History

Michigan Dates in History - September

Contributor: Trish Stroh

From the first B-24 Bomber produced at Willow Run to Detroit speedboat racer Gar Wood setting a world record of 124 MPH — September is full interesting anniversaries and memories for the Great Lakes State. How many of these did you know?

 

September 1, 1796

The American flag flew over Fort Mackinac for the first time as the British withdrew under provisions of the Jay Treaty, 1794.

 

September 1, 1888

The Detroit Institute of Arts opens as the Detroit Museum of Art on Jefferson Avenue.

 

September 1, 1894

Labor Day is declared by Congress a National Holiday.

 

September 1, 1939

Actor/Comedian Lily Tomlin was born in Detroit.

 

September 1, 1969

The law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets went into effect. It was changed 46 years later.

 

September 3, 1783

Michigan becomes part the United States. Major Ephraim Douglass enters Detroit on July 4. However, the British refuse to surrender the forts in Detroit and Mackinac.

 

September 3, 1877

The University of Detroit started classes with 84 students.

 

September 3, 1911

The Wright brothers brought an airplane to Grand Rapids offering fair goers their first chance to fly.

 

September 4, 1979

Jack Laporte of Flint swam 4 miles across the Straits of Mackinac between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas in 3 hours while 23,000 others made the traditional Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge.

 

September 7, 1959

Governor G. Mennen Williams led the first 15,000 hikers across the Mackinac Bridge in what has become a Labor Day tradition.

 

September 9, 1938

The Detroit Lions moved their games to Briggs Stadium, later Tiger Stadium. They continued to play there until moving to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975.

 

September 10, 1942

The first of 8,685 B-24 Bombers were produced at Willow Run.

 

September 14, 1875

George B. Pierce of Grand Rapids received a patent for the Pierce Spinner, the fist patent for a fishing lure to be issued to anyone in Michigan. This was the start of an industry in which numerous Michigan companies have produced hundreds of thousands of lures.

 

September 14, 1976

The Plaza Hotel, the centerpiece of the Renaissance Center opened. At the time it was the world’s tallest hotel.

 

September 15, 1886

The first classes were held at the Michigan Mining School in the Houghton Town Hall. The school, created to train mining engineers, is now Michigan Technological University.

 

September 15, 1913

Former US Attorney General John Mitchell was born in Detroit.

 

September 18, 1981

Michigan’s only presidential museum, the Gerald R. Ford Museum, opened in Grand Rapids.

 

September 18, 1987

Pope John Paul II made an historic visit to Detroit.

 

September 19, 1844

While doing a government survey near Negaunee, William Austin Burt noted that his magnetic compass didn’t work right. As he and his men tried to understand the fluctuations, they found deposits of iron ore. Three years later the Jackson Mining Company began mining on the spot.

 

September 19, 1876

Melville R. Bissell of Grand Rapids patented the first carpet sweeper. He ran a china shop and the straw used for packaging aggravated his allergies. He built a device to pick-up dirt rather than scatter dust.

 

September 19, 1891

The St. Clair tunnel between Sarnia and Port Huron was opened. It was built by the Grand Trunk Railway and it was the first railroad tunnel to connect two countries.

 

September 20, 1932

Detroit speedboat racer, Gar Wood set a world record of 124 MPH in his Miss America X, on the St. Clair River.

 

September 21, 1911

President William Howard Taft visited Kalamazoo. He laid the cornerstone for the new YMCA replacing one destroyed by fire. After short speeches at Kalamazoo College and Western State Normal School, he closed the day with a major speech on settling international disputes through arbitration.

 

September 23, 1915

Organic Chemist John Sheehan was born in Battle Creek.

 

September 25, 1849

The first annual Michigan State Fair is held in Detroit.