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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
 
 

MotorCities National Heritage Area Historical Markers

The MotorCities National Heritage Area, designated by Congress in 1998, celebrates the auto industry and its impact on the Detroit area, southeastern Michigan, and communities as far away as Saginaw, Flint, Lansing, and Kalamazoo.
 
I-496 Olds Freeway Marker along E. St. Joe. image, Touch for more information
By Bill Rieske, June 9, 2017
I-496 Olds Freeway Marker along E. St. Joe.
Michigan (Ingham County), Lansing — I-496 Olds Freeway Rolling Through the City The I-496 freeway loop opened in late 1970.
The road, cutting across downtown Lansing, was given the name "Olds Freeway' in honor of Ransom E. Olds. The new freeway reflected a national trend as workers moved out of the cities to suburban homes. I-496 spurred growth in the suburbs, but . . . — Map (db m104215) HM
Michigan (Ingham County), Lansing — Lansing's Labor Holiday The UAW Takes Action They took it to the streets on June 7, 1937
Following Flint's example, Lansing Amalgamated United Auto Workers Local 182 concluded a successful sit-down strike at Reo in April 1937. A subsequent effort to organize Capital City Wrecking Company resulted in the firing of workers, picket lines . . . — Map (db m104154) HM
Michigan (Ingham County), Lansing — Olds Returns to Lansing The Curved Dash Runabout Fire didn't destroy Ransom E. Olds' dreams
After fire destroyed the new Olds Motor Works plant in Detroit on March 9, 1901, the Lansing Business Men's Association offered Olds land originally acquired in hopes of permanently hosting the State Fair. He took it. His new plant produced only the . . . — Map (db m104114) HM
Michigan (Ingham County), Lansing — Ransom Eli Olds Breakthrough Engines Turning Wheels The spark of auto innovation ignited here in the 1890s.
P.F. Olds founded a prosperous machine shop here on River Street, repairing and building steam and gasoline engines. His was one of many Lansing Manufacturing plants that produced small engines, carriages, windmills and other equipment used by . . . — Map (db m104130) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), Farmington — Travel Through Time on Farmington's Grand River Avenue
Long before our everyday journeys, people traveled along this important road. This was once the Grand River Trail, a pathway Native Americans followed across Michigan before European settlement. Farmington founder Arthur Power came here along . . . — Map (db m85441) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), Orchard Lake Village — Remembering Historic Railways on the West Bloomfield Trail
Two railways came together here. The West Bloomfield Trail follows the path of the Grand Trunk Railroad, built through the region in the 1880s. If you were standing here in 1900, you also would see a light rail trolley line . . . — Map (db m105056) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), Orchard Lake Village — The Orchard Lake Museum and the Treasures of Local History
The Orchard Lake Museum has been an intersection where paths cross and people meet. The first building here was a small tavern named the Orchard Lake House, built in 1857 for stagecoach travelers. Various owners rebuilt and . . . — Map (db m105083) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), Orchard Lake Village — Tracks Over Tracks on the Detroit United Railway
Transportation transformed the landscape of rural West Bloomfield as electric trolleys and automobiles appeared around the turn of the 20th century. Many people traveled here for the first time from Detroit and Pontiac, and . . . — Map (db m105114) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), Orchard Lake Village — Waiting for the Trolleys and Riding Between the Lakes
The trolleys made it easy to travel through the lakes of Oakland County. In the early 1900s people got off or waited at platforms that were built for access to the track. The Detroit United Railway (DUR) bought land from local . . . — Map (db m105074) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), Orchard Lake Village — Waiting Room and the "Wye" at the Michigan Military Academy
To change directions, trolleys had to turn around. At this location, at the back of what had been the parade grounds of the Michigan Military Academy, the Detroit United Railway (DUR) built a "wye." This Y-shaped track allowed . . . — Map (db m105150) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), West Bloomfield Township — "Motoring" to Pine Lake with the Automobile Club of Detroit
It was a time of exciting change, as the first automobiles tangled with horses and trolley cars in the streets and countryside. On June 23, 1902 a group of leading businessmen and industrialists came together at the Detroit . . . — Map (db m105226) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), West Bloomfield Township — A Lake and a Trolley Put Keego Harbor on the Map
Cass Lake was the quiet pleasure of farmers and merchants until the first trolley rail system was built through the area in 1895, bringing "weekenders" from Pontiac and Detroit to the area. In 1912 real estate developer Joseph . . . — Map (db m105182) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), West Bloomfield Township — Gateway to Nature at the Orchard Lake Beach Trolley Stop
Many Detroiters escaped to nature on the trolleys of the Detroit United Railway (DUR) in the early 1900s. The Orchard Lake Beach stop was located here, where the parallel Grand Trunk Railroad and DUR trolley tracks crossed . . . — Map (db m105107) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), West Bloomfield Township — In Good Company at Pine Lake Country Club
