Chicago Road Plaque
(Intersection of Michigan Avenue and Ballard Streets)
The Congress of the United States appropriated in 1825, $3,000 for the survey of a road from Detroit to Chicago. The survey was conducted by Orange Risdon, who followed the Sauk Trail. This, at a time when the Territory of Michigan was a wilderness, with only a few scattered settlements clearing the land for farming; such as the one at Woodruff’s Grove, just south of present day Ypsilanti. A further $20,000 was appropriated in 1827 for the construction of the road. Over time this road became the major highway connecting Detroit and Chicago.

The road was known by many names, as each community it passed through chose its own way to identify it. In Ypsilanti, the road was named Congress Street. Then in 1914, the citizens of Ypsilanti voted to rename the road Michigan Avenue. That same year the Federation of Women’s Clubs, assisted by it's component clubs, the Ladies Literary Club, the Woman's Club, The Womens' Study Club and the Ypsilanti Chapter of the Daughter's of the American Revolution, sponsored the erection of a historic marker at the point of Michigan Ave. Ballard Street and Congress Street. The marker is a two and a half ton boulder of Black Synite Granite, which was procured with much difficulty from a few miles west of Ann Arbor. Black Synite is the hardest of all granite, and rare. At the time, there were only two other pieces of the kind in the area.

The unveiling of the marker was held on the Fourth of July of 1914, as part of a ceremony including band music and an eloquent address by Professor R. Clyde Ford of the Michigan State Normal College, now Eastern Michigan University.