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50 Interesting Facts about Michigan We Bet You Didn’t Know
Searching for some cool Michigan facts to expand your knowledge of the Great Lakes State or even impress some friends? Awesome. This page has a collection of 50 Michigan state fun facts for you to sink your teeth into. We believe even the most patriotic Michigander won’t know all of these interesting Michigan facts!
📜 Some Michigan History
These four interesting facts about Michigan are all related to history. Did you know all of these?
Although the first constitution was enacted in 1835 and Michigan was keen for statehood, a boundary dispute with Ohio, later known as the Toledo War, delayed statehood until 1837.
2. Civil War
Michigan mustered over 90,000 men to fight for The Union during the American Civil War, with around 85,000 of those men being volunteers.
3. Mass Immigration
Encouraged by the state, plenty of national and foreign immigration occurred, with some estimates claiming around 700,000 immigrants came to Michigan between 1860 and 1900, with over 400,000 of those being foreign-born.
4. First Explored by the French
Frenchman Etienne Brule was the first European to explore Michigan in the late 1600s. Brule was born in Paris, France, and was primarily a fur trader and explorer.
🏔️ Michigan’s Natural Beauty
The following four facts are about nature; get ready to explore Michigan’s beautiful landscapes.
5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Known for its picturesque, multicolored rock cliffs known as the Pictured Rocks, this beautiful national park has 40 miles of lakeshore and over 100 miles of hardwood forest trails.
6. Bi-Peninsular State
One really interesting fact about Michigan is that it is the only US state that is bi-peninsular. The Lower Peninsula, which is mitten-shaped, is the area to which the name Michigan was applied and is the zone in which the majority of Michiganders live.
7. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Another beautiful national park, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is found in the Lower Peninsula. It is known for its large, climbable sand dunes, which are part of the Michigan Dune Climb event.
8. Over 11,000 Lakes
Michigan is known for its huge amount of lakes, which number over 11,000 that measure five acres or more. That said, the actual number of lakes that are at least 0.1 acres or larger is 62,798.
🏐 A Rich Sports History
Here are five fun sports facts to get you in the mood to move around in Michigan.
9. Hockey, Swimming and Diving
The University of Michigan has won over 50 national championships across twelve different sports and is the most decorated NCAA Division I organization in history for hockey, men’s swimming, and diving.
10. Four Professional Sports Teams
There are four major league sports teams in Michigan. They are:
- Detroit Tigers (Baseball)
- Detroit Lions (Football)
- Detroit Red Wings (Ice Hockey)
- Detroit Pistons (NBA)
11. The Detroit Tigers
Another fun fact about Michigan is that the Detroit Tigers are the oldest professional sports team in the state, being known as the Tigers since 1901.
12. Hockeytown, USA
With its penchant for ice hockey headed by the Detroit Red Wings, locals in Detroit began proclaiming the city as Hockeytown, USA, even though the name may rightfully belong to Roseau County, Minnesota.
13. Michigan International Speedway
This 2-mile oval track, inaugurated in 1968, has played host to plenty of events, including NASCAR, IndyCar, CART, and more. Jeff Gordan set the lap record for the NASCAR Cup Series with a lap time of 34.857 seconds.
🧑🚀 Famous People
No list of Michigan facts would be complete without mentioning some of the incredible names that are to follow:
14. Terry Crews
Born in Flint, MI, beloved actor Terry Crews, known for Everybody Hates Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is a tall and muscular fellow and is usually known for playing loveable yet strong characters.
15. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
With an undefeated professional record of 50-0 and 27 wins by knockout, Floyd Mayweather Jr from Grand Rapids is widely considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound defensive boxers of all time and one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Born Madonna Louise Ciccone and known as the Queen of Pop, Madonna, from Bay City, is an icon of the music industry and is known across the globe. Madonna holds the record as the best-selling female artist of all time with over 300 million records sold and 13 number-one singles in the US, and has been awarded seven Grammys from a total of 28 nominations.
17. Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal is an actor and screenwriter known for starring as the hero in action films such as On Deadly Ground and Above the Law. Seagal, who was born in Michigan, is also of Russian and Serbian heritage and has served as the Special Representative for Russia-US Cultural Links, Cultural and Historical Heritage.
