Cynical Synapse

Sun, 16 May 2010

Michigan Visionary’s Legacy of Unity

Filed under: Driving, Engineering, Government, History, Michigan — cynicalsynapse @ 6:27 am

Lawrence A. Rubin

One of Michigan’s great pioneers, Lawrence A. Rubin, died 11 May 2010. Gov. Granholm said:

Larry Rubin was synonymous with the Mackinac Bridge. You cannot think of one without the other and with good reason. As the first executive secretary of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, Larry was an advocate for the Mighty Mac before it was built, and he spent a lifetime committed to its enduring legacy as an icon for the state of Michigan.

Rubin spent years advocating for the Mackinaw Bridge, which connects Michigan’s upper and lower penninsulas. Before the bridge, which was completed in 1957, travelers depended on ferries between Michigan’s penninsulas. Rubin figured prominently in the Mackinaw Bridge’s financing and construction. The bridge cost $100 million in 1957.

Mackinac Bridge

As a result of his efforts and advocacy, Rubin became a bit of a legend in Michigan’s upper penninsula, commonly called the UP. Rubin headed the Mackinac Bridge Authority from 1950 until 1984. Since then, he’s lived in a St. Ignace MI house overlooking the straits. William Gnodtke, current Chairman of the Mackinaw Bridge Authority, said of Rubin:

[Rubin] said the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning is the light from the bridge.

An icon of Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge still remains an engineering marvel 53 years later. Even today, the Mackinac is the third longest suspension bridge in the world. “Big Mac” continues to have the third longest span in the US.

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