Today in Michigan History

April 7, 1947

Henry Ford died.

According to one Ford biographer, “at the time of his death, Henry Ford was summed up as a patriot, philanthropist, philosopher, sociologist, reformer, economist, teacher, and above all, a man of simple tastes. He was widely depicted as an inspiration of youth and symbol of individualism, American ingenuity, free enterprise and America itself.”

Scores of Michiganders eulogized the 83-year-old Ford. Michigan senator Arthur Vandenberg noted that “he probably had as great an impact on his time as if he had been president of the United States.”

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



Today in Michigan History

August 17, 1980

Detroit Tigers retired number 6.

One of Detroit’s greatest players, Al Kaline, won the league’s batting crown in 1955 with a .340 batting average, was selected to eighteen All-Star Games during his career, captured ten Gold Gloves and ended his career with 3,007 career hits, which broke a thirty-year record. Kaline was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. During that same year the Tigers retired his number.

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


A Mystery Spot Not to Miss!

Take a drive out to Benzie County’s own Gravity Hill, just a few miles southeast of Frankfort & Elberta. You can put your car in neutral on the downhill slope and your car will roll backwards uphill!  These natural gravity hills are found in hilly locations where a distant horizon is not visible as a reference which produces the optical illusion that a gentle downhill slope is, in fact, an uphill slope.

For more things to do while in Benzie County, please visit:


The Lake Michigan Triangle

Everyone has heard of the Bermuda Triangle and the strange things that happen there, but did you know that Michigan has its own mysterious triangle?

The Lake Michigan Triangle is connected by Ludington and Benton Harbor in Michigan and both cities connect across the lake to Manitowoc in Wisconsin forming the triangle, according to author Linda S. Godfrey in her book Weird Michigan.

The legend begins with sunken ships, but goes beyond that to the disappearance of airplanes and people to UFO sightings.  There have been so many sightings of strange objects and ghost planes in that area that the FAA created a special lake reporting service to keep track of them all.

Almost 40 planes have disappeared over Lake Michigan; the one most may know is Northwest Flight 2501.  In June of 1950 it left New York heading to Minneapolis, it went down into Lake Michigan near Benton Harbor.  There were no survivors and divers weren’t able to locate the plane’s wreckage.

In April 1937, one of the most famous Lake Michigan Triangle legends took place.  The freighter O.M. McFarland was headed to Port Washington, Wisconsin.  Captain George Donnor decided to head to his cabin for a nap and wanted to be woken around 6pm.  When the crew went to wake him, they found his cabin empty.  The story claims the door was locked from the inside and nobody knows what happened to him.  The disappearance of Donnor happened while the freighter passed through the nexus of the Lake Michigan Triangle.

Skeptics site the massive storms the Great Lakes are known for or the lack of GPS systems as the explanations of it all.  But it sure feeds your imagination when you look out across Lake Michigan and wonder what other mysteries are hiding beneath the surface!


Michigan Myths and Legends

The Legend of the Sleeping Bear

On the northwestern shore of the Lower Peninsula is The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The National Lakeshore encompasses over 50,000 acres along Lake Michigan and has a unique legend of how the Dunes came to be.

The Ojibwa tale of the Sleeping Bear Dunes starts with a fire on the western shores of Lake Michigan (Wisconsin). The mother bear and her two cubs dove into Lake Michigan to escape the fire and swim for safety on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan (Michigan). The cubs are young and got tired quickly from the swim. The mother bear made it to shore and stood lookout for her two cubs. They never came. The Great Spirit takes pity on the mother and raises her cubs from the depths of the lake as North and South Manitou islands. The mother bear never left her spot, watching and waiting for the cubs, she became the dunes at Sleeping Bear Point.

For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront, please visit