Facts about Michigan for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
October is ARCHAEOLOGY Month in Michigan, and the state has archaeology events throughout the year. The state has several archaeological sites. The Sanilac Petroglyphs provide a glimpse into the lives of ancient woodland people. Fort Michilimackinac is considered one of the most extensively excavated early French archaeological sites in the country. Fort St. Joseph was rediscovered in 1998 and a major archeological excavation began in 2002. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology sponsors research and educational programs for children. The Office of the State Archaeologist records, investigates, interprets, and protects archaeological sites in Michigan. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Reserve protects over 100 shipwrecks. Michigan Archaeological Society provides information on archaeology in the state.
ART museums, centers, and galleries are located throughout Michigan. The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs promotes arts throughout the state. The Detroit Institute of Fine Arts is one of the largest fine arts museums in the country. Interlochen Center for the Arts is one of the most outstanding facilities in the world for developing youth talent in the creation arts. Arts and Crafts Shows are held throughout the year in the state. The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art project in Detroit. The Michigan Artrain is a unique art gallery on wheels which tours the country aboard 5 railroad cars. Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park has the only known rock carvings in the state attributable to Native American Indians.
Michigan has several hundred species of Birds including several endangered, extinct and threatened birds. The Michigan State Bird is the Robin Redbreast but efforts are being made to make Kirtland's Warbler the State Bird. The Michigan Audubon Society promotes education, research, and conservation of birds and their habitats in the state. There are many Birding Hotspots.
Michigan has many BRIDGES including Covered Bridges, and Suspension Bridges. The Langley Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in Michigan and one of the longest in the country. The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume. The Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac and is currently the 3rd longest such structure in the world. The St. Clair Tunnel was the 1st international submarine railway tunnel in the world. The Detroit/Windsor Tunnel is the 2nd busiest crossing between the United States and Canada. Many bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan.
Michigan has several Scenic BYWAYS and a variety of loop tours, and circle tours. Michigan also has many trails including Horse Trails The Michigan Trail Riders Association has a variety of equestrian information. The state participates in National Trails Day. The Shore to Shore Trail is said to be one of the best trails in the state. Michigan has the largest percent of the North Country Trail being developed from New York to North Dakota. Michigan Mountain Biking Association has trail descriptions and events. White Pine Trail State Park is part of the Rails to Trails project. Much of the Illinois and Michigan Canal is a long, thin linear park with canoeing and hiking and biking trails (constructed on the alignment of the mule tow paths). It also includes museums and historical canal buildings. It was designated the first National Heritage Corridor by US Congress in 1984. Michigan has many Roadside Attractions.
Michigan has all forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, telephone, and internet. The state has 12 telephone area codes. In 1879 Detroit telephone customers were first in the country to be assigned phone numbers to facilitate handling calls. Internet Service Providers are located throughout the state and most businesses and schools are online. Webcams are located throughout the state.
Michigan has 83 COUNTIES and 40 of them adjoin at least one of the Great Lakes. Marquette is the largest county and Benzie is the smallest. Wayne County has the largest population and is the oldest county based on the date of incorporation, and Keweenaw County has the smallest population. Sault Ste. Marie is the 3rd oldest remaining settlement in the country. Michigan also has VILLAGES, Townships, and Unincorporated Communities. Detroit is the largest city in the state. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of government below the State Government.
No Mesozoic rocks are believed to be in Michigan so there were probably not any DINOSAURS, but evidence of Woolly Mammoths and Mastodons have been found throughout lower Michigan. Two mastodons were uncovered at the Shelton Mastodon Site and the mastodon is the State Fossil. In 2014, homeowners in Bellevue uncovered 42 Mastodon bones in their backyard. In 2015, a farmer near Chelsea discovered the bones of a Wooly Mammoth. That same year, 2015, fossil hunters unearthed the most complete skeleton of a Mastodon in the Maryville region. Its remains were put on display in 2016 at the UofM Museum of Natural History. Also in 2015, farmers in Lima Township unearthed a haul of mammoth bones, including the huge skull and tusks. In October, 2016, researchers at the UofM Museum of Paleontology unearthed a Mastodon found along a creek at the Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning In Mayville. Some of the oldest rocks in North America are exposed in the upper Penninsula of Michigan and contain some of the oldest fossil evidence in the state. Dinosaur Gardens is a Prehistoric Zoo and a mixture of dinosaurs and cavemen. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
The Michigan Department of EDUCATION oversees education in the state and provides information about schools K-12. Children are required to attend school from the age of 6 thru their 16th birthday. Homeschooling is popular. Michigan was the 1st state to guarantee every child the right to a tax-paid high school education. It was also the first state to provide Drivers Ed in high school. Information about schools in Michigan is provided by SchoolBug and GreatSchools.
