After about 13 years of thinking and talking about it, with a little push from blogger Down the Road, today's first meeting of the Michigan Road Historic Byway group got off to a great start. The Michigan Road you say?
Yes. Being the Indiana history buff I am, I have long felt that our state's historic Michigan Road should be celebrated & interpreted. With its initial beginnings in 1826, the first state commissioned road started in Madison and ended in Michigan City.....connecting lots of Hoosier folks with a perfectly drivable and experiencial strip of asphalt today.
So today in Rochester, after summoning stakeholders from Indianapolis, north, we had a wonderfully successful meeting to begin movement toward state historic byway designation with representatives from Marion, Cass, Fulton and Marshall Counties. We meet again in 3 months to formally organize and fill the missing links in the north half of the state before springboarding to our neighbors in the south.
This will be such a valuable tool for towns large and small outside of the typical Indiana tourism beltway to achieve a continuous link for heritage tourism stretching from one end of the state to the other. And I think it will bring our Hoosier family a little closer together, joining north and south with our capital city connecting all of the geography we know as home in Indiana.
Our goal is to achieve byway status by the summer of 2010 and have the road marked with uniform signage in time for the state's bicentennial in 2016, complete with tourism marketing plans to boot. My blogger friend Jim Grey from Down the Road has a website together with the Michigan Road painstakingly marked and documented at www.jimgrey.net/Roads/MichiganRoad/ and I'd encourage you to take a looksee.
Wish us luck, our little towns could use an economic shot in the arm! If you mark it (mark-et), they will come!