Michigan in History

Historical Events

  • 1738-07-20 North America: French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan.
  • 1763-06-02 Pontiac's Rebellion: At what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan, Chippewas capture Fort Michilimackinac by diverting the garrison's attention with a game of lacrosse, then chasing a ball into the fort.
  • 1805-01-11 Michigan Territory organizes
  • 1812-08-16 General Hull surrenders Detroit & Michigan territory to British forces
  • 1813-01-22 Americans capture Frenchtown, Michigan Territory
  • 1837-01-26 Michigan admitted as 26th US state
  • 1846-05-04 US state Michigan ends death penalty
  • 1847-01-01 Michigan is 1st state to abolish capital punishment
  • 1847-03-01 Michigan becomes 1st English-speaking jurisdiction to abolish the death penalty (except for treason against the state)
  • 1847-11-21 Steamer "Phoenix" is lost on Lake Michigan, kills 200
  • 1854-02-22 1st meeting of Republican Party (Michigan)
  • 1855-02-12 Michigan State University was established.
  • 1860-09-07 Excursion steamer "Lady Elgin" drowns 340 in Lake Michigan
  • 1860-09-08 Loss of paddle steamer "Lady Elgin" on Lake Michigan approximately 300 people drowned
  • 1863-05-23 Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.
  • 1865-03-20 Michigan authorizes workers' cooperatives
  • 1866-12-06 Chicago water supply tunnel 3,227 m into Lake Michigan completed
  • 1867-03-15 Michigan becomes 1st state to tax property to support a university
  • 1880-07-23 1st commercial hydroelectric power planet begins, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1882-08-08 Snow falls on Lake Michigan
  • 1887-03-15 1st salaried fish & game warden (William Alden Smith in Michigan)
  • 1887-11-23 Notre Dame loses its 1st football game 8-0 to Michigan
  • 1903-06-12 The Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity is founded at the University of Michigan School of Music.
  • 1907-07-20 A train wreck on the Pere Marquette Railroad near Salem, Michigan kills thirty and injures seventy more.
  • 1908-09-16 Carriage-maker, William C. Durant, founds General Motors in Flint, Michigan

CommunicationModel T

1908-09-27 Henry Ford's first Ford Model T automobile leaves the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan

  • 1914-08-31 24.8 cm rainfall at Bloomingdale, Michigan (state record)
  • 1915-07-24 Excursion ship Eastland capsizes in Lake Michigan, 852 die
  • 1925-02-10 1st waterless gas storage tank put into service, Michigan City, Ind

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1926-10-24 Harry Houdini's last performance, at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Michigan

Magician & Escape Artist Harry Houdini
Magician & Escape Artist
Harry Houdini
  • 1932-03-07 Riots at Ford-factory Dearborn Michigan, kills 4
  • 1934-02-09 -51°F (-46°C), Vanderbilt, Michigan (state record)

Sports record brokenWorld Record

1935-05-25 Track and field athlete Jesse Owens equals or breaks 4 world records in 45 minutes at a Big Ten meet at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Remembered as "the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport".

Track and Field Athlete Jesse Owens
Track and Field Athlete
Jesse Owens
  • 1936-07-13 112°F (44°C), Mio, Michigan (state record)
  • 1940-09-28 Michigan's Tom Harmon runs 72, 86 & 94 yard touchdowns
  • 1940-11-27 6th Heisman Trophy Award: Tom Harmon, Michigan (HB)
  • 1940-12-10 1941 NFL Draft: Tom Harmon from University of Michigan first pick by Chicago Bears
  • 1942-10-28 Train crashes into bus, killing 16 & injuring 20 (Detroit Michigan)
  • 1945-01-25 Grand Rapids, Michigan, becomes 1st US city to fluoridate its water
  • 1953-06-08 Cluster of 6 tornadoes touches down in Flint Michigan killing 113
  • 1954-02-26 Michigan rep Ruth Thompson (R) introduces legislation to ban mailing "obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy" phonograph (rock & roll) records
  • 1954-03-22 First shopping mall opened in Southfield, Michigan
  • 1954-11-02 Charles C Diggs Jr elected Michigan's 1st black congressman
  • 1956-04-03 Hudsonville-Standale Tornado: The western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is struck by a deadly F5 tornado.
  • 1958-06-26 Mackinac Straits Bridge, Michigan dedicated
  • 1961-10-10 Otis M Smith appointed to Michigan Supreme Court
  • 1962-03-01 Kresge Corporation openes the first Kmart store in Garden City, Michigan
  • 1963-12-18 Muskegon, Michigan gets 3' of snow
  • 1965-01-15 Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan, forms
  • 1966-08-07 Race riot in Lansing Michigan
  • 1967-03-14 1967 NFL Draft: Bubba Smith from Michigan State first pick by Baltimore Colts
  • 1967-03-24 University of Michigan holds 1st "Teach-in" after bombing of North Vietnam
  • 1979-02-04 29th NBA All-Star Game: West beats East 134-129 at Pontiac, Michigan
  • 1979-03-26 Michigan State Spartans snaps Indiana State's 33-game win streak

