Post-Tribune, Friday, 16 November, 1923
Dunes Route Formally
THOUSANDS SEE `WONDER
HIGHWAY' DEDICATED BY OFFICIALS OF 3 STATES
Bronze Tablet, Marking Route,
Placed at Baileytown With Appropriate Ceremonies; Banquet This
Dunes Highway, "the shortest possible route between
the Atlantic and the Pacific," was this afternoon formally accepted by
the state and federal governments which jointly built it, and was
dedicated to the use of the public.
Official dedication of what is declared to be the
greatest highway in the United States, was accompanied by a monster
parade of automobiles, strains of patriotic music, waving of banners,
installation of a memorial tablet, talks by road officials of Indiana,
Michigan and Illinois, and winding up this evening with a banquet at
Hotel Spaulding in Michigan City.
The great auto parade which formed on Broadway,
moved toward Michigan City shortly after 2 o'clock this afternoon, with
more than 300 cars in line, carrying more than one thousand
people. The parade was led by a motorcycle squad of police,
followed by Perry's Municipal band, cars containing officials of the
highway commissions and associations of three states and followed by
miles of automobiles containing citizens of Chicago, Gary, Michigan
City and intermediate towns and cities.
HISTORY OF THE NEW ROUTE
The history of the Dunes Highway, dedicated with
elaborate ceremonies this afternoon, is presented on Page 19 of this
edition of the Gary Post-Tribune
together with a brief summary of the facts concerning this engineering
marvel. The story is illustrated with photographs taken in the
region of the highway.
Officials in Line.
The Gary cars, containing officials of the Dunes
Highway association, the Hoosier State Automobile association and
members of the several state highway commissions and other
organizations, were joined here by hundreds of cars containing Chicago
and Michigan City people, the whole forming a line of march several
Out on East 5th avenue, along Gleason road, through
heretofore impassable swamps over the new highway to Baileytown, the
oldest white settlement in northern Indiana, and over the old
Detroit-Chicago Indian trail, now transformed into a modern concrete
highway, the long caravan moved, completing the dream of the group of
men who conceived and put into execution one of the most wonderful
road-building projects in the middle west.
From Gary to Baileytown, 13 miles east of Broadway,
the official caravan was led by the Hoosier State Automobile
association, while from Baileytown to Michigan City, a distance of 12
miles, the parade was led by the Michigan City delegation of 50 cars
containing officials and members of the chamber of commerce of that
At Baileytown a 20-minute stop was made to place a
bronze tablet by the side of the highway and to allow the Dunes Highway
association, through Capt. H. S. Norton, to make formal presentation of
the great highway to the state of Indiana.
John D. Williams, director of the Indiana highway
department, made a fitting response in which he accepted the new
highway, after which the parade continued on its way to Michigan City.
Among the cars composing monster parade were those
containing officials and members of the following organizations:
Dunes Highway association which stands sponsor for
the construction of the great trans-continental and round the lake
State highway commission of Indiana, which with the
aid of the federal government, built the million dollar highway.
Members of the state highway commissions of Michigan
Hoosier State Automobile association.
Illinois Automobile club of Chicago.
Officials and members of the Michigan City Chamber
Officials and members of the Gary Commercial club.
Officials and members of the Gary Chamber of
Officials and members of the Lake County Good Roads
Officials of the West Michigan Pike association.
Gary city officials.
Officials of the Sheridan Drive association of
Illinois and Michigan.
The big parade was expected to arrive in Michigan
City in time to drive through the city to the Michigan state line, a
distance of three miles beyond the city, where Dunes Highway is
connected with the Michigan highways leading to Detroit and also to
Mackinaw at the head of Lake Michigan.
Dinner was to be served at 6 o'clock this evening at
Hotel Spaulding, Michigan City. Covers were to be laid for 250
guests, among them the highway officials of Indiana, Michigan and
F. H. Doran of Michigan City was to preside at the
dinner and addresses were to be made by A. S. Hess, Captain H. S.
Norton and W. P. Gleason of Gary, Earl Crawford of the Indiana state
highway commission and by officials of Michigan and Illinois automobile
The distance to be traveled by the big motor parade
is 25 miles from Gary to Michigan City, and three miles in addition, in
the event the caravan proceeds to the Michigan state line.
