State Reward Road No. 1
The state highway system began with the State Reward Road program, created by the Michigan Legislature in 1905. The program provided "rewards" to local governments for road improvements made according to state standards. Horatio "Good Roads" Earle, the state highway commissioner, traveled the state drumming up interest in road improvements. Elkland Township was the first municipality to receive a reward. Spending $985, the township widened (to nine feet) and graveled one mile of rutted wagon road (Later M-81) between the corner of Elkland Cemetery and what became Crawford Road. The township then received a $500 reward. State Reward Road No. 1 marked the beginning of state aid for local roads.