Historic Highway Subject of Talk by West Michigan Authors

Jul 06, 2012, 10:30 ET from Michigan State Housing Development Authority

MUSKEGON, Mich., July 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson, authors of Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike: From Sand Trails to US 31, will discuss the historic West Michigan Pike at Muskegon's Union Depot on Tuesday, July 17, at 6:30 p.m. The West Michigan Pike was the first continuous, improved road between Chicago and Mackinaw City, and it opened the state to automobile tourism. Summer resorts, motels, and roadside attractions were built along the highway to serve tourists, and many of these buildings remain today.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110419/MM85741LOGO)

The event, which is sponsored by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is one of six presentations being sponsored by the SHPO as it wraps up a five-year project dedicated to documenting the historic resources along old U. S. 12 and U.S. 31 between New Buffalo and Ludington and raising awareness of the history of the area. The SHPO partnered with the convention and visitors bureau consortium, Beachtowns, with the goal of designating the road as an official heritage route through the Michigan Department of Transportation.

With partial funding through a National Park Service Preserve America grant, the SHPO surveyed and documented hundreds of historic tourism-related sites that can still be found along the route of the old road. "Many of the mom and pop motels, drive-in restaurants, and resort architecture that developed during the early to mid-20th century still exist," said State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway. "These buildings represent Michigan's early years as a tourist destination. Many of these buildings face uncertainty. We hope that by educating the public about this interesting part of our past, people will appreciate these important historic places. We are pleased to have Chris Byron and Tom Wilson present the history of the pike through the historic images and memorabilia that they have collected."

Byron and Wilson received a 2012 Notable Book Award for Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike: From Sand Trails to US 31.

The Muskegon event begins at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, Union Depot, 610 W. Western Avenue. Byron and Wilson and State Historic Preservation Office staff will also speak in:

South Haven
Wednesday, July 25, 6:00 p.m.
South Haven Memorial Library
314 Broadway Street

Monday, July 30, 7:00 p.m.
Mason County District Library
217 East Ludington Avenue

Thursday, August 2, 6:30 p.m.
Saugatuck/Douglas District Library
10 Mixer Street, Douglas
This event is co-sponsored by the Saugatuck/Douglas Visitors Bureau.

St. Joseph
Tuesday, August 7, 6:30 p.m.
Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library
500 Market Street

Saturday, August 18, 5:00 p.m.
Lakeside Inn
15251 Lakeshore Road

For information about these events contact the State Historic Preservation Office at 517-373-1630 or preservation@michigan.gov. For more information about the West Michigan Pike visit Michigan.gov/SHPO and click on special projects. For information about tourism opportunities in West Michigan, go to Beachtowns.org.

The State Historic Preservation Office has been financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior.

The State Historic Preservation Office receives federal financial assistance for identification and protection of historic properties. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in its federally assisted programs. Michigan law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or disability. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office for Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC  20240.

The SHPO is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which  provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

SOURCE Michigan State Housing Development Authority