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MotorCities National Heritage Area, MI


Horace and John Dodge

Horace and John Dodge

The lakes and landscape of Oakland County weren't ready for the automobile in the early 1900s. Weekend visitors, in noisy "self-propelled" vehicles, churned up dust on unpaved roads and trespassed on private property. To address these difficulties, women from Pine and Orchard Lakes formed the Countryside Improvement Association in 1911. Their early fundraising paid to settle the dust by spraying oil on roads. Further efforts improved the region's roads and signs, and defined road rules and property rights. Countryside fundraising continues to support charities and scholarships.

Michigan's first state parks in the tri-county region were created in Oakland County as destinations for visitors. In 1922 the Dodge Brothers [Horace Elgin Dodge and John Francis Dodge] Motor Company and Howard and Amy Bloomer worked with the Countryside Improvement Association to purchase county land for public parks. A later report wrote that "weekenders found a pleasant place by the side of the road..."


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MotorCities National Heritage Area

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Horace Elgin Dodge
Howard Bradley Bloomer
John Francis Dodge

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

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Updated: 7-12-2020