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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.” 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.  

Read more
1:31 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

The stories fossils can tell

Dr. Gottfried brought this cast of a skull of a so-called 'mammal-like reptile' from South Africa, that is about 240 million years old to WKAR's Studio S, along with a 50-million year old Sand-tiger shark tooth fossil from the Canadian Arctic.
Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Kids go crazy about dinosaur fossils at the museum. Most of us grow out of that dinosaur phase, and those dinosaurs become reminders that we are turning into fossils, at least to our kids. But fossils are much more than just old bones. They can tell stories about where we came from, and about our planet’s history.

Read more
1:03 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Feeding the Yanks: MSU historian explores Civil War era cookbooks

Veit specializes in American history in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on the history of food and nutrition.
Credit courtesy of helenveit.com

A new book from the MSU Press looks at the cookbooks and foodways of Americans in the 1860s. “Food in the Civil War Era: The North” is officially out this week. It’s  part of a planned food history series from the MSU Press.

Read more
12:58 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Tiny Detroit park home to state's original capitol

There's a small replica of the first state capitol building in the park.
Scott Pohl/WKAR

A new book by Jack Dempsey tells the story of Detroit’s historic Capitol Park. It’s the site of Michigan’s first capitol building, and the state’s first governor is buried there.

Read more
1:54 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

New book chronicles Lansing's First Family

The Turner-Dodge house is the only 19th century residence in the greater Lansing area open to the public.
Credit Flickr - Greater Lansing Convention & Visitor's Bureau

Take a drive through Lansing Township north of the Capitol, and you’re likely to pass by a stately Classical Revival-style mansion.  Beginning in 1855, the  Turner-Dodge House on North Street was home to several generations of one of  Lansing’s most prominent families.  Today, it’s an interpretive center with its own spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read more
1:48 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Preserving MSU's audiovisual history

MSU archivist Portia Vescio says many MSU interviews and sportscasts are in formats that are now obsolete. MSU is soliciting public donations to digitize those records.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

The Michigan State Spartans had a great run through March Madness, making the Elite Eight. Coach Tom Izzo may want his team to watch the playback of Sunday’s game against the U-Conn Huskies for a little self-analysis. MSU has a lot of tapes like that and other sporting events, some of which pre-date World War II. However, those old film and video clips are falling apart over time. Now, MSU is asking the public for donations to digitize those records for posterity.

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:20 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Exhibit preserves artifacts of endangered places

A Pilgrim Monument Souvenir Plate, which is part of the "Sinking and Melting" collection. The plate was sent in by Steve Desroches, from Provincetown, Mass.
Credit Courtesy of sinkingandmelting.tumblr.com

Many scientists predict that as climate change becomes more extreme, dry and coastal regions around the globe will be heavily impacted by drought and rising sea levels.  Entire communities could disappear.

Read more
1:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Detroit's jazz legacy from ballrooms to Motown and beyond

McKinney's Cotton Pickers

In the 1920’s, ballrooms popped up across the United States, including in Detroit. The music that filled Detroit’s dance halls was Jazz.

Current State’s Emanuele Berry spoke with Jim Gallert,  a veteran jazz broadcaster, researcher and writer. Together with Lars Bjorn, he wrote “Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920– 1960.”

Read more
Politics & Government
1:59 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Hurting while helping: Outside aid often undermines post-civil war democracy

Michael Colaresi researched 136 civil wars from 1936 to 2007 for his recent study, “With Friends Like These, Who Needs Democracy? The Effect of Transnational Support from Rivals on Post-Conflict Democratization.”
Credit Flickr - Vlad Archic

There’s probably never been a time in history when there wasn’t war and conflict going on somewhere in the world, but amid the Arab Spring and the situation between Russia and Ukraine, right now seems like an especially good time to talk to an expert on international conflict.

Read more
11:10 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Book chronicles Michigander's role in woman's suffrage

Anna Howard Shaw graduated from Albion College in 1875.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

March is Women’s History Month, and Current State’s Scott Pohl talks with the author of a new book about one Michigan woman's role in America’s suffrage movement. 

Anna Howard Shaw was born in England in 1847. Her family moved to America and she grew up in Michigan. After an isolated farm upbringing, Shaw enrolled at Albion College, which became a springboard to a life as a minister and medical school studies in Boston, and ultimately to work in the reform movements of that era.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
2:23 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Mobile Black History museum stops in Lansing

Credit blackhistory101mobilemuseum.com

The Black History 101 Mobile Museum will be in Lansing today. The museum’s Peacemakers exhibit includes more than 150 artifacts and can be seen in the Sparrow Professional Building on the third floor atrium from 10 am to 5 pm. Current State’s Scott Pohl is here with more on the exhibit.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:26 am
Mon January 6, 2014

A century later: The legacy of Ford’s 'living wage'

Ford assembly line, 1913.
Credit wikamedia commons

On January 5, 1914, Henry Ford introduced a conditional five-dollar a day wage for his assembly line workers. One hundred years later, different people put different spins on the story. Some say it was Henry Ford paying his workers enough to buy the cars they were producing. Some say it was only a move to stop the high levels of worker on the assembly lines.
MSU's John Beck takes a look at the competing narratives and some interesting parallels 100 years on.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:25 am
Mon January 6, 2014

MSU voice library houses words of presidents, stars and more


MSU's G. Robert Vincent Voice Library houses over 40,000 hours of spoken word recordings. Voices in the collection range from everyday people to cultural and political figures. Over 100,000 voices are captured in the collection, which includes audio dating back to 1888.

Current State's Peter Whorf spoke with John Shaw, supervisor of the Vincent Voice Library. 




Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:28 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Jackson museum explores American impressionism

MSU Art and Art History assistant professor Laura Smith considers 'On Grand River' by Frank Weston Benson.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Say “impressionist art” and you’re likely to think of the Europeans like Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, and Cezanne. But a number of American artists fit in that category, too. In Jackson, the Ella Sharp Museum has opened an exhibition called “American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists’ Colony”. It’s on loan from the Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania.

Read more