Michigan has a variety of EVENTS including Festivals and Fairs. The Michigan State Fair was the first State Fair in the country but 2009 was the last one due to budget cuts. The state has many Horse Shows and Rodeos. The city of Holland has a Tulip Time Festival. Each year there is a Celebrate Michigan Week. The state celebrates Public Holidays and other special days.
Four flags have flown over Michigan � French, English, Spanish, and United States. The State Flag is deep blue and has the State Coat of Arms in the center. Many municipalities and counties have their own flag. Some tribes have a flag including the Sault Ste. Marie Objibwe and the Potawatomi. The state has many battle flags from the Civil War. Michigan J. Frog is the State Character.
The FOOD Time line of Michigan dates back to the 1600s. By 1859 farm families were established in the southern counties and farmers raised cows, grew wheat and produced milk, butter, and cheese. Mining developed on the Upper Peninsula around 1850, and mine workers came from Cornwall, Ireland, Canada, Finland, and eastern Europe. The mining families from Cornwall brought their Cornish pasties with them. In 1847 religious refugees from the Netherlands settled in the state and are famous for their smoked and salted fish, roast goose, and other fowl. The Czechs and Moravians were famous for their baked goods and pastries. The state has Food Fairs, Festivals, and Events. The Food Bank Council obtains and distributes monetary and food donations. Several food companies are located in Michigan including Kellogg's and Better Made Snack Food that has been in operation since 1930. The first soda pop made in the country was created in Detroit - Vernors Ginger Ale.
Michigan has had many FORTS. At the present time the state has several FORTS. Most of them have been destroyed but some of the forts are on the list of National Historic Places, some are parks, some have restored building, and some are open to the public. Fort Mackinac is a State Historic Park. It has restored buildings, blockhouses, the original stone ramparts, and costumed guides reenact life in a military fort during the 1700s. Fort Wilkins is a State Park. Fort Wayne is open to the public on special occasions and during the annual celebration of Detroit's birthday. Fort Brady is now Lake Superior University. Fort Custer is one of the most heavily used Midwest training facilities. Fort Michilimackinac has reconstructed structures and is part of Colonial Michilimackinac State Park and a major section of the Mackinac State Historic Parks. Interpreters bring history to life with a variey of activities. The Fort is considered one of the most extensively excavated early French archaeological sites in the United States. In 1961 while excavating for a new building, the mains of a wooden post from Fort Shelby was discovered. Artifacts were retrieved and are now housed at the Anthropology Museum at Wayne State University. Fort Wayne is operated by several organizations. The fort hosts historic reenactments. It hosts historic reenactments, markets, concerts, youth soccer league matches, Hispanic and Boy Scout events, and some civic events. Areas can be rented for special events and family reunions. Since 2010, the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy has taken time to clean up the grounds annually. The Tuskegee Airmen Museum and an ancient burial mound are located on the grounds of the fort.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Michigan is approximately 42 degrees north to 84 degrees west. The state can be identified from space by its mitten shape. The geographic center is Wexford. The highest point is Mt. Arvon and the lowest is the shore of Lake Erie. Michigan has more freshwater coastline than any other state. The topography of Michigan ranges from 300 ft. to 3,000 ft and includes 2 major land formations - Superior Uplands and Great Lakes Plains. Geocaching is a popular activity using a Global Positioning System, and there are many geocache sites in the state.
The HISTORY of Michigan dates back thousands of years. As far back as 17,000 years ago a prehistoric people mined & worked copper in the area. The recorded history of the state began in the 1600s. The state was involved in the Civil War. Students are encouraged to participate in National History Day.
Michigan has several hundred different types of INDUSTRIES. The 3 major industries are manufacturing, farming, and tourism, and the state is the automotive center of North America. cherry production is a major industry and the state is the leading producer of tart cherries. There is a National Cherry Festival in Traverse City.The state is also gaining recognition for its Life Science Industry. The Health Care Industry is the largest employer in the state. More than 2,000 Michigan firms engage in international trade. Two of the top 5 industrial corporations and 20 of the top 500 businesses are headquartered in Michigan and it is the hub of the Great Lakes industrial market. Trade Shows are held throughout the year.