18. Burt Reynolds
An icon of 70’s American TV and cinema, known for classics such as The Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit, Reynolds was born in Lansing, Michigan, and thought of as a sex symbol in the 70s.
19. Verne Troyer
Verne Troyer was a treasured American actor born in Sturgis, Michigan. Troyer suffered from cartilage-hair hypoplasia and stood at 2 feet 8 inches. Verne Troyer was known for his roles in Austin Powers and as Griphook in the first Harry Potter movie.
🏛️ The Coolest Places in Michigan
Here are four cool facts about Michigan’s most interesting places. If you’re just visiting, you might want to scratch these off the list first.
20. The Big House, University of Michigan
Michigan Stadium, also known as ‘The Big House,’ is the largest stadium in the entire United States and the third largest in the world. With an official capacity of 107,601, the largest attendance seen at The Big House was 115,109 on September 7, 2013.
21. Detroit Institute of Arts
With one of the largest art collections in the USA, the Detroit Institute of Arts contains over 100 art galleries covering over 650,000 square feet. The Institute is also home to the Detroit Film Theatre, showing classic and contemporary world cinema.
22. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
One of the most visited places in Michigan, the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation features a massive collection of vehicles, including the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, the Rosa Parks bus, and the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop.
23. Lake Superior
The largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, Lake Superior holds 10% of the world’s surface freshwater over an area of 31,700 square miles. Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and contains more water than all of the other four Great Lakes combined.
📚 Culture in Michigan
The next four Michigan fun facts are of the cultural variety, from tribes to Motown to urban culture.
24. Native American Tribes
Michigan is home to 12 federally-recognized Native American tribes that have been occupying the land long before the French and British settled in Michigan. The three largest tribes share language, customs, and beliefs and are known as Anishinaabe or the Original People.
25. The Great Lakes State
Michigan has a few state nicknames, with the most common being the Great Lakes State after the five Great Lakes. Other names include the Mitten State, originating from the State’s Lower Peninsula resembling a mitten, the Motor State, and the Wolverine State.
26. Industrial and Hard-working
As one of the USA’s primary industrial states, the work culture in the Great Lakes State is very much hustle and bustle. This is true even after the automotive industry saw a dramatic decline in the past 20 years, with just 37.2% of industry positions left compared to peak employment.
27. The Home of Motown
Hitsville U.S.A, the home of Motown’s first headquarters and recording studio, can be found at 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan. Hitsville U.S.A was purchased by Berry Gordy in 1959 and now features a widely-recognized sign and an iconic exterior and is somewhat of a tourist hotspot.
🍲 Food Favorites in Michigan
Here are four fun facts about Michigan and its food scene, from delicious dogs to cold brews; these are the foods that Michigan is known for.
28. Coney Island Hot Dog
The Coney Island Hot Dog was invented by German immigrant Charles Feltman in 1867, who developed the dog for Michiganders to enjoy Frankfurter sausages without the hassle of plates or cutlery. Sometimes referred to as a Coney dog or Coney, this legendary Michigan treat contains meat, beanless chili, diced white onions, and yellow mustard.
29. Traverse City Cherries
With most of the cherries in Michigan produced in Traverse City, the area is now home to the National Cherry Festival, which originated from the Blessing of the Blossoms event, first held in 1924.
30. Beer, beer, beer!
Michigan is also known as the Great Beer State, with over 130 breweries producing a wide variety of beers, including global favorites and local legends. You can even get a beer made with Traverse City cherries.
31. Cornish Pasties
Originating in Cornwall, England, the Cornish Pasty was a staple in Michigan thanks to its thick crust, allowing mining and workers with dirty hands to hold the crust as a handle. The pasties are made up of beef, veggies, and herbs, creating a delightful, hearty filling.
32. Mackinac Island Fudge
Mackinac Island is a former fur-trading post turned holiday hotspot, with tourists associating the island with sweet treats; fudge being one of the most popular. There are several popular fudge vendors, including Murdick’s Fudge, May’s Candy Shop, and Sanders Fudge Shop.
🎰 Casinos and Gambling
One of the really cool things about Michigan is its wide variety of casinos and gambling destinations, including online casinos. Here are seven Michigan casino facts:
33. Three Places to Play in Detroit
Those looking for somewhere to play in casinos in Detroit have three fantastic choices in the city: Motor City Casino, Hollywood Casino at Greektown, and MGM Grand Casino. These are the only commercial, non-tribal-owned casinos in the state.
