While perusing the tubes of the internet, I stumbled across a map labeled City of Detroit for Bicyclists, Showing Pavements. It was dated 1898. Visible were color-coded streets of the inner city, what today is known as Downtown, Midtown, Corktown, Eastern Market, and New Center.
It’s widely known Detroit was the birth place of paved streets, and that cyclists of the 1890s fought for this smooth, durable surface for its obvious benefits to biking. Looking at the map below, we see some of the very first Asphalt streets in America running North and South marked in blue: Woodward, Cass, and Second Ave.
Also marked in descending rank of quality are brick, granite, and a form of packed gravel called macadam. But looking at the overall map the vast majority is yellow, which on this map is keyed as: ‘Wood’.