The sparkling lake has been a gift to the generations Pine Lake Country Club began as a treasured rustic destination for Automobile Club of Detroit road tours in the early 1900s. By 1910, the clubhouse on Pine Lake had become a . . . — Map (db m105200) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), West Bloomfield Township — Lakes and Attractions at the Orchard Lake Trolley Stop
The heart of the lake country was well-served by the trolleys in the early 1900s. No stop in the entire Detroit United Railway (DUR) trolley system was more popular than the Orchard Lake stop located here, where the parallel . . . — Map (db m105135) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), West Bloomfield Township — Settling the Dust The Countryside Improvement Association
The lakes and landscape of Oakland County weren't ready for the automobile in the early 1900s. Weekend visitors, in noisy "self-propelled" vehicles, churned up dust on unpaved roads and trespassed on private property. To . . . — Map (db m105049) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — Edsel Ford's Leadership and His "Nerve Retreat" at Haven Hill
He was a man of vision and achievement, and he called Haven Hill his "nerve retreat," his restful refuge. The only child of Henry and Clara Ford, Edsel Ford was born in 1893 and became the youngest president of Ford Motor Company in 1919. . . . — Map (db m99082) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — Genevieve Gillette and the Treasures of Nature
Michigan state parks welcomed the newly-mobile drivers of automobiles in the early 1900s. Genevieve Gillette made it her life's work to preserve precious natural settings and make them available to the travelling public. In 1920 she began . . . — Map (db m99055) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — Haven Hill Carriage House The Lodge's "Little Brother"
It was a garage and a playhouse. The Carriage House was planned to be the chauffeur's home and to shelter Ford family vehicles. But the chauffeur moved into the Lodge, and the Carriage House became a playhouse for the Ford children — . . . — Map (db m99117) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — Haven Hill Farm Exploring a New World of Agriculture
An expression of deep respect for the land, this complex was called the Farm Group Buildings. Edsel Ford learned from his father Henry Ford who wrote in 1932 that "with one foot in industry and another foot in the land, human society is . . . — Map (db m99131) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — Haven Hill Gatehouse Crossing the Threshold to the Estate
The Gatehouse was the formal entryway into the 2,422 acre Haven Hill Estate, Edsel Ford's chosen "weekend getaway." While Edsel gathered property for his country estate in the 1920s, Packard Motor Car Company and General Motors bought large . . . — Map (db m99066) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — Haven Hill Lodge Finding a Retreat in the Countryside
It was an expression of new wealth and mobility created by the early automobile industry. Twenty years after his father founded Ford Motor Company in 1903, Edsel Ford began buying the hilly property that became his family's rural retreat . . . — Map (db m99106) HM
Michigan (Oakland County), White Lake Township — The Haven Hill Getaway Celebrities Come to Visit
They came from around the world. In the early 1920s, "weekend jaunts" in automobiles and on new roads brought day travelers to this countryside like never before, and also brought prominent people from around the world. The world of Edsel . . . — Map (db m99075) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — 220 N. Huron A Home Becomes a Museum
This lovely building has been many homes. It was built in the Italianate style in 1860, as our nation's Civil War approached, for the family of bank president Asa Dow. It continued as a home for families until 1922. As apartments, it . . . — Map (db m96994) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Facing the Fire at the Michigan Firehouse Museum
Something had to be done. Constructed in 1898 and in service for over 75 years, this firehouse combined two separate volunteer fire companies into one centalized fire station. A paid department and a dedicated building represented a major . . . — Map (db m98474) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Food and Drink Haab's Carries on the Tradition
Along the road, a welcoming tradition. The road was once called the Sauk Trail, the Military Chicago Road, Congress Road, and, eventually, Michigan Avenue. For travel by foot, horse, stagecoach, truck, or automobile, it has endured as a . . . — Map (db m98488) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Hudsons & Friends at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
The building has stories to tell It can tell about first being built as an electric plant before being converted to manufacturing in 1905. There are memories of 1916 when it became the first Dodge dealership outside Detroit, later becoming a . . . — Map (db m94320) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Manufacturing History at the Corner of Norris & Forest
Manufacturing here spanned most of the 20th Century, reflecting the changing economy in Ypsilanti and in America. In 1907 the Ypsilanti Hay Press Company first built a factory here by the Huron River and the railroad tracks to make . . . — Map (db m98955) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Michigan Avenue Industry Ypsilanti's Automotive Manufacturing
