1st Blue Star (1948)
Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan (currently Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc.), in cooperation with the Michigan State Highway Department, dedicated a Blue Star Memorial Highway in Niles in 1948. The Niles marker was initially installed at the junction of US 31 and US 33 near the Michigan/Indiana border. This location marked the southern border of Michigan’s Blue Star Highway. The photo to the right depicts the marker at its original location.
This marker was the first of five original Highway markers designed in 1946, paying tribute to the Nation’s Armed Forces of WW II, and placed at strategic locations on Michigan’s Blue Star Memorial Highway in the late 1940’s. The five locations included Niles, Mackinaw City, Sault Ste. Marie, Muskegon, and Traverse City.
Population and industrial growth resulted in a significant change to the landscape, resulting in the marker being located in the parking lot of a Burger King. Please reference the photo to the left.
In 2009, deciding that the marker deserved a better home, The Niles Garden Club “donated and retired” the marker to the Fort St. Joseph Museum, 508 E Main St, Niles. The marker is part of the Veterans Collection and is still “on duty” today, being a visible reminder of the sacrifices of our Armed Forces.