History

History
11:14 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Snowboarding's Michigan roots

We may be headed into the deep, dark winter, but Michiganders are well-known for thriving in the snow. Our state has made an industry of winter activities. The sport of snowboarding itself was born in Muskegon. Native son Sherman Poppen got it all started during Christmas of 1965.

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History
12:52 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Michigan vet reflects on life-altering service in Vietnam

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, when Americans remember and thank those who have served their country in the armed forces.
Credit Flickr - DonkeyHotey

Ninety-six years ago today, the guns fell silent across Europe, marking the armistice that ended the First World War. Veterans Day has been officially observed as a federal holiday in the United States since 1954. Here in mid-Michigan, local veterans are having their stories preserved for the future.

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History
10:59 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Jackson's claim to GOP history

This 1910 photo marks the spot in Jackson, Michigan where some 1,500 people met on July 6, 1854 for the first formal convention of the Republican Party.
Credit Flickr / Wystan

On this Election Day, we have a political story that has nothing to do with influencing your vote. Instead, it’s a look back at our history. The city of Jackson claims a unique place in American politics. Jackson hosted what historians say was the very first convention of the brand new Republican Party 160 years ago.

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History
11:29 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Exhibit highlights Michigan's Civil War era Company K

Visitors can see a copy of the Gettysburg Address in Abraham Lincoln's hand at the Michigan Historical Center
Credit Flickr - Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

A special exhibit that focuses on the end of the U.S. Civil War and post-war Michigan opened this month at the Michigan Historical Center in downtown Lansing. The “Conceived in Liberty” exhibit focuses on themes from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The display features artifacts from Michigan soldiers and stories of their key roles at Gettysburg, Vicksburg and other historic battles.

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History
10:57 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Hall of Fame inductees discuss women who influenced them

The Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony is coming up later this week. Four of the Hall’s eight contemporary inductees have local ties, including Two Men and a Truck founder Mary Ellen Sheets and long-time educator Barbara Roberts Mason. Current State’s Scott Pohl talked with the other two local contemporary inductees.

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Education
10:53 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Stockbridge students assist in search for lost Pacific aircraft

(L-R) Jeremy Spink, Brandon Ostrander, Tyler Heeney and Philip McCleer of the Stockbridge High School robotics team.
Credit WKAR-Kevin Lavery

The trees are starting to look very stark in Michigan these days as autumn digs in. Many “snowbirds” are thinking about escaping to more pleasant climates, including a team of young engineers from rural Stockbridge in Ingham County. Stockbridge High School has a robotics team which for the past three years has traveled to the tropical island of Palau to use their machines to search for lost history.

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History
11:51 am
Thu October 23, 2014

New exhibit highlights Michigan's role in the Civil War

One item in the 'Conceived in Liberty' exhibit is a copy of the Gettysburg Address, in Abraham Lincoln's hand.
Credit Flickr - Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

A special exhibit that focuses on the end of the U.S. Civil War and post-war Michigan opened this month at the Michigan Historical Center in downtown Lansing. The "Conceived in Liberty" exhibit focuses on themes from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

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History
10:37 am
Mon October 6, 2014

UM Magna Carta display celebrates 800 years of legal history

An image of the Magna Carta
Credit Flickr - James Joel

This is an important time of year for the legal profession. Both the U-S and Michigan Supreme Courts begin hearing oral arguments this week. The American judicial system traces its roots back to English common law. And now, an iconic symbol of our legal heritage has come to Ann Arbor for public display.

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History
12:40 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

New book explores historic Michigan luminaries

Credit billhaneybooks.com

If you were asked to name someone from Michigan who’s “made a difference,” who would you name? Novelist Elmore Leonard perhaps? Businessman Mike Ilitch? How about Dr. Jack Kevorkian? Bill Haney focuses on Michigan “difference makers” in his latest book.

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History
11:40 am
Thu August 28, 2014

New book recalls people, stories that shaped Mackinac Island over the last half century

Credit Arbitus Press

Labor Day weekend is upon us. And with that, one last tourist-filled weekend at Mackinac Island before the hotel owners, fudge shops, and temporary workers begin battening down the hatches for another long winter. For many a Michigander, Labor Day Mackinac Bridge walk, in its 57th  year, marks the unofficial end of summer.

