“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 23, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Michigan ranks 18th among states and provinces with markers in this database. Michigan 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 74 of them have entries in this database. In Michigan we have discovered historical markers in 413 cities and towns lying in 425 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 2,488 historical markers in Michigan, by our count. We have cataloged 2,414 historical markers and 122 war memorials—each individually presented on 2,522 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 1.7% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 74 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.

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 22, 2021, and titled Novi Baseline Obelisk. It is in Novi in Oakland County and had been erected in 2011. 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 1872. It was this one: Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, and one of our correspondents found it in Detroit in Wayne County on January 19, 2010.

Michigan Historical Topics
691 • Industry and Commerce
507 • Settlements and Settlers
327 • Waterways and Vessels
297 • Churches and Religion
254 • Architecture
248 • Education
155 • Native Americans
153 • Railroads and Streetcars
145 • Roads and Vehicles
125 • Charity and Public Work
    ... 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—691 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 507 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 14, 2021, and titled Bellevue Gothic Mill. It had been erected in 2016 in Bellevue in Eaton 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 Mount Clemens in Macomb County. It is Saint Joseph Sanitarium and Bath House.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Michigan county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Wayne County, with 309 of them. It is followed closely by Oakland County with 288 markers. The Detroit area of Wayne County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 92. In Oakland County the area with the most markers, 43, is Farmington Hills.

Historical Markers in These
Michigan Counties
309 • Wayne County
288 • Oakland County
136 • Washtenaw County
118 • Macomb County
108 • Ingham County
92 • Emmet County
74 • Mackinac County
70 • Berrien County
66 • Monroe County
61 • Cheboygan 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 92 markers in or near it. It is followed by Lansing in Ingham County with 74 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 49701 at the top of the list with 69 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 49701 is assigned to Mackinaw City MI including the Mackinac City delivery area.) It is followed by ZIP Code 49770 with 57 markers. (49770 is assigned to Petoskey MI including the Bay Harbor, and Bay View delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
Michigan Cities and Towns
92 • Detroit
74 • Lansing
73 • Dearborn
61 • Ann Arbor
55 • Monroe
51 • Mackinaw City
45 • St. Ignace
43 • Farmington Hills
42 • Petoskey
35 • Warren
    ... 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 December 22, 2020, and is titled Michigan Wyandot and Monguagon / Battle of Monguagon and was erected in 2012, in Trenton. 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 Joel Seewald, January 14, 2021
Latest Entry from Michigan
“Novi Baseline Obelisk”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Lansing. The first: First Michigan Sharpshooters, was added January 20, 2010. It had been erected in 1915. The last: North Lansing Brenke Fish Ladder added on January 7, 2019. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1915: First Michigan Sharpshooters, added on January 20, 2010.

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 800 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 Montcalm 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!

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Jan. 23, 2021