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"Northline" or "North Line"?
"Middlebelt" or "Middle Belt"?
Compared with the recent hype given to the question of "Middlebelt" vs. "Middle Belt," or "Beech-Daly" vs. "Beech Daly," the issue of how to spell Northline Road properly was more a question of conjecture; in fact, the article author prefaced it by saying, "does anybody really care?"
The News-Herald edition of June 18, 1980, addressed the question. Various street signs had both versions of the name. All maps of the area showed it spelled as "North Line" (two words), but all telephone books produced by Michigan Bell showed it spelled as one word.
One Wayne County employee had this to say when asked the question:
"Well, the consensus is two words. We spell it two words on our map, and two words in our jurisdiction book. But it's spelled as one word in a 1980 project book."
Some long-time area residents and workers questioned this determination thus:
"It's one word. Damn, I've always thought it was one word. This is intriguing."
"... (The two word name referred to) the north line of a section of land, going right back to the original dividing of the County into sectors. But I'm 80 years old, and I remember from whay back in my younger days that "Northline" was always one word."
As it turned out (and to this day, according to records), the issue has remained unresolved. Asked about a resolution in 1980, Mr. Sugo replied: "Let's just say it's not a high priority for the County."
The same magic didn't occur 34 years later.
For almost the same amount of time as the issue of Northline's proper spelling came up, the same would be true for Middlebelt's, always known as one word. On the majority of street signs, it would be one word.
What you would see on freeways would depend on which freeway you were on. If you were traveling I-96, Middlebelt would show up as one word. If you were traveling I-94 near Metro Airport, Middle Belt would be two words.
With a 2014 reconstruction of I-96 completed, plus an overall freeway sign replacement program having taken place, Wayne County's official stance is: two words for Middle Belt. County officials said they have known the correct spelling (which they decided on, owning the road) for some time, but were not sure how municipalities would handle the changes, or if they would appear on newly-erected signs.
The Official Street Guide of Metropolitan Detroit, published by Arrow Map, lists the street as Middle Belt.
"I'm going to have to change my menus. I've been here 17 years and... wow."