34. Twenty-Seven Indian Gaming Casinos
There are 25 operating Michigan Indian Casinos owned by 12 federally-recognized Native American tribes. Although these casinos are regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, revenues are collected differently from those of the three Detroit casinos, primarily benefiting tribal programs.
35. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
The Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians have the most casinos on their roster, with a total of five gaming properties, all called Kewadin Casinos and located in various locations throughout the state.
36. Fifteen Online Casinos
At the time of writing, there are 15 MI online casinos available to Michiganders, licensed and regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, ensuring safety and fairness.
37. Know When to Hold’em?
Online poker is entirely legal, licensed, and regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, allowing players to enjoy regulated poker, including competitions like the World Series of Poker.
38. The Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act
The Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, amended and signed into law in 2019, legalized online gambling, sports betting, and fantasy sports betting in the state. The first online casinos went live on January 22, 2021.
39. Online Casinos Fund Public Programs
Revenues from Michigan’s online casinos go towards funding public outreach programs, including benefitting various tribes in the state, school and educational programs, and benefiting the elderly.
Michigan is known for cars and the automotive industry in general, with plenty of the state’s industrial infrastructure made up to produce vehicles and vehicle parts. Here are six facts about Michigan’s economy:
40. Before the Automotive Industry
Although Michigan is known for its part in the automotive industry, before 1900, the state focused primarily on agriculture, forestry, mining, and other manufacturing activities.
41. The Rise of Ford
Thanks to Ford’s innovation in production and manufacturing, especially the moving assembly line, Ford managed to sell its Model T for much less than competing cars. The first assembly line of this kind was found in the Highland Park Ford Plant, Michigan, and was first implemented in 1913.
42. Automotive Exports
Today, Michigan’s top four exports all belong to the automotive industry, with small trucks, large automobiles, gearboxes, and auto body parts making up almost 25% of the state’s export economy. In fact, only two of the top 10 exports in Michigan are unrelated to vehicles.
43. Lower than Average Housing Prices
Would-be homeowners in Michigan enjoy housing prices significantly lower than the national average, with the average owner-occupied home costing around $172,000 versus $244,900 in the wider United States.
44. Barton Hills, Washtenaw County
The wealthiest area in Michigan is Barton Hills, a CDP made up of 176 households with a median household income of over $250,000 and a median home value of over $1,000,000.
45. Highland Park, Wayne County
Conversely, the poorest area in Michigan is Highland Park, an area made up of 4,619 households that have an estimated household income of $17,550.
👻 We Bet You Didn’t Know These Ones
While these facts could fit into some other categories, we believe only true Michiganders will know all five of these weird facts about Michigan.
46. The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel
Also known as the Detroit-Canada tunnel, the Detroit-Windsor tunnel was the first to connect two countries. The tunnel has two lanes, 12 feet 8 inches of clearance, and sees around 12,000 vehicles pass through it each day. Construction was completed in 1930 and cost around $25 million at the time.
47. Doing Away with Death
Michigan abolished the death penalty in 1846 for all crimes except treason. While Rhode Island later abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 1852, Michigan seemingly paved the way for the movement.
48. The Corn Monster
The Corn Monster of Wynn, Michigan, was last sighted in 2003 when a truck driver pulled over by a cornfield and saw a shadowy, disfigured humanoid figure. Other creepy sightings include the Dog Man and the Ada Witch.
49. Floating Post Office
As America’s only floating post office, the J.W. Westcott II delivers mail to boats and ships by the Ambassador Bridge on the Detroit River. Interestingly, the boat even has its own zip code. The company to which the boat belongs has been operating for over 140 years.
50. he Name ‘Michigan’
Although its origins are not entirely known, it is thought that the name Michigan is derived from the Algonquin word Misigamaw, meaning big lake, keeping the state in line with its Indian American roots.
How Big is Michigan?
Michigan covers an area of about 97,000 square miles or around 250,000 square kilometers. This places Michigan as the 11th-largest US state by land area.
What’s the Population of Michigan?
According to the last census, there are 10.05 million people living in the Great Lakes state, which makes it the 10th most populated US state today. Detroit is the most populated city, housing around 630,000 people, while its capital Lansing is home to about 112,000.