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1982-01-24 Super Bowl XVI: SF 49ers beat Cin Bengals, 26-21 in Pontiac Michigan, MVP: Joe Montana, San Francisco, QB

NFL Quarterback Joe Montana
NFL Quarterback
Joe Montana
  • 1985-11-15 A research assistant is injured when a package from the Unabomber addressed to a University of Michigan professor explodes.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1988-07-31 Last playboy club closes in Lansing, Michigan

Playboy Founder & Businessman Hugh Hefner
Playboy Founder & Businessman
Hugh Hefner
  • 1991-02-05 A Michigan court bars Dr Jack Kevorkian from assisting in suicides
  • 1991-12-14 57th Heisman Trophy Award: Desmond Howard, Michigan (WR)
  • 1993-02-19 Kenya Moore, 22, (Michigan), crowned 42nd Miss USA
  • 1997-07-22 The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.
  • 1997-12-13 63rd Heisman Trophy Award: Charles Woodson, Michigan (CB)
  • 1998-06-05 A strike begins at the General Motors parts factory in Flint, Michigan, that quickly spreads to five other assembly plants (the strike lasted seven weeks).
  • 1999-03-26 A jury in Michigan finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man.
  • 2004-09-19 35th Ryder Cup: Europe wins 18.5-9.5 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan, US
  • 2007-06-01 Jack Kevorkian is released from prison after serving eight years of his 10-25 year prison term for second-degree murder in the 1998 death of Thomas Youk, 52, of Oakland County, Michigan.
  • 2008-04-26 2008 NFL Draft: Jake Long from University of Michigan first pick by Miami Dolphins
  • 2013-04-25 2013 NFL Draft: Eric Fisher from Central Michigan first pick by Kansas City Chiefs
  • 2013-07-18 Detroit, Michigan, files for bankruptcy, becoming the largest US municipal bankruptcy ever at $18.5 billion
  • 2015-12-15 Mayor of Flint, Michigan declares state of emergency over contaminated water supplies amid calls for a a criminal investigation
  • 2016-02-20 Gunman goes on random killing spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan, killing 6
  • 2016-03-03 Eleventh Republican presidential candidates debate hosted by Fox, held in Detroit, Michigan
  • 2016-03-06 Seventh Democratic presidential candidates debate hosted by CNN and held in Flint, Michigan

Famous Birthdays

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 274

  • 1811-10-27 Stevens Thomson Mason, first Governor of Michigan (d. 1843)
  • 1847-07-04 James Anthony Bailey, circus impresario (Barnum & Bailey), born in Detroit, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1863-07-30 Henry Ford, American industrialist and auto maker (Ford Model T), born in Dearborn Township, Michigan (d. 1947)

