On the Road to Michigan's Past


    Come with me as a pilgrim on time's thoroughfare to a Michigan that once was. Forsake the honk and rush of truck ruled interstates for more sensible streets. Journey, instead, on narrow concrete stretches built for curved dash Oldsmobiles and Model T Fords. Beat out time to the rhythmic clip-clop of horse hooves, of spinning buggy wheels, of high stepping steeds and gay sleigh rides.

    Let us travel in company with saddlebag doctors and snowshoe priests, with plaid-clad shanty boys en route to hew pine in the northwoods, with Cornish copper miners keen to moil for red metal in the Keweenaw and with French explorers seeking the fabled route to the Orient. Stroll with me as we thump along board sidewalks past Greek Revival and Italianate facades; let us peer into dim shop windows heaped high with iron toys, kerosene lamps, Winchester rifles, horse-hair blankets and fashion in crinoline and lace from days forever flown.

    Let us wend our way along sandy country toads arched in leafy tunnels, tramp past overgrown cemeteries where sleep the pioneers, jog along voyageur's portage ways and thread moccasin beat Indian trails. And wearied from our travels, let us cower closer to our wilderness campfire at night to hear tales of Potawatomi pluck and Ottawa lore, of Chippewa chiefs and Hiawatha's wooing, as the mournful wail of wolves sense shivers up your spine.