US-102 was one of the original U.S. Highways designated in Michigan, although it did not last very long. Originally branching from US-2, its "parent" route, at Crystal Falls, US-102 ran northerly to Covington, then easterly for a short distance to end at US-41. Designated in 1926, likely signed in the field in 1927 and "decommissioned" in 1928, this route has the distinction of being the first U.S. Highway ever decommissioned! It was replaced by a northerly extension of US-141 into Michigan from Wisconsin.
As noted above, US-102 only existed for a very short time during the late 1920s and, as such, has very little history to review. However, even before the first US-102 route markers were erected in the Upper Peninsula, there was a slight disagreement over where it should be routed. When first proposed in 1925, the US Highway System generally looked as it would once finally approved and marked in the field. But, there was still some disagreement among the various heads of the state highway departments as to the paths some of these routes would follow. Some of the disagreements were major, as in the case case of US-60, which would have followed the route later numbered US-66, while others were more minor adjustments.
As originally proposed, US-102 began at US-2 in Rapid River, followed the modern-day US-41 corridor northerly and westerly through Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Champion and Michigamme, and terminted at US-41 near Covington. Also as first proposed, US-41 would have turned westerly at Powers to run concurrently with US-2 through Iron Mountain, Florence and Crystal Falls before continuing northerly along present-day US-141 to Covington, where it would have met US-102, then on toward L'Anse and Baraga. US-141 would have only existed in Wisconsin had this original system been implemented.
In late 1926, the various states, through the AASHO, finally came to agreement over the new US Highway System. This final system relocated US-102 onto its final routing from US-2 west of Crystal Falls northerly to US-41 at Covington, supplanting the former M-69 designation along that route, while US-41 was moved onto its present-day corridor, replacing M-15. US-141 was still just a Milwaukee-to-Green Bay, Wisconsin highway.
During its short existence, internal State Highway Department documents and maps indicate no reroutings or realignments took place along the entire length of US-102. At some point during 1928, the states of Michigan and Wisconsin collaborated to extend US-141 northerly from Green Bay, Wisconsin along US-41 to Abrams, Wisconsin, then northerly to Niagara, Wisconsin, crossing into Michigan and joining with US-2. The US-2/US-141 combo continued northwesterly through Iron Mountain, back into Wisconsin passing through Spread Eagle and Florence, before returning to Michigan and continuing northerly through Crystal Falls. On the west side of Crystal Falls, US-141 diverged from US-2 and was routed northerly via what had been US-102 to Covington, then easterly along M-28 to a terminus at US-41. Thus, Michigan's US-102 was relegated to the history books.
|US-102 is commissioned, at the same time as the rest of the US Highway System, linking US-2 near Crystal Falls with US-41 near Covington, following the present-day US-141 corridor.|
|The new US Highways make their signed debut along the state trunklines of Michigan. US-102 route markers are erected along what had formerly been designated M-69 from US-2 (formerly M-12) at Crystal Falls northerly to M-28 at Covington, then easterly concurrently with US-2 to the northern terminus of US-102 at US-41 (formerly M-15).|
|As the first US Highway to be decommissioned, just two years after the system was first marked in the field, US-102 is replaced in its entirety by a northerly extension of US-141. The precise date of US-102's decommissioning has not yet been ascertained, although the last mention of the route in media sources is in June 1928.|
- End of highstoric US highway 102 – from Dale Sanderson's US Ends website.
- Current and historic US highway endpoints near Covington MI – also from Dale Sanderson's US Ends website.
- US-141 Route Listing