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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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M-35 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Southern Terminus:    US-41 two miles north of downtown Menominee (cnr North Shore Dr & 10th St)
Northern Terminus:    US-41/M-28 eight miles west of downtown Marquette
Length: 128.401 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-35
Never-Built M-35 through the Huron Mountains
Notes: The 1931 "classic" alignment of M-35 is as follows: From US-41 in Menominee, northeasterly along the Lake Michigan (Green Bay) shore to Escanaba, then concurrently with US-2/US-41 to Gladstone. From there, northwesterly through Rock, Gwinn and Palmer to US-41/M-28 at Negaunee, then easterly toward Marquette for 7 miles. From that point, M-35 travels north-northwesterly into the Huron Mountains in northern Marquette Co, where maps of the day label the highway as "IMPASSABLE." Westerly from the Huron Mountains to Skanee and L'Anse at US-41 (the fourth meeting of those two routes!) and Baraga. From Baraga, M-35 heads westerly through Alston to M-26 east of Greenland, then southwesterly with M-26 to the Rockland area. From that point, the route continues northwesterly via present-day US-45 to end at M-64 in Ontonagon.
  The portion of M-35 through the Huron Mountains was never completed. To find out why and how Henry Ford himself was involved, see the special page in the In-Depth section, M-35: The Highway Henry Ford Stopped.
  From Palmer in Marquette Co, M-35 formerly entered the City of Negaunee, continuing northerly through town to end at US-41/M-28. Subsiding land caused by some of the many abandoned underground mine shafts under the route of M-35 necessitated a rerouting of M-35 around the area. Today, the highway skirts the southern and eastern sides of the massive Cleveland Cliffs Empire Mine operation just north of Palmer. Piles of mine tailings tower several hundred feet just off the highway. In addition, one of the few luge runs in the state—the Lucy Hill Naturbahn Luge Track—physically crosses the former route of M-35 in Negaunee (now an abandoned street), which wouldn't be possible if it were still a state highway!
  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 realignments and upgrades to the route of M-35 during that timeframe, including:
  • The most major change proposed for M-35 involved a major relocation for US-41. Instead of running concurrently with US-2 from Powers to Rapid River, US-41 was proposed to run due northerly from Powers to Neguanee before turning west on its existing alignment. M-35 was then proposed to take the place of US-41 from Gladstone to Rapid River and then north to Marquette and westerly back to its existing alignment at Negaunee. The portion of M-35 from Gladstone through Perkins, Rock, Little Lake, and Gwinn to Princeton was proposed to be redesignated as M-41 (possibly a placeholder designation that would have never made it onto signs in the field), while the portion of M-35 from Princeton northerly through Palmer to Negaunee would be turned back to local control with a new, straighter alignment US-41 built along the general path of the existing M-35.
  • More specifically related to the major changed proposed above, M-35 was proposed to diverge from its existing route at the southern Escanaba city limit south of 12th Rd and continue due northerly to an interchange at US-2 (redesignated from US-2/US-41). From there, US-2 and M-35 would run northerly concurrently along a freeway bypass of Escanaba and Gladstone which would run much farther west than the modern-day expressway alignment of US-2/US-41 between Gladstone and Rapid River. The US-2/M-35 freeway would continue north-northeasterly to an interchange at the existing US-41 (and a much realigned M-69) approximately two miles north of Rapid River. M-35 would then continue north along the existing route of US-41 toward Marquette. The existing route of US-2/US-41/M-35 would then become a BUS US-2/BUS M-35 routing through Escanaba and Gladstone.
  • Constructing a new alignment "bypass" of sorts for the community of Skandia southeast of Marquette with the former route of US-41 being turned back to local control. This proposal was implemented, but as part of a US-41 realignment, as the grandiose plans for US-41 noted above were never enacted.
