Jo-Ann Boepple: Michigan Trivia

Published 10:06 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

boeppleAnd now for some little known facts about Michigan. Use these facts to stump your friends with “Michigan Trivia.”
The word Michigan comes from a French adaptation of the Ojibwe word meaning large water or large lake. This state is the eighth most populous state in the United States and has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world with more shoreline than any other state except Alaska.
The State motto (written in Latin) translates to: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Michigan is formed by two distinct peninsulas,(a land mass surrounded on three sides by water). Those who reside in the Upper Peninsula are referred to as “Yuppers” and those in the lower peninsula as “Trolls” (those living under a bridge). The Upper Peninsula is as large as Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. Yuppers have their own dialect which is influenced by numerous Scandinavian and Canadian immigrants who settled in the area.
Ironwood in the far western Upper Peninsula is 630 miles from the lower southeastern corner. Most of the state is in the Eastern time zone but four counties in the Upper Peninsula are in the Central Time Zone. Forty of the state’s 83 counties adjoin at least one of the Great Lakes.  Michigan is the only state that touches four of the five Great Lakes.
Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of streams.
The western shore of Michigan has many sand dunes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes rise 460 feet above Lake Michigan. Living among the dunes is the dwarf lake iris the official state wildflower.
When the Erie Canal opened in 1825, a large influx of settlers from New York and New England came to Michigan and Ohio. Ships were able to carry passengers as well as goods from the east coast to the Great Lake States. That accounts for the large number of early explorers from the New England States who settled in Edwardsburg.
Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. The J. W. Westcott II is the only boat in the world that delivers mail to ships while they are still underway.
They have been operating for 125 years.
The five largest ancestries in Michigan are German 21 percent, African-American 14 percent, Irish 11 percent, English 10 percent and Polish nearly 7 percent. Western Michigan is known for its dutch heritage and Metro Detroit for its Polish and Irish. Nearly 50 percent of the state population resides in the Detroit area.
Everyone knows of Michigan professional sports teams Detroit Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, Pistons, but see if any of your friends can match these teams names to their sports: Detroit Gems, Wheels, Falcons, Stars, Wolverines, Vipers, Fury or Shock. Or maybe the Michigan Stags, Mayhems or Panthers? And last the Grand Rapids Rampage?
If you want the answers to these questions, you can find them online. Oh, by the way, does anyone know the words to “Michigan, My Michigan,” the state song?