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The State Gem: Chlorastrolite, (literally "green star stone") is also known as greenstone or Isle Royale greenstone.
The State Stone: The Petoskey stone, is actually a fossilized coral (Hexagonaria pericarnata)
The Official State Children's book: The Legend of the Sleeping Bear by Kathy-Jo Wargin and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (Sleeping Bear Press, 1998).


The two parts of Michigan are separated by the Straits of Mackinac. The northern border is in Lake Superior north of Isle Royale. The southern border is with both Ohio and Indiana. On the west you will find Lake Michigan and Wisconsin. To the east are Lake Huron, Lake Eric, and Ontario, Canada, as well as the Detroit River and the St. Clair River. Michigan has the longest fresh water shoreline in the world.

The three largest sectors of the area economy are Manufacturing, Tourism and Agriculture. The production of cars and trucks here leads the county, employing over 967,000 people. High rankings in agriculture are found red tart cherries, dry beans, blueberries, pickling cucumbers and potted geraniums. Tourism brings in over eight billion dollars each year!


1990 - 9,295,287 -- 8th among 50 states
1998 - 9,817,242 - 8th among 50 states
2000 - 9,938,444 – 8th among 50 states

Population density: 174.94 persons per square mile (2000)
Average age: 32.6 years (2000)

Median Household Income:
$31,020 (1990)
$39,225 (1996)
$32,662 (2000)

Per Capita Personal Income
$22,680 (1997)
$29,127 (2000)

Counties: 87

Inland Lakes: 11,037

Total area: 96,810 square miles, 11th largest in size
Total land area: 56,809 square miles
Total water area: 40,001 square miles
Great Lakes Waters: 38,575 square miles
Inland Waters: 1,305 square miles

Length: 490 miles
Width: 240 miles

State Name: the name of Michigan comes from "Michi-gama," a Native American word which means large lake. The first use of the word was when the French used it for the Great Lake the natives called the "Lake of the Illinois." This lake is now referred to as Lake Michigan. The term was first applied to land area in 1805 when the Territory of Michigan was created.

Other Nicknames: Great Lakes State, Winter Wonderland as well as the Wolverine State

Michigan has been known as the Great Lakes State for many years due to its location in meeting up with four of the five Great Lakes.  Not only are the Great Lakes prominent, but there are over 11,000 lakes in the state.  This nickname was on the state license plates for many years.  Another nickname, Winter Wonderland, came about as a tourist promotion during the 1950’s and 60’s.  Another lesser known nickname is the Auto State, due to the importance the industry has played in the state’s history.


High Point 1,979 feet at Mount Arvon
Lowest Point: 572 feet at Lake Erie
Average elevation: 900 feet above sea level
Great Lakes Shoreline: 3,177 miles – Michigan has a shoreline on four of the Great Lakes.
Michigan has the second largest amount of shoreline among the states.  Alaska is first.

Over 90% of the upper peninsula is forested.

Weather & Climate:

Highest average monthly high temperature: 83.1 degrees, F.
Lowest average monthly low temperature: 14.0 degrees, F.
Record High Temperature: 112 degrees, F. at Mio on 13 July 1936
Record Low Temperature: -51 degrees, F. at Vanderbilt on 4 February 1934

Time Zone:

Nearly all of Michigan is in the Eastern Time Zone. Only four counties, Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson and Menominee, in the western Upper Peninsula, are in the Central Time Zone. Daylight Savings Time is observed from April through most of October.



The first inhabitants of the area were Native Americans who lived here since around 10,000 years ago when the last ice age glacier retreated. The first permanent French settlement was at Sault Ste. Marie in 1668, established by Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest. After the French and Indian War, the British took possession of the area around 1760. Once the Revolutionary War was fought, the area became part of America through the Treaty of Paris of 1783. Though part of America, the area was not officially turned over to the USA until 1796. It became part of Michigan Territory in 1805 and was admitted to the Union on 26 January 1837 as the 26th state.

The State Capitals

Though Lansing is known as the capital of the State of Michigan, it was not the only capital city. In 1668, the Jesuit mission at Sault Ste Marie was the first permanent European settlement is what would later become Michigan. The settlement would have been the capital for the entire region, if there had been a capital at that time. For over 25 years, the military post at Michilimackinac was the center of French influence in the Great Lakes area. The young settlement of Detroit, founded in 1701, became the next area to be a major influence for the area. Detroit remained so even after the British defeated the French in the 1760's. In 1787, when the United States included the Michigan region as part of the Northwest Territory, Detroit still was the center of things. The Territory of Michigan was created in 1805 with General William Hull as the first governor. On July 1, 1805, Detroit was proclaimed the capital of this new territory. Michigan was admitted to the union as a state in 1837. At this time, the State Constitution mandated that Detroit remain the capital. This same Constitution, written in 1835, also mandated that the capital remain such until 1847 when it would be permanently located by the legislature. Obviously, this matter became a basis for much controversy as each legislator tried to have the capital located in their own district. Some of the top contenders for the honor were Ann Arbor, Jackson, Marshall and others. One man, James Seymour, who had considerable land ownership in Ingham County, drew attention to Lansing. Against major opposition, the governor signed a bill on 16 March 1847 which named Lansing Township as the new state capital. Many called that area a wilderness, noting there was not even a village there. By January of 1848, the legislature was to meet in the new capital so work began quickly to build a simple wooden structure to serve as the temporary capitol building. Originally, the settlement built up around the capitol was called Michigan, Michigan. But this proved to be too confusing and was quickly changed to Lansing. The incorporation of Lansing as a city did not happen until 1859. Due to the Civil War, the temporary building was utilized much longer than was originally anticipated. An addition was built which had to suffice until in 1871, Governor Henry Baldwin announced that a larger, more modern capitol would be built. Construction began in 1872 with the cornerstone laid on 2 October 1873. The final cost totaled $1,427,738.78. The new capitol was dedicated on 1 January 1879. This new capitol was one of the first which used the newly re-modeled United States Capitol building in Washington, D. C. as its model. The Michigan edifice, in turn, became the model for many other state capitol buildings. A restoration, which began in 1989, was finally completed in 1992. It was re-dedicated on 19 November 1992. The building itself has both classical greek and Roman architecture. This style is often referred to as Renaissance Revival or Neoclassical Architecture.



The Michigan Historical Center
702 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing MI 48909-8240
(517) 373-3559
TDD 1-800-827-7007
Group tour reservations: (517) 373-2353


Why is Michigan known, unofficially, as the "Wolverine State" when there really don't seem to be any Wolverines in Michigan? Find out on this page

Government Links page for Michigan
Great links page for all levels of government in Michigan


The Michigan Chamber of Commerce
600 South Walnut
Lansing, Michigan 48933
For more information:
Phone: (517) 371-2100
Fax: (517) 371-7224
Toll-free: 800-748-0266

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
2300 Pipestone Rd.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Phone: 269-925-6301
Fax: 269-925-7540

Michigan's Upper Peninsula
7 million acres of forest with breathtaking fall colors - Fall festivals & fairs - even more!
P.O. Box 400
Iron Mountain, MI 49801
Toll-free: 800-562-7134
Phone: 906-774-5480
FAX: 906-774-5190


West Michigan Tourist Association
1253 Front Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504
Toll-free: 800-442-2084
Phone: 616-456-8557
Fax: 616-456-8958


Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
 535 Griswold Street, Suite 300
Detroit, MI 48226-3602
Phone: 313-961-4266
Fax: 313-961-4869


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This page was last updated 18 September 2006 at 11:23 pm

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