Skip to main content

Addison Township Public Library

Cancelled: Michigan History: Good Roads Movement

Cancelled: Michigan History: Good Roads Movement
  • When Mar 26, 2020 from 06:30 PM to 07:30 PM (US/Eastern / UTC-400)
  • Where Addison Township Public Library
  • Contact Name
  • Contact Phone 2486287180
  • Add event to calendar iCal

The Good Roads Movement in Michigan: How Bicyclists and Automobilists got Farmers out of the Mud: By Jim Craft

In 1890 the United States had, perhaps, the worst road system of any developed country in the world.  Impassable three or four months a year due to muddy conditions, the balance of the year roads in America were dusty, rutted and disjointed serving only very local functions.

By the mid 1920’s the United States had developed a well-funded system that integrated local, state and Federal governments to create the massive road network we take for granted today.

While the story is national in scope, the presentation will focus on Michigans to answer three key questions:

  1. Why were roads in America so bad in 1890?
  2. What caused the change?
  3. What were the principle steps that were taken to relate an effective road system in America and Michigan?


Along the way, we will discuss the importance of the bicycle, the Model T and the Liberty truck.  Among other things we will explain why Van Dyke is named the Earle Memorial Highway, the origins of the Dixie Highway and the central, though often negative, role American farmers played in the Good Roads Movement.

Upcoming Events