55 Interesting Facts About Michigan

Last updated on January 26th, 2021

42. Michigan is home to the National Museum of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen consisted of African-American and Caribbean- born pilots who fought against the Axis powers in World War II. The pilots were known for their aerial combat bravery and helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the Allies. The Tuskegee Airmen formed the 477th Bombardment Group and 332nd Fighter Group of the USMA. The museum is located in Warren — part of the outskirts of Detroit.

43. Interestingly, the state is also credited with building the world’s largest snowball measuring 10.04 m in circumference. It was built by the students from ASME Michigan Technical University in Houghton, Michigan on March 29, 2013.[24]

44. Did you know that the largest sandwich ever made in the world was prepared by Wild Woody’s Chill and Grill, Roseville, Michigan, on 17 March 2005? Now, are you interested in knowing how big it was? Here are its other dimensions: it was 0.44 m thick, 3.6 m long and 3.6 m wide. And it weighed 2467.5 kg.[25]

A 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
A 2020 Chevrolet Corvette mid-engine car on display at the Concours d’Elegance of America car show at The Inn at St. John’s – facts about Michigan.

45. Comparatively, Michigan has more surface area than Illinois (one of its bordering states) but has less population.[26]

46. Did you know that Michigan is the most expensive state for buying car insurance? According to Insure.com, a Michigan car insurance policy averages $2,611. And Maine ($845) is the cheapest in this regards.[30] 

47. Westland, Michigan, is truly an ice skating paradise for tourists and locals. In fact, the city boasts an incredible ten outdoor skating rinks — among the most in the nation. Westland features several cafes, stores, and ice sculpture exhibitions in the area. The best time to visit this city is, of course, during the winter season but you have to bundle up!

Michigan State Capitol from the front
Michigan State Capitol. Image by Paul Martinez

48. Did you know that it took 6 years to complete the Michigan Capitol Building? The building has more than nine acres of hand-painted surfaces.

49. It is also an interesting fact to note here that the architect of the capitol – Elijah E. Meyers – is the only architect to design the capitol buildings of three U.S. states, Michigan, Texas and Colorado.

50. Michigan State Capitol is one of only 13 capitol buildings across the country that is officially designated as a national historical landmark.

51. The Michigan State Football team has won 6 national championships (1951, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1965, and 1966).

52. Michigan produces more than 300 commodities on a commercial basis.

53. California, Michigan and Washington are among the top three states in the U.S. for asparagus production. Asparagus has numerous health benefits including weight loss and improved digestion.

54. In 2018, Michigan was among the seven states that produced over 10 billion pounds of milk.

55. Michigan has 36,350 miles of rivers.

Michigan State – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationMI
State CapitalLansing
Largest cityDetroit
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 96,716 sq miles; Land Only: 56,804 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodJanuary 26, 1837
State rank by population10th
State rank by date of formation26th
State rank by area11th
Number of Counties83
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
DemonymMichigander, Michiganian, Yooper (for residents of the Upper Peninsula)
Bordering StatesIllinois, Indiana, Minnesota (water border), Ohio, Wisconsin
Official LanguageNone
Highest PointMount Arvon
1,979 ft (603 m)
Lowest pointLake Erie
571 ft (174 m)
Mean elevation900 feet above sea level
Length456 miles (734 km)
Width386 miles (621 km)
National ParksIsle Royale National Park
GovernorGretchen Whitmer (D)
Lieutenant GovernorGarlin Gilchrist (D)
Electoral Votes16
State MottoSi quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)
State NicknameGreat Lakes State
Mitten State
Winter Water Wonderland
Wolverine State
% Water41.5
Nobel Prize WinnersSamuel C.C. Ting (Physics, 1976)
Robert J. Shiller (Economic Sciences, 2013)
Eric Betzig (Chemistry, 2014)
Ralph Bunche (Peace, 1950)
Glenn T. Seaborg (Chemistry, 1951)
Thomas H. Weller (Physiology or Medicine, 1954)
Alfred D. Hershey (Physiology or Medicine, 1969)
Famous PeopleJerome Bettis (Pro Footbal Player)
John Smoltz (Baseball Player)
Magic Johnson (Basketball Player)
Mike Modano (Ice Hockey Player)
Kate Upton (Actress)
Stevie Wonder (Singer)

