History

Interviewed on the radio about the Michigan Road

Yesterday I got to talk about the Michigan Road on radio station WKVI in Knox, Indiana. This town of about 3,500 residents is about 40 miles southwest of South Bend. Have a listen! (If you’re seeing this in your email or in your reader, click the title to see this on my site, where a video will appear below.)

The short of the story: when the Michigan Road was surveyed in the 1830s, the desire was to route it directly from Logansport to Michigan City. But the marshes of the Kankakee River blocked the way and it was impossible to build a road through them. So the road was routed through Rochester, Plymouth, and South Bend instead before heading to Michigan City.

The marshes were drained starting in the mid-late 1800s, and by 1920 the work was complete. While it opened up a huge amount of incredibly fertile farmland, it also destroyed the habitat for a number of wildlife species.

With the advent of the automobile, Indiana was again interested in building the direct road between Logansport and Michigan City. They built it in the 1930s as highway US 35, which runs right through Knox. Were it not for the marshlands, Knox could have been a Michigan Road town!

Small world department: WKVI morning host Charlie Adams was the sports anchor on WSBT-TV in my hometown starting in the late 1980s, and I used to watch him when I’d go home to visit my family. Near the end of the clip above Charlie talks about a motivational talk he gave at my high school with the South Bend Police Chief Information Officer, who arrived in the gym on his motorcycle.

Last updated on 29 July 2020 by Jim Grey

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4 thoughts on “Interviewed on the radio about the Michigan Road

  1. Steve Briggs says:

    My native State of Oklahoma also possesses many Quirky highways and back roads that are both haunting and fun to explore. Route 66 is the most famous and it bisects the State from East to West. Old 66 has been cut up and rebuilt in a thousand places thereby creating numerable short vestiges to nowhere that are spooky photographic opportunities. So the Michigan Highway sounds like a great photo opportunity.

    • My sons and I drove 66 almost to the Texas border several years ago and when it comes to old-road infrastructure the Oklahoma portion was very exciting. Here I am on some of the old concrete that parallels the interstate in western OK.

      Oklahoma Concrete Route 66

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