Building of the Midland-Bay City Road.
Historical newspaper account.
Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx (March 2008).
The Bay City Times Tribune - Sunday, July 10, 1927 (Page 6)
Building of Midland-Bay City Road
Dates Far Back In County History
Calvin Christopher Columbus Chillson, pioneer of Bay county, was the guiding hand in the building of the plank road which was the forefather of the present concrete Bay City-Midland road for which dedicatory exercises were held Friday evening. The road was the first to be built in Midland county, and its trail was one of the first to be considered for a road in Bay county. It was started a little after 1870 it would seem and by 1876 “ten and a half miles had been completed”. In the “History of Bay County” published over forty years ago reference is made to the road on page 173, devoted to the life of Mr. Chillson. About 1850 the book says;
“Tramping through the woods with compass and line for his guide, Mr. Chillson looked over the neighboring wild lands quite thoroughly. A road was talked of being put through to Midland. He purchased a half of Section twenty in Town fourteen North of Range five east, stating that if ever a road was put through to Midland it would follow the quarter section line, dividing his purchase in halves. Others contended that the road would follow the section line north of this, now North Union street. After years proved the wisdom of his choice, the present road following the very line he indicated."
Some more about the establishment of this road may be gleaned from Volume III , dealing with Bay county in the “Historic Michigan” series, published a few years ago by the Michigan Historical society. George E. Butterfield, dean of the Bay City Junior college, wrote the Bay county supplement. The part in question which incidentally, refers to Mr. Chillson is on page 58 and reads as follows:
“The Bay City and Midland plank road was the first highway of that type to be constructed on the west side of the river. A Mr. Chillson, who believed that the main route of travel from Wenona to Midland would be along a quarter section line instead of the usual section line, insisted that the road would be built directly west from Midland street. The others with whom he was associated ultimately preceded to his wishes, and he surveyed the route of the proposed road as it was planned. By 1876 ten and a half miles of the plank road has been completed, extending west through Monitor and Williams townships."