Michigan history

12:06 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Historian explains Michigan’s reaction to Lincoln assassination

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while sitting in this chair at Ford's Theatre. It's now on display at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.
Credit 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.

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10:58 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Remembering Michigan’s 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak

Credit 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.

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Arts & Culture
11:28 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Giant mural to capture Lansing’s early REO heritage

Artist Tony Hendrick works on a quarter panel of what will be a 58-foot mural celebrating the history of Oldsmobile in Lansing.
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.

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11:20 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Kiwanis centennial and its MSU Connection

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.

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11:21 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Shipping out for the summer: life on a Great Lakes freighter

Roger LeLievre on the deck of the Ernest R. Breech.
Credit 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.

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12:05 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

The Michigan Meridian mapped the Mitten 200 years ago

The Michigan Meridian, which marks the state's original north-south survey line, was drawn in 1815. It's the baseline from which many political subdivisions in the state were drawn. In Meridian Township, named for the Michigan Meridian, a 14-foot metal sculpture called 'Meridius Prime' commemorates this bit of geographic history.
Credit 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.

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11:42 am
Mon March 23, 2015

“Great Girls” of history inspire Michigan author

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.

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11:52 am
Fri March 20, 2015

NUWARINE exhibit celebrates women in uniform

The name NUWARINE represents the military branches in which women have served: NU (U.S. Army Nurses); WAR (WAVES, WACs and SPARs); and INE (Marines).
Credit 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.

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12:40 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

The cubicle wasn’t designed to make you miserable

Credit 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.

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12:34 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

"Kaleidoscope" marks 50th anniversary of Malcolm X assassination

Credit 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.

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11:36 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Post-Civil War commerce from Vernor's to cheese at state museum

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 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.

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11:25 am
Thu February 5, 2015

When cholera struck Detroit

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".

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11:24 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Archeologists doubt validity of Le Griffon shipwreck find

State of Michigan Archeologist Dean Anderson (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit 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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12:44 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Guy Lockwood: the comrade from Kalamazoo

Guy Lockwood was a prominent socialist in Kalamazoo, MI in the early 20th century.
Credit Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Artist, teacher, writer, politician. 

Kalamazoo’s Guy Lockwood was all these.

Lockwood’s early 20th century Socialist Party views were the focus of his political cartoons. His confrontational work challenged the American status quo in his regular pamphlet entitled  “The Billy Goat”. 

Guy Lockwood was soon butting heads in the political arena. He became one of the first Michigan Socialists voted to office. Guy served as a Kalamazoo alderman after his 1912 election.

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11:35 am
Wed January 7, 2015

New book chronicles visual history of downtown Ann Arbor

Credit http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/

The Arcadia Publishing series of books about cities and towns around Michigan now has a book devoted to the city many in East Lansing think of as its top rival.

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11:06 am
Tue January 6, 2015

MI historian explores life of pioneering African-American scholar

Sonya Bernard Hollins
Credit http://www.michiganhistorylectures.com/

Blanchard, Michigan native Merze Tate remains among our state’s most distinguished citizens. By any measure, she was a trail blazer not only in Michigan but across the U.S. and internationally. Tate was the first African-American graduate of Western Michigan Teachers College and the first African-American woman to attend the University of Oxford.

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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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10:56 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Historic Turner-Dodge House repaired in time for holidays

Michael Beebe (L) and Brett Kaschinske compare original wallpaper in the boys room at the Turner-Dodge House to wallpaper made to match it.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

The Turner-Dodge House in north Lansing is one of the city’s most historic structures. It’s almost 160 years old, and over the years, it has hosted hundreds of events ranging from tours and music events to wedding receptions. Last January, a burst pipe caused extensive water damage at the Turner-Dodge House, and things are only now getting back to normal.

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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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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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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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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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12:37 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Award winning journalist tells story of Great Migration

Isabel Wilkerson
Credit http://isabelwilkerson.com/

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will be at Wharton Center this week. On Thursday, Isabel Wilkerson will discuss her book "The Warmth of Other Suns" in a joint appearance with television journalist Soledad O’Brien. Wilkerson’s book is an epic work of non-fiction that chronicles the great migration northward of Southern African-Americans.

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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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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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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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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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12:28 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Hamtramck Stadium recognized for Negro League heritage

Murals adorn the cinder block walls at Hamtramck Park.
WKAR/Scott Pohl

Longtime fans of the Detroit Tigers cling to their memories of Tiger Stadium. Many still visit the old site at Michigan and Trumbull in the Motor City to stand on that hallowed ground or run the base paths.

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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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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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