Michigan history

Debunking the myth of Lansing as 'Biddle City'

Sep 16, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

 

The Wikipedia page for Lansing, Mich. reads that "in the winter of 1835 and early 1836, two brothers from New York plotted the area now known as REO Town just south of downtown Lansing and named it 'Biddle City.' All of this land lay in a floodplain and was underwater during the majority of the year. Regardless, the brothers went back to New York, specifically Lansing, New York, to sell plots for the town that did not exist.”

This story may sound familiar to many, but it turns out it’s not true. David Votta, Community Engagement Librarian at the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, sat down with Current State’s Emanuele Berry to debunked the myth of Lansing’s foundation.

dartmouth.edu

 

For the United States, the War of 1812 took a turn for the better on this date 200 years ago. American naval forces defeated the British in The Battle of Lake Erie. The victory secured the lake and ensured that Michigan and Ohio would remain the sovereign territory of the U.S.A.

Current State’s Scott Pohl talked with MSU historian Roger Rosentreter about the Battle of Lake Erie.

Almost 100 years ago, two young girls enjoying their summer on Harsens Island scrawled a note, stuck it in a glass bottle and threw it in the St. Clair River. Early last month, Bernard Licata , President of the Harsens Island/St. Clair Flats Historical Society, was contacted about the bottle after a diver stumbled across it. Licata share this remarkable piece of history with Current State.


 

Wikimedia commons

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the U.S. Civil War.  The MSU Museum is observing Michigan's involvement in the conflict between North and South.   Roger Rosentreter, professor of history at Michigan State University, discusses the exhibit, "Michigan and the Civil War."

University of Michigan Press

Stevens T. Mason is a familiar name for anyone who knows their Michigan history.  Mason, also known as the state’s so-called “boy governor," squeezed a lot of accomplishments in his 32 years.  At the age of only 19, Mason became the secretary of the Michigan Territory in 1831. Just three years later, he became its governor, and led the process of Michigan becoming a state.

Don Faber, author of the book “The Boy Governor:  Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics,”  explains Michigan's early beginnings.

Michigan Historical Commission celebrates centennial

May 8, 2013

A little known state agency is celebrating an important milestone today.  The Michigan Historical Commission is holding its 100th anniversary meeting in Lansing.  The commission is the group responsible for the more than 1,700 green and gold historic markers scattered across the state.  It’s also heavily involved in the ongoing sesquicentennial of Michigan’s role in the Civil War.  The chair of the Michigan Historical Commision, Jack Dempsey, spoke with Current State host Mark Bashore about the importance of preserving Michigan’s history.

Michigan commemorates the War of 1812

Mar 11, 2013

Then still just a frontier territory, Michigan was the site of many important battles during the War of 1812. 

The Michigan War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission meets today to discuss commemorations of historic events from the war.  

Susan Clark, director of the Michigan History Museum, recounts local turning points in the war and tells us what events are planned.

Current State #33 | February 27, 2013

Feb 27, 2013
Courtesy of the Capital Area District Library


Today on Current State: Spartan women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant; author Winona LaDuke on Native American struggles with the U.S. military; the unsolved murder that changed Michigan politics; opera star Renee Fleming; and Neighbors in Action features Lansing's Box 23. 

Jackson Citizen Patriot file photo

Before the assassination of State Senator Warren Hooper in 1945, corruption in Michigan politics was the norm, not the exception. While it remains unsolved,  the Hooper hit, which was widely believed to be the work of Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang, ushered in a crackdown on corruption and altered the political climate in Lansing for good.

Bill Whitbeck, a Michigan Court of Appeals judge and the author of the 2010 novel “To Account for Murder,” which is based on Hooper’s death, recounts the story.

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