Happy 180th Birthday, Michigan!
On January 26th, 2017, the state of Michigan celebrated its 180th anniversary of joining the Union. Celebrations for Michigan’s official birthday were held back in January, with a ceremony held by elected state officials in the Capitol building in Lansing. The event was dubbed “The Turnaround”, because 180 represents the number needed to turn something around. And, the state of Michigan has certainly turned itself around, reinventing itself in many different ways over the last several years while facing a variety of challenges.
Located in the center of the Great Lakes, Michigan is divided into two masses known as the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The Peninsulas are connected by the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world.
The History of Michigan
From 1787 to 1800, Michigan was part of the Northwest Territory. Then, in 1800, the Indiana Territory was created, and most of Michigan lay within it, besides the easternmost parts of the state that remained in the Northwest Territory. It wasn’t until 1805 that the Territory of Michigan was established, and in 1835 the first constitution was enacted.
Actual statehood was delayed until January of 1837 because of the territory’s involvement in a boundary dispute with Ohio, known as the Toledo War. Michigan finally gave up its claim to the mouth of the Maumee River located in Toledo. On January 26th, 1837, President Andrew Jackson signed a bill making Michigan the nation’s 26th state.
A Few Interesting Michigan Facts
In honor of Michigan’s 180th birthday, here are a few fun facts about the state that you may not have known:
- Michigan has several nicknames – the Wolverine State, the Great Lakes State, the Mitten State and Water (Winter) Wonderland. Sidenote: although known as the Wolverine State, there actually aren’t any more wolverines in Michigan.
- Sault Ste. Marie was founded in 1668 by Father Jacques Marquette, and it is the third oldest remaining settlement in the country.
- Michigan State University has the largest single campus student body of any Michigan University – it’s the biggest institute of higher learning in the state and one of the largest in the entire United States.
- The most populated city in the state is Detroit, and although Lansing is now the state capital, Detroit was actually the original capital! The least populated city is Lake Angelus, located in Oakland County.
- The M-1, or Woodward Avenue in Detroit, is known as the first concrete-paved road in the country.
- After Alaska, Michigan has the second-longest coastline in the U.S. and is home to more than 11,000 lakes. When you’re in the state, you’re never more than 85 miles away from one of the Great Lakes.
Do you have any fun Michigan facts to share? What’s your favorite thing about our state?