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180 reasons to love Michigan

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This January marked Michigan’s 180th birthday. To celebrate the number one state, the DTE Energy team compiled a list of 180 reasons we love Michigan.

Know a fun fact we missed? Tweet it with the hashtag #Mich180.

  1. You can hang out with penguins at the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the largest penguinarium in the world.
  2. Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world, and more coastline than the entire East Coast.
  3. Detroit’s Cadieux Cafe and Mt. Clemens’ Bath City Bistro are the only places in the United States where you can go feather bowling.
  4. Michigan’s forest is among the top ten largest in area within the United States. At 20 million acres, it covers more than half the state.
  5. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is the world’s largest Christmas store, filling 27 acres.
  6. Detroit is the largest city in America to be completely lit with LED streetlights.
  7. Copper Peak is the largest artificial ski jump in the world, and the only “ski flying” facility in the Western Hemisphere.
  8. The Detroit River is home to the only international wildlife refuge in North America.
  9. Michigan is one of the top five states in the country for number of breweries. Our Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale is one of the best IPAs in the world.
  10. Michigan is home to one of only four ice luge tracks in the nation.
  11. You can travel from Hell to Paradise in the same day. Other interesting names of Michigan towns include Christmas, Bad Axe and Podunk.
  12. The world’s only floating post office, the J.W. Westcott II, operates out of Detroit. The J.W. Westcott II delivers mail to ships on the Great Lakes.
  13. The oldest and largest lava flow known on Earth is located on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The Keweenaw Peninsula is also the only site in the nation where prehistoric mining of copper occurred.
  14. Michigan is home to the world’s largest exhibit on African-American culture, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
  15. Though many people think the Coney dog was created in New York’s Coney Island, it was actually born in Detroit, though the original creator is still disputed.
  16. In 2016, Michigan was named the number one state for photographing fall color.
  17. When Detroit’s Belle Isle Park opened in 1884 it was the largest island park in the nation. Belle Isle is bigger than Central Park, and designed by the same person.
  18. Cars are completely banned on Mackinac Island. Instead, the island has more than 500 horses for transportation.
  19. Michigan has about 150 lighthouses, more than any other state.
  20. The Mackinac Bridge is the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world.
  21. Michigan ranks first in the nation for its concentration of engineering and architecture talent.
  22. In 2016, athletes with Michigan ties won more Olympic medals than 196 countries.
  23. Michigan is now the #1 Trails State in the nation with more than 2,700 miles of non-motorized trails for hikers, bikers and other explorers.
  24. Michigan is home to five national parks: Isle Royale, Keweenaw, Pictured Rocks, River Raisin and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
  25. Pictured Rocks was the first National Lakeshore.
  26. The average stay at Isle Royale National Park is 3.5 days, while the average visit to a national park is about 4 hours.
  27. The University of Michigan’s stadium, known as “The Big House,” is the largest American football stadium. The Big House has also hosted two of the most-attended hockey games in the world.
  28. Michigan is the largest producer of cherries in the United States, growing 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherries.
  29. Recognized by Congress as “The Magic Capital of the World,” Colon, Mich. is home to the world’s largest manufacture of magic supplies.
  30. Michigan leads the nation in auto-related research and development.
  31. Lansing is home to the first organization dedicated to women’s history in the nation, The Michigan Women’s Historical Center.
  32. Grand Rapids hosts the most well-attended art event in the world: ArtPrize.
  33. Michigan is the only state that touches four of the five Great Lakes. Anywhere in the state, you are always within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.
  34. Mackinac Island is referred to as the fudge capital of the nation. You can experience the fudge for yourself at the annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.
  35. Emmet County’s Headlands was the sixth International Dark Sky Park in the world.
  36. Michigan has the second most diverse agriculture industry in the nation.
  37. Michigan is the only state consisting of two peninsulas, an upper peninsula and a lower peninsula.
  38. Michigan is the only state in the world where you can go fowling.
  39. In 2014, Michigan had more underground natural gas storage capacity than any other state.
  40. Lake Michigan discharges into Lake Huron through the Straits of Mackinac at a rate that allows for a complete change of water about every 100 years.
  41. The world’s oldest operating jazz club is Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit.
  42. The Petoskey stone, Michigan’s state stone, is composed of a fossilized coral, and the only place in the world it is found is on Lake Michigan beaches in northern Michigan.
