City Evening Dispatch, Saturday, 17 November, 1923
DUNES HIGHWAY DEDICATION A
Great Caravan of Machines to
Unveiling of Tablet; More Than 200 at Banquet Last Evening.
Conceived within sight of prison walls at Michigan
City, fostered by the steel city of Gary to the west, opened with a
corkscrew and dedicated in a hail storm--the Dunes highway between
Michigan City and Gary is now open to traffic.
The most important link of Indiana hard-surfaced
highway, connecting the West Michigan pike of Michigan with Chicago,
through this city and Gary, represents an investment of a million
dollars and marks the successful culmination of several years of
untiring effort on the part of citizens of Michigan City, Gary and
other cities throughout this district, who in January, 1920, organized
the Indiana Dunes Highway association and immediately set out to secure
construction of the Dunes highway.
The road was formally opened and dedicated to
traffic yesterday afternoon about 3 o'clock with appropriate outdoor
exercises and the unveiling of a bronze tablet erected at the east end
of the west half of the highway at a point three-quarters of a mile
west of Baileytown. Preceding the dedication ceremonies, 35
automobiles from this city made the trip to Gary over the new road and,
joined at Gary by 50 machines and a band, the party returned to the
point where the tablet had been placed. Following the exercises
the Michigan City party and about half of the Gary road enthusiasts
returned to this city and motored through the dunes east of this city
before going to the Spaulding hotel, where a banquet celebrating the
official opening of the highway was held at 6 o'clock.
The Michigan City party in going to Gary was
permitted to traverse the stretch of highway which had not yet been
opened west of Baileytown, although when the party reached the point
where the road had been blocked to compel traffic to detour around this
part of the road some argument was necessary to secure removal of
enough of the blockade to permit the machines to pass. Those in
charge of the party thought this strange as it was believed all
arrangement had been made for the opening of the road, but it was not
until later that it was found to be a "put up job."
When the Gary and Michigan City parties on the
return trip found the road completely barricaded again and guarded by
Contractor Ingwald Moe, builder of the west end of the road, and his
workmen, all armed with pistols and shotguns, there was consternation
among those who had arranged, or thought they had arranged, the day's
program. Mr. Moe emphatically denied that he had agreed to permit
the opening of that portion of the road not yet accepted, ranted and
raved about programs being arranged without anyone consulting him and
dared anyone to forcibly remove the barriers and permit the party to
pass. Highway officials and engineers, highway association
officials and others argued with Moe in vain while the caravan stood in
a drizzle for 15 minutes. Finally, while scores stood in the
rain, chilled to the bone and shivering Moe accepted a proffered silver
flask, inspected it critically and ordered the barrier torn away.
This part of the program was known to only a few on the Gary end of the
program committee and even they began to fear their plans were going to
miscarry when the man with the flask, who happened to get into a
machine far back in the procession, took a quarter of an hour in coming
to the front.
Arriving at the place where the bronze tablet,
bearing suitable inscription, had been erected, Captain H. S. Norton of
the Gary Commercial club, spoke briefly, reviewing the highway project,
first conceived by Harry M. Miles a number of years ago, while city of
Michigan City, presented by him to those men who later formed the
Indiana Dunes Highway association and who "worked on" and worked with
the two state administrations and highway bodies since that time so
effectively as to secure their objective. Cap
of my old newspaper transcription files have been corrupted]
and back to the city on Lake Shore drive and through Washington
park and south on Franklin street to the Spaulding hotel.
Banquet Last Evening.
The banquet last evening at the Spaulding hotel was
attended by 215 men and women, including citizens from _0 cities in
this district and highway and automobile officials from Indiana,
Michigan and Illinois. Francis H. Doran, chairman of the good
roads committee of the chamber of commercie of this city, an active
worker in the Dunes highway project since its inception, presided as
toastmaster, and following a repast which was a credit to the cuisine
of the Spaulding, a number of short talks were heard. C. E. Arnt
led the assemblage in several songs, including two songs of the Indiana
dunes by Nina Baker of the Chicago Tribune.
