Michigan history

MSU archeological dig photo
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

MSU students are finding interesting artifacts in an archeological dig along the Red Cedar River.


Grace Lee Boggs photo
Flickr - Kyle McDonald

Civil Rights icon Grace Lee Boggs will celebrate her 100th birthday on Saturday. Celebrations will be held in Detroit to honor her work.


Kevin Lavery/WKAR

One of the most popular tourist sites in Michigan is Colonial Michilimackinac. It’s well within walking distance of the Mackinac Bridge, just to the west along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The old French trading post that later became a British fort turns 300 years old in 2015, and parts of its original past lie just below the surface.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Current State has taken you to some historic sites in Detroit, including a stop last week at the house where former President Ulysses S. Grant once lived. Now, we turn to Lansing for some history that’s closer to home. Scott Pohl recently met up with historian Tom Truscott at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Jack Dempsey, Michigan Historical Commission

Ulysses S. Grant lived in Detroit for a while before the Civil War. This summer, the old structure he called home may be moved to a different part of Detroit.

Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the United States.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

The parking lot in front of the MSU Museum has disappeared. In its place, there are steam shovels, enormous piles of dirt and a deep, deep hole. Workers are in the midst of an ongoing project to maintain the university’s extensive steam tunnel system.

Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the U.S. In our third installment of the four part series, we hear from 85-year-old Flint resident Domingo Berlanga.

courtesy Phil Porter, Mackinac Island Historic Parks

School is winding down, the temperatures are rising, and that means it’s time to start planning those summer vacations. At the top of the list for a lot of people is Mackinac Island. The 3.8 square mile island in between the two peninsulas has been a beloved vacation spot for generations of Michiganders. This summer, history  buffs will have a special treat on the island as the Mackinac Island Historic Parks rebuilds the historic Fort Holmes.

Courtesy Whites Bridge Historical Society

A historic Michigan landmark in Ionia County is set for restoration soon. For close to 150 years, Whites Bridge near the small town of Smyrna in Ionia County served both a practical and picturesque function. Practical as a way for travelers in the area to cross the Flat River, and more recently as a scenic area popular with shutterbugs and young people getting their engagement photos taken. Two years ago, someone burned it down. But bridge lovers have raised enough money now for a complete rebuild.

Flickr - Shinya Suzuki

“Usonian” is an architectural term attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, describing some of his affordable family home designs beginning in the 1930s. Usonian homes were typically small, single story dwellings without a garage or much storage. But they were as thoughtfully designed as Wright’s commissions for far wealthier clients. A group of young professionals in Kalamazoo County was among the first to embrace Wright’s innovative idea.

Credit Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the US. In our second installment of this four-part documentary series, we hear from 90-year-old Holocaust survivor and Detroit area resident Katherine Sattler.

Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the U-S.

Steven Terry of Williamston is the first ever deltiologist, or collector of picture postcards, to appear on Current State. His collection numbers around a thousand. A specialty is postcards featuring images of the MSU, or more correctly, the Michigan Agricultural College campus from about a century ago.

We think of Michigan as the center of the auto industry, but there have been times in our history when production of recreational boats was a thriving industry as well. In fact, many of the best known boat names like Chris-Craft originated here.

Norris Ingells / Courtesy Lansing State Journal

This week we’re looking back on an event that’s become part of the folklore of mid-Michigan. Forty years ago, a late winter storm followed by locally heavy rains produced one of the worst floods in Lansing history. Current State’s Kevin Lavery speaks with some local residents who remember well the Flood of 1975.

courtesy Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society

Former U.S. Sen. Robert Griffin of Michigan was laid to rest yesterday in Traverse City. Griffin died late last week at the age of 91. After serving in World War II, the Detroit native began practicing law in Traverse City. The Republican eventually served in the U.S. House and Senate for a total of 22 years until he was narrowly defeated for re-election to the Senate by Democrat Carl Levin in 1978.

Red theatre chair in display booth
Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures / Flickr

For the past four years, American have been captivated by events remembering the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Two years ago, the nation saw one of the largest gatherings in memory of the Battle of Gettysburg. Now we’ve come to the dramatic climax of the war: 150 years since the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Flickr - Rachel McBee

Fifty years ago today, people in six midwest states including Michigan were still in shock from a massive tornado outbreak April 11th and 12th. The 1965 Palm Sunday outbreak was the third deadliest on record in the U. S., and it helped to usher in the modern system of watches and warnings to inform people about severe weather.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Forty years ago, Lansing said goodbye to a proud piece of its civic identity. In May 1975, the Diamond REO truck factory on Washington Avenue closed its doors, ending seven decades of Oldsmobile production in Lansing. Today, just one of those original buildings remains, and it will soon be adorned with a work of art celebrating the Oldsmobile era. It’s a mural, and when it’s finished, it will measure 56 feet long by 28 feet high.

This year, Kiwanis International celebrates its 100th birthday. Kiwanis was founded in 1915 in Detroit, and became an international organization with the creation of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario the following year.

Courtesy Roger LeLievre

Michigan’s Soo Locks opened on time yesterday as the mighty one thousand foot Edward H. Gott sailed through at 11:25 a.m. Ann Arbor’s Roger LeLievre is very familiar vessels like the Gott. LeLievre spent his childhood near the Soo and  grew up watching immense freighters sail the lakes and locks. At age 17, he spent a summer working aboard the Ernest R. Breech.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

For many of us in the Lansing area, U-S Highway 127 is our gateway “Up North” to the more idyllic Michigan to which we all dream of escaping. But decades before the highway was built, surveyors drew an imaginary north-south line that would become the basis of countless maps of the state. It’s called the Michigan Meridian, and 2015 marks its 200th anniversary. The Michigan Meridian runs right through Meridian Township.

When you think of the great women of history, your mind probably goes to people like Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Rosa Parks. These are women who’ve done brave, trailblazing things as adults. But what about the role that girls have played in our history? A new book is looking at Michigan girls who accomplished incredible things before they turned twenty.

Courtesy - Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame

In tandem with Women’s History Month, a new exhibit in Lansing celebrates a unique group of military veterans. Founded in 1947, Post 535 in Lansing is the last all-female American Legion post in the state of Michigan. It was founded by female World War Two veterans, but it also includes women who’ve served in more recent conflicts.

Flickr - Katy Warner

The cubicle gets a pretty bad rap. The boxy workspace has become almost synonymous with isolation and corporate drudgery. But that’s not what its creator Robert Probst intended when he launched his innovative “Action Office” design in 1964.

Flickr - Cheikh.Ra Films

Tomorrow marks 50 years since African-American Muslim minister and a human rights activist Malcolm X was assassinated at New York City’s Audubon Ball Room.

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 fall at the Michigan Historical Center in downtown Lansing. "Conceived in Liberty" focuses on themes from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The exhibit features artifacts from Michigan soldiers and stories of their key roles at the war’s crucial battles.

Influenza, measles, ebola. Infectious disease is ever present in our headlines and in our lives. Epidemics and pandemics are linked with Man’s ability to travel. Cholera’s road from India to the Great Lakes is the subject of the recent Michigan History Magazine article, "When Cholera Came to Detroit".

Scott Pohl/WKAR

There are thousands of shipwrecks on the bottom of the five Great Lakes, but one ship in particular has always captured the attention of history buffs. And no, it’s not the Edmund Fitzgerald. It’s Le Griffon, a boat known as the “holy grail” of Great Lakes shipwrecks.

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