  43. The Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection is among the top six in the United States.
  44. Michigan’s Lake Michigan coast and the ‘thumb’ areas of Saginaw Bay are some of the best locations in the nation for wind turbines.
  45. The modern two-day weekend has its origins in the Michigan labor movement.
  46. Michigan’s Great Lakes contain more than 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh water supply.
  47. At 660 feet, Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel has the world’s longest front porch.
  48. The world’s largest log cabin is on the shore of Lake Superior.
  49. Littered on the bottom of the Great Lakes are the remains of more than 6,000 shipwrecks gone missing on the Great Lakes. One of the most famous shipwrecks is the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior. Singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot even wrote a song about it.
  50. DTE Energy is building one of the largest urban solar arrays in the United States.
  51. Michigan accounts for 22 percent of all U.S. auto-related jobs.
  52. Michigan’s Antrim Gas Field is one of the nation’s top 100 natural gas fields.
  53. Michigan’s longest lived fish species, lake sturgeon, are said to be a relic from the dinosaur age. They live for up to 150 years, and can grow to eight feet long and 100 pounds.
  54. The world’s first mile of concrete highway was between Six Mile and Seven Mile on Woodward Avenue. Construction began in 1909.
  55. The Pine Mountain Ski Jump is one of the highest man-made ski jumps in the world.
  56. Detroit is the only city in the continental U.S. where you look South to Canada. So, geographically speaking, there is no such thing as being born and raised in South Detroit.
  57. Michigan is home to the largest freshwater dune system in the world.
  58. The Detroit Jazz Festival is the world’s largest free jazz festival.
  59. You are never more than an hour’s drive from a state park or recreation area.
  60. The only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the United States is in Holland, Mich.
  61. Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) is one of the top research university clusters in the U.S., ranking first in medical degrees, total degrees awarded and enrollment.
  62. Metro Grand Rapids has more LEED-certified buildings per capita than any other city in America.
  63. In Michigan, Fat Tuesday is called Paczki Day – a day dedicated to eating deep-fried pieces of dough stuffed with a sweet filling.
  64. While Michigan doesn’t stop you from having an alligator as a pet, it is illegal to tie your alligator to a fire hydrant.
  65. Michigan has the highest payback rate in the country for recycling cans and bottles at 10 cents per item.
  66. Michigan ranked fourth largest for solar energy jobs in the county.
  67. All of the major professional sports teams have Detroit franchises, including baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer.
  68. Michigan is home to the most FIRST Robotics teams in the United States.
  69. Isle Royal National Park shelters one of the largest moose herds in America.
  70. There are more than 100 state parks and 600 campgrounds in Michigan.
  71. The Seney Stretch in the U.P. is the longest curveless section of highway east of the Mississippi River.
  72. In 2015, Michigan was 12th in the nation in the amount of electricity generated from wind.
  73. As one of the largest landowners in Michigan, DTE Energy maintains thousands of acres of land as living space for hundreds of species of birds, mammals, fish and insects.
  74. Rogers Quarry is the world’s largest limestone quarry.
  75. Michigan is home to the first three tunnels in the world that connect two countries: the St. Clair Tunnel, the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel and Detroit Windsor Tunnel.
  76. Michigan is the 3rd largest Christmas Tree producer in the country.
  77. In 1879, Detroit became the first city to assign individual phone numbers.
  78. The Upper Peninsula has more than 100 waterfalls, including Bond Falls and Tahquamenon Falls.
  79. Tahquamenon Falls is the third most voluminous waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
  80. Michigan is home to more than 11,000 lakes.
  81. The painted turtle is Michigan’s state reptile.
  82. Sixty three of the top 100 automotive suppliers in North America are headquartered in Michigan.
  83. Michigan is America’s 3rd largest apple producer.
  84. Grand Haven is known for its singing sand beaches, which make a whistling sound when you walk on them.
  85. Mackinac island is home to America’s oldest family-owned grocery store, Doud’s Market.
  86. Manufacturing’s multiplier effect – the impact an industry has on people and businesses outside the industry – is the largest in the nation with $1 spent in manufacturing generating $1.37 in additional economic activity.
