The Michigan Portal

Location of Michigan within the United States

Michigan (/ˈmɪʃɪɡən/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwestern United States. Its name derives from a gallicized variant of the original Ojibwe word ᒥᓯᑲᒥ (mishigami), meaning 'large water' or 'large lake'. With a population of nearly 10.1 million and a total area of nearly 97,000 sq mi (250,000 km2), Michigan is the 10th-largest state by population, the 11th-largest by area, and the largest east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often called "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the peninsulas. Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake St. Clair. It also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds.

The area was first occupied by a succession of Native American tribes over thousands of years. Inhabited by natives, Métis, and French explorers in the 17th century, it was claimed as part of the New France colony. After France's defeat in the French and Indian War in 1762, the region came under British rule. Britain ceded the territory to the newly independent United States after Britain's defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Michigan Territory was formed in 1805, but some of the northern border with Canada was not agreed upon until after the War of 1812. Michigan was admitted into the Union in 1837 as the 26th state, a free one. It soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular émigré destination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; immigration from many European countries to Michigan was also the busiest at that time, especially for those who emigrated from Finland, Macedonia and the Netherlands.

Although Michigan developed a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, which developed as a major economic force in the early 20th century. It is home to the country's three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all in Metro Detroit). While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is important for tourism due to its abundance of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, services, and high-tech industry. (Full article...)

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Sign on admission building of entrance

White Pine Village (also Historic White Pine Village) is an outdoor museum in Ludington, Michigan, containing nineteenth-century buildings and related historical items. The thirty buildings in the village contain artifacts relating to pioneer lumbering, music, farming, shipping, sports, and businesses. Occasionally performances are done on blacksmithing, spinning, leatherworking, candlemaking, wood carving, and basket making. The museum's centerpiece is an 1849 farmhouse.

The Admission Building has a research library that has history material covering Western Michigan with emphasis on Mason County. The library contains old photographs, archival original newspapers, obituaries and a genealogy department. The library maintains an on-line research database that can be used to help locate the library material. The general public can use the library for a fee. (Full article...)
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The Grand Hotel as seen from Lake Huron
Credit: Mactographer

The Grand Hotel is a historic lodging facility located on Mackinac Island, Michigan, a small island located at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac within Lake Huron between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

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The Cadillac Motor Car Division /ˈkædɪlæk/ is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors Company (GM) that designs and builds luxury vehicles. Its major markets are the United States, Canada, and China. Cadillac models are distributed in 34 additional markets worldwide. Cadillac automobiles are at the top of the luxury field within the United States. In 2019, Cadillac sold 390,458 vehicles worldwide, a record for the brand.

Cadillac is among the first automotive brands in the world, 4th in the United States only to fellow Autocar Company (1897) and GM marques Oldsmobile (1897) and Buick (1899). It was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Detroit, Michigan. The Cadillac crest is based on his coat of arms. (Full article...)
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Ralph Isaac "Hike" Heikkinen (May 14, 1917 – January 12, 1990) was an All-American guard for the University of Michigan Wolverines football team from 1936 to 1938. He was a consensus All-American in 1938, the first player from the Gogebic Range area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula to win the honor. His exploits were widely reported in the Upper Peninsula press, where he became a local hero. He played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939.

From 1940 to 1944, he was the line coach for the Virginia Cavaliers football team while attending the University of Virginia School of Law at the same time. After practicing law in New York for a time, he spent a year as a line coach and law professor at Marquette University in 1947. After leaving Marquette, Heikkinen worked as executive secretary and attorney for Studebaker-Packard Corporation. He later joined the legal staff at General Motors (GM), retiring in 1978 after 20 years of service in GM's legal department. Heikkinen also helped initiate and implement a corporation-wide alcohol treatment and education program at General Motors. (Full article...)

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