Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kewadin, Michigan: Hugh Gray Monument

Of all the odd attractions listed for our tour of Michigan through Roadside America, this is the one I wanted to see. And once I had to learn more.

It's a tribute to Hugh Gray, essentially the father of tourism planning for the state of Michigan. Now you have to admit, that's a little different.

We drove down Route 31 and took a left on to Cairn Highway, and then drove a couple of miles. There is was, on the north side of the road. After inspection, I discovered that each county had donated a rock to make up the monument.

But questions such as "Why here?" and "Why him?" came up. As for the here part, it supposedly was on Route 31 - the main road of the region - when it was dedicated in 1938. However, the road was moved, and now no one sees it without some effort. Oops. It's also supposedly on the 45th parallel, the line that's halfway between the North Pole and Equator. It looks a little too far south for that to be true; we passed a sign coming south on US 31 a bit before the turn.

As for Gray, he was the driving force behind the West Michigan Tourist Association - established in 1917. Gray eventually saw that states like Colorado were working together to lure tourist dollars, and he didn't want Michigan to lose its piece of the pie.

It seems that Mr. Gray was ahead of his time in his field. Want to read more? Here is your chance.

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