15 Things You Might Not Know About Michigan
1. Michigan was colonized by the French in the 17th century. The name possibly comes from the French version of the Ojibwe word meshi-gami, which means “big lake.”
2. Michigan has the highest bottle deposit cost in the country—at a whopping 10 cents, it's twice as much as any other state. In 2012, Michigan residents returned over $351 million in deposits.
3. Muskegon, Michigan, is home to “Snurfing,” an early version of snowboarding.
5. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. The bridge affectionately known as Mighty Mac connects the two peninsulas. It took three years to complete and opened in 1957. At the opening celebration, 83 white convertibles transported beauty queens from every county across the bridge.
6. No matter where you stand in Michigan, you will never be farther than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes.
7. Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the country.
8. Although Michigan wasn’t happy taking the Upper Peninsula instead of the Toledo Strip in a compromise ending the Toledo War, the UP’s copper generated ten times the fortunes of the California Gold Rush.
9. Michigan has the seventh largest population of fishermen in the country. By 2011, there were 1.1 million people registered to fish [PDF].
10. The last Sunday of every June is Log Cabin Day—a day dedicated to celebrating and preserving log cabins. The holiday was started on June 25, 1986, in Michigan.
11. Colon, Michigan, calls itself the Magic Capital of the World. The city hosts a four-day magician convention each August.
12. The mastodon is the state fossil of Michigan; one of the most complete skeletons ever found came from an area near Owosso. The longest trail of mastodon footprints can also be found in Michigan, just outside of Ann Arbor.
13. In Michigan, it’s illegal to buy or sell a car on a Sunday. There is an exception in the law for counties with populations under 130,000.
14. Plymouth, Michigan, holds an annual ice festival. The event features a dueling chainsaw competition, ice sculptures, and lots of winter foods.
15. Similarly to the Bermuda Triangle, the mysterious Michigan Triangle is the site of many ship and plane disappearances. The triangle, which stretches over Lake Michigan, consists of Benton Harbor and Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.