At the Spaulding hotel banquet tonight the promoters
and builders of Dunes Highway are expected to relate the dreams of its
advocates, the gigantic task of construction, and the wonderful tide of
traffic it will bear during the years to come.
They will tell their hearers that Dunes Highway is
positively the shortest route between the east and the west; between
Chicago and Detroit, and is one of the most important links in the
proposed 700-mile highway around Lake Michigan beginning in Chicago and
ending in the same city.
Gary speakers will point out that 5th avenue in Gary
will bear all of the Dunes park traffic, which is estimated at 25,000
cars daily. They will point out that when Dunes Highway is fully
completed between Gary and Michigan City there will not be a single
surface railroad crossing in the entire distance of 25 miles and that
it will effect a saving of 13 miles in the present distance between
Michigan City and Chicago and between South Bend and Chicago.
Overheads to Be Built.
Two overhead crossings, one in Miller, three miles
east of Broadway, and one near Baileytown, 13 miles east of Broadway,
remain to be constructed and State Highway Commissioners Williams and
Crawford are expected to state tonight that these two overhead
crossings will be constructed during the coming year.
Dunes Highway, when fully completed, will have cost
the state and federal governments $1,000,000.
The total length between Broadway, Gary, and
Michigan City is 25 miles wide. The concrete roadway is 20 feet
wide and of 10-inch steel reinforced construction. Dunes Highway
has been nearly two years in building and is pronounced by competent
engineers to be one of the most wonderful examples of road construction
in the United States.
Dunes Highway Follows Demand
for Short Route
GARY PUSHES MODERN HIGHWAY OVER
TRAILS ONCE USED BY INDIANS
BY TOM CANNON.
Dunes Highway, just completed and opened to traffic
between Gary and Michigan City at a cost of $1,000,000 was constructed
in response to a demand for a shorter motor route between the east and
the west and to eliminate dozens of dangerous railroad crossings in the
northern part of Indiana contiguous to Lake Michigan.
The new highway is a combination of the old and the
new. Part of it was built through impassable swamps and part of
it traverses a region rich in historic interest.
For several miles the new highway was pushed through
swamps, covered most of the year with water. From Baileytown, the
oldest white settlement in northern Indiana, to Michigan City it
follows the old Detroit-Chicago Indian trail, afterward the military
road from Detroit to Fort Dearborn at the mouth of the Chicago river
and still later used as a stage coach route between Detroit and Chicago.
As the red men, the early explorers, the trappers,
traders and soldiers, took the shortest possible route around the lower
end of Lake Michigan, so Dunes Highway follows the straightest and
shortest possible route along the shore of the lake, penetrating swamps
and cutting through sand dunes that were of necessity avoided by the
Indians and early white explorers, and forming an engineering feat
which has attracted world-wide attention.
Dunes Highway follows nearly a straight line between
Gary and Michigan City, paralleling the South Shore interurban railroad
and for the entire distance skirts the famous Indiana sand dunes which
are plainly visible all the way from Gary to Michigan City.
Near Tremont, 15 miles east of Gary, the new highway
runs along the southern boundary of the proposed Dunes state park,
which the state of Indiana plans to buy and transform into a state park.
The Dunes Highway project had its birth just five
years ago and it passed through all the ailments and epidemics to which
infants are subject. The history of the project and its
subsequent progress toward fulfilment and completion may be summed up
On Dec. 6, 1918, Henry M. Miles, city engineer of
Michigan City read a paper before the streets and highways committee of
the chamber of commerce in that city in which he set forth the needs of
"Trunk Line Highways."
In that paper Mr. Miles declared that in the near
future a national highway would be constructed along the South Shore
interurban line between Gary and Michigan City, thus eliminating all
grade crossings as well as shortening the distance between the two
cities a little more than 12 miles.
A copy of Mr. Miles' paper was sent to the Gary
Commercial club and made such a deep impression upon the officials and
members of that organization that a meeting was called to consider the
subject. At that time A. S. Hess was chairman of the automobile
and good roads committee of the commercial club. He sent
invitations to citizens of Michigan City, Hammond, Whiting, East
Chicago and other cities to be present.