Ford Motor Company Founder Henry Ford
Ford Motor Company Founder
Henry Ford
  • 1881-08-20 Edgar Albert Guest, poet/newspaperman, born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1887-09-14 Stanley Ketchel [The Michigan Assassin], Polish-American heavyweight boxing champion (1908-10), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1910)
  • 1887-09-28 Avery Brundage, CEO (Intl Olympic Committee, 1952-72), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1891-04-10 Tim McCoy, American actor (westerns) and soldier, born in Saginaw, Michigan (d. 1978)
  • 1895-05-01 Leo Sowerby, composer (Pulitzer 1946), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1896-08-22 Laurence McKinley Gould, Lacota Michigan, American Geologist and Polar Explorer who was chief scientist and second-in-command on the first expedition to the interior of Antarctica in 1929
  • 1899-02-14 John Randall Jr, Michigan, historian/philosopher (Western Man)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1899-04-27 Leo Diegel, American golfer (two-time PGA Champion), born in Detroit, Michigan

Golfer and Two-Time PGA Champion Leo Diegel
Golfer and Two-Time PGA Champion
Leo Diegel
  • 1902-01-12 Ray Teal, actor (Sheriff Roy Coffee-Bonanza), born in Grand Rapids Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1902-02-04 Charles A Lindbergh, pilot (1st to fly solo across Atlantic), born in Detroit, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1902-03-24 Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of NY and Republican presidential candidate (1944, 1948), born in Owosso, Michigan (d. 1971)

Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey
Governor of New York
Thomas E. Dewey

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1904-08-07 Ralph Bunche, founder/diplomat (UN) (Nobel 1950), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1971)

Diplomat and Nobel Laureate Ralph Bunche
Diplomat and Nobel Laureate
Ralph Bunche
  • 1911-02-23 G. Mennen Williams, Michigan Supreme Court Justice/(Gov-D-Mich, 1949-60), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1914-09-24 Herb Jeffries, actor (Where's Huddles), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1915-02-04 William Talman, actor (Crashout, Hamilton-Perry Mason), born in Detroit, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1915-04-10 Harry Morgan, actor (December Bride, M*A*S*H, Dragnet), born in Detroit, Michigan

  • 1915-07-04 Jimmie Rogers, singer (Sugar Hill Time), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1916-04-24 Lou Thesz, American professional wrestler, born in Banat, Michigan (d. 2002)
  • 1919-03-10 Marion Hutton, American actress and singer (Glenn Miller Orchestra), born in Battle Creek, Michigan (d. 1987)
  • 1920-02-23 Hall Overton, Bangor Michigan, composer (Enchanted Pear Tree)
  • 1920-04-16 John William Farr, bank robber (FBI Most Wanted List), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1920-11-12 Richard Quine, actor/director (Clay Pigeon), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1920-11-14 Johnny Desmond, singer (Your Hit Parade), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1922-01-30 Dick Martin, actor/comedian (Laugh-In, Carbon Copy), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1922-10-10 Merv Pregulman, Lansing, Michigan, NFL Line backer (Green Bay Packers), (d. 2012)
  • 1923-03-06 Ed McMahon, American TV host (Johnny Carson Show, Star Search), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1924-07-22 Margaret Whiting, American singer (Kreisler Bandstand, Strauss Family), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1924-12-06 Wally Cox, actor (Mr Peepers, Hollywood Squares), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1925-01-26 Joan Leslie, actress (High Sierra, Yankee Doodle Dandy), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2015)
  • 1925-02-02 Elaine Stritch, American actress (30 Rock, Two's Company), singer and member of the American Theater Hall of Fame, born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2014)
  • 1925-04-04 Elizabeth Wilson, actor (Doc, East Side/West Side), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1925-05-28 Martha Vickers, actress (Alimony, Man I Love, Ruthless), born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 1925-08-12 Earl Coleman, American jazz singer, born in Port Huron, Michigan (d. 1995)
  • 1925-10-14 Lawrence Herkimer, "Grandfather of Cheerleading" (founded National Cheerleading Association, patented the pom-pom), born in Muskegon, Michigan (d. 2015)
  • 1925-10-21 Joyce Randolph, actress (Trixie-Honeymooners), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1925-10-30 Gus Savage, American politician (Rep-D-IL, 1981- 93), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2015)
  • 1925-11-27 Michael Tolan, actor (Nurses, Senator), born in Detroit, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1926-03-04 Richard DeVos, American billionaire, co-founder of Amway, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Co-founder of Amway Richard DeVos
Co-founder of Amway
Richard DeVos
  • 1926-04-05 Roger Corman, producer/director (Little Shop of Horrors), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1926-07-08 John D Dingell, (Rep-D-Michigan, 1955- )
  • 1927-02-27 Guy Mitchell [Albert George Cernik], American singer and actor (Red Garters, 3 Redheads from Seattle), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1999)
  • 1927-06-30 Harvey Vernon, actor (Jasper-Carter Country), born in Flint, Michigan
  • 1927-08-06 William David Ford, (Rep-D-Michigan, 1965- )
  • 1927-08-17 Robert Moore, actor (Marshall-Diana), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1927-09-09 Elvin Jones, Pontiac Michigan, American jazz drummer (Coltrane's A Love Supreme')
  • 1928-01-10 Philip Levine, American poet, born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1928-10-01 George Peppard, actor (Banacek, A-Team, Blue Max), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1929-04-19 Edward Crook, middleweight boxer (Olympic-gold-1960), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1929-08-07 Don Larsen, American MLB pitcher (NY Yankees), born on what must have been a perfect day in Michigan City, Indiana
  • 1929-09-16 Dale E Kildee, (Rep-D-Michigan, 1977- )