  87. Northern Michigan University’s “Yooper Dome” is the largest wooden dome in the world.
  88. Michigan is home to nine different bat species.
  89. Sault Ste. Marie is the third oldest remaining settlement in the United States.
  90. The Upper Michigan Copper Country is the largest commercial deposit of native copper in the world.
  91. “Michigan” is an Algonquian Indian word. It means “big lake” and refers to Lake Michigan.
  92. Michigan State University was the first college in the U.S. to teach scientific agriculture.
  93. Michigan has tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
  94. Michigan’s Woodward Dream Cruise is the largest one-day auto event in the world.
  95. Sleeping Bear Dunes was named one of the 21 top beaches on Earth by National Geographic.
  96. You can get your picture taken with a bear cub at Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry.
  97. Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade is one of the country’s largest parades.
  98. Millie Mine, in Iron Mountain, is one of the largest bat hibernacula in the Midwest.
  99. The world’s largest tire model stands eight stories tall in Allen Park. The tire was once a Ferris wheel in the New York World Fair.
  100. Grand Rapids is home to the nation’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, Gilda’s LaughFest.
  101. Detroit’s theater district is one of the largest in the country with more than 13,000 theater seats.
  102. There are 11 federally recognized Indian tribes in Michigan today.
  103. Detroiter Mrs. Marie Owen was the first policewoman in the United States.
  104. Michigan’s University Research Corridor ranked #2 in the Innovation Power Ranking, which indexes factors of leading research universities, like talent, R&D and technology commercialization.
  105. Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Saugatuck Chain Ferry is the only hand-cranked chain ferry still operating in the U.S.
  106. Michigan ranks third in the nation for number of farmers markets.
  107. Five of the world’s leading furniture manufacturers have their headquarters in Grand Rapids.
  108. Michigan’s U.P., also referred to as ‘The Top of the World’ is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.
  109. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids is one of the world’s 100 most-visited art museums.
  110. Eastern Market is the “largest and oldest market of its kind,” serving Detroit for more than 170 years. Eastern Market is also the largest open-air flowerbed market in the U.S.
  111. Michigan’s state bird is the robin. Curious about how our red-breasted friend earned this honor? Read the Free Press’ article on why the “rockin’ robin” is Michigan’s state bird.
  112. There are 8.8 million acres of forest in the Upper Peninsula, making 84% of the Upper Peninsula covered by forest.
  113. The Greater Detroit area is home to one of the largest, oldest and most diverse Arab American communities in the United States.
  114. Holland, MI was named the top small city in the U.S. to start a business.
  115. In 1817 the University of Michigan was the first university established by any of the states.
  116. The Soo Locks are the largest and busiest waterway traffic systems in the world.
  117. Michigan’s state flower is the apple blossom.
  118. Grand Rapids was the first city to put fluoride in the water in 1945.
  119. The largest 25K road race in America, the Fifth Third Riverbank Run, takes place in Grand Rapids.
  120. The world’s largest weathervane can be found in downtown Montague.
  121. Michigan’s first governor, Stevens T Mason, took office at 24 and remains the youngest state governor in American history.
  122. Detroit is the birthplace to a hybrid of the New York and Chicago pizza styles –a square, deep-dish pizza with crispy crust and tomato sauce on top.
  123. Michigan has more than 200 micro-breweries.
  124. Michigan has 119 wineries.
  125. Michigan has nearly 10 million acres of farmland, and is home to 51,600 farms.
  126. It’s illegal to scowl at a woman in Detroit on Sundays.
  127. In 2016, the University of Michigan was ranked top public university in America.
  128. Twenty percent of Michigan jobs are associated with water-enabled or water-related industries.
  129. The Cereal Capital of the World is in Battle Creek where the Kellogg brothers accidentally discovered the process for producing cereal.
  130. Vernors Ginger Soda was created in Detroit and became the first pop made in the U.S.
  131. Michigan was the first state to guarantee every child the right to tax-paid high school education.
  132. Michigan is the 11th largest state in America by area.
  133. Some of the world’s longest bulk freight carriers travel through the Great Lakes.
  134. Holland, Mich. is home to the largest tulip festival in America.
  135. Michigan’s Capitol in Lansing is home to 19, one-of-a-kind chandeliers designed for the building by Tiffany’s of New York. Each chandelier weighs between 800 and 900 pounds.
