Looking Back: Spring in Shelby Township

Shelby - Utica News | Published May 6, 2015

Photo and caption courtesy of Hilary Davis, of the Shelby Township Historical Committee

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Spring in Michigan today means pothole and orange barrel season. But 100 years ago, around when this photo of a stretch of 22 Mile Road in Shelby Township was taken, spring meant axle-deep mud and sunbaked ruts in the many miles of dirt road. In the 1840s, some roads were paved with planks of wood to help make them passable in most weather. Romeo Plank Road and Utica Road were both plank roads. But plank roads were difficult and expensive to maintain, requiring nearly constant replacement of rotten, warped and cracked boards. Most local roads remained unpaved well into the 20th century.

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