The commercial club meeting was held on Jan. 20,
1919, and was attended by representatives of practically every city in
Lake, Porter and Laporte counties.
Talks were made by W. H. Loutit, president of the
West Michigan Pike association and by F. L. Loutit, president of the
Sheridan Drive association, both of whom pointed out the great benefits
to be derived from the building of the road which would form a link in
the transcontinental route, as well as the proposed 700-miles highway
around Lake Michigan. This could be done, they declared, by
building an air-line highway between Gary and Michigan City, linking up
the Sheridan Drive system on the west shore of Lake Michigan with the
West Michigan Pike system which followed the east shore of Lake
Michigan to the straits of Macinac.
The result of the talks was the organization of the
Dunes Highway association with the following officers:
President--A. S. Hess of Gary.
Vice president--W. E. Jewell of East Chicago.
Vice president--George Johnson of Michigan City.
Treasurer--C. B. Campbell of East Chicago.
Secretary--Walter K. Greenebaum of Michigan City.
At the commercial club meeting, at which the
association was formed, Mayor W. F. Hodges delivered the address of
welcome and urged the organization of a Dunes Highway association.
Following the organization of the association,
President Hess named the following engineers to make a preliminary
survey of the route and submit a report thereon: Henry M. Miles
of Michigan City, A. P. Melton of Gary, Ralph Rowley of Gary, W. P.
Cottingham of Gary, Ray Seeley of Hammond, C. K. Wallace of East
Chicago, William Bridge, of Hammond, F. O. Hodson of Gary and Roy
Pierce of Hammond.
President Hess also named the following committees:
Membership--John Faulknor, Perry H. Stevens and C.
Finance--Z. B. Campbell, H. V. Armstrong and James
Publicity--A. F. Knotts, H. R. Misener, Capt. H. S.
Norton and W. K. Greenebaum.
Legislative--Robert Moore, Harry Call, J. Glenn
Harris, W. F. Hodges, M. E. Crites.
The engineers' report was made to President Hess on
May 22, 1919, the members of the engineers' committee losing no time in
making the survey although it was in the spring of the year when more
than seven miles of the route was covered with water from one to six
feet in depth.
In their report the engineers recommended the
location of the highway along the line where it was subsequently laid ou
of my old newspaper transcription files have been corrupted]
the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce and other commercial
organizations throughout the state, the result of which was that the
legislature finally passed the bill which had been drawn under the
instruction of President Hess of the Dunes Highway association.
This bill was passed at the session of 1921.
From that time for several months a lot of
correspondence passed between the officials of the Dunes Highway
association and the members of the state highway commission.
This correspondence continued until Aug. 30, 1921,
when a group of Michigan City and Gary men, accompanied by Secretary M.
E. Noblets of the Hoosier State Automobile association went to
Indianapolis and appeared before Governor McCray and the members of the
state highway commission.
A picture of the celebrated "Go-get-'em" group
appears in this issue of the Post-Tribune.
The result of this final appeal was that on
September 15, 1921, Chief Engineer Charles Gray and his staff came to
Gary to begin the final survey of the road. They were accompanied
to the starting point in Miller by President Hess of the Dunes Highway
association and a number of other Gary boosters. Mr. Moore,
representing the federal aid department of roads also was in the party.
On March 19, 1922, the state highway commission
awarded the contracts for the construction of Dunes Highway between
Gary and Michigan City.
The western section of the highway between Gary and
Baileytown was awarded to the General Construction company of
Gary. The eastern section between Baileytown and Michigan City
was awarded to the Chicago Heights Coal company. About 18 miles
were included in the two contracts.
The specifications called for a 20-foot roadway of
reinforced steel and concrete construction, with a thickness of 20
inches in the middle and nine inches at the sides, with a five-foot
embankment or berm on each side of the pavement.
Both contracting concerns went to work soon after
the contracts were let and work was vigorously prosecuted on both ends
until they were completed.
Old Detroit Stage Road
The eastern portion of the road followed the old
Detroit stage road and presented no engineering difficulties. It
was completed several months ago.
