Take A Michigan Auto History Road Trip With “MotorCities National Heritage Area”
When I was driving home from Grand Rapids last weekend, I saw a sign along the highway that made me think "huh, that looks pretty new, what's that?"
It read "Entering MotorCities National Heritage Area" with a National Park Service logo and I knew I had to know more about it.
Michigan, of course, has a rich history in the automotive industry and since reading up on the area, it is actually really awesome and could be a great idea for a summer road trip!
Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs
One quick Google search on these signs led me right to the MotorCities National Heritage Area website and, as luck would have it, a tab all about these specific signs.
So, the sign that I saw heading East on I-96 just before the southbound 127 interchange, according to the MotorCities website, is actually one of 14 total across southeast and central Michigan!
CLICK HERE to find out where all these signs are.
Turns out these signs started popping up in November-December of 2019 and more were added in spring of 2020 and mark about 10,000 miles of the whole area.
So What's This Area All About?
According to MotorCities' website, in order for an area to earn the title of a "National Heritage Area" it has to be a place "where natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape arising from patterns of humanity."
Of course, this area of Michigan's contributions definitely, perfectly fits that description and that's why the MotorCities National Heritage Area's partnership with the National Park Service works so well.
The whole point of doing this, MotorCities' "Vision" section says, is they hope it "inspires residents and visitors with an appreciation for how the automobile changed Michigan, the nation, and the world."
It basically serves as a way to preserve the stories and history behind how the automotive industry in Michigan "Put the World on Wheels" and transformed manufacturing and an entire way of life into what it is today.
How To Experience This Area
Now, this area is not only marked by the 14 signs along 10,000 miles. Nay, nay.
You can actually almost use this area as a guide through what MotorCities says is "the world's largest collection of cultural and labor organizations, museums, archives, factories, auto collections and events..." that are all about sharing this heritage and culture that makes Michigan so special.
If you are looking for something fun to do this summer with any car lover or history buff in your life, this is definitely worth a look!
I, for one, look forward to exploring this new National Park Service addition to our home state and the fact that some parts of the 10,000 miles fall in Lansing, you can too.
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