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History
11:06 am
Wed August 27, 2014

A Michigan Ojibwe chief's historic journey

Konnie Lemay's story about Chief Buffalo appears in Lake Superior magazine.

One hundred sixty years ago, the U.S. government agreed to land rights with Michigan's Ojibwe people after discussions in Washington D.C. The Ojibwe delegation was led by 93-year-old Chief Buffalo, who traveled with the group from Lake Superior to negotiations in the nations capitol.

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History
11:54 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Lake Superior agates remnants of Michigan's prehistory

Lake Superior agates in a display case.
Credit Flickr - Ryan Somma

We often presents stories of Michigan history, and this is one of our state's oldest. Before the existence of life on our planet, geologic forces were working to form the stuff of our world, the very earth beneath our feet. It's the passion of Lake Gitchee Gumee Museum of Agate and History director Karen Brzys.

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History
12:15 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Archivist explores MSU's multimedia trove

Wilcox has digitized Stevie Wonder's 1989 commencement speech at MSU.
Credit Flickr - Nan Palmero

Lansing resident Matthew Wilcox is a graduate student in Library Science at Wayne State University, with an emphasis on video and audio preservation. His practicum work has led to a number of projects at the MSU Archives.

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History
3:16 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

The death-defying feats of Stratosphere Man

Makowski's story on Selden appears in Michigan History magazine.
Credit Courtesy - Historical Society of Michigan

Lansing-born Arzeno Selden may not be a household name today, but for several decades in the early 20th century the death-defying aerialist thrilled thousands at state fairs and traveling circuses.

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History
11:36 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Future of Detroit's Fort Wayne tied to new international bridge

A layout of Detroit's Fort Wayne.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

    

Current State’s Scott Pohl has been meeting historian Jack Dempsey at historic sites around Detroit this summer, and he’s back with another installment today. This time around, they stopped by Fort Wayne in Detroit.

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History
5:20 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Original state fairgrounds site of diverse Michigan history

The original state fairgrounds in Detroit later became home to the legendary 24th Michigan Infantry.

A couple of months ago, Current State’s Scott Pohl visited the president of the Michigan Historical Commission Jack Dempsey in Detroit’s Capitol Park to discuss his book on the park’s historical significance. We liked the result so much that we’ve sent Scott back to Detroit, where Dempsey showed him a few more historical spots.

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History
1:01 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

West Michigan's mysterious Mr. Rover

Credit http://prezi.com/zqnksk12yjsm/mr-rover-visits-grand-rapids/

Harry Wyckom was a turn of the 20th century Grand Rapids insurance salesman...and model. Wyckom posed as the character “Mr. Rover”, a traveling dandy who was pictured in scenes all around Grand Rapids and Western Michigan in front of notable buildings and scenic areas.

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History
12:01 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Civil Rights Act at 50: Michigan was a pioneer

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law 50 years ago today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended the ceremony.
Credit Flickr - U.S. Embassy New Delhi

On Friday, our nation celebrates its 238th birthday. But today, America is also observing the passage of one of the most significant laws ever crafted in its history.  On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was born in an era of violence and intolerance in America.

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History
12:24 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

When Detroit made cars ... and tanks

Dr. Charles Hyde's book brings readers nearly 300 archival images of wartime Detroit.
Credit Wayne State University Press

  

  

Dr. Charles Hyde is a former Wayne State University professor and author of the 2014 book Images from the Arsenal Democracy. The book follows the wartime transformation of the Detroit auto industry into the war machine of the late 1930's and early 40's.

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History
2:25 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

A century ago, two bullets sparked the 'Great War'

The arrest of Gavrilo Princip, who murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
Credit Flickr- Ruslan

It’s been a full century since the event that triggered what the world once believed to be “the war to end all wars.” 

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Arts & Culture
2:21 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Hats off to Michigan-made Stormy Kromers

The Stormy Kromer draws a crowd of unique and devoted visitors to its store in Ironwood, Michigan.
Credit Courtesy of Stormy Kromer

While many of us are enjoying summer after this year’s long and harsh winter, others are using the season to prepare for the coming cold.