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1929-11-28 Berry Gordy, record company owner (Motown), born in Detroit, Michigan

Record Company Owner Berry Gordy
Record Company Owner
Berry Gordy
  • 1930-02-10 Robert Wagner, actor (It Takes a Thief, Hart to Hart), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1930-04-01 Grace Lee Whitney, actress (Yeoman Rand-Star Trek), born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 1930-07-01 Margaret A Brewer, American soldier, in Durand Michigan, first female General officer in US Marine Corps. (d. 2013)
  • 1931-09-06 Sander M Levin, (Rep-D-Michigan, 1983- )
  • 1931-12-28 Martin Milner, American actor (Route 66", "Adam 12"), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2015)
  • 1932-01-04 Richard Stahl, actor (Howard-It's a Living), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1932-01-22 Piper Laurie, [Rosetta Jacobs], actress (Twin Peaks), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1932-02-07 Alfred M Worden, Jackson Michigan, Colonel USAF/astronaut (Apollo 15)
  • 1932-03-21 Joseph Silverstein, violinist (Denver Symphony Orch), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1932-03-29 William Charette, Ludington, Michigan, United States Navy Hospital Corpsman and Medal of Honour recipient, (d. 2012)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1932-04-27 Casey Kasem, radio personality (American Top 40), born in Detroit, Michigan

Disc jockey and actor Casey Kasem
Disc jockey and actor
Casey Kasem
  • 1932-07-06 Della Reese, singer/actress (Della Reese Show, Royal Family), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1932-07-11 Billy Davis, American music producer and songwriter ( I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2004)
  • 1932-09-21 Don Preston, rock musician (Mothers Of Invention), born in Flint, Michigan
  • 1932-12-07 Ellen Burstyn, actress (Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1933-08-25 Tom Skerritt, actor (Ryan's Four, Alien, Big Bad Mama), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1933-11-28 Joe Knollenberg, (Rep-R-Michigan)
  • 1934-06-09 Jackie Wilson, singer (Lonely Teardrops, Night), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1934-06-28 Carl M Levin, (Sen-D Michigan, 1979- )
  • 1934-11-05 Nick Smith, (Rep-R-Michigan)
  • 1935-01-09 Dick Enberg, sportscaster (Where's Huddles), born in Mt Clemens, Michigan
  • 1935-01-22 Seymour Cassel, actor (Faces, Plain Clothes, Valentino), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1935-02-15 Roger B Chaffee, Lt Cmdr USN/astronaut, born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1935-02-16 Sonny Bono, vocalist (Sonny & Cher)/(Rep-R-Ca, 1995-98), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1935-12-26 Abdul "Duke" Fakir, rock vocalist (Four Tops), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1936-01-11 Linda Lawson, actress (Don't Call Me Charlie), born in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1936-01-27 Samuel Ting, American physicist and Nobel Laureate, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Samuel Ting
  • 1936-02-19 Bob Engemann, American singer (The Lettermen), born in Highland Park, Michigan (d. 2013)
  • 1936-02-29 Jack R Lousma, Col USMC/astronaut (Skylab 3, STS-3), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1936-11-18 Hank Ballard, rocker (The Twist (pre Chubby Checker), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1937-03-06 Ivan Boesky, stockbroker inside trading, born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1937-03-23 Tony Burton, actor (Rocky films) and boxer, born in Flint, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • 1937-03-25 Tom Monaghan, Ann Arbor Michigan, founder of Dominos pizza
  • 1937-05-20 Dave Hill, PGA golfer (1967 Memphis), born in Jackson, Michigan
  • 1937-12-11 Jim Harrison, American poet and novelist (Legends of the Fall), born in Grayling, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • 1938-01-08 Bob Eubanks, TV host (Newlywed Game), born in Flint, Michigan
  • 1939-01-27 Mike Hill, PGA golfer (1977 Ohio Kings Island Open), born in Jackson, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1939-04-07 Francis Ford Coppola, director (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), born in Detroit, Michigan

