From the Detroit Zoo opening to Madonna's birthday — August is full interesting anniversaries and memories for the Great Lakes State. How many of these did you know?


August 1, 1928

The Detroit Zoological Park, with its barless exhibits opened.


August 1, 1929

Eight Eagle Scouts boarded a Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company boat for a trip to Mackinac Island. They were the first of thousands of scouts to serve as guides and honor guards at Fort Mackinac.


August 3, 1863

Streetcars pulled by horses are first used on Jefferson and Woodward Avenues.  A ride cost 5 cents.


August 4, 1929

The Water Lily, a small passenger ferry started operating from Copper Harbor to Isle Royale. This was the first regular service from Michigan. Prior to this visitors came from Minnesota or Ontario. Isle Royal National Park was authorized in 1931.


August 6, 1945

In the first recorded University of Michigan graduation ceremony, 11 men received bachelor-of-arts degrees at the Ann Arbor Presbyterian Church.


August 7, 1926

Grand River Avenue was opened to traffic as the first paved road across the state. Much of the work between Lansing and Farmington was done with prison labor.


August 8, 1933

Colleges of the City of Detroit, later Wayne State University, was organized.


August 8, 1970

200,000 rock fans gather at Goose Lake in Michigan’s “Woodstock.” Many of the young attendees went hungry when the free food tent ran out of food.


August 8, 1978

Former President Gerald Ford dedicated the Ford Freeway, a 79-mile segment of I-196 between St. Joseph and Grand Rapids. When Ford an alumni of the University of Michigan lifted the U of M flag covering the road sign, he found that a green and white Michigan State flag still covered the sign.


August 9, 1975

Grand Rapids resident Gerald R. Ford became President of the United States when Richard Nixon resigned to avoid being impeached for his role in trying to cover-up the Watergate burglary. Ford had been appointed vice-president when Spiro Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal so he was the only person to become president without being elected to a national office.


August 11, 1971

In an operation at Detroit’s Mount Sinai Hospital, Haskell Shanks became the first American to receive a mechanical heart pump.


August 13, 1817

President James Monroe visits Detroit, the first U.S. President to do so. Monroe city and county are named in his honor.


August 13, 1867

The Detroit Baseball Club hosted the “World’s Tournament of Baseball.” The tournament lasted eight days and drew teams from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Canada. The Jackson Unknowns defeated the Allegheny Club of Pennsylvania to win the title.


August 13, 1988

The Palace of Auburn Hills opened.


August 14, 1959

Retired basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson was born in Lansing.


August 15, 1885

American novelist Edna Ferber was born in Kalamazoo.


August 15, 1960

Cobo Hall in Detroit was officially opened.


August 16, 1958

Singer Madonna (Louise Veronica Ciccone) was born in Bay City.


August 17, 1923

Henry Ford’s yacht, Sailia, arrived at Escanaba carrying Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison for a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula. During the trip Firestone tested the first balloon tires.


August 17, 1980

Al Kaline became the first Detroit Tiger to have his uniform number (#6) retired.


August 18, 1961

Robert Warren “Bob” Woodruff actor and writer, known for China Inside Out: Bob Woodruff Reports (2008), Good Morning America (1975). Was born in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.


August 19, 1951

Owner of the St. Louis Browns, baseball entrepreneur, Bill Veeck sent a midget, 3’ 7” Eddie Gaedell, in to bat against the Detroit Tigers. He walked on 4 pitches. Major league baseball quickly passed a rule that all players had to be at least 4’ 8” tall.


August 21, 1984

Railroad carferry service between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas was terminated. The Chief Wawatam was the last hand-fired coal burning boat on the Great Lakes.


August 21, 2003

A massive power failure starting in Ohio struck much of the eastern United States and Canada. Parts of Michigan including Detroit were without electrical power for three days.


August 23, 1975

62,094 football fans watched the Detroit Lions beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first game played in the Pontiac Silverdome.


August 24, 1915

The state began paying a bounty of 5 cents apiece for dead rats.


Tags: History