State GemChlorastrolite

State SoilKalkaska sand

State FishBrook trout
State WildflowerDwarf lake iris
State BirdAmerican robin
State FlowerApple blossom
State Game MammalWhite-tailed deer
State ReptilePainted turtle
State TreeWhite pine
Longitude82° 7' W to 90° 25' W
Latitude41° 41' N to 48° 18' N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone, Central Time Zone
Area Codes231, 248, 269, 278, 313, 517, 586, 616, 679, 734, 810, 906, 947, 989
Table Last Updated8 June, 2020

Facts about Lansing, Michigan

Lansing, the capital of Michigan is located in Ingham County. Some portions of the city also extend into Eaton and Clinton Counties.

Lansing is the sixth largest city in Michigan.

Did you know that Lansing is the birth place of basketball player Magic Johnson and was also the boyhood home of Malcolm X. Larry Page, Google’s co-founder also lived in Lansing.  

Before Lansing, Detroit was the state’s capital. In 1847, Lansing became the new state capital of Michigan ten years after Michigan became a state. 

It is interesting to note here that at the time when Lansing was made the state’s capital, the city had only 20 residents.

Lansing is the only U.S. state capital, among the 47 located in counties, that is not also a county seat. (the county seat of Ingham County is the city of Mason)

Lansing has a Midwestern humid continental climate. The monthly daily average temperature for July is 21.9 degrees Celsius and that for January is -4.8 degree Celsius.

a female elephant
An illustrative image of a female elephant. Image by Paul Keller

A notable incident in the history of Lansing happened on September 26, 1963, when a 12 year old female elephant, rebelled against her trainer in a shopping center, and escaped into the streets. It is said that the elephant was further provoked by the crowd which led the elephant to ultimately destroy property worth thousands of dollars and injure a 67 year old man. The elephant was finally shot by Lansing police. 

Every year in November on Friday before Thanksgiving, the annual Silver Bells in the City Electric Light Parade proceeds through the streets of downtown Lansing.

The Michigan State University campus is also home to the oldest continuously operating botanical garden in the country. The garden has more than 5,000 species of plants.

The city was founded by two brothers from Lansing, New York, and that too, on a false promise made to some 16 men who bought the land on the words of these brothers. The brothers who discovered the area named the town Biddle City and sold the plots that never existed. The area they discovered was still covered under water. Those that bought the land arrived in Michigan only to know that they have been scammed. The buyers stayed back and renamed the city after their hometown in New York.

Facts about Detroit, Michigan

Did you know that Detroit is the largest U.S. city on the United States – Canada border?

It is interesting fact that the Detroit River is actually not a river. It is a straight that connects two larger water bodies. It allows a 28 mile long passage between Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

There are eight places named Detroit in America. These are in Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Maine, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, and Alabama.

fried potato chips
Michigan facts: Potato chips. Image by Leonard J Matthews

Because of the fact that Detroit had more than 20 potato chip companies at one point, Detroit was declared as the Potato Chip Capital of the world. According to some estimates, Detroiters eat 7 pounds of chips a year while the rest of the country eats about 4 pounds annually.

Spreading out over more than 1,400 acres, there is a gigantic salt mine underneath Detroit. The mine which is approximately 1160 feet below the city’s surface, formed as a result of evaporation of a sea covering the region some 400 million years ago.

The world’s first four-way and three-colored traffic lights were installed in Detroit in 1920 and the inventor was none other than the city’s local police officer William Potts. A third color amber or yellow was introduced for the first time.

Detroit is not just “the Motor City” but is also the birth place of the first paved road in America. In 1909, the first concrete highway in the world was built between Six and Seven Mile roads by Wayne County.