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New York changes Michigan’s future forever

It’s crazy to think about it, but one of the most critical events in the history and settlement of Michigan didn’t even happen within the state. On July 4 of 1817, construction started on a crucial waterway. The Erie Canal, affectionately known now as The Nation’s First Superhighway, opened up the west, accelerating the region's settlement and

New York changes Michigan’s future forever2023-07-05T08:23:10-04:00

Birth and growth of Meijer and its superstores

If you live in Michigan, you have most likely heard the Meijer name. The company pioneered the modern supercenter concept in 1962, but the beginnings are much humbler than that. It all started in June of 1934 when founder Hendrick Meijer opened a small grocery store in Greenville and the company grew from there. Hendrick Meijer's Early

Birth and growth of Meijer and its superstores2023-07-05T08:31:03-04:00

The blind date that built an empire

Consumers in all 50 states and 18 international markets know the convenience of Little Caesar’s Hot-n-Ready pizzas. I personally can make a meal out of their Crazy Bread. It was quite interesting to me to find out that this famed chain all started with a blind date. Mike Ilitch was born in 1929, in Detroit, to Macedonian

The blind date that built an empire2023-05-01T13:18:28-04:00

The man who invented Vernors Ginger Ale

If you live in Michigan, or anywhere else in the Midwest for that matter, you’ve likely tasted a Vernors Ginger Ale. It is considered Michigan’s #1 cold medicine and is great when heated and mixed with lemon juice for sore throats and coughs. It is also known to cure the occasional queasy stomach. The inventor of this

The man who invented Vernors Ginger Ale2023-04-06T15:24:05-04:00

Kellogg family feud

I would be willing to bet that almost everyone has heard of Kellogg's, and also that many know it all began in Battle Creek, Michigan. As for the story of how this business came to be, not so much so.  It is a story of bullying, jealousy, and sibling rivalry between the Kellogg brothers, John and Will. 

Kellogg family feud2023-03-02T09:38:56-05:00

Detroit becomes the Arsenal of Democracy

From the Great Lakes State, Wolverine State, and The Mitten to Motor City and Motown, the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit have a plethora of nicknames. However, there is one that I had never heard of before. During World War II, Detroit was called the Arsenal of Democracy. Once you really think about the

Detroit becomes the Arsenal of Democracy2023-02-02T17:47:17-05:00

Ulysses S. Grant residing in Michigan

Living here we all know that Michigan winters can be brutal. Even in recent history, we had the polar vortex of 2019. As I sit here writing, we are expecting a generational storm this Christmas. As a history teacher, I know that former president Ulysses S. Grant lived in Michigan for three years and had to deal

Ulysses S. Grant residing in Michigan2023-01-30T11:43:08-05:00

The past and preservation of Pictured Rocks

.“We go along the coast, most delightful and wonderful. Nature has made it pleasant to the eye, the spirit and the belly.” French fur trader and explorer Pierre Esprit Raddison wrote those words in his journal as he traveled through what is now Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  What he was seeing, was our beloved Pictured Rocks. These formations

The past and preservation of Pictured Rocks2022-10-07T08:26:06-04:00

A history of Mackinac ferries

Ask most anyone in Michigan what the number one tourist destination in the state is and they’ll likely answer “Mackinac Island.”  The Straits of Mackinac and surrounding areas are beautiful no matter the time of year. It's been a popular place to travel since humans inhabited the Great Lakes region. The mainland northwest of the island, St.