The early automotive industry came to Ypsilanti just after World War I. In 1919, Apex Motor Corporation built a small factory on River Street just south of Michigan Avenue to manufacture various "Ace" vehicles. But by 1925 three . . . — Map (db m98724) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Power on the River Ford's Ypsilanti Village Industry
Henry Ford wasn't the first to harness the flowing Huron River. In the 1880s, dams built along the river through Ypsilanti provided waterpower to mills processing paper, wool, lumber, and grain. In 1931, Ford bought property along the river . . . — Map (db m98723) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — The Amazing Quarter Mile Auto Dealers in Ypsilanti
It's hard to count all the brands of automobiles that were sold on the south side of Michigan Avenue. Right here, between the Huron River Bridge and Park Street, 17 auto dealers sold 31 different brands of cars and trucks during the 1900s. . . . — Map (db m98722) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — The Bomber Restaurant Food, Fun, and Military History
You can get hungry building B-24 bombers. The Bomber Restaurant was first given its name in 1942 by Florence Bladwin [sic] Averill. The massive Ford B-24 bomber plant had just opened at nearby Willow Run Airport to supply aircraft . . . — Map (db m98698) HM
Michigan (Washtenaw County), Ypsilanti — Ypsilanti and the Tucker Phenomenon
It was America's "first completely new car in fifty years" and the vision in 1945 of Preston Tucker, who lived at 110 North Park Street in Ypsilanti. He was the general manager of his family's Ypsilanti Machine & Tool Company at 103 North . . . — Map (db m98420) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Canton — A Ford Village Industry in Cherry Hill Village
At Cherry Hill Village, Henry Ford did something different. In front of you, at the southwest corner of Cherry Hill and Ridge Roads, was one of his "village industries," small factory sites which produced Ford parts with special local . . . — Map (db m99544) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Canton — Cherry Hill Cemetery Settlers, Soldiers, and Statesmen
Walking among the headstones of Canton's pioneer families, one cannot escape their contribution to American history. You see the Hustons, the Lewises, the Gills, and veterans from every war, beginning with the War of 1812 through modern . . . — Map (db m99580) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Canton — Cherry Hill Inn An Enduring Landmark
This beautiful Italianate-style Inn was built by Abner Hitchcock in 1866 on speculation that a railroad spur would come through Cherry Hill and travelers would need a place to stay. The railroad never came, and Hitchcock lost the building . . . — Map (db m99509) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Canton — Cherry Hill Village Community at the Crossroads
Cherry Hill Village originated in the 1830s at the crossroads of Cherry Hill and Ridge Roads. As the economic and social center for the area, local families came here to trade at the general store, to pick up mail, to get shoes for . . . — Map (db m99621) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Canton — Farming in Canton The Sweet Corn Capitol of Michigan
Canton's loamy soil was a natural draw to the region's settlers. From 1825 to the 1960s farming was the main vocation in Canton. At first, self-sustaining farms provided the only food and income for a family. By the 1920s, automobiles, . . . — Map (db m99847) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — A Military Reserve in Dearbornville
Dearborn was an outpost on the western frontier Because of expansion from Detroit and Indian disturbances to the west, in 1833 the federal government began construction of an arsenal on its military reserve land near where the Sauk Trail . . . — Map (db m98178) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — A Trail Garden
Parallel to the Great Meadow, the Trail Garden offered visitors a more intimate garden-walk experience. As it meandered through shrub borders and woodland, the Trail Garden was full of surprises. Large semi-circular flower beds were planted with . . . — Map (db m96436)
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Business Pioneers on Morley Avenue
This Morley Avenue neighborhood has a special history. In the early 1800s, the U.S. government purchased this land near the Rouge River for a frontier military reserve and arsenal. When the arsenal closed in 1875, the land was sold and . . . — Map (db m98620) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Dearborn City Hall A Building for City Leadership
East Downtown Dearborn is "the neighborhood the Rouge Plant built," and its fortunes have been tied to Ford Motor Company. Ford taxes generated much of the income used to build the impressive Georgian Revival-style building, which opened on . . . — Map (db m96996) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Ford and Dearborn Building a Business, Building a City
Henry Ford built the City of Dearborn His business interests drove the consolidation of the City of Fordson and the City of Dearborn in 1929. To the east were the Ford Rouge Plant and the Ford Administration Building. To the west were . . . — Map (db m96992) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Ford's Fairways at the Dearborn Country Club
It was a gift for his hometown. Henry Ford developed an 18-hole golf course at Outer Drive and Military Street that opened in 1925. With the course designed by Donald Ross and the clubhouse designed by architect Albert Kahn, Ford wanted to . . . — Map (db m98085) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — From Farmland to Great Estate
