Michigan is an interesting state for a variety of reasons. It boasts a whole Great Lake named after it, and the state is oddly split in two, with the lower half offering one experience and the Upper Peninsula—UP for short—offering another entirely.
Additionally, the fact that one can easily take a day trip from some parts of Michigan into Canada is quite unusual for many visitors. And yet, these aren’t even the strangest things about this state. In fact, we’d go so far as to say they’re far from the most interesting tidbits out there.
Read on to learn some seriously interesting things about the state of Michigan so you’ll have some facts to share on your next road trip to this oddly intriguing place.
#1: Cars Aplenty
Detroit is considered the car capital of the world. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever visited the city. Detroit (aka “Motor City”) is home to numerous car factories and churns out an astounding number of vehicles every day.
#2: Cereal Galore
Not only does Michigan play host to the Car Capital of the World, but it is also home to the Cereal Capital of the World—that is, the city of Battle Creek.
This is the city where The Kellogg Company is based, and considering that the Kellogg Brothers were the ones who introduced dry cereal to the world after accidentally discovering the process for making the stuff, the decision to give the city this title is an understandable one.
#3: Transportation Firsts
With so many vehicles pouring out on Detroit, it’s no shocker that Michigan boasts an unusually large number of transportation firsts:
- The first-ever car with air conditioning was built by the Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit way back in 1939.
- The first auto traffic tunnel between two countries was the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, which runs under the Detroit River.
- In 1891, the first-ever submarine railway tunnel was built between Michigan and Canada.
- Beginning in 1926, the world’s first regularly scheduled air passage was offered between Grand Rapids and Detroit.
- Finally, we should mention that in 1929, the Michigan State Police Department put the first police radio system to use, something that would change the way emergency workers handled things forever.
#4: World’s Largest
All of those firsts not enough to impress you? What if we told you Michigan is also home to a huge number of world’s largest things?
- The world’s largest cement plant is located in Aleena.
- Meanwhile, the world’s largest limestone quarry can be found in Rogers City.
- In Elise, one can see the world’s largest Holstein dairy herd.
- The biggest manufacturer of magic supplies in the world is located in Colon.
- Looking for the largest crucifix in the world? Check Indian River.
- The largest commercial deposit of native copper in the world can also be found in Michigan.
- Lastly, those who visit Grand Rapids should make a point of seeing the 24-foot Leonardo da Vinci horse, called Il Gavallo. It isn’t the world’s largest, but it is definitely the biggest bronze equestrian sculpture in the Western Hemisphere.
#5: No Wolverines
Despite being nicknamed the “Wolverine State” and even having several college sports teams under the name Wolverines, there are no wolverines in Michigan. In fact, there is no real evidence that the animal ever even inhabited the state.
There’s no real explanation as to why Michigan is referred to as the Wolverine State, only rumors.
#6: …but There are Moose!
There may not be any wolverines in Michigan, but there sure are moose. In fact, one of the largest moose herds in the country is sheltered in Isle Royal Park. Here, the moose live happily and safely.
#7: Long Bridge
Spanning a full five miles over the Straits of Mackinac, the Mackinac Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges to ever be made. It took a full three years to complete and was opened to the public in 1957. Since then, countless vehicles have made the trek across this impressive bridge.
#8: Home of a President
The 38th president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford, called Grand Rapids, Michigan home. Not only that, but the president also attended the University of Michigan and represented the state in Congress for a full 24 years!
#9: A Tasty Beverage
Besides all the interesting transportation-related firsts that happened in Michigan, there is also a super cool beverage first that happened there: Ginger Ale, the first soda pop drink to ever be created in the US, was invented in Detroit.
It was created somewhat by accident when a pharmacist, who was trying to concoct a new beverage, was called away to serve in the Civil War. Upon his return, he discovered that the drink—which had been stored in an oak case—had developed a delicious and unique gingery flavor.
#10: Super Cool Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is actually quite interesting, in that it was the first zoo in the US to use cageless, open exhibits. These exhibits allow animals to roam more freely and are now used in zoos across the country and around the world, offering zoo animals happier, healthier lives.
#11: Floating Mail
Did you know that there is a floating post office in Michigan? Not only that, the J.W. Westcott II actually delivers mail to ships while they’re out on the water! This is the only boat in the world that takes on this job, and it has been in operation for over 125 years.
#12: So Much Shore
Michigan has a ton of shoreline. Not only does it have more shoreline than any other state besides Alaska, it also has the longest freshwater shoreline in the entire world. The state boasts more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of streams.
Nearly half of Michigan’s counties touch at least one of the Great Lakes, and Michigan is the only state that touches four out of the five of these huge lakes.
#13: Putting Education First
Education is incredibly important. This is a fact that Michigan doesn’t seem to take lightly.
Not only was the University of Michigan the first university established by any of the states, Michigan was also the first state to guarantee every child a high school education paid for entirely by taxes. Additionally, this was the first state to provide for the establishment of public libraries in its state Constitution, making learning accessible to every Michigan resident.