  • Converting M-35 (redesignated from US-41) to a four-lane divided highway from Big Creek Rd/BP southeast of Harvey to the southern Marquette city limit northwest of Harvey. Much of US-41 has a four- or five-lane cross-section in this area today. Also converting M-28/M-35 (redesignated from US-41/M-28) to a four-lane divided highway from Meeske Ave in western Marquette to the Negaunee/Ishpeming city limit. Most of this portion was converted to a four-lane divided highway or five-lane undivided cross-section in later years as US-41/M-28.
  • Converting US-41/M-28/M-35 to a four-lane divided highway from the western Ishpeming city limit to Clarksburg along the existing highway alignment, where the divided highway would transition to a new alignment routing from Clarksburg to Beacon (near Champion) where it would merge back into the existing highway. The former route of US-41/M-28/M-35 between Clarksburg and Beacon would've been turned back to local control.
  • Rerouting M-35, which in 1960 ran southwesterly with M-26 from the Greenland area through Mass City to a joint terminus with M-26 at US-45 near Rockland, onto a new state trunkline routing from Greenland northwesterly to Ontonagon. This proposal would actually come to pass in 1971 when US-45 was rerouted from its Rockland-to-Ontonagon segment to run via M-26 to Greenland, then west-northwesterly to Onontagon, athough US-45 was restored to its pre-1971 routing in 1973 when M-38 was extended west from Greenland to Ontonagon. (M-38 was the "replacement designation" for M-35 from Baraga westerly.)
History: c.1920 – M-35 begins at M-12/M-15 (now US-2/US-41) in Gladstone, running northwesterly along its present-day route to Palmer, then directly to M-15 (present-day US-41/M-28) in Negaunee. From there, M-35 runs easterly via M-15 for several miles toward Marquette, then turns north-northwesterly via present-day Co Rd 510 toward the Huron Mountains. The portion of the route through the Huron Mountains in northwestern Marquette Co is marked "IMPASSABLE" on maps. (See "M-35: The Highway Henry Ford Stopped" for more details.) From the Huron Mountains, M-35 enters Baraga Co and heads westerly via present-day Erick and Skanee Rds to end at M-15 (present-day US-41) in downtown L'Anse. An aside: the portion of the future M-35 between Menominee and Cedar River in Menominee Co exists as M-91.
  1927 – M-35 is extended both westerly and southerly from its two termini adding 105 miles to the route. From its western terminus at US-41 in L'Anse, M-35 is extended westerly via US-41 to Baraga, then due westerly to the Greenland and Mass City area in eastern Ontonagon Co. From there, it is co-signed with M-26 southwesterly toward Rockford, then northwesterly from Rockford to Ontonagon via what had been previously designated as M-68, where the route ends at M-64 downtown. At the other end of the route in Gladstone, M-35 is extended in the April-May timeframe southerly via US-2/US-41 into Escanaba, then southwesterly hugging the coast of Green Bay through Cedar River, continuing along the former M-91 to end at US-41 in Menominee. Construction on the Escanaba-to-Ford River section of this new M-35 extension is completed in mid-September.
  1935 – M-35 is extended once again in the city of Menominee to run from US-41 through downtown to the Ann Arbor Railroad carferry dock south of downtown. Also, with the addition of US-45 to Michigan, the M-35 designation is scaled back to the junction of US-45 & M-26/M-35, two miles east of Rockland. A net loss of 11 miles of M-35 routing results from the two changes.
  1937 (Aug 30)US-2/US-41/M-35 is realigned in downtown Gladstone. Formerly heading north from Lake St (present-day Lake Shore Dr) via Central Ave (present-day 10th St) to Wisconsin Ave, then east one block via Wisconsin to 9th St where it turned notherly via 9th, the new route continues via Lake St (Lake Shore Dr) via new curve leading directly into 9th St where it now proceeds northerly to the former route at Wisconsin Ave. The former route is turned back to city control on this date.
