Michigan Avenue Once Aspired to be The ‘Longest Street in the World’
Michigan Avenue forms the main street of several southern Michigan communities. That's not by accident, the connected Michigan Avenues from Detroit to Chicago were envisioned to be the "longest street in the world."
It's a newspaper in Jackson that gets credit for advancing the idea of a Michigan Avenue as the longest street in the world. They advocated
the main road from Detroit to Chicago which formed the main street through many communities in southern Michigan should be given a new name. It was already labeled the Michigan–Detroit–Chicago Highway on travel maps of the time, so the paper suggested that the roadway should be renamed to create the longest street in the country. Both Chicago and Detroit had streets named Michigan Avenue, so that is what the newspaper suggested for a new name. Albion was the first community to change the name of its street followed by Jackson and Marshall in 1924, Battle Creek in 1928 and Kalamazoo in 1929.
The Michigan Avenue name peters out west of Kalamazoo. While Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo wanders onto the Western Michigan University campus, Stadium Drive continues on and becomes Stadium Drive until the county line where the roadway picks up the name Red Arrow Highway through Van Burien and Berrien Counties. Only the village of Paw Paw carries the Michigan Avenue name for this Main Street of Michigan.