Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike
by M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson
The West Michigan Pike, now US-31, is a 400-mile meandering ribbon of road, hugging the coast of Lake Michigan from Michigan City, Indiana to Mackinaw City, Michigan and passing through many small beach towns along the way. Its 1913 slogan, “Lakeshore All the Way” sums up the main feature of this gem of a travel route. The road is sometimes called Michigan’s Route 66.
Seasoned authors M. Christine Byron & Thomas R. Wilson tell the story of this road’s early beginning as serpentine sand trails and rutted dirt pathways and its transformation to US-31 used by today’s traveler.
The book starts out with a recommendation from Ernest Hemingway in a 1919 letter to his Chicago pals Jenks and Barney, preparing them for their trip to Horton Bay, (near the location of the Hemmingway family’s summer retreat at Walloon Lake), to take the West Michigan Pike, “a pretty good road” and that the trip could be made in three days. Our research road sleuths, Christine and Tom, retraced the original Pike using vintage maps and allow readers to time-travel back to the small towns and villages through their collection of photos and postcards.