Map of Proposed National Highways for Michigan, 1916


The National Highways Association (NHA) was established in 1911 to promote the development of an improved national road network in the United States. Under the slogan “Good roads for everyone!” the NHA advocated the building and permanent maintenance by the federal government of a system of 50,000 miles (some 80,500 kilometers) of highways. This map, issued by the NHA in 1916, shows 3,400 miles (5,472 kilometers) of national highway proposed for Michigan. The NHA employed engineers to plan routes with the aim of maximizing the share of each state’s population located in counties through which these highways would run. The note at the bottom indicates that 96 percent of the population of the state lived in counties through which the proposed highways would pass, while the rest lived in adjoining counties. Besides issuing brochures and circulars aimed at convincing citizens of the need for a national road system, the NHA was a prolific producer of maps. Cartographic work was done at an office in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, where approximately 40 people were employed on the property of Charles Henry Davis (1865–1951), president and cofounder of the NHA. Davis believed that these maps would be helpful to a national highways commission that he hoped would be established and that they would assist the states in integrating their roads into a national system. Congress never embraced the plan put forward by the NHA, but the organization and its maps helped to promote the cause of a national road network.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

National Highways Association, Washington, D.C.


Title in Original Language

National Highways Preliminary Map of the State of Michigan: Showing Thirty-Four Hundred Miles of National Highways Proposed by the National Highways Association

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 45 x 43 centimeters


  • Scale 1:1,500,000

Last updated: January 8, 2018