history

With the tap of your finger, you can access pretty much anything these days, whether you're streaming a movie or ordering a pair of shoes. But just 50 years ago, Michigan had a law banning most businesses from being open on Sunday. 

That law, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1962, fell into a category of “blue laws.”


   

Last week, the Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot petition that might end the prohibition of recreational marijuana in Michigan

 

Meanwhile, this week marked the 100th anniversary of another important social experiment: Prohibition. 

Siwatu-Salama Ra is a young Detroit activist who was sentenced to two years in prison for brandishing a licensed and unloaded firearm in what she claims was an act of self-defense. Her conviction has raised questions about the nature of black gun ownership in the United States.

When people think of the Kennedy family, they’re most likely thinking of the famous Kennedy men. John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic president in the nation’s history; he was assassinated in his first term. His brother Bobby was attorney general and a senator until he was assassinated while running for president. Ted Kennedy was a Massachusett's senator for decades until his death in 2009.

For six years now, the Detroit Unity Temple has held a quilt exhibit in February. Many of the quilts – but not all – are tributes to African-American history. This year a quilt that’s getting a lot of attention is called “Strange Fruit."

The word “magic” may conjure images of witches and wizards casting spells in a bygone era, long before the rise of science and modern civilization.

However, there is a spot in Michigan where magic still thrives.

One way to learn history is through textbooks and lectures. Another is through the words and handwriting of the people from our past. That’s right: letters, something today’s college students don’t see too much of.

Students at Grand Valley State University are getting a chance to experience the emotional and historical power of letters through a podcast called To the Letter.

An old mural on the Coburn building in downtown Petoskey was recently repainted by artist Äbby Kent.
Matt Mikus

If you walk through downtown Petoskey, you might notice some old advertising murals on the sides of a few buildings. 

One of them is on the Coburn building on Mitchell Street. The mural is a weathered patchwork of ads for companies that used to occupy the building, like H.A. Easton Hardware and Cook Electric Company.

The mural had almost entirely faded away, until a local artist decided to restore it.

 

The Eyaawing Museum was designed around this central exhibit. A pair of mated eagles were doing a bonding ritual where they lock talons and freefall together. Their wing tips hit two powerlines and the pair were electrocuted to death.
Morgan Springer

Two replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships have drawn protests from Native American groups. The boats – called the Niña and Pinta – are touring the Great Lakes this summer and are now tied up in Grand Traverse Bay at the Clinch Park Marina.

Eighty years ago, a few years before Bruce Wayne made his comic book debut, our nation experienced its first wave of “bat-mania.”

In the 1930s, the country’s imagination was captured by winged daredevils like Michigander Clem Sohn.

Happy 164th birthday to the man who is the personification of the "tortured artist."

Vincent Van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.

University of Michigan medical historian and PBS contributor Dr. Howard Markel joined Stateside to talk about some of the mysteries that still remain about this iconic artist. He started with the famous story of Van Gogh cutting off his own ear. 

Grocery store shelves, restaurant menus and cookbooks are a lot different in 2017 than they were 30 or 40 years ago.

Americans tend to pay a lot more attention to the food we eat and how it's prepared. We know more about fine wines. Many of us seek out organic fruits and vegetables, and are willing to try exotic foods our parents and grandparents couldn't even imagine.

But, at the same time, we've seen the income inequality gap widen. How has "good food" become conflated with high status?

For over a hundred years, the Flint Scottish Pipe Band has celebrated the Scottish highlands in mid-Michigan. It is the oldest pipe band in the state of Michigan, and the eleventh oldest in the nation. 

Get a group of Michiganders together, add a deck of cards, and chances are pretty good you'll wind up with a game of euchre.

It was once dubbed "the queen of all card-games" and was wildly popular in the late 1800s. But its popularity waned through the 20th century. That is, except in Michigan and a handful of Midwestern states, nicknamed the “Euchre Belt.”

Two young people kept their love alive throughout World War II with letters – hundreds of them.

Photographer John Robert Williams shows a portrait he took of Gov. William Milliken. Williams recently donated his film collection to the Traverse Area District Library.
Dan Wanschura

John Robert Williams has been a professional photographer in Northern Michigan for over 40 years.

Recently, he donated his film collection to the Traverse Area District Library. It includes portraits of people, scenic landscapes, fine art shots, architecture, and much more.

 

 


“Today is the day that will live in infamy,” in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt.

This is the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor – the attack that propelled the United States into World War II.

The next year, some Hollywood heavyweights produced a propaganda film called Fellow Americans designed to boost support for the war.

It was narrated by Jimmy Stewart, the first movie star to enter military service. At the time of this film he was a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.


Archeology is not just about digging into prehistory, coming up with arrowheads, pottery shards and mastodon bones.

It can also give us a window into the not-too-distant past.

Say, the campus of Michigan State University in the mid-1800s.

That’s what Autumn Beyer is doing in her work with the MSU Campus Archeology Program. She’s studying what students and professors ate in the early days at Michigan State and how they got that food.

 

There’s no better way to understand what lies ahead than to take a look at our history.

Gleaves Whitney sat down with us today to talk about what history might tell us about Donald Trump’s Election Day victory and the turmoil and division that’s been left in the wake of this long, tough campaign.

 

Broadway musicals have covered a dizzying array of subjects. It may be hard to believe, but that list includes the life and trials of a young physician.

On this evening, 69 years ago, the medical musical "Allegro" opened on Broadway.

Although it’s long been forgotten, University of Michigan medical historian Dr. Howard Markel believes the lessons taught by "Allegro" are worth remembering today.

The next time you're at the doctor's office and you notice all the hand washing and sterile equipment, think of President James Garfield and count your blessings that it's 2016 and not 1881.

On this day in 1881, President Garfield died, completing what Dr. Howard Markel describes as "an agonizing march towards oblivion that began on July 2." 

Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

If you live Up North and you want to see big-name musicians live, you often have to drive to Grand Rapids or Detroit. That’s because it’s difficult – and expensive – to get popular artists to travel so far out of their way.

But 50 years ago, a small teen nightclub in Harbor Springs was drawing acts like the Beach Boys and Roy Orbison. Club Ponytail was a major hot spot for young people all over northern Michigan until it burned down in 1969.

Morgan Springer

This past year, the Traverse City Historical Society received a diary. The diary was donated by a woman from Kalamazoo who bought it at an antique store in Traverse City while on vacation. It was written in 1919 by a 15-year-old boy who lived in town. The author didn't identify himself.  The Kalamazoo woman gave the historical society the diary with one request: figure out who wrote it.

So here you are, the first on your block to buy Henry Ford's Model T. 

But roads are often dirt-covered, getting your newfangled automobile all grubby. And maybe you don't feel like hauling out buckets of water to wash it. 

If you lived in Detroit in 1914, you had a solution: take your care to the Automobile Laundry, the very first automated car wash in the country. 

Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to own your own lighthouse, there’s one for sale in the Manitou Passage. The federal government is auctioning off the 81-year-old North Manitou Shoal Light, with an opening bid of $10,000.

The auction is part of an effort to restore and maintain Michigan’s historic lighthouses. But restoring a lighthouse might be more difficult than you think.

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