  1939 (July 13) – The entire portion of M-35 from US-41/M-28 between Negaunee and Marquette to US-41 at L'Anse via the Huron Mountains is officially "cancelled" as a state trunkline by the State Highway Department, with those portions of the route completed given back to local authorities. This creates a discontinuous routing of M-35, which would remain for 13 years. Also during 1939, the M-35 routing is scaled back in Menominee to end at US-41 on the north end of town. The former route of M-35 leading through downtown to the Ann Arbor Railroad carferry docks is redesignated as M-173.
  1952 – In order to fill the gap between the two discontinuous segments, the M-35 designation is routed westerly via US-41/M-28 from Negaunee, then northerly via US-41 beyond the US-141/M-28 junction through L'Anse to Baraga, connecting the eastern and western segments. Also, the final several miles of gravel-surfaced M-35 is paved, south of Ford River, completing the hard-surfacing of the "eastern" M-35—the route that would eventually comprise all of M-35 in sixteen years' time. At this time, the "western" M-35 from Baraga to Rockland is completely gravel-surfaced.
  1962 (Sept 10) – A limited-access expressway (no private driveway access, but featuring intersections at select crossroads) US-2/US-41/M-35 bypass of downtown Gladstone is completed and opened to traffic. It runs from Lake Shore Dr southwest of downtown Gladstone to a point just north of jct M-35/4th Ave to the north where it merges back with the former route at the intersection of present-day Rains Dr. The former route of US-2/US-41/M-35 through downtown Gladstone via Lake Shore Dr and 9th St—as well as the one block of former M-35 along 4th Ave from 9th St to the new bypass—is turned back to local control.
  1965 – A new highway alignment of M-35 opens between Palmer and US-41/M-28 four miles east of Negaunee. The re-routing is necessary due to several cave-ins of old iron mine shafts under the old highway. Much of the former alignment through the Empire Mine is abandoned.
  1969 (Jan) – As part of a program by the Dept of State Highways to "eliminate all extraneous markings on state highways," the northern/western half of M-35 (Negaunee to Rockland) is removed and scaled back to end at US-41/M-28 four miles east of Negaunee. The former US-41/M-28/M-35 and US-41/M-35 routings between Negaunee and Baraga become just US-41/M-28 and US-41, respectively. The former M-35 between Baraga and M-26 east of Greenland is redesignated as M-38, while the final five miles (concurrent with M-26) to US-45 east of Rockland becomes just M-26.
  1985–1986 New! 2023-10 – Several segments of M-35 in central Marquette Co between the communities of Gwinn and Palmer are modernized and upgraded or reconstructed in 1985–966 to improve the horizontal alignment, remove sharp curves and straighten winding or meandering segments of roadway. The 90° bend in the highway at Chain Lake Trl (between Mud Lake and the Cataract Basin) is also bypassed by a new, wide, sweeping curve. New, wider bridges are constructed spanning the Middle Br of the Escanaba River, Green River, Fifteen Creek and Sweitzer's Creek. In many areas, the improved highway is built atop or adjacent to the former alignment with the old highway obliterated, while the 90° bend at Chain Lake Dr and the approaches to the former Fifteen Creek bridge (which was removed) are temporarily retained as unsigned state trunkline routes.
  1989 (May 25) Updated 2023-10 – The remaining segments of the former route of M-35 between Gwinn and Palmer in central Marquette Co which were not obliterated by the construction project in 1985–1986 are all cancelled as state trunkline routes and transferred to county control. At the former 90° bend at Chain Lake Dr becomes Horseshoe Lake Rd (EO) and Co Rd EOA, while the two dead-end approaches to the removed Fifteen Creek Bridge both are renamed Old M-35. In total, 0.936 mile of roadway is transferred to county control, including the "turned-in approaches" constructed to connect each former trunkline segment to the new alignment of M-35.