Once open farmland, the osage-orage tree hedge on the right still exists. It dates from the 1800's farming community that formed the boyhood environment of Henry Ford. Landscape designer Jens Jensen told the Fords he would transform the land back . . . — Map (db m89482) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — From State Fair to Fair Lane/Peony Garden
From State Fair to Fair Lane Henry Ford had the miniature farmhouse, along with a miniature barn, steam engine and threshing machine, constructed for the 1924 Michigan State Fair to educate children living in an urban area about life on a . . . — Map (db m96264) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Giving Nature a Hand
The manufacturing technology developed by Henry Ford and the auto industry affected all aspects of life in early 20th century Michigan. Among the labor-saving items pioneered in the state during that period were specialized valves for watering . . . — Map (db m89361) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Making Moves Transportation in Dearborn
Dearborn has long been a transportation hub, first by water and land, later by rail, air and automobile. The Rouge and Detroit rivers provided water transport to the Great Lakes. Major overland routes included the Sauk Trail (later the . . . — Map (db m96842) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Nature vs. Nurture
In 1926, a 2.5-acre rose garden was designed for this meadow, with the help of landscape architect Herbert Kellaway and rosarian Harriet Foote. Once completed, the garden contained approximately 10,000 rose plants of 400 varieties and cost more than . . . — Map (db m98927) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — On the River
Where you are standing now was once an open channel to the Rouge River. The Fords would pilot their boat, the Callie B, out of the boathouse to the river. The Ford grandchildren would harbor small boats here, as well. Conveniently, Mrs. . . . — Map (db m88431) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Out in the Orchard
Fruit orchards were planted in various locations around the estate consisting of apples, pears, cherries, and other varieties of fruit. The open lawn next to the weeping beech tree was previously an apple orchard with fruit favored by Mrs. Ford. . . . — Map (db m96261) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Rhythm of Radio in Dearborn
Radio has a strong tradition in Dearborn. In 1934, Henry Ford inspired the "Ford Sunday Evening Hour" on Detroit's WWJ - AM radio. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra appeared on the broadcast regularly and became the nation's first radio . . . — Map (db m98481) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Rock Garden Masterpiece
In 1915, landscape designer Jens Jensen created a picturesque rock garden masterpiece for Henry and Clara Ford. His design was engineered to work with nature and be relatively maintenance-free. (Left Photo Caption) In the early 1920's, . . . — Map (db m89338) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Shipbuilding Traditions Along the Rouge River
Long before cars were built along the lower Rouge River in Dearborn, the site was home to shipbuilding. Early 1700s French settlers established a small shipyard on the Rouge River at Baby Creek. The British later used the same site to build . . . — Map (db m99189) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — The Neighborhood that the Rouge Plant Built
There has always been a lot to stop for here. In the 1800s, the Six Mile Inn was a rural rest stop here along the Chicago Road (today's Michigan Avenue) from Detroit. But the development nearby in the early 1900s of Ford Motor Company's . . . — Map (db m85498) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — The Path of the Setting Sun
Guests of the Fords came from all walks of life, and the Great Meadow that greeted them remains. Its designer, Jens Jensen, used thousands of native plantings to create this vista he labeled, "The Path of the Setting Sun-Summer." Every summer . . . — Map (db m96937) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — The Schaefer Building Art Drawing Commerce
The intersection of Michigan Avenue and Schaefer Road has been important in metropolitan Detroit's history. In its early days it was a rest stop on the road between Detroit and Chicago. Joseph Schaefer built the Six Mile House tavern at the . . . — Map (db m96169) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Dearborn — Westward Welcome on the Chicago Road
The Chicago Road was the way to go west from Detroit. After the Erie Canal in New York state opened in 1825, great numbers of Americans searched for their future to the west across the Great Lakes. Many of them traveled on the Chicago Road, . . . — Map (db m96775) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Westland — "Learning by Doing" at Ford's Nankin Mill Schoolhouse
Henry Ford established this one-room schoolhouse for children of workers at his nearby Nankin Mill village industry plant producing automotive parts. The rural school operated from 1937 to 1946 as part of Ford's Edison Institute School . . . — Map (db m96980) HM
Michigan (Wayne County), Westland — Nankin Millers House Living on the Rouge River
It was a short walk to work. This was home to milling families who owned and operated Nankin Mills during its gristmill heyday, from 1842 to 1918. Its Greek Revival style was popular when it was built in 1834. The last farmer living here . . . — Map (db m96981) HM

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