Orchestra music was enjoyed during the banquet hour
and the Haskell & Barker band also rendered several numbers, which
were thoroughly enjoyed.
A. S. Hess of Gary, president of the Dunes Highway
association, noted the fact that the highway, dedicated yesterday, was
first conceived and brought to the attention of W. K. Greenebaum of
this city by Harry M. Miles, then city engineer of this city, and that
formation of the Dunes Highway association and its successful efforts
were the result of the presentation of Mr. Miles' suggestion for such a
highway and the convincing data he had prepared on the decrease in
mileage over routes then in use between Michigan City and Gary and the
elimination of numerous railroad crossings.
Earl Crawford of the Indiana state highway
commission stated that the commission regards the Dunes highway as the
most important link in the state's highways at the present time and
that he doubted if any piece of road of proportional length would ever
be constructed which would result in so considerable a decrease in
mileage, and the elimination of so many crossings.
He spike at some length and gave some very
interesting facts and figures regarding the work of the Indiana highway
Frank Rogers, commissioner of the Michigan highway
department expressed the thanks of the state of Michigan for the
completion of the connecting link between the Michigan state line and
the territory to the west. He remarked that were it possible to
do such a thing, Michigan could have afforded to build the Dunes
highway and still make a big profit on the investment by reason of the
increase in the size of the trail of gold flowing into the Michigan
summer resort territory from Chicago.
Chief Engineer Gray of the Indiana highway
commission went into the matter of engineering problems which were
confronted by the department. He stated that while the east end
of the highway follows much of the old Chicago road, much of the west
end had to be built through swamp land. Soundings through this
stretch showed five to 12 feet of peat or bog, and, while the
department was aware that there would be settlement of that part of the
road due to the placing of considerable fill on the unstable
foundation, it was found that, if settlement of the road were so uneven
that even the steel ties binding the cement slabs together failed to
hold it, the surface could be replaced two times, after its original
building, without the total cost equaling the cost of construction if
the bog were removed and replaced with fill. The most economical
and feasible construction therefore had been adopted and the fill had
been placed on top.
Captain H. S. Norton of the Gary Commercial club
complimented Michigan City on the part it had played in securing the
construction and lauded the people of Michigan City for their "stamina
which results in their doing things, and for their ability to stand
together and get somewhere." He believed, he said, that in a very
short span of years this territory extending from Michigan City to
Chicago would see "industrial expansion astounding to all of Indiana,
with such development of the cities of Gary and Michigan City and
surrounding territory that there will result a great city to rival any
in America." "Some day," he said, "there will be a celebration in
realization of that dream."
W. K. Greenebaum, secretary-manager of the Michigan
City Chamber of Commerce, read a number of letters and telegrams of
congratulation on the opening of the Dunes highway, including telegrams
from Governor Warren T. McCray of Indiana, John D. Williams, director
of the Indiana State Highway association; Henry C. Wallace, secretary
of the department of agriculture of the United States, and Thos. H.
McDonald, chief of the U. S. bureau of public roads, and letters from
W. H. Loutit, president of the West Michigan Pike association, and
Edwin L. Lobdell, president of the Sheridan Drive association of
Harry N. Fowler, director of the Illinois Automobile
club, spoke briefly and expressed the thanks of Illinois motorists for
the completion of the highway.
Harry M. Miles, whose suggestion, plans and data
started the project which culminated in yesterday's celebration, was
introduced and received a mighty round of applause.
The Dunes highway between this city and Gary,
according to the Indiana state highway commission, presented the most
difficult engineering problems encountered by that body since it came
into existence and its successful completion, with the exception of a
three-quarter mile stretch connecting the east and west ends and an
overhead approach over the New York Central lines, in that stretch, to
be completed in 1924, according to plans of the commission, was
celebrated not only by Indiana, but by Michigan and Illinois, who are
so greatly benefitted by this highway.