  136. The nation’s first regularly scheduled flight path began operation between Grand Rapids and Detroit in 1926.
  137. Detroit’s Marriott at the Renaissance Center is the second tallest hotel in North America. When it was opened in 1977, it was the tallest hotel in the world.
  138. In 2016, Grand Rapids was voted as America’s Best Beer Scene.
  139. Michigan set a world record in 2016 when more than 1,200 couples renewed their wedding vows at Western Michigan University.
  140. Plymouth’s annual ice festival is the oldest ice carving festival in North America.
  141. Michigan is home to the original headquarters of Motown Record Corporation.
  142. Eastern Michigan University was the first in the nation to introduce a four-year curriculum for teacher education.
  143. Detroit was home to the world’s largest stove monument, at 25-feet-tall and weighing 30,000 pounds. Unfortunately a fire in August 2011 destroyed the stove.
  144. The world’s largest crucifix stands 31 feet tall in a small town in northern Michigan.
  145. The world’s largest pet casket company is in Gladstone.
  146. The assembly line was invented at the Michigan’s Highland Park Ford Plant.
  147. A massive salt mine is 1,200 feet below the streets of Detroit.
  148. Michigan is rumored to have more than 100 haunted places, including historic buildings, hotels and lighthouses.
  149. While most of Michigan is in the Eastern Time Zone, four counties in the Upper Peninsula (Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson and Menominee) are in the Central Time Zone.
  150. Michigan is the 10th most populous state.
  151. Michigan is home to the world’s largest ukulele. Owner Larry Stump broke the record unintentionally. He build the 13-foot long, four-foot wide ukulele for fun, and caught the attention of Guinness World Records when he tried to sell it on Craigslist.
  152. Wolves are making a comeback in Isle Royale.
  153. The Michigan State Police established the first state police radio system in the world.
  154. Detroit Skating Club is one of the premier skating centers in the world.
  155. For every dollar invested in Michigan’s University Research Corridor universities, it provides $22 in economic benefits to Michigan.
  156. Michigan is the birthplace to countless influential celebrities, like Magic Johnson, Serena Williams, Henry Ford, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Floyd Mayweather, Madonna and Kristen Bell.
  157. Hancock’s Nordberg Steam Hoist is the largest steam-powered hoist engine ever built.
  158. Countless movies have been shot in Michigan, including Gran Torino, Die Hard 2, Gulliver’s Travels, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and several of the Transformers movies.
  159. While Michigan no longer holds the record for the world’s largest cherry pie, we still hold the record for the world’s largest cherry pie tin.
  160. Detroit has been selected to host the 2018 – 2020 FIRST Robotics World Championships.
  161. The Henry Ford in Dearborn is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the United States.
  162. The first published story about Paul Bunyan appeared in the Oscoda Press.
  163. Davidson Freeway was the first urban freeway in America.
  164. Gerald R. Ford earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan
  165. Jackson is the birthplace of the Republican Party.
  166. We created a rare, highly sought-after stone… that’s not actually a stone. What’s known as ‘Fordite’ was made from layers of paint that built up on tracks and skids when cars were hand spray-painted. The colorful layers would bake, over and over, as the car bodies cured in the oven.
  167. Alpena’s cement plant was once the largest in the world.
  168. Despite being home to The Motor City, it is illegal to sell a car in Michigan on Sunday.
  169. Four flags have flown over Michigan – French, English, Spanish, and United States.
  170. Michigan has more than 4,000 miles of snowmobile trails.
  171. Residents of Nashville, Mich. set the record for the longest ice cream dessert, measured at 3,627 feet.
  172. Michigan is one of the best places in the nation to go dog sledding.
  173. Minoru Yamasaki’s Detroit-based firm designed the World Trade Center.
  174. The Detroit Zoo was the first zoo in the U.S. to feature open, cageless exhibits that gave animals more freedom to roam.
  175. The Grand Haven Musical Fountain was the world’s largest musical fountain until The Fountains of Bellagio opened in Las Vegas in 2004.
  176. Michigan’s state tree is the Eastern White Pine.
  177. Due to its waterfalls that freeze in the winter, the Upper Peninsula is one of the best places in the world to ice climb.
  178. Detroit was the first city in Michigan to host the international movement called Open Streets in 2016.
  179. Detroit hosts the North American International Auto Show, which draws more than 800,000 people each year.
  180. Michigan’s state motto is “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” meaning “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

Photo Credit: DTE Energy