The M-13 designation is immediately transferred to the new Avoca-to-Gardendale trunkline in Saint Clair Co that was officially established as a state trunkline highway a few weeks prior. This new 13.4-mile long route is designated as the second iteration of M-13. Some sources indicate M-13 is also concurrently designated with M-51 along North Rd, Keewahdin Rd and Pine Grove Ave to the northern Port Huron city limit as well.
  1930 (Dec 31) – The State Highway Dept works to create a through state trunkline route heading northerly from the Battle Creek area toward the Straits of Mackinac through streamlining several existing disparate state highway routes already existing in that corridor and adding a segment of new trunkline in the middle (roughly present-day M-66). The new route is given the M-13 route designation, currently in use in Saint Clair Co, but soon to be reassigned as M-136. The new Battle Creek-to-Edmore trunkline consists of:
  • First, the segment of M-79 from M-78 at Burleigh Corners north of Battle Creek northerly to Nashville (following Assyria Rd through Maple Grove to Sevens Rd, easterly along Sevens Rd to Clark Rd, then northerly via Clark Rd into Nashville) is redesignated as M-13.
  • Second, an 11.8-mile long segment of new trunkline route is officially established from M-79 at Nashville to M-43 & M-50 at Woodbury southeast of Lake Odessa, although a segment is not yet constructed. The officially-established trunkline route begins at M-79 in Nashville and proceeds northerly through town along Main St, then easterly via Kellogg St/Rd, then northerly again along the Barry/Eaton Co line via Hager Rd to Davenport Rd/Bismark Hwy. From there, the route would be constructed northerly along the county line, weaving between Mud, Carr and Saddlebag Lakes, then northerly via Saddlebag Lake Rd to M-43 & M-50 at Woodbury southeast of Lake Odessa. Until the unconstructed portion of the new route is built, however, Clark Rd due northerly from Nashville to M-50 southeast of Lake Odessa will serve as the temporary "marked & maintained" trunkline route for M-13.
  • Third, from jct M-43 & M-50 at Woodbury, the portion of M-43 northerly through Ionia and Sheridan to Stanton is redesignated as part of the new M-13. (What would have then become an orphaned segment of M-43 from Stanton easterly through Ithaca to Saint Charles is redesignated as a new M-57 routing.)
  • Fourth, from M-43 at Stanton, existing M-85 northerly to M-46 just west of Edmore is also redesignated as part of the new M-13 routing.
  1931 (Feb 18) – Capt S.J. Stewart, resident maintenance engineer for the State Highway Dept, announces that the entirety of existing M-13 in Saint Clair Co running from M-19 at Brockway easterly via Avoca to M-51 south of North Street is redesignated as M-136. The new M-136 designation also joins M-51 between North Street and Port Huron, as some sources indicate M-13 had done formerly, as well. This signals the end of the second iteration of M-13, which lasted just shy of four years.
  1931 (mid-May) – The newly-designated M-13 route from north of Battle Creek through Nashville, Ionia and Stanton to M-46 near Edmore is suddenly redesignated as M-14 in its entirety! According to a report in the Battle Creek Enquirer, "a number of motorists and a group of residents along the former M-13 highway petitioned that the name be changed" solely for superstitious reasons behind the number "13." It is unclear whether the State Highway Dept had a chance to erect the new M-13 markers along the route or not at this point, but the third iteration of M-13 comes to a swift and inauspicious conclusion after only about five months—if it was even signposted in the field at all!
  1931 (Aug 12) – The 2.4 miles of Sheridan Ave from the newly-designated route of M-78 along Lansing Rd 2½ miles south of Lennon northerly along the Shiawassee/Genesee Co line into downtown Lennon is officially established as a state trunkline route and given the M-13 designation, having been removed from the M-14 route between Battle Creek and Edmore in May. The one mile of Sheridan Ave from downtown Lennon northerly to M-21/Corunna Rd, which had formerly been one of the three legs of M-71, is also signed as part of this new third iteration of M-13, bringing the new route to a total of 3.4 miles. The highway itself is completed and opened to traffic in the fall of 1931.
  1933 (Mar 22) – An additonal 8.2 miles of Sheridan Ave from M-21/Corunna Rd north of Lennon northerly to Easton-Mount Morris Rds east of New Lorthup is officially established as a northerly extension of M-13. While the new northern terminus of M-13 is situated at a primary county road (somewhat in the middle of nowhere), in two months, Easton Rd from the northern end of M-13 westerly 2.4 miles into New Lothrup to the western village limit will be established as a state trunkline route and designated M-194. (The M-194 spur would only last 4½ years, however.)
  1935 (Jan 7) – A 21.5-mile long extension of M-13 occurs when Sheridan Ave from M-194/Easton Rd and Mount Morris Rd east of New Lothrup northerly into the city of Saginaw is established as a state trunkline highway route. M-13 now terminates at M-46/Holland Ave in the southern portion of Saginaw. This extension nearly triples the length of M-13!
  1939 – The final six miles of gravel-surfaced M-13 is paved.