  • 1939-04-13 Barbara-Rose Collins, (Rep-D-Michigan)
  • 1939-05-11 Milt Pappas, American baseball pitcher, born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • 1939-09-01 Lily Tomlin, comedienne/actress (9 to 5, Laugh-in, All of Me), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1939-09-13 Richard Kiel, American actor (So Fine, Jaws-Moonraker, Skidoo), born in Detroit, Michigan, (d. 2014)
  • 1940-07-19 Dennis Cole, actor (Felony Squad, Brackens's World), born in Detroit, Michigan

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1940-10-16 Dave DeBusschere, NBA foward (NY Knick)/last ABA commissioner, born in Detroit, Michigan

NBA Forward and MLB Player Dave DeBusschere
NBA Forward and MLB Player
Dave DeBusschere
  • 1941-02-05 Barrett Strong, vocalist (Money, That's What I Want), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1941-04-05 Michael Moriarty, actor (Bang the Drum Slowly, Q, Stuff), born in Detroit, Michigan

Famous Weddings

HeartWedding of Interest

1888-04-11 Industrialist Henry Ford (24) weds Clara Jane Bryant (22) in Greenfield Township, Michigan

Ford Motor Company Founder Henry Ford
Ford Motor Company Founder
Henry Ford
  • 1930-08-02 Laurence McKinley Gould (33), American Geologist and Polar Explorer weds Margaret ("Peg") Rice in Ann Arbor, Michigan

HeartWedding of Interest

1937-01-27 Musician Nat King Cole (17) weds dancer Nadine Robinson in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Musician Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole

HeartWedding of Interest

1958-01-14 Human rights activist Malcolm X marries fellow activist Betty Shabazz in Lansing, Michigan

African American Activist Malcolm X
African American Activist
Malcolm X
  • 1995-07-22 "True Lies" actor Tom Arnold (36) weds Julie Champnella (25) in Dearborn, Michigan
  • 1996-05-18 "As the World Turns" actor Shawn Christian (30) weds personal trainer Deborah Quinn in Gun Lake, Michigan
  • 2004-07-03 The Bachelor actor Bob Guiney (33) weds "All My Children" soap opera actress Rebecca Budig (31) in Long Lake, Michigan
  • 2011-09-10 Actress Amy Smart (36) weds TV personality and model Carter Oosterhouse (35) in Traverse City, Michigan
  • 2014-06-07 Good Morning America's meteorologist Ginger Zee (33) weds NBC news correspondent Benjamin Aaron at beachfront ceremony in Petoskey, Michigan

Famous Deaths

  • 1846-04-04 Solomon Sibley, American senator from Michigan Territory (b. 1769)
  • 1876-11-07 Albertus C van Raalte, Dutch/US vicar (Michigan), dies at 65
  • 1910-10-15 Stanley Ketchel [The Michigan Assassin], Polish-American heavyweight boxing champion (1908-10), murdered at a ranch in Missouri at 24
  • 1955-09-19 John D. Dingell, Sr., U.S. Congressman from Michigan (b. 1894)