Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline January 2016

The Steering Column

David Novak
Left Hand Drive
from our President
Normally, I’m not at a loss for words for my monthly article. This month... not as much. However, a wise man once said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So here you go!

I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
-- Dave Novak      

Auto Appraisal Group

Ray Hansen

The Steering Column
Right Hand Drive  
from our Vice-President  
I recently came across an article in the Chicago Tribune entitled “Driving Old Chicago Road”. It is mostly about some lucky reporter taking a drive in a new Porsche 911. How do you get that job? The article got me thinking about the road and not about the car (I can only dream of a car like that).

I found the following information on a highway sign and wanted to share it with you. Old Chicago Road (presently US route 12 in Michigan) became one of the great routes for the pioneers coming west. In 1824 Congress was petitioned to fund a highway between Detroit and Chicago. The survey of the road (being a land surveyor, this part is only interesting to me) between Detroit and Chicago was completed in 1825. The road closely followed the Sauk Trail which Indians had marked and traveled for centuries before the coming of the white man. The actual road construction was started in 1829 (budget problems?) and completed in 1833. Because of its many curves the road was likened to “a huge serpent, lazily pursuing its onward course, utterly unconcerned as to its destination”. Sounds like a perfect road for an MG tour. The road was designated as a military highway linking Detroit and Fort Dearborn in Chicago.

The road proved to be more important in opening southern Michigan to settlement and the westward land route enabling travelers to avoid the long voyage by boat around lower Michigan. In the 1830s pioneer families by the thousands each year were moving over this road in their wagons. By 1835 the Western Stage Company of Detroit was running two stage coaches daily to Chicago. Much of the road was little more than an unimproved trail. Making a trip over it was an unforgettable and uncomfortable experience. After the civil war railroad tracks were laid alongside the old route. Eventually the car replaced the railroad.

It became part of the federal highway system and was finally paved in 1929. It is a little sketchy as to where Chicago Road was along the south end of lake Michigan thru Indiana and Illinois but the best guess is that it was where route 41 is today and along Lake Shore Drive.

So if you have a weekend next summer with nothing to do, you may want to take a drive on Chicago Road. It will take you through rural farm land and small towns. Take your time and enjoy the drive.

~~ Ray Hansen & Maggie    
(AKA Little Red)

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