DEARBORN: HFCC librarian helps bring recognition to War of 1812 site

September 05, 2012


Re-enactors Bill Hanusik and Ken Roberts; Dan Harrison, HFCC librarian; Richard Micka, Michigan Historical Commissioner; Andrew Linko, Brownstown Township Supervisor; Congressman John D. Dingell; Jeanne Micka, president, Michigan Archaeological Society worked to get a historical marker at Hull’s Trace, from the War of 1812 (photo courtesy T. Killion)


DEARBORN — Through the efforts of Dan Harrison, a systems librarian at the Henry Ford Community College Eshleman Library, a historic site from the War of 1812 has received some long-overdue attention.

On Aug. 5, a Michigan historical marker was unveiled at the site of a surviving section of wooden or corduroy road — once called “Hull’s Trace” and now Jefferson Avenue — from the War of 1812. Congressman John D. Dingell was present at the ceremony and announced plans to add the site to River Raisin National Battlefield Park, which is headquartered in Monroe.

When the War of 1812 began, the United States was concerned about getting supplies to Fort Detroit and the surrounding Michigan Territory. Since Lake Erie was controlled by British forces, overland supply was the only option. Soldiers under the command of Gen. William Hull constructed what became known as “Hull’s Trace,” a 200-mile road running from Urbana, Ohio to Fort Detroit.

Hull’s Trace was Michigan’s first road. It was also the first military road in the United States. This segment, the only known extant portion of the original Trace, is located at approximately 36000 W. Jefferson Ave. in Brownstown Township. The North Huron River Corduroy Segment of Hull’s Trace was listed on the  National Register of Historical Places in 2010.

Harrison received recognition from Dingell and the Michigan War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Commission for his efforts in researching and promoting the road as a unique archaeological site. He will present a paper on the project at the national “Preserving the Historic Road” conference in Indianapolis next month.

“The War of 1812 is often called the forgotten war, but it did more to forge the identity of Michigan than the Revolutionary War did. We went from being British subjects to American citizens. The first bloodshed on American soil was right here in Brownstown. Hopefully, the marker, and park status, will give us a chance to tell that story,” said Harrison.

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