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The First Roadside Park

ionia2Have you ever seen a sign and thought “What’s up with that”? Of course you have. I have driven by this particular sign in western Ionia County along Grand River Drive for the last twenty years. This time I decided to stop and investigate.

The Michigan historic sign states: “Here on old US 16 in Boston Township, Ionia County, the first picnic table along a highway right-of-way was placed in 1929 through the initiative of Allan Williams, county engineer. The table was built of salvage planks formerly used for guardrails.

ioniaThe idea immediately caught on and was adopted by the State Highway Department. The Ionia County Road Commission made the state’s tables until the work became too great. The roadside table became an emblem of Michigan’s hospitality, one which has widely emulated by states the nation over”

It’s interesting; when I visited, there was no roadside table there.

Written by Dave.