Michigan’s 175th Birthday

January 26th is Michigan’s 175th birthday! On January 26, 1837 President Andrew Jackson signed a bill declaring Michigan the 26th state of the union.
In honor of this special occasion, here are some facts about this great state from www.michigan.gov.

State Name: Michigan
Name Origin: Derived from the Indian word Michigama, meaning great or large lake.
Nickname: Wolverine State
Statehood: Jan. 26, 1837 (26th)
Capital: Lansing, since 1847; prior to that, Detroit.
State Motto: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice, which translates, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”
Flower: Apple Blossom
Bird: Robin
Tree: White Pine
Stone: Petoskey Stone
Gem: Chlorastrolite
Fish: Brook Trout
Soil: Kalkaska Soil Series
Reptile: Painted Turtle
Game Mammal: White-tailed Deer
Wildflower: Dwarf Lake Iris
Fossil: Mastodon

I knew we had a state flower, tree, reptile, etc. But, I did not know we had a state soil! You learn something new everyday!

To celebrate Michigan’s 175th birthday, look around you and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us all! Turn your porch lights on Thursday night so Michigan shines brightly for all to see!


Today in Michigan History

March 3, 1875

Mackinac Island National Park was created.

Just three years after creating Yellowstone National Park—the nation’s first national park—Congress made Mackinac Island the nation’s second national park. Twenty years later, the park was given to Michigan and became the first Michigan State Park.

Thank you Michigan Start Pages for this glimpse into our past.  See more here.


Hey Michigan! Did You Know…

Michigan was the first state to guarantee every child the right to tax-paid high school education.

Marquette’s U.P. 200 sled dog race is approximately 240 miles in length and a qualifying race for the Iditarod.

2009 U. S. News and World Report annual survey ranked MSU’s elementary and secondary education graduate programs as rge best in the nation for the 14th consecutive year.

The Petoskey Stone is fossilized coral that existed in the northern Lower Peninsula about 350 million years ago.

Rogers City has the world’s largest limestone quarry.

Michigan Did you know


It’s All In The Name

Ever wonder how some Michigan cities got their names?  We hope to shed some light on that mystery…

Colon, MI

Colon was named when the founder was flipping through the dictionary, came upon the word “colon”, and decided that the rivers and lake sytem around the area looked like that particular body organ.

Fenton, MI

The town founders were playing a game of poker and decided the winner would get naming rights of the town.  William Fenton won, but the city could has easily been LeRoy or Rockwell.

Ishpeming, MI

Originally called Lake Superior Location, the name was later changed to Ishpeming, which is te Chippewa word for “heaven” or “high place”.

Shiawassee, MI

There is actually no translation that exists for this county name.  It was believed that it was named for the river that twists through the county and may in fact mean “twisting river”.


Hey Michigan! Did You Know…

Sault Ste. Marie was founded by Father Jacques Marquette in 1668. It is the third oldest remaining settlement in the United States.

Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of streams.

Standing anywhere in Michigan a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.

In 1879, Detroit telephone customers were the first in the nation to be assigned telephone numbers to facilitate handling calls.

The Kellogg Company has made Battle Creek the Cereal Capital of the world. The Kellogg brothers accidentally discovered the process for producing flaked cereal products and sparked the beginning of the dry cereal industry.
Michigan Did you know


Hemingway’s Home of Sunsets and Stones

Overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay in the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula you’ll find Petoskey, Michigan. Petoskey was known as Bear River when the first missionary arrived in 1855. The town was later renamed after the Ottawa Indian, Chief Pe-to-se-ga. Petoskey was officially granted a charter in 1879.

Petoskey is known for its abundance of Petoskey Stones. Petoskey stones are fossilized colony corals (Hexagonaria percarinata) that were scraped up from the bedrock surface by glaciers. Petoskey stones can be found on beaches, in ditches, and in gravel pits. Similar fossils of the Hexagonaria genus occur in many parts of the world, but the “percarinata” is limited to the Traverse Group.

