Drivers along Grand River Avenue outside of Portland, Michigan for decades have spotted an iconic farm silo that carries advertising for New Era potato chips.

Roadside advertising on barnsides, silos and buildings in cities were quite common in the early days of automobile travel. Think Mail Pouch Tobacco and Cola-Cola nationally and any number of local and regional brands. Many of these are left to fade after no one paid to upkeep them. They're known as ghost signs and dot both the urban and rural landscape for those to spot and enjoy them.

Mail Pouch Tobacco once had 85 known barns painted with their advertising across Michigan, including 1 in Kalamazoo County set back from I-94 near US 131 and 8 in Calhoun County.

Some of these old pieces of advertising are well preserved and up-kept despite no longer being paid placements. You can find Coca-Cola advertising like this in downtown Albion on northbound Superior Street just past the Kalamazoo River bridge.

That brings us to the New Era Potato Chip silo. Grand River Avenue was once, before the coming of I-96, one of the key highways across the State connecting Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit. It was, at one time, US Highway 16. So it make sense for a brand to have this silo on what was then one of the most driven roads in the state.

New Era chips were founded in Detroit and the silo matches the design of the tin, proclaiming:

Healthful Food

On the Alkaline Side

The New Era

Scientifically Processed

Potato Chip

You can spot the silo on Grand River between Peake Road and Cutler Road south of Portland.

Grand River Avenue is historic, but is is a can't miss, must drive highway? We have one for every state you've got to get your wheels on.

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