Grand River Avenue (Images of America)
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Grand River Avenue, or Michigan US-16 as it was ultimately designated, is one of Michigans true Blue Highwaysan original two-lane, blacktop road still serving as a direct path through roadside America. Originally a Native American trail, this ancient path has been a westbound route from the Straits of Detroit to the eastern shores of Lake Michigan for more than 1,000 years. Over time, it has served as a footpath, horse trail, wagon rut, stagecoach route, plank road, and ultimately a two-lane highway that gave some of Americas earliest motorists their first taste of long-distance automobile travel.
John. The Wixom Inn. Farmington, MI: Farmington Hills Historical Commission, 2002. 126 Index Berlin, 16, 90–92 Brighton, 54–59 Cascade, 83 Coopersville, 89, 93–97, 100 Detroit, 13–15, 17–36,41, 42, 46, 53, 58, 59, 65, 66, 77, 86, 107 Eagle, 78, 79, 115 East Lansing, 74, 75 Eastmanville, 119 Fruitport, 100, 102–105, 120, 123 Redford, 32–38 Farmington, 15, 36–46 Fowlerville, 64–68 Grand Haven, 10, 12, 13, 16, 89, 97, 105, 114, 118, 119, 122, 123 Grand Rapids, 10, 16, 59, 78, 83–85
offers a repertoire of popular productions year-round, and every visit includes a performance in its 70-seat auditorium, a museum tour, and a workshop in the puppet studio. (Courtesy of the author’s collection.) 19 Woodward and Grand Avenues. Just beyond the puppet show, Grand River crosses Woodward Avenue—one of Detroit’s busiest and most familiar intersections. This stretch of Woodward is the Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District. Often referred to as Merchants’ Row, it was added to the
crossroads it was 100 years ago, a five-pointed intersection where Milford Road crosses Grand River Avenue and the Old Pontiac Trail joins in from the west. The old inn and the old filling station still stand on the corner where all the roads converge. However, the little village has recently been experiencing a population boom and is currently undergoing a good degree of growth and new construction. The old Rice Block (above) once stood just across Grand River from the New Hudson Inn and housed
War boot camp long behind it, Island Lake soon reverted to a place of recreation and relaxation. By the 1920s, a dance and roller-skating pavilion known as the Blue Lantern (above) was constructed along the lakeshore, and soon the sounds of nationally known bands, including Jean Goldkette’s Orchestra and McKinney’s Cotton Pickers (below), were hovering over the lake on moonlit summer nights. McKinney’s was a Detroit-based band with international appeal and a major recording contract on the RCA
business here, outlived them all. As horses gave way to cars, he shaped metal to fit them as well. Today, patrons just bend elbows. 55 “Brightoned Our Lives.” Leland Drugs, on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Main Street, anchors the postcard above, sent in 1945. The writing on the reverse reads, “Just to let you know I haven’t forgotten you.” Leland was the first building in Brighton to be air-conditioned. Brightonites have many memories of drugstores with soda fountains. Many fondly