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The story of Michigan's Lost Peninsula

Jul 9, 2015

This section of the Mitchell Map, circa 1755, shows the area that is now Michigan.
Credit flickr user FotoGuy / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Just what is the Lost Peninsula?

Don Faber tells us it’s a little strip of land in the very southeast corner of Michigan.

And here’s the kicker: The only way to access it is through Toledo.

Faber tells us that when Michigan and Ohio were still young states, they each performed a geographical survey to determine their boundaries.

Ohio’s survey placed Toledo in Ohio. Michigan’s placed it, well, in Michigan.

The portion of the Michigan Territory claimed by the State of Ohio known as the Toledo Strip
Credit user Drdpw / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

What followed was the Toledo War, a short conflict that ended in military stalemate.

According to Faber, Congress accepted Ohio’s desired boundaries and granted Michigan the western two-thirds of the Upper Peninsula as compensation.

"Which nobody owned, and nobody wanted, but it was a take it or leave it," Faber says.

The resulting border left just a little tip of Michigan, Faber says maybe 250 acres of land, hanging off Ohio near Toledo, detached from the mitten itself.

“Today it’s private homes,” Faber tells us. “A low, kind of a marshy area. Not much to look at, really. But the people who live there just love it because it’s isolated, but it’s beautiful in its own way.”

Faber says that Toledo provides sewer and water services to the peninsula, but kids ride the bus 35 minutes through Toledo and up into Michigan to go to school.

Don Faber's piece Locating the Lost Peninsula can be found in the most recent issue of Michigan History Magazine.