That section of the highway between Gary and
Baileytown passes through deep swamps. The giant dredges and
scoops were moved on caterpillar tractors mounted on rafts and
frequently one of them toppled over into deep water and had to be
retrieved with derricks and cranes.
But perseverance and push triumphed over all
obstacles and Dunes Highway is now completed with the exception of two
over head crossings, one in this city and one near Baileytown.
Director Williams of the state highway commission is quoted as saying
that the contracts for these will be let early next spring.
The Dunes Highway association had some difficulty in
securing the rights of way over a number of small tracts of land near
Baileytown and it became necessary to condemn several strips.
On the other hand, the Inland Steel company which
owned more than a mile of right of way each of Gary, cheerfully and
promptly donated the same to the state.
The city of Gary also secured and transferred to the
state an expensive right of way in the eastern part of the city near
Aetna and in Miller.
Bowers Pushed Work
Another Gary citizen who is given much credit for
the successful accomplishment of the great road-building task is John
O. Bowers, who spent much time and money in securing rights of way for
Dunes Highway at the Gary end connects with 5th
avenue and Industrial Highway leading directly through East Chicago,
Whiting and South Chicago to Chicago. At the Michigan City end it
connects with Lincoln Highway via the Michigan City and Bootjack route
and with the Michigan highway system at the state line three miles
northeast of Michigan City.
From the Illinois state line to Bootjack, via the
present road, the distance is 53 miles.
By way of Dunes highway the distance between the
Illinois state line and Lincoln avenue at Bootjack will be 36-3/4
miles, a saving of 16-3/4 miles.
Dunes Highway, when completed, will cost
$1,000,000--but it will be worth the price, Gary boosters point out.
The Bailey cemetery, one of the historical spots
along Dunes Highway, this view showing the burial place of Joe Bailey,
pioneer trader and settler, as plainly seen from the road.
One of nature's wonders and wanderers,--a sand dune
of which there are many right on the new Dunes Highway. The new
route opens this wonderland to the public, the dunes being almost
inaccessible from the standpoint of the general public before the new
highway bored right through them.
A view familiar to Garyites where the beach has been
the playground every summer and where new municipal equipment makes the
duneland close to Gary one of the finest recreation centers in the
THE MEN WHO PROMOTED DUNES HIGHWAY
Group of Gary and Michigan City men who went to
Indianapolis and appeared before the State Highway Commission and
secured the approval of that body to the construction of the shortest
highway between the Atlantic and Pacific. A. S. Hess (with hat on
his knee) and W. K. Greenebaum (with cap on knees) are seated in the
front row. F. H. Doran of Michigan City is seated at the left,
with a straw hat on his knee. At the extreme left (standing) is
Perry H. Stevens of Gary. The third man on the left is R. M.
Davis of Gary, while on the extreme right is M. E. Noblets, secretary
of the Hoosier State Automobile association. The others in the
group are Michigan City men. The picture was taken Aug. 30, 1921,
on the roof of Claypool Hotel, Indianapolis, following a conference
with the state highway commission and the governor of Indiana.
A peep at Lake Michigan through the dunes which
separate Dunes Highway from the shore, making the new route one of the
most picturesque in the United States.
Facts About Dunes Highway
Length of new highway, 25 miles.
Cost when completed, $1,000,000.
Airline between Gary and Michigan City.
Shortest route between Atlantic and Pacific.
Shortest route around Lake Michigan.
Follows historic Indian trails.
Skirts famous Indiana sand dunes.
Twenty-foot reinforced concrete roadway.
Eliminates all railroad grade crossings.
Contracts awarded March 19, 1922.
Highway completed Oct. 20, 1923.
Seven miles built through lakes and swamps.
Project launched Dec. 6, 1918.
Highway association formed Jan. 20, 1919.
Highway connects with Michigan road system.
Connects with Lincoln Highway at Bootjack.
Leads to Chicago through 5th avenue, Gary.
Connects with Lincoln Highway through Broadway.
Link in 700-mile highway "Round the Lake."
Passes through historic Baileytown.
Every mile rich in historic landmarks.
Built by state and federal governments.
To be maintained by state of Indiana.
Makes Gary the gateway between the east and the west.