Indiana’s Historic and Fabled ‘Michigan Road’ Won’t Actually Take You To Michigan
Michigan Road beings its journey north through Indiana at the Ohio River town of Madison. It travels northwesterly, diagonally through the state passing through Indianapolis. But, despite the name, it won't take you to Michigan. Well not exactly.
The Michigan Road will take you to Lake Michigan at Michigan City. So almost Michigan, the state, but not quite.
The road's history stretches back to the1830s when the most populated part of the state was along the Ohio. The trail was blazed northward to encourage settlement into the rest of the Hoosier state.
The northern portion of the route from Indianapolis to Lake Michigan carries this history, via Wikipedia:
A commission was selected in 1828 to route the road from Indianapolis to Lake Michigan. It was told to make the trailhead be the best harbor, preferably natural, that could be had with Lake Michigan. The Kankakee River's swamp posed a problem for the construction of the road, forcing the commission to avoid a more direct northwesterly route and instead have it go from Logansport, straight up to the south bend of the St Joseph River (now the city of South Bend), and then west to Lake Michigan. Michigan City was formally selected to be the trailend in 1832
The Michigan Road has seen a slight resurgence in popularity after being bypassed by faster highways. The state has signed the historic route as much as possible and a Facebook group shares memories and historic artifacts.
While Michigan Road may not carry the gravitas of other roads like Route 66 or Lincoln Highway, it might still be a great trip to trace the Michigan Road today. Start on the south end at Madison and follow US 421 north or start in Michigan City, take a turn for South Bend and point your compass south.
Michigan Road Videos
Here's what Michigan Road looks like in its southernmost stretch in Madison.
Michigan Road Historical Marker and Holton, Indiana
Michigan Road through Indianapolis
Looking for more must-drive roads like Michigan Road. Here are our suggestions:
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The Michigan Road in Indiana passes through some great small towns. Here are more of the them from across America.