History of Michigan: Some Interesting Facts

Michigan is home to Detroit, which is known as the car capital of the world, but how did it get this title? Why do people call it the ‘Wolverine State?’ and, did they really invent the weekend as we know it? Michigan is definitely an interesting state, but just how interesting is it?


Detroit, Michigan is known as the ‘Car Capital of the World’ due to three of the major car manufacturers setting up shop here, in fact, the first car manufacturer in North America set up shop in Detroit. Michigan is also where the car-assembly line was born, as an innovative new way to manufacture vehicles in a quick, yet efficient manner. Unfortunately, in 2013, this all came crashing down when plants started to close and the city had to file for bankruptcy. The population started to decline and eventually the government took over and stopped the bankruptcy. Detroit’s rich history does not stop at the automobile, this city is also the birthplace of Motown and the great music that rose from that era is still enjoyed to this day.


Why is Michigan referred to as the ‘Wolverine State?’ Rumor had it that the nickname came from a dispute over a piece of land, that led to the people of Michigan becoming as ‘bloodthirsty as wolverines,’ but it turns out that no one really knows how this nickname came to be. Some other nicknames the state has are the ‘Great Lakes State,’ or ‘Water Wonderland’ because it touches four of the five great lakes.


The story goes that the people of Michigan, especially Henry Ford, are responsible for the work week as we know it now. Back in 1867, workers rights were non-existent and employees often worked 10-12 hours a day with little time for rest or relaxation which eventually led to protests and chaos. Enter Ford in 1914 and his notice to his employees that instituted an 8-hour work day, five days a week. Many workers would take Saturday and Sunday to be with their families and the weekend was born. Following in the footsteps of Ford, many other companies discovered their workers were better rested, and more efficient, with shorter shifts and days off to rest and today, the five-day work week is a norm.


Michigan is known for cherries, each year in July, the National Cherry Festival is held in Traverse City where the fruit is celebrated. It is not uncommon to see cherry stands dotting the roadsides and signs for u-picks at every exit.


Michigan is an amazing state for its rich history as a landmark in the automotive industry, to its nickname of unknown origins and the invention of the modern weekend. What is your favorite Michigan State fact?