One of the great routes for the pioneers coming west was the Chicago Road.
The survey of it began at Detroit in 1825 and followed closely the Sauk Trail which Indians had marked and traveled for centuries before the coming of the white man. Because of its many curves the road was likened to "A huge serpent, lazily pursuing its onward course, utterly unconcerned as to its destination." Originally designed as a military highway linking the forts at Detroit and Chicago, the road proved to be more important in opening southern Michigan to settlement and as a westward land route enabling travelers to avoid the long voyage by boat around lower Michigan. By the 1830s pioneer families by the thousands each year were moving over this road in their wagons. By 1835 the Western Stage Company of Detroit was running two stages daily to Chicago. Much of the road was little more than an unimproved trail, making a trip over it an unforgettable and an uncomfortable experience. Buildings from that bygone age still stand along US-12, the Chicago Road's descendant.