Take a Drive Through History on America’s Historic Byways

On Friday September 23rd the Indiana Department of Transportation named The Michigan Road a historic byway.

Map of The Michigan Road

The Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program says on their website that their goal is “To create a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places.”

Their mission is to create a unique travel experience and enhanced local quality of life through efforts to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities of designated byways.

The Michigan Road is Indiana‘s first state-funded highway, built in the 1830s and stretching from Madison on the Ohio River, through Greensburg, Shelbyville, Indianapolis, Logansport, Rochester, Plymouth, and South Bend, and ending in Michigan City on Lake Michigan. It was built to provide a critical transportation link from southern Indiana to the new capital in Indianapolis, and to allow settlement of northern Indiana. It is still driveable end-to-end today.  The route is essentially US 421 through Indianapolis, State Road 29 to Logansport, State Road 25 to Rochester, US 31 to South Bend, US 20 to Michigan City, and a short bit of US 12 within Michigan City.  If you want to virtually tour the Michigan road yourself, go here.

Historic Byways are an excellent resource to use to plan travel in the United States on the road.  There are several benefits of traveling by car, bus or RV over traveling by plane.  One of those benefits is that you can shop at Canadian land border Duty Free stores before you cross the border.  These stores are independently owned and operated, and run at less expense than airport duty free shops.  This way, the savings are passed directly onto you.

You also get to view the scenery and experience the personality of America’s smaller communities on your way.  A popular saying is that, “It’s not the destination, it’s the route you take to get there.”  By taking one of the many Historic Byways in the US you will surely be taking a good one.