  1940 – M-13 is extended northerly along Washington Ave in Saginaw to end at jct US-10 & US-23 (cnr of Washington & Genesee Aves).
  1957 (Late Oct) New! 2023-07 – As part of an effort by the City of Saginaw to designate pairs of streets with one-way traffic to help facilitate smoother travel around the city and reduce worsening congestion, a small one-way conversion is completed in South Saginaw. Martindale St from Ortman St to Randolph St and Randolph St from Martindale St back to existing M-13 at S Washington Ave is reconstructed and turned into the new northbound side of M-13, bypassing the South Saginaw business district. Martindale is also realigned and lengthened slightly at Ortman St to directly connect into M-13/Washington Ave. While Martindale–Randolph is northbound-only, S Washington Ave remains a two-way street between Randolph and Martindale/Ortman, although it is signed as M-13 southbound only. Martindale and Randolph Sts are not officially transferred to state control and, therefore become a "marked-and-maintained" route.
  1960 – First, with the completion of the M-78 freeway between Durand and Swartz Creek, the southern terminus of M-13 was moved north one mile from Old M-78/Lansing Rd to end at the new M-78 interchange south of Lennon. Second, accompanying the completion of the I-75/US-23 freeway from Saginaw to Bay City, as well as the US-23 freeway extention to Kawkawlin, the M-13 designation is extended from its former northern terminus at Genesee & Washington Aves in Saginaw northerly along the former route of US-23 through Bay City, ending at US-23 near Kawkawlin.
  1967 (Nov 1) – With the completion of US-23 from Bay City to Standish, a brand-new ALT US-23 designation is commissioned along the former US-23 routing from south of Kawkawlin to Standish. This is seen as somewhat odd, as the State Highway Department was, by this time, removing the last of the remaining ALTERNATE US Highways in Michigan!
  1968 (Dec 1) – With the "ALT US-23" route sign assemblies reported already in place, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), the group charged with directing the layout and numbering of the US Highway system, refuses to allow the ALT US-23 designation, forcing the State Highway Department to remove that designation and replace it with another. The Department announces that as of Dec 1, ALT US-23 will be known as M-13 from Kawkawlin to Standish. The short segment of ALT US-23 freeway from US-23 to M-13 at Kawkawlin is designated CONNECTOR M-13.
  1989 (Jan 2 or Feb 2) Updated 2023-12 – While the 1957 reconfiguring of M-13 through the South Saginaw business district—by routing northbound M-13 traffic via Martindale St, then west on Randolph St back to S Washington Ave to bypass the congested area—was meant to relieve congestion and, hopefully, make South Saginaw a more desirable area to shop and reside, it seems to have done the opposite. Beginning in 1986 in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood, city and state engineering staff look at removing the northbound one-way "bypass" and restoring all M-13 traffic to use S Washington Ave as it had prior to 1957. The engineers admit, "Looking at traffic counts, we don't need that bypass." So, on either January 2 or February 2, 1989—internal MDOT sources differ on the exact date—MDOT ceases maintenance on the 0.3-mile northbound one-way route and removes M-13 markings.
Controlled-Access: No portion of M-13 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: M-13 is part of the National Highway System (NHS) in two different segments:
  • In the Saginaw area from M-46/Rust Ave south of downtown northerly to jct I-75/US-23 at Exit 153 north of the city. (5.9 miles) (This segment was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
  • In the Bay City area from the eastern jct with M-84 (cnr Lafayette Ave & Broadway) south of downtown Bay City northerly to Beaver Rd north of Kawkawlin. (7.8 miles) (The portion of M-13 from Wilder Rd northerly to Beaver Rd was added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Business Connection:  CONN M-13 – From I-75/US-23 Exit 164 northwest of Bay City to M-13 at Kawkawlin.
Circle Tour: Lake Huron Circle Tour MarkerLake Huron Circle Tour: From M-25/Jenny-Thomas Sts in Bay City to the northern terminus of M-13 at Standish.
Memorial Highways:  The following Memorial Highway designations have been officially assigned to parts of M-13 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • Sergeant Kristopher J. Gould Memorial Bridge – "The bridge on M-13 over Cheboyganing Creek in Bay County..." From the Michigan Legislature: "On February 27, 2011, Sergeant Kristopher J. Gould was wounded fatally in Iraq when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. For his service, Sgt. Gould received many awards and decorations, including the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal for Mobilization, the Army Service Ribbon, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart."
  • PFC Alan Robert Blohm Memorial Hwy – "The portion of highway M-13 in Kawkawlin Township..." From the Michigan Legislature: "PFC Alan Robert Blohm was born on July 26, 1985 in Kawkawlin, Michigan. PFC Blohm was deployed to Iraq on October 1, 2006 for three months and was stationed near the Baghdad area. Blohm was part of an explosives detonation team that retrieved bombs that were taken to the desert to be detonated. On return to his stationed area, the Humvee he was riding in was hit, and PFC Alan Robert Blohm died instantly from his wounds. He was 21 years old."
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