The Mason County Quiz, April 19: Answers

The Mason County Quiz is presented by Lake Michigan Senior Living, located on the bluffs of Lake Michigan in beautiful Summit Township.

How much do you know about Mason County?

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

1. Where is the southern terminus of M-116?

a. The intersection of Washington and Ludington avenues.

b. The intersection of Pere Marquette Highway and Sixth Street.

c. The intersection of James Street and Ludington Avenue.

d. The intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Ludington Avenue.

C. The southern terminus of M-116 has been at the intersection of James Street and Ludington Avenue since 1998 when the routing of US 10 was changed due to the development of Waterfront Park and the Harbor Front condominiums and marina on the location of the former Star Watchcase property. Prior to that, US 10’s route in the city of Ludington traveled on Ludington Avenue from the east city limits (Atkinson Drive/Jackson Road) to William Street, then traveled south to the carferry docks. The waterfront development eliminated about two blocks of William Street. Today, US 10 turns south at James Street and is routed to the carferry dock for its western Michigan terminus.

2. What is the honorary designated name of M-116 as it travels through the Ludington State Park?  _________________________

In December 2014, Gov. Rick Snyder authorized a portion of M-116 to be named The Paul K. Butterfield II Memorial Highway, in honor of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield who was murdered during a traffic stop in Mason County’s Free Soil Township in 2012.

3. What two rivers does M-116 cross?

a. Big Sable and Pere Marquette

b. Big Sable and Lincoln

c. Lincoln and Pere Marquette

e. Pere Marquette and Little Sable

B. M-116 crosses the Big Sable and Lincoln rivers.

4. True or false: M-116 was originally planned to extend from Ludington to Manistee.

True: The history of M-116 is intertwined with the history of US 10 and US 31. Original plans for what is now M-116 were to extend route US 31 along the shoreline from Ludington to Manistee.

5. True or false: M-116’s southern terminus was once located at the intersection of US 31 and Sixth Street.


What we now know as US 31 began as the West Michigan Lake Shore Highway Association, which was founded in 1912. It was re-organized as the West Michigan Pike Association in 1913, creating a route along the western shore of Michigan from the Indiana state line to Mackinaw City. This was basically a route that utilized and developed local roads. By 1921, the western branch of the auto trail used about 413 miles of roadways along Michigan’s western shoreline. The highway was originally designated as M-11 until 1926 when the American Association of State Highway Officials approved the United States Numbered Highway System.

US 31 in Mason County in the 1920s and 1930s was not a straight line. Instead, it consisted of a series of 90-degree turns, basically zig-zagging through the county. As the highway entered Ludington from the south, it crossed the Pere Marquette River (along what is now Pere Marquette Highway) and then routed west along Sixth Street (the road did not exist north of this location). US 31 then traveled to Washington Avenue north to Ludington Avenue and then east into Scottville, combining with US 10.

In 1931, a bypass east of Ludington was constructed extending US 31 straight north from Sixth Street to US 10. For one year, the former US 31 route through the city of Ludington (Sixth Street to Washington Avenue to US 10), was part of M-116. The following year, that former highway was turned over to local control.

Original plans for M-116 were made in 1928 when the state designated a 5.1 mile shoreline trunkline from the north city limits of Ludington to the Big Sable River. This is before the existence of the Ludington State Park, which was not developed until the 1930s. In 1931, an additional mile of trunkline is designated from the southern end of M-116, at the Ludington city limit, south 1 mile to the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Ludington Avenue and then Ludington Avenue east to US 10 (Robert Street). At this time, the route within the city limits is the only portion of M—116 that is completed and open to traffic.

In 1933, a new 3.89 mile long alignment of M-116 in Hamlin Township from Jagger Road to just south of the Big Sable River was opened to the public. This new alignment was closer to the shoreline than the 1928 alignment.

The bridge over the Big Sable River was completed in 1934 with the north end of M-116 officially designated in 1935. M-116’s southern terminus again ends at Robert Street on Ludington Avenue.

In the 1940s, state highway maps indicated an additional 6.237 miles of roadway north from the Big Sable River into the Nordhouse Dunes was scheduled to be graded with drainage structures installed, possibly as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program. This was not part of the modern access road to Big Sable Point Lighthouse. Local opposition prompted the state highway department to continue US 31 on its existing route (consistent with the modern US 31 route, heading north from Scottville).

In 1942, the route of US 10 to the carferry docks was moved over one block from Robert Street to William Street, shorting M-116 one block.

Lake Michigan Senior Living, 4895 S. Lakeshore Dr. in Summit Township, offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, activities and exceptional care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility consists of four housing units on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. For more information, call 231-843-9963 or go to


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