Michigan's Roadside Attractions Explored at the Grand Rapids Public Library

GRAND RAPIDS (June 19, 2013) The history of the iconic roadside attractions in Michigan will be explored in the program "Michigan's Roadside Attractions" on Monday, July 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Main Library - 111 Library St NE. The event is a part of the library's GR Reads program and is sponsored by the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.

If you have traveled on Michigan's highways and byways, chances are you've stopped at places like Castle Rock, seen Paul Bunyan, and defied gravity at the Mystery Spot. Tourist attractions like these sprang up on the roadside landscape as Michigan expanded its highway system from the 1930s through the 1970s. Authors Chris Byron and Tom Wilson will share the stories behind the natural and man-made wonders-from deer parks to dinosaur gardens; from scenic sand dunes to the world's largest Indian; from mine shafts to scenic towers. They will take you on a virtual road trip where you stop for pie at the Cherry Hut, cross the Bridge for a pasty and enjoy a Jones ice cream cone in Baldwin. Learn about all the classic souvenirs from Michigan-from pennants to moccasins. By the end of the evening you'll travel the breadth of the state and not spend a penny on gas.

Byron and Wilson share an interest in the history of Michigan's tourism industry and their collection of antique postcards and tourist ephemera inspired their four award-winning books: Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike, Vintage Views of the Mackinac Straits Regions, Vintage View of the Charlevoix-Petoskey Region, and Vintage Views of Leelanau County.

Now in its fourth year, GR Reads is an adult summer reading program. Library staff select ten books around a theme and create innovative programs that relate to the books. Michigan's Roadside Attractions is a related program for the book "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck. In additional programs related to the book include a vintage trailer show and a discussion about Steinbeck's work. For a complete list of books and events, visit

"Michigan's Roadside Attractions" will be held at 7:00 pm on Monday, July 8, 2013 at the Main Library - 111 Library St NE. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 616-988-5400 or visit our website at