December 7th……1959…..a day that will live in infamy!  Well, for Battle Creek and the state of Michigan it will.  That’s right, not 1941, but December 7th, 1959.  That’s the day something happened here that completely changed our lives.  I-94 was opened.   Not many innovations of the past century have completely changed our lives.   Certainly Henry Ford making automobiles affordable to every American did.   Television certainly did.   More recently, smart phones changed everything.  And the Interstate Highway System has to be ranked right up there too.

On December 7th, 1959, the overall 45-mile section of I-94 from Paw Paw to 11 Mile Road east of Battle Creek was dedicated.  The final 20-mile stretch of Interstate-94 in our area was opened to traffic the following July from 11 Mile Rd near Battle Creek to M-99 in Jackson Co. Special ceremonies were held in Albion and in Marshall.

All of a sudden, instead of winding down the two-lane US-12 though every small town, trucks and cars could now whiz right on past them, a mile or two to the north or south.  Small businesses on the old US-12 would gradually fade away.   New businesses at every interchange and exit would pop up.  Old roads used for a hundred years were suddenly dead-ended where they were crossed by the new highway. And Americans cut their travel times considerably, and started travelling like never before.

I-94 Nov 2019-TSM Photo
Here's the stretch of I-94  today-Nov 2019-TSM Photo

Click through to see some more aerial photos of the building of I-94 in Calhoun County.

I-94 Being Built In Calhoun County

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