PLYMOUTH — It’s possible that Marshall County — and Plymouth in particular — will be showing off its singular place in history.
An application nominating the Michigan Road between Madison and Michigan City for historic byway status was submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Tuesday, Dec. 21. The nomination was submitted by a steering committee composed of individuals from the counties through which the historic route passes. Co-chair of the committee Kurt Garner hopes that the designation will bring other benefits to the area.
“It would work to help tap into the growing industry in heritage tourism,” he said. “There are a lot of historic road aficionados who enjoy taking trips on historic byways. It’s a way to help towns along those historic byways a part of that experience.”
A similar committee recently made a presentation to have the Lincoln Highway designated as an historic byway. If that is approved by INDOT it would make the area a special place indeed.
“It would make Marshall County and Plymouth in particular a very unique place,” said Garner. “It’s something that we could take advantage of with the historic crossroads. The Michigan Road itself is very unique in that it runs north and south. All other historic roads in the state run east and west.”
The Michigan Road was funded by the State Legislature in 1826, surveyed in 1829 with construction following in 1830. By 1836 the route was essentially complete across Indiana.
The 270-mile stretch of road began in Madison and ended at Michigan City by way of the new state capital at Indianapolis. The primary purpose of the road was to spur development of the northern part of the fledgling state, as well as create access to shipping ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan.
An organizational meeting was held in Logansport in May, 2009 for the formation of the committee. Co-chairs Jim Grey of Indianapolis and Garner of Plymouth began the effort to have Indiana’s first state commissioned road designated a historic byway with a meeting of interested parties in Rochester in January, 2009.
The committee anticipates the inclusion of the byway on state maps, directional signage, and marketing materials as the byway moves from concept to reality.
For more information on the Historic Michigan Road Byway project contact the committee or take a tour of the road at www. historicmichiganroad.org/.
The Historic Michigan Road is also on Facebook.