“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Michigan Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 27, 2022

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Michigan ranks 13th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The United States of America is a state in the United States of America located in the American Midwest. It is also in the Great Lakes region. Michigan is some 97 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 10 million people. The state is divided into 83 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Michigan we have discovered historical markers in 516 cities and towns lying in 544 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 3,713 historical markers in Michigan, by our count. We have cataloged 3,381 historical markers and 329 war memorials—each individually presented on 3,683 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 2.0% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 332 historical markers in Michigan that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

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The first Michigan marker in the database, Lake Shore Drive Bridge / Eagle River, was added May 4, 2007. It was photographed in Eagle River in Keweenaw County and was erected in 1991. The last one added was submitted on January 23, 2022, and titled Shepherd World War II Memorial. It is in Shepherd in Isabella County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Michigan was erected in 1870. It was this one: Adrian Civil War Memorial, and one of our correspondents found it in Adrian in Lenawee County on September 24, 2021.

Michigan Historical Topics
930 • Industry and Commerce
756 • Settlements and Settlers
436 • Churches and Religion
364 • Waterways and Vessels
356 • Education
350 • Architecture
234 • Roads and Vehicles
196 • Railroads and Streetcars
188 • Native Americans
172 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
    ... and others ...

Michiganders don’t want to forget their Industry and Commerce history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Michigan about Industry and Commerce—930 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 756 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Industry and Commerce topic was Four Flags Hotel, added July 11, 2007. It had been erected in 1990 in Niles in Berrien County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 19, 2022, and titled Jay's Sporting Goods. It had been erected in Clare in Clare County. The earliest marker erected with the Industry and Commerce topic that we have listed was erected in 1920. It is Vicksburg's First Mill, found in Vicksburg in Kalamazoo County on September 24, 2013.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Michigan? What we know is that The Iron Brigade / The Twenty-Fourth Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment is the most viewed entry in the database from Michigan since it was added in 2007. It is located in New Buffalo in Berrien County. This year so far, the most viewed Michigander entry is located in Muskegon in Muskegon County. It is Torrent House.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Michigan county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Wayne County, with 523 of them. It is followed by Oakland County with 381 markers. The Detroit area of Wayne County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 178. In Oakland County the area with the most markers, 47, is Farmington Hills.

Historical Markers in These
Michigan Counties
523 • Wayne County
381 • Oakland County
251 • Washtenaw County
148 • Ingham County
134 • Genesee County
134 • Monroe County
125 • Lenawee County
123 • Macomb County
116 • Calhoun County
92 • Emmet County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Michigan with the most markers we again find Detroit at the top of the list with 178 markers in or near it. It is followed by Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County with 161 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 48104 at the top of the list with 78 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 48104 is assigned to Ann Arbor MI including the Pittsfield Twp delivery area.) It is followed by ZIP Code 49701 with 69 markers. (49701 is assigned to Mackinaw City MI including the Mackinac City delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Michigan Cities and Towns
178 • Detroit
161 • Ann Arbor
104 • Monroe
88 • Dearborn
78 • Lansing
77 • Flint
69 • Mackinaw City
64 • Marshall
48 • Adrian
47 • Farmington Hills
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Wayne County, the first marker added to the database from there, 19th U.S. Infantry, was added December 4, 2008. in Detroit. The last one submitted was uploaded on January 17, 2022, and is titled James Smith House and was erected in 1991, in Detroit. The earliest marker erected in Wayne County that we have listed was erected in 1872. It was Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, found in Detroit on January 19, 2010.

Latest entry from Michigan. Click to go there
By J.T. Lambrou, August 26, 2021
Latest Entry from Michigan
“Shepherd World War II Memorial”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Ann Arbor. The first: Washtenaw County War Memorial, was added January 20, 2010. It had been erected in 1914. The last: Phi Delta Theta Fraternity House added on January 2, 2022. It had been erected in 2006. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1907: Nichols Arboretum, added on December 3, 2020.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Michigan Historical Commission is currently in charge of the familiar green and gold official historical markers found all over the state and the Michigan Department of Transportation typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. You will also find official markers erected by the Michigan History Division, Department of State, a predecessor. They erected their first marker in 1955, and we have 1,192 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Michigan. Click to go there
By Michael Baker
A Michigan Historical Commission Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Michigan have been marked with history. Check out Missaukee County, Luce County and Baraga County. We've only found one historical marker in each. Visiting one or more of these parts of Michigan might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

Jan. 27, 2022