  1995 (Feb 1) New! 2023-10 – The rather sharp curive in the alignment of M-35 in the southern portion of the City of Escanaba at Lake Shore Dr is eliminated when the highway is reconstructed to utilize a more gentle, sweeping curve from approximatley 25th Ave S southwesterly to a point approximately 890 feet southwest of the relocated Lake Shore Dr intersection. The 0.337-mile long new alignment is officially established as a state trunkline route while, simultaneously, the portions of the former route southwesterly from Lake Shore Dr Relocated (0.186 mile) and from 26th Ave S northerly (0.111 mile) are cancelled as state trunkline highway routes through obliteration. The 0.084-mile (1 block) long segment of former M-35 betwen Lake Shore Dr Relocated and 26th Ave S is also cancelled, but is transferred to city control and becomes a city street named S 23rd St.
  2007 – The segment of M-35 from its southern terminus at US-41 in Menominee northerly along the shore of Green Bay and the Little Bay de Noc to Escanaba and the concurrent segment of US-2/US-41/M-35 from Escanaba to Gladstone is included in the U.P. Hidden Cost Recreational Heritage Route. The heritage route itself also includes the short segment of US-41 in Menominee from the Wisconsin state line northerly to M-35 and the portion of US-2/US-41 from the northern jct of M-35 at Gladstone northerly to the city limit at Mather Ave.
Controlled Access: Freeway: No portion of M-35 exists as a freeway.
  Expressway: Concurrently with US-2/US-41 from south of Gladstone (north of Bluff Lake Rd) northerly to the north jct of US-2/US-41 & M-35 in Gladstone. (2.7 miles)
NHS: M-35 from southern jct US-2/US-41 & M-35 in Escanaba to northern jct US-2/US-41 & M-35 in Gladstone is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Circle Tour: Lake Michigan Circle Tour MarkerLake Michigan Circle Tour: From the southern terminus of M-35 at US-41 in Menominee to northern jct US-2/US-41 & M-35 in Gladstone.
Pure Michigan
Recreational Heritage Route MarkerU.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route: From southern terminus of M-35 at US-41 in Menominee to the northern jct of US-2/US-41 & M-35 in Gladstone.
Memorial Highways:  The following Memorial Highway designations have been officially assigned to parts of M-35 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • United Spanish War Veterans' Memorial Highway – runs across the entire Upper Peninsula, but this segment applies to the portion of M-35 running concurrently with US-2/US-41 between Escanaba and Gladstone. From MDOT: "The United Spanish War Veterans was an American Veterans organization which consisted of veterans of the Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War and China Relief Expedition."
  • AmVets Memorial Drive – "The portion of US-2 and US-41 and M-35 beginning at the northern city limit of Escanaba and extending north 1-1/10 miles to the junction of County Road 426, also known as the extension of Sheridan Avenue..." From MDOT: "AMVETS (American Veterans) is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization, representing the interests of 20 million veterans. AMVETS is open to and fighting for all who honorably served in the United States military, including the Reserve and Guard, with more than 250,000 members nationwide."
  • Senator Tom Casperson Memorial Bridge – "The bridge on highway US-2 over the Escanaba River in Delta County..." [said bridge also includes US-41 and M-35, but those designations were omitted from the legislation.] From the Michigan Legislature: "Senator Tom Casperson was born in Escanaba and worked for his family's log trucking business for 25 years before taking ownership of the company for 10 years. In 2002, he was elected as a State Representative for Michigan's 108th House District. He served in that capacity until he was elected to the Michigan Senate in 2011, serving in the 38th Senate District until 2018. On November 29, 2020, Senator Casperson died from lung cancer."
  • Ben Lauren and Don Riling Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway M-35 in Forsyth Township beginning at the northern township limit of Turin Township extending northwest to the southern township limit of Richmond Township..." From the Michigan Legislature: "On March 19, 1988, while fighting a house fire in Forsyth Township, Donald L. Riling was injured and died in the line of duty. On Friday evening, March 13, 2020, Forsyth Township Fire Department Captain Ben Lauren was battling a duplex blaze on a former U.S. Air Force base. According to news reports, while working the interior of the structure, part of the floor collapsed, and Captain Lauren became trapped between the first and basement floors. He died of his injuries. He was 23 years old."
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