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Michigan history

Yearbook photo provided by a friend of the Michigan History Center.

 


 

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.

Joe / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Forty years ago, on February 10, 1978, a WJR radio personality saw something overhead as he and his wife were heading to the airport. He called the station and host Warren Pierce put his colleague Mark Avery on the air.

Harry Willnus, a UFO researcher, heard Avery call into the station and called home to have his family record the conversation.

Screen capture from YouTube

The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics happens Friday in PyeongChang. Right out of the gate, the snowboarding competition begins on Saturday. 

Courtesy of The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

 

If you've ever visited Greenfield Village in Dearborn, you have walked right past the home and bicycle shop of Orville and Wilbur Wright.  

Of course, the Wright brothers are universally recognized as the inventors of the airplane, but did you know it took decades for that fact to be recognized by our own government?

University Of Chicago Press, 2017

 

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. 

Michigan History Center

 

 

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. 

mark6mauno / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

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.

 

Warren G. Hooper
Michigan History Center

 

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.

 

Central Station in Detroit
Gordon / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

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.

Wystan / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

104 years ago this month, some 400 miners and their families were at a Christmas Eve celebration in Calumet in the Upper Peninsula. 73 men, women and children would not live to see Christmas Day.

We know this tragedy as the Italian Hall Disaster and the 1913 Massacre, born out of the depths of a long and bitter miners' strike.

Laura LaRose / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

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.

CRAIG STANLEY / NBC NEWS

The New America Foundation tells us that between 2008 and 2016, far-right attacks outnumbered Islamic terrorism by almost two to one in this country. And they were deadlier.

That got us thinking about Michigan and its history with right wing extremism. To dive into that history, Stateside spoke with JoEllen Vinyard, a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University and the author of Right in Michigan's Grassroots: From the KKK to the Michigan Militia.

slab of butter frying in a pan.
George Brett / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

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.

A Healthier Michigan / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When the Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow, they’re continuing a Michigan tradition that goes back further than many of us can remember. How and when did this tradition of Thanksgiving football get started?

Mark Harvey, the state archivist at the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to recount the history of the Thanksgiving game.

Courtesy of the Northern Indiana Center for History

When you’re a leader, the decisions you make, for better or for worse, have lasting repercussions that echo into the future. And if you ask the descendants of Leopold Pokagon, they’ll testify he made the right decisions.

With November being Native American History Month, we wanted to discuss the story of Pokagon, a Potawatomi leader in the early 19th century. 

Potrait of Governor Charles Croswell
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

Another governor has found his place on the walls of the Michigan State Capitol.

Governor Charles Croswell’s portrait was unveiled Monday. He’s one of the so-called “Missing Governors” that the Capitol Commission has been trying to bring to the Capitol over the last couple years.

All photos courtesy of the LTBB Odawa Repatriation, Archives, and Records

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.

Courtesy of the Dick Tyler Collection in the Michigan History Center Archives

Happy 60th birthday to an iconic Michigan landmark: the Mighty Mac!

State archivist Mark Harvey joined Stateside to fun facts about the Mackinac Bridge in honor of its birthday.

Courtesy of the American Museum of Magic

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.

Steam Engine With Passenger Cars Ascending Horseshoe Curve Altoona (PA)
Ron Cogswell / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

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?

a squirrel
Steve Burt / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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?

Courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Before Europeans arrived in Michigan, “moose were pretty much all over” the state, said Rachel Clark of the Michigan History Center.

After that arrival, the moose population declined as settlers began over-hunting the animal and damaging its habitat.

Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

Major General George Owen Squier. The name may not be familiar, but his work in the fields of aeronautics and radio communications rivaled that of better-known contemporaries like Alexander Bell and the Wright Brothers.

Squier, a native of Dryden, Michigan, was the first military officer to fly, in a plane piloted by Orville Wright. Today, his hometown hopes to build a statue in his honor.

Chesapeake Bay Program / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Casting a fishing line into the water is just about as Michigan as you can get. And for some families, it's a legacy passed down through generations.

It might be easy to take fishing in Michigan for granted. But nearly sixty years ago, a group of fishing fanatics got together near the Au Sable River to ensure that trout-fishing in Michigan would remain strong for years to come.

That group was--and is still--called Trout Unlimited.

portrait pictures of dr. kendrick and dr. Eldering
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center / Archives of Michigan

Parents and students are getting ready for school to start next week. That can mean last-minute shopping trips for supplies and clothes, and perhaps a doctor’s appointment to get those vaccines up to date before the school year starts.

Back in the 1930s, pertussis, better known as whooping cough, caused 6,000 deaths a year in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the people who died were children ages five and under.

It was three women in Michigan who helped change those grim statistics.

Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

Thousands of Michiganders fought for the Union during the American Civil War, but one group of soldiers in particular stood out: Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters.

To tell the story of this special group, the Michigan History Center's Steve Ostrander and Eric Hemenway, director of archives and records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, joined host Cynthia Canty on Wednesday for Stateside's weekly history lesson.

plaque with michigan flag
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

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. 

State Police records, RG 90-240, housed in the Archives of Michigan

It was nearly fifty years ago when Michigan music lovers attended a Woodstock-like music festival in south-central Michigan. But not everyone was happy about it.

The Michigan History Center’s Mark Harvey joined Stateside today dig into the story surrounding the Goose Lake Music Festival.

Courtesy of the Archives of Michigan

It’s recognized as the Snow Capital of the Midwest. That’s quite a distinction for a town that no longer exists.

Rachel Clark from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to explain how the mining town of Delaware, Michigan became a ghost town.

Highway surrounded by trees beneath a blue sky
Stratosphere / creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

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.

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