Today in Michigan History

May 28, 1913

The Michigan Historical Commission was created.

The Michigan Historical Commission, which succeeded the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, was organized in Lansing. Its members, who are appointed by the governor, are under legislative mandate to produce “a magazine of Michigan history for Michigan people.”

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Today in Michigan History

May 27, 1960

Detroit’s population dropped.

The 1960 census reported Detroit’s population dipped 9 percent to about 1.6 million. Today, Detroit’s population is approximately one million people.

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Today in Michigan History

May 26, 1927

The last Model T was produced.

On this day, the Ford Motor Company ended production of the Model T—America’s first mass-produced automobile. The Model T—little changed during its lifetime—captured the nation’s imagination and catapulted Henry Ford to worldwide fame. More than fifteen million Model Ts were manufactured.

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Today in Michigan History

May 25, 1822

Steamboats arrived in Detroit.

The steamship Superior arrived in Detroit from Buffalo with 94 passengers. The second steamboat on the Great Lakes, the Superior contained the engine of the Walk-in-the-Water, the first steamship on the Great Lakes. The Walk-in-the-Water was wrecked in 1821.

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Today in Michigan History

May 24, 1749

“Come to Detroit” campaign was introduced.

In an effort to attract settlers to Detroit, the governor general of New France (Canada) offered each man who would settle there a spade, an axe, a cow, a sow, a ploughshare, one large and one small wagon and seed. Over the course of two years, more than one hundred persons accepted the offer.

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Today in Michigan History

May 21, 1696

King Louis XIV ordered France’s western Great Lakes outposts destroyed.

Hoping to cut costs and influenced by the Jesuits who want to Christianize the Native Americans without the negative influences of the fur traders, King Louis XIV orders France’s western outposts closed. The king’s orders are largely ignored and within a few years the French found Detroit.

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Today in Michigan History

May 20, 1921

Hal Newhouser was born in Detroit.

As a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Newhouser was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1940s. He captured his first MVP award in 1944 after leading the majors with a 29-9 record and was named MVP in 1945 with 25 wins, 212 strikeouts and a 1.81 ERA. He was named to the All-Star Team seven times, pitched 313.1 innings in 1945 and led the American League in victories four times and twice in strikeouts and ERA. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and his uniform number was retired in 1997.

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Today in Michigan History

May 17, 1673

Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet set out to explore the Mississippi River.

Intrigued by rumors of a great river that lay to the west, Jesuit Jacques Marquette, explorer Louis Jolliet and five other men left St. Ignace by canoe. Paddling along the northern shore of Lake Michigan and then across present-day Wisconsin, the Frenchmen reached the Mississippi River in one month.

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Today in Michigan History

May 13, 1913

Theodore Roosevelt came to Marquette.

Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Marquette to take on Ishpeming editor George Hewitt, who publicly called the former president a drunk and a liar. Hewitt admitted his stories were false and Roosevelt settled for six cents in damages, which he claimed was “the price of a good newspaper.”

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Today in Michigan History

May 12, 1781

Mackinac Island was sold to the British.

In a grove of trees below Fort Mackinac, Lt. Governor Patrick Sinclair, British commandant at Michilimackinac, and an assortment of Ojibway (Chippewa) chiefs met to transfer the ownership of Mackinac Island to the British crown. A deed was read in English and Algonquian. The British presented a seven-foot wampum belt as a “lasting memorial” of the transaction. Sinclair signed the deed and each chief scrawled his totem on the side of the document. The Indians were given a dozen canoe loads of presents worth 5,000 pounds in exchange for the island.

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