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

Michigan Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on February 7, 2023

 
1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Michigan ranks 11th 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 all of them have entries in this database. In Michigan we have discovered historical markers in 564 cities and towns lying in 586 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 4,202 historical markers in Michigan, by our count. We have cataloged 3,960 historical markers and 444 war memorials—each individually presented on 4,376 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 2.1% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 242 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 February 6, 2023, and titled John and Eva Porter Estate. It is near East Jordan in Charlevoix County and had been erected in 1999. 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
1,037 • Industry and Commerce
872 • Settlements and Settlers
491 • Churches and Religion
423 • Waterways and Vessels
416 • Education
396 • Architecture
261 • Roads and Vehicles
238 • Native Americans
227 • Railroads and Streetcars
216 • Notable Buildings
    ... 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—1,037 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 872 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 also was submitted on February 6, 2023, and titled John and Eva Porter Estate. It had been erected in 1999 near East Jordan in Charlevoix 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 near Cassopolis in Cass County. It is Captain Iven C. Kincheloe Memorial.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Michigan county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Wayne County, with 550 of them. It is followed by Oakland County with 414 markers. The Detroit area of Wayne County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 198. In Oakland County the area with the most markers, 47, is Farmington Hills.

Historical Markers in These
Michigan Counties
550 • Wayne County
414 • Oakland County
278 • Washtenaw County
187 • Monroe County
176 • Ingham County
137 • Macomb County
134 • Genesee County
132 • Lenawee County
118 • Jackson County
117 • Calhoun 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 198 markers in or near it. It is followed by Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County with 165 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 49701 at the top of the list with 84 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 49701 is assigned to Mackinaw City MI including the Mackinac City delivery area.) It is followed closely by ZIP Code 48104 with 79 markers. (48104 is assigned to Ann Arbor MI including the Pittsfield Twp delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Michigan Cities and Towns
198 • Detroit
165 • Ann Arbor
141 • Monroe
99 • Lansing
92 • Dearborn
84 • Mackinaw City
77 • Flint
64 • Marshall
62 • Jackson
58 • Sault Ste. Marie
    ... 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 31, 2023, and is titled Restoring Fair Lane Landscape, in Dearborn. 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, February 3, 2023
Latest Entry from Michigan
“John and Eva Porter Estate”

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: Alpha Delta Phi added on November 27, 2022. It had been erected in 2018. 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 1,292 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 Craig Doda, May 21, 2022
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 Ontonagon County, Missaukee County and Baraga County. We've only found two historical markers in the first and one in each of the other two. 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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Feb. 7, 2023