Petoskey has been called the “land of the million dollar sunsets” ever since 1873. On a late fall day that year, the train whistled to a stop at the end of its line – Petoskey. On board was a reporter for a Grand Rapids newspaper, who in reporting on the wilderness scenery, rhapsodized about the area’s “million dollar sunsets.”

Petoskey was also the home to Ernest Hemingway during his boyhood. The Michigan Hemingway Society holds their annual Hemingway Weekend in Petoskey. The annual Hemingway Weekend in Petoskey features speakers, readings, exhibits, and tours of northern Michigan sites where the Nobel Prize-winning author spent his boyhood years. This year, Hemingway Weekend is October 16-18.

For more information or to plan a visit to Petoskey, please visit: www.petoskeydowntown.com or www.petoskey.com


Today in Michigan History

July 16, 1792

Michigan voters went to the polls for the first time.

Although Michigan became part of the U.S. in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Great Britain refused to surrender its outposts at Detroit and Mackinac. As Canada was being organized, Detroiters went to the polls for the first time and elected three representatives (William Macomb, Francois Baby and David W. Smith) to serve in the Upper Canada (Ontario) Provincial Assembly.

Thank you Michigan History Magazine for this glimpse into our past.  See more at www.michiganhistorymagazine.com.


A “Grand” Date in Michigan History

Mackinac Island became one of the nation’s favored summer resorts during the Victorian era. Vacationers arrived in large lake excursion boats from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit seeking the cooler weather on Mackinac Island. To accommodate overnight guests, boat and railroad companies financed the building of Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel opened its doors on July 10, 1887.

Perhaps the most noticeable first impression of Mackinac Island is the absence of automobiles. Mackinac Island is accessible only by boat or plane. Visitors and residents travel by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. There are only 600 year-round Mackinac Island residents. During the summer, there are more than 500 horses.

Today, Mackinac Island is widely known for its fabulous fudge.  Fudge devotees are known as “fudgies” – a term that is also synonymous with Northern Michigan tourists. Slab fudge, the most common style of fudge made on the Island, is made by pouring liquid ingredients onto large marble slabs for hand working. About 10,000 pounds of the creamy confection are made daily each season.

To learn more about Mackinac Island, please visit www.mackinacisland.org


Michigan’s Mighty Mac

When your state is split into a Lower and Upper Peninsula, what can be done to connect the two? Build a bridge, but not just any bridge, the suspension engineering marvel that is the Mackinac Bridge!

The Mackinac Bridge (aka the “Mighty Mac”, the “Mac”, the “Big Mac”) is currently the third longest suspension bridge in the world and the longest in the Western Hemisphere. It spans the Straits of Mackinac, a full five miles from shore to shore, with the suspension bridge being 8,614 feet long.

Before the bridge was built, the only ways across the Straits of Mackinac were boating or swimming. Swimming was not the chosen option. Ferries were used to carry people, cars and livestock between peninsulas. During Michigan’s hunting season cars might wait 24 plus hours to get a ferry ride.

In 1932, the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) was established to bring a bridge to completion. After many years of financing proposals and setbacks, the bridge opened to traffic on November 1, 1957.

For those that find driving across the bridge a scary endeavor, the MBA provides a courtesy driver at no cost to uneasy travelers.

Mighty Mac Fun Fact: June 1973, an Amish family crossed the bridge in a horse and buggy. It took them an hour to cross and they were the first on record to ever cross the bridge like that.

For more information, visit www.mackinacbridge.org.

Mackinac Bridge


Hey Michigan! Did You Know…

Vernor’s ginger ale was created in Detroit and became the first soda pop made in The United States. In 1862, pharmacist James Vernor was trying to create a new beverage when he was called away to serve the country during the Civil War. When he returned home, four years later, the drink he had stored in an oak case had taken on a gingery flavor.

Alpena is home to the largest cement plant.

Michigan ranks first in state boat registrations.

The 19 chandeliers in the Capitol building in Lansing are one-of-a-kind and designed especially for the building by Tiffany’s of New York. They weigh between 800 and 900 pounds each.

Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. The J.W. Westcott II is the only boat in the world that delivers mail to ships while they are still underway. It has been operating for 125 years!

Michigan Did you know