Michigan has 74 ISLANDS. The Manitou Islands are part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Mackinac Island is an American National Historical Landmark. Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan. Isle Royale is an archipelago in the northwest corner of Lake Superior and is accessible only by boat or float plane. Travel on and around the island is by foot, boat, or float plane. It has 165 miles of trails and numerous inland lakes. Ryan Island in Siskiwit Lake on Isle Royale in Lake Superior is the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake. Michigan is on the US Islands Directory because they have an amateur radio.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. Michigan’s concept of “One Court of Justice” was introduced in 1963 by Article VI, Section 1 of the Michigan Constitution. Under this principle the judicial system functions as an integrated unit consisting of one supreme court, one court of appeals, one trial court (known as the circuit court), and several trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
Many aspects of life in Michigan focus on KIDS including natural, man-made, and cultural opportunities. KIDS has information for different grade levels. Michigan Kids has puzzles, games, and information for kids. At the Grand Rapids Childrens' Museum, kids play and learn at the same time.
There are Public LIBRARIES throughout Michigan, and it was the first state to provide in its Constitution for the establishment of Public Libraries. The Library of Michigan is in Kalamazoo and guarantees the people of the State and their government one perpetual institution to collect and preserve Michigan publications, conduct reference and research and support libraries statewide. The William L. Clements Library is famous for its collection of Early America. The Gerald R. Ford Library holds papers of the former president. Edgar Guest was the first and only Poet Laureate of the state and National Poetry Month is celebrated.
Michigan has over a hundred LIGHTHOUSES and navigational aids - more than any other state. Many of them are Historic Lights. There are lighthouses on Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair. The Mackinac Area has 7 lighthouses. There is a circle tour of Lake Michigan lighthouses. Seul Choix Light in Gulliver has been in use since 1895 and has a museum. The Holland Harbor Lighthouse is known as "Big Red".
Michigan has a wide variety of MINERALS, and there is one for nearly every letter of the alphabet. The state has a long mining history. Michigan is 1st in production of magnesium compounds and 2nd in gypsum and iron ore. The Michigan Mineralogy Society promoted the hobby of collecting a variety of minerals. The Upper Michigan Copper Country is the largest commercial deposit of native copper in the world. The Coppertown Mining Museum in Calumet has exhibits about the Copper Mining Industry and Community Life. The Iron Mountain Mine has a train ride and demonstrations of mining machinery. Alpena is the home of the largest cement plant in the world and is known as Cement City. Rogers City claims to have the largest limestone quarry in the world. The Petoskey is the official State Stone, and the state gem is the Greenstone. Other gems include Agate and Hematite. The official State Minerological Museum is in Houghton.
Michigan has over 200 MUSEUMS. The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village is in Dearborn. The Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Museum features the history of transportation. The Air Zoo, founded as the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, is an aviation museum and indoor amusement park. Several museums and mining tours focus on mining heritage in Michigan. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is in Grand Rapids. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum stands at a point where 300 shipwrecks occurred and there are Shipwreck Tours.
The first people to inhabit what is now Michigan were NATIVE AMERICANS - Paleo-Indians who appeared in the area about 14,000 years ago. The were followed by the Archaic People. Michigan has several tribes of Native Americans and Tribal Nations. The 3 major tribes are the Chippewa (ojibwe), the Ottawoa, and the Potawatome. Tribal Communities include Hannaville Indian Community, the Bay Mills Indian Community, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. There are several Reservations in the state. Michigan has Indian Casinos, and Powwows. The Chief Pontiac Trail Program offers an outdoor experience for all ages.
Michigan has many OIL fields and gas has been found in many counties in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The state has several thousand active oil and gas producing wells. The oil and gas industries contribute to the economy in a variety of ways.
Michigan is made up of 2 PENINSULAS separated by the Straits of Mackinac and is the only state divided into 2 distinct parts. The Lower Peninsula has low rolling hills giving way to hilly belts and connects to Indiana and Ohio. The Upper Penninsula is level in the east with swampy areas, and the west is higher and more rugged and connects to Wisconsin. The Mackinac Bridge connects the two peninsulas. The International Bridge connects the Upper Peninsula to Ontario at Sault Ste Marie. Leelanau Peninsula is between Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay.
Over 10 million PEOPLE live in Michigan and they are called Michiganians, Michiganders or Michiganites. Many wellknown people have come from Michigan including politicians, athletics, entertainers, authors, and artists. The most famous are Gerald R. Ford, 38th president of the United States, and Charles Lindbergh, aviator. The only Kingdom ever to exist in the country belonged to James Jesse Strang, King of Beaver Island. William Potts invented the first three-color traffic light.
