michigan history

At Stateside, we love talking about Michigan history.

 

We've looked at the invention of snowboarding (first known as snurfing); why a small town held a funeral for a bunch of pizzas, and the University of Michigan student who broke baseball's color barrier 64 years before Jackie Robinson.

Do corporations have too much power and too little oversight? That question has dominated American society since the Civil War and it does not seem to be going away any time soon.

Over the decades, the political pendulum has swung back and forth between workers’ rights and corporate power.

This Friday marks the 172nd anniversary of a uniquely Michigan milestone. On May 18, 1846, Michigan became the first English-speaking government in the world to vote and pass a measure to abolish the death penalty.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist with the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to talk about Michigan’s progressive past. Judge Avern Cohn, the Senior United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, also joined the conversation.


   

Last week, the Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot petition that might end the prohibition of recreational marijuana in Michigan

 

Meanwhile, this week marked the 100th anniversary of another important social experiment: Prohibition. 

 

This winter driving season has created many white-knuckled moments throughout our state.  

If you find yourself thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to get around in the snow,” then you wouldn’t be the first. 

Ever since the arrival of Europeans to Michigan, farming has been a key economic component for our state. However, without the life’s work of a Michigander from South Haven, farms in Michigan and across the nation might evolved quite differently.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist at the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to discuss the life of pioneering botanist and horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, how his “agrarian ideology” of advanced technology was received at the time, and how he’s remembered today.

 

 

A lot of Michigan residents might know that Malcolm X grew up in this state, but beyond that, the facts might get a little fuzzy. 

 

 

Michigan History Center’s Rachel Clark joined Stateside to bring some clarity to that history.

 

When was the last time you heard about a politician who realized she or he needed to change to help the country – that former ways had to be put aside to foster bipartisan cooperation for the good of the country? 

 

A U.S. senator from Michigan, Arthur Vandenberg, was such a person. 

 


 

In the early days of making cars, many companies quickly appeared and then disappeared just as fast. 

 

In an article in Michigan History MagazineSteve Ostrander noted there were 34 automakers in the 1920s. One of them was named after a World War I flying ace — Eddie Rickenbacker. 

 

Some hate the snow, others love it, but there is no arguing that snow has been the mother of invention for many a Michigander. Case in point: Snurfing.

 

 

It's Wednesday, so it's time to talk Michigan History. This week, we observe the anniversary of the 1945 assassination of State Senator Warren G. Hooper.

 

Mark Harvey, state archivist, along with Scott Burnstein, Detroit mafia historian and author, and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio's Capitol bureau chief, joined Stateside to help tell the story.

 

Thirty years ago this week, on January 5, 1988, the last train left Michigan Central Station. That moment marked the end of nearly 75 years of Michiganders catching trains at the once-proud station.

Dan Austin, who has written three books about Detroit history and founded HistoricDetroit.org, and Mark Harvey, state archivist from the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to discuss the station's legacy.

Of all the ignored or argued over household chores, one near the top of the list, particularly for cat owners, is replacing the kitty litter. But did you know that without the ingenuity of a Michigander, we might be changing out the kitty sand?

Mark Harvey, the Michigan History Center’s State Archivist, joined Stateside to talk about the Michigan history of kitty litter.

You have probably heard the phrase “school of choice” used when describing public education options in Michigan, but what about a “school of no choice?” That was the case for many native Michiganders for over a century.

The word “magic” may conjure images of witches and wizards casting spells in a bygone era, long before the rise of science and modern civilization.

However, there is a spot in Michigan where magic still thrives.

You might have heard the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” But did you know that in the 1880s, leaders in Michigan decided that fish needed a train?

Leaping from branch to branch, bearing nuts and acorns, teasing backyard dogs by staying just out of reach; let’s face it — squirrels are so common in Michigan that it’s easy for us to take their presence for granted.

But, just as Holden Caufield worried about where the ducks go in winter, we got to wondering: where do squirrels go? Do they cluster up in hibernation holes? Or perhaps join Michigan snowbirds and head south to warmer locales?

In the mid-20th century, there was a smuggling ring running between western Upper Peninsula and people in Wisconsin. It didn’t involve whisky, or gun-running, but rather a substitute for butter.

Rachel Clarke with the Michigan History Center says there was demand in Wisconsin for margarine, which was illegal in the badger state, but was still for sale in Michigan stores.

The federal government may have orchestrated the United State's history-making voyage to the moon in 1969, but the states weren't left out entirely. The crew of Apollo 11 took all 50 state flags along for the ride, and then returned each flag to its owner with an added gift: a moon rock.

Michigan’s moon rock was given to Governor William Milliken, and it sat in his garage for years afterward. Then, in the late 1980s, Milliken's family delivered it to the Michigan History Center, where it's now on exhibit. 

To understand why African-American Detroiters hit a breaking point with the city's police force in July 1967, we must turn to the history of the Detroit Police Department, and how white officers treated black men, women and children.

If you've ever been driving through the countryside, unsure of exactly where you are, maybe you’ve told a friend: “I passed some podunk town in the middle of nowhere.”

Many Michiganders are familiar with the saying. But there’s really only one Podunk, Michigan.

The 1967 Detroit uprising was a time of confusion and upheaval. Countless rumors and false narratives spread through the country, and some facts remain unclear to this day.

Luckily, many Detroiters have come forward to tell their personal accounts of the rebellion.

If you like bird watching, Pere Cheney is a great place to see the Kirtland Warbler. Other than that, there isn't much there.

It's what you might call a ghost town.

If you're wondering how that happened, you're not alone. Michigan Radio listener Olivia Cushway of Ypsilanti posed that very question to our MI Curious team. 

When you hear the words "ghost town," you might imagine a dusty, vacant place in the Old West, where cowboys once tread.

Well, think again because Michigan has its share of ghost towns, too. 

Mark Harvey from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to talk about one of them: Singapore, Michigan. 

In 1884, Congress passed a bill recognizing the service of, and granting a pension to Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmundson Seelye for her service to the country. She served in the Civil War as a soldier in Company F of the Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, under the name of Franklin Thompson. 

Pages