Old U.S. 27 was designated as a Heritage Route in 2010, the first step in including the old road in the National Scenic Byways program.
The old road was first designated as U.S. 27 in 1926. At its longest, U.S. 27 stretched from St. Ignace to Miami. The expressway from Lansing to Grayling was called U.S. 27 until 2001, when it was renamed U.S. 127.
The project is the brainchild of car enthusiast Craig Parrish of Lansing. He has been involved with the preservation of the former U.S. 66, which once stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Today, parts of the road in Illinois, New Mexico and Arizona, designated as Historic Route 66, are designated as National Scenic Byways. ”We‘re trying to get 27 the same status,“ Parrish said. ”Old 27, the north-south road, was like Route 66 in its heyday.“
He said he‘s convinced that car enthusiasts would love to have a clearly marked, historic route to travel, much as they do on Historic Route 66. Parrish believes that could boost tourism.
He organizes the classic car tour of Old 27 held annually in August. Participants in this event can travel from Coldwater to Cheboygan, with a return visit via Alpena and south or join for only portions of the tour.