QUILTING is a popular activity in Michigan. The Michigan Quilt Network has Guilds throughout the state, and promotes quilting through communication, education, and preservation. Many Quilt Shows are held throughout the year. The Ice House Quilt Shop is a landmark in Grayling. There are several Weavers Guilds.
Take a QUIZ about Michigan.
Michigan has many species of REPTILES and amphibians including the poisonous Massasauga Rattlesnake. The Painted Turtle is the State Reptile. Michigan is part of the North American Monitoring Program. The Michigan Society of Herpetologists has a Junior Herpetologist Program.
Michigan has several hundred RIVERS including many Wild and Scenic Rivers, and a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_River_(Michigan)"> Grand River is the largest river in the state. The Detroit River is an American Heritage Designated River. St. Mary's River, Detroit River, and St. Clair River are used for cargo ships to travel between the Great Lakes. Michigan also has more than 36,000 miles of streams. The Port of Detroit is on the Detroit River and is one of the busiest ports in the world.
Michigan has all forms of TRANSPORTATION. The Michigan Department of Transportation is responsible for transportation in the state and has an Adopt-A-Highway Program. The 1st regularly scheduled air passenger service began in Michigan. The state has 275 licensed commercial airports open to the public, of which 144 are privately owned. Some of the longest bulk freight carriers in the world operate on the Great Lakes. The first Michigan automobile license plates were issued in 1903. A variety of ">plates are now available including personalized plates. Two American Indian Tribes in Michigan have their own license plates - Bay Mills Ojibwe and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Tribe. The Federal Highway Administration provides information about traffic and road closures. To celebrates its 50th birthday, Matchbox Cars issued a vehicle for each state. The vehicle for Michigan was the 1921 Ford Model T.
Michigan has a large variety of TREES including many native trees. More than half of the state is covered in forest including many areas of Old Growth Forests including Hartwick Pines State Park, Isle Royale National Park, Porcupine Mountains, and the Sylvania Wilderness. The State Tree is the White Pine. The state has 3 National Forests - Hiawatha, Huron/Manistee, and Ottawa. There are many State Forest Campgrounds. The Michigan Botanical Club is home to the Michigan Big Tree Program. Each year there is a Big Tree Contest. The state has 47 Champion Trees.
Three ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Michigan. The 1st USS Michigan (1843), the Navy's 1st iron-hulled warship, cruised on the Great Lakes during most of the Civil War providing an element of stability and security, and was later renamed Wolverine. The 2nd USS Michigan (BB-27), a South Carolina-class battleship, saw action against Mexico and escorted convoys during World War I. The 3rd USS Michigan (SSBN-727), the 2nd Ohio-class submarine, no longer serves as a ballistic missile submarine, but will be converted into a guided missile submarine (SSGN). The USS Erie (GB) was a gunboat named after the lake. The USS Eirie (PG-50) was the lead ship in a class of two United States Navy patrol gunboats. Launched and commissioned in 1936, she operated in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea until torpedoed and fatally damaged by a German submarine in 1942.
Michigan does not have any active VOLCANOES but it has a volcanic past. Volcanoes created Porcupine and Huron mountain ranges. There were volcanoes in the Upper Peninsula a long time ago — 2.5 billion years! The copper mines of the Upper Peninsula are there because of the ancient volcanoes' putting out huge lava flows and minerals. In the winter Ice Volcanoes can form on the Great Lakes. They are not lava-spewing mountains of ice, but water-spouting ice cones.
The WEATHER in Michigan has 4 distinct seasons. Springs are mild, summers warm, autumns crisp, and winters snowy. NOAA provides up-to-date information about the weather and weather information for kids. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information for kids about Climate Change.
Michigan has a variety of WILDLIFE, 7 Wildlife Refuges, and many Wildlife Rehabilitators. Seney National Wildlife Reserve is the largest contiguous National Refuge in the country. The State Game Mammal is the White-Tailed Deer. Many species are endangered or threatened including animals, fish, reptiles and birds. Michigan participates in the Wildlife Protection Program.
Time ZONES are established by the coordinated Universal Time. The United States has several Time Zones. Most of Michigan is in the United States Eastern Time Zone. Four counties (Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee) in the western Upper Peninsula that share their southern border with the state of Wisconsin are in the United States Central Time Zone. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Michigan is in several Plant Hardiness Zone.
Michigan has several ZOOS The Detroit Zoo was the 1st zoo in the country to feature cageless, open-exhibits that allowed the animals more freedom to roam. The John Ball Zoo has special activities for kids. Michigan has several Petting Zoos. The Belle Isle Aquarium is the oldest freshwater public aquarium in the country.