Over the years, listeners have been curious about Metro Detroit’s mile roads. Some have asked if they’re really one mile apart. Others wonder why some are not called “mile” roads. Angela Hoffman lives on Three Mile Drive and wants to know how her street got its name.
“I have some friends who work at Pewabic Pottery and heard the story that Mary Stratton lived on Three Mile Drive and walked to the studio, which was three miles from her house. So I’m kind of curious to see if that is where the name comes from.”
The mile road system starts at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit and proceeds north from Michigan Ave. into northern Macomb County. It does not start at the Detroit River. Some of the roads were named for historic public figures. Three Mile Drive existed years before Pewabic co-founder Mary Stratton and her husband William built a house on that street. The name has roots in Detroit’s 19th Century horse racing scene.
Starting at the point of origin
Three Mile Drive runs northwest from Essex Street in Grosse Pointe Park to Harper Ave. in Detroit’s Morningside neighborhood. It is not part of the mile road system, which runs east to west.
Thirty-seven of these roads, spaced one mile apart, exist between downtown Detroit and the northern boundary of Macomb County. They follow a pattern laid out by land surveyors in 1815. Eight Mile Road runs along the Michigan Survey’s original baseline, which stretches west to Lake Michigan.
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