The 26th state to be added to the union in 1837, Michigan has had a rich history, but there are plenty of facts about Michigan, the Great Lakes State, that you might not know. Here are seven of those tidbits.
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1. The French began settling Michigan in 1668, 46 years after Étienne Brulé became the first European to visit the territory, and though the French fought the British for control of the land, the United States finally claimed it as a territory in 1783
. The territory was made a part of the Northwest Territory in 1787, and from there, it was 50 more years before Michigan became an actual state in the Union.
2. After the state was established, a movement described as “Michigan Fever” descended upon New York and New England
, and thousands of settlers traveled to Michigan to set up new homes. Iron and copper were discovered in the state’s Upper Peninsula in the 1840s, further aiding the their cause. In 1847, the state capital was moved from Detroit to Lansing, because of the more centralized location.
3. The University of Michigan was one of the first public universities established in the U.S.
in 1817. It originally was stationed in Detroit, but 20 years later, the university was moved to its current spot in Ann Arbor – which, at the time, featured a population of 2,000 to go with a bank, two churches and four mills. In its first year in Ann Arbor, the university boasted two professors and seven students.
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4. One of the facts about Michigan you may not know is that Kellogg’s found its beginnings here. In 1906, W.K. Kellogg opened the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in the Battle Creek, Michigan
and began to sell Corn Flakes cereal. This came eight years after W.K. Kellogg and his brother, John Harvey Kellogg, failed at producing granola and accidently discovered they could make wheat berry flakes. Eventually, W.K. Kellogg determined how to flake corn for the company that’s now known as Kellogg’s.
5. It took more than three decades after the first cars were produced, but the Michigan-born Packard finally introduced the concept of car air conditioning in 1939. As Yahoo.com notes, “The ‘Weather Conditioner’ was a $279 option
that required the Packard One-Eighty to visit a second factory for installation, since the unit connected to the engine and took up half the trunk space; Packard pitched it as not just for comfort but privacy, since riders could finally arrive without having the windows down.’ Unfortunately for Packard, the idea wasn’t a success. Packard got rid of the option in 1942.
6. In 1948, the J.W. Westcott II vessel became an official U.S. post office. It’s the only floating post office in the world that delivers mail to ships, and it’s been doing so on the Detroit River since 1876. The boat also offers freight delivery and storage, water taxi service to and from vessels, and the delivery of snacks and cigarettes. In order to send mail to a Great Lakes freighter, one could address an envelope like this:
Marine Post Office
Detroit, Michigan 48222
7. The Mackinac Bridge, which connects the state’s upper and lower peninsulas, was completed in 1957, and this Michigan bridge is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world
. Total length of the bridge: five miles.
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