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History
12:37 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

What happened to Northwest Flight 2501?

NWA Flight 2501 went down over Lake Michigan 64 years ago today and is still missing. This memorial service took place in 2008.
Credit flickr - msra images

On June 24th, 1950, Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 left New York City for Seattle. The state of the art DC-4 aircraft was to stop in Minneapolis for refueling, before proceeding to the west coast. Monitoring the plane in threatening weather over Lake Michigan, air controllers lost track of the flight. The aircraft was never recovered, nor were any passengers or crew. Further wreckage discovered some days later indicated a total loss.

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History
11:48 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Voices of Experience: Pauline Adams dedicates a lifetime to education

Pauline Adams with a portrait of her husband, former MSU president Walter Adams.
Credit WKAR/Nancy Kelly

 

 We all know Michiganians we feel are extraordinary --for their memorable life experiences or their sacrifices.  Maybe for their success or their service, and for the insights they produce. Getting acquainted with extraordinary people is the focus of Current State’s ongoing series, “Voices of Experience.”

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History
11:38 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Owosso Train Expo celebrates planes, trains and cars

Train Expo coordinator Terry Bush climbs aboard the 1225 locomotive. Hollywood modeled 'The Polar Express' on the 1225.
WKAR/Nicole Strobel

The sound of trains can be commonly heard in Owosso. This weekend, steam whistles will be added to the clickety-clack of steel wheels during the Steam Railroading Institute’s Train Expo 2014.

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History
12:01 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Michigan Remembers D-Day: Today's Generation Honors the Greatest Generation

The B-17 bomber "Yankee Lady" is housed at what remains of the Willow Run bomber plant near Ypsilanti. The Yankee Air Museum is planning to move into the space once it's refurbished.
Kevin Lavery WKAR

On June 6, 1944, more than 160, 000 Allied forces traversed the English Channel to land on the beaches of Normandy in France.  Operation Overlord, commonly known as "D-Day," was the largest seaborne invasion in history.  The offensive marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

WKAR is proud to honor the sacrifice of all veterans, living and dead, who gave of themselves to restore freedom and hope to a war-torn world.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:21 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Ahead on Current State: Michigan Remembers D-Day

Michigan veteran Earl Harmon, Sr., (1921-2011) was part of the D-Day invasion.

Fri. June 6 - 9am - 90.5 WKAR | Today's Generation Honors the Greatest Generation. Current State from WKAR presents a special 30-minute audio documentary commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

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History
2:31 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Exhibit celebrates 125 years of local innovation

The 1901 Oldsmobile Runabout being transported in Lansing this past week.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

If you’ve found yourself passing through Lansing City Hall these past couple of days, you may have noticed a treasured piece of the city’s past. In the lobby now sits a 1901 Curved Dash Olds Runabout. It will be on display there through October as part of a new exhibit entitled “Made in Lansing.”

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History
12:20 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Lone shipwreck survivor shares his story

Dennis Hale tells his story of survival in his book 'Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor.'
Credit amazon.com

On November 29, 1966, 28 men lost their lives on Lake Huron when the freighter, the SS Daniel J. Morrell, broke apart in a storm. One man survived, and he joins us on Current State today.

Dennis Hale is in Lansing to talk about his book, “Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor.”

Hale says he never questioned the ship's seaworthiness before what was to be the last voyage of the season that  year. 

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History
11:56 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Place-making with historic preservation

The Michigan Historic Preservation Network is involved in the restoration of the Knapp's building in Lansing.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Historic preservation stakeholders from across the state are convening in Jackson, Michigan this week for the annual Michigan Historic Preservation Network conference. The network works to recognize and conserve Michigan’s architectural culture.

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History
4:04 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Pomp and Circumstance: How a British march became an American tradition

file photo
Credit Michigan State University

Commencement season is upon us. MSU is sending new graduates into the world this weekend in East Lansing. The only thing more ubiquitous than caps, gowns, and cameras is a military march written by a British guy in 1901. 

Seriously, why do Americans graduate to a tune that across the Atlantic Ocean essentially has become an unofficial English National Anthem? Current State’s Melissa Benmark explores the song that’s helped “commence” graduates for over a century.  

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