A history of Mackinac ferries2022-09-09T12:31:35-04:00

Musket wound forever changes medical history

Two men working together led to incredible scientific discovery in the early 1800s. One was highly educated, a former teacher, and a trained physician. While the other was an illiterate voyageur who worked a hard, physical job until an accident changed his life. This incident would lead to one of the most amazing studies of the human

Musket wound forever changes medical history2022-06-01T00:07:13-04:00

A history of what was Michigan Agricultural College

Michigan has long been a farming community. In the mid-1800s, it was determined that institutes of higher education that focused on teaching practical agriculture, science, military science, and engineering would be productive. This was inspired, in part, by the industrial revolution and changing social classes of the entire country. In 1850, the Michigan Constitution decided to create

A history of what was Michigan Agricultural College2022-05-31T18:36:17-04:00

U of M researchers led the fight to eradicate polio

Poliomyelitis. No one has been diagnosed with it originating in the United States since 1979, yet people still suffer from the effects. Before the 21st Century, the disease, more commonly known as polio, was dreaded. Most cases occurred in children aged six months to four years old. The fear of this disease caused many people to stay

U of M researchers led the fight to eradicate polio2022-04-07T19:56:44-04:00

What building was considered Michigan’s first skyscraper?

When people hear the term skyscrapers, they usually think of the Empire State Building or the Willis Tower. These properties shoot up over a thousand feet, and stand out among the majestic skylines of New York City and Chicago. However, the early buildings that were considered skyscrapers, while impressive and beautiful, were only between ten and twenty

What building was considered Michigan’s first skyscraper?2022-02-22T01:26:05-05:00

Christmas tree ships once sailed the Great Lakes

Christmas trees are a popular symbol and decoration for the holiday season. The tradition began in Germany and was brought to America as early as the 1830s by German settlers. They were made popular in 1846 by Queen Victoria of England and her family. Michigan and nearby Chicago had many German settlers living there in the late

Christmas tree ships once sailed the Great Lakes2021-12-02T15:59:47-05:00

Disaster at the Barnes-Hecker Mine

We may not often think of how important mining has been to the history of Michigan. When we think of major economies in our state, we think of the automobile industry and our lumber companies. However, Michigan has four important mining ranges. First, there's what's known as Copper Country in Keweenaw, Houghton and Ontonagon counties. Then, the

Disaster at the Barnes-Hecker Mine2021-11-05T06:41:11-04:00

Sojourner Truth – what a woman she was

Michigan is home to many notable individuals, men and women, of all ages. One woman in particular was not only important to our state, but also to the entire nation. She was so remarkable that she was inducted into both the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. Sojourner Truth was an

Sojourner Truth – what a woman she was2021-10-01T09:02:41-04:00

How the Mackinac Bridge was built

I took a drive up to Mackinaw City this past weekend. Along the way I saw numerous signs warning travelers that the Mackinac Bridge would be closed on Labor Day from 6:30am to 12:00 pm for the bridge walk. Not only that, but I was able to cross the bridge four times that weekend. It made me

How the Mackinac Bridge was built2021-09-03T07:19:54-04:00

Could Dan Seavey be the meanest pirate on the Great Lakes?

Though pirates are criminals, usually quite brutal and violent, their lives are often studied, esteemed, and shown as an exciting lifestyle in many stories and Hollywood movies, from Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time to Captain Jack Sparrow. Many of the well-known pirates sailed tropical seas, but the Great Lakes has had their fair share of

Could Dan Seavey be the meanest pirate on the Great Lakes?2021-08-03T01:34:28-04:00

Was there once a king of Beaver Island?

Beaver Island is the third largest island in Michigan and has been a popular vacation tourist destination since the 1860s. It is well known for its beautiful beaches, awesome forests, recreational harbors and its isolation from the mainland. In addition to this, did you know that it has a colorful and unique history? This is especially true

Was there once a king of Beaver Island?2021-07-24T12:02:55-04:00

Traverse City becomes the nation’s cherry capital

Most Michigan tourist towns have a frontier history, and Traverse City is no different. The Cherry Capital of the World is young compared to other Michigan cities, like Mackinaw, Detroit and Grand Rapids, but it still holds a rich history. I recently brought my eighth grade students to the city for a field trip and was reminded

Traverse City becomes the nation’s cherry capital2021-06-03T16:35:13-04:00
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