On January 18, National Michigan Day recognizes the Great Lake State. Surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan has more shoreline than any of the contiguous 48 states. Of the 50 states, only Alaska has more. First explored by the French, the area became a U.S territory in 1783. Flush with iron and copper, Michigan would become a center of industrial activity.
Lake Michigan separates the upper and lower peninsulas of the 26th state granted statehood, making Michigan unlike any other in design. To move from one peninsula to the other, ferries used to carry travelers back and forth. But in 1957, the Mackinac Bridge connected the two sides making the journey more convenient and safer. At 26,372 feet long, it is the third longest suspension bridge in the world.
Industry dominated the early 20th century in Michigan. From logging, shipping, rail and automotive, the population grew with an influx of workers during war and peacetime. Influenced by skilled trades, engineering, and manufacturing, employment exploded. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, assembly workers were in high demand all across the country. The Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan built B-24 Bombers. As the epicenter of the automobile industry, Michigan was ripe for the increased production. One of the Willow Run factory workers became a Rosie the Riveter spokesperson wearing the iconic bandana and flexing her muscle to sell war bonds. Rose Will Monroe’s efforts, as well as thousands of other women in Michigan and across the country, changed the course a war and the image of women for generations.Known for its Motown sound and legendary music makers, Michigan and Detroit launched some of the most memorable names in jazz and gospel music.
From Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross to the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder, the birth of Motown was the launching of an era. Join National Day Calendar as we recognize Michigan’s industrious spirit and natural beauty. Uncover hidden treasures and explore all Michigan’s history, lakes, and peninsulas! Use #NationalMichiganDay to share on social media.
Each week following the week of Independence Day 2017, National Day Calendar will be announcing a National Day in honor of each state in the order they entered the union. We start with Delaware on July 13 and will complete the celebrations with Hawaii on June 27, 2018, allowing for some time off for the holidays.

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