From Aretha Franklin becoming the first female vocalist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Michigan's birthday — January is full interesting anniversaries and memories for the Great Lakes State. How many of these did you know? 


January 1, 1867

Railroad carferry service began on the Detroit River with the first crossing of the Great Western between Windsor and Detroit.

January 1, 1900

The Chicago & West Michigan, the Flint & Pere Marquette, and the Grand Rapids & Western were consolidated to form the Pere Marquette Railroad.

January 1, 1919

Edsel Ford succeeds his father, Henry Ford, as president of the Ford Motor Company. When Edsel Ford, Henry’s only son, died of stomach cancer in 1943, Henry returned to the presidency of the company for two years before being replaced by his grandson, Henry Ford II in 1945.

January 2, 1837

The first regular session of the Michigan state legislature convened in Detroit.

January 2, 1902

Michigan defeated Sanford, 49–0, in the first Rose Bowl game.

January 2, 1970

Clifton Wharton became president of Michigan State University, the first African American president of any major US college.

January 2, 1974

Coleman Young took office as Detroit’s first African American mayor. He served 20 years.

January 2, 1975

Actor Dax Shepard was born in Milford Michigan.

January 4, 1843

Michigan’s first governor, Stevens T. Mason, died in New York at age 31.

January 6, 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time in Michigan at the Second Baptist Church in Detroit.

January 6, 1912

Actor/Singer Danny Thomas was born in Deerfield.

January 10, 1945

In a speech in the Senate, Arthur Vandenburg of Grand Rapids, a leading Republican isolationist, announced a dramatic change in his thinking–He was now convinced that in the wake of World War II, the United States must play a leading role in world affairs. He later became a delegate to the conference to organize the United Nations, supported the Marshall Plan, and made the motion in the Senate that led to the formation of NATO.

January 11, 1805

The Territory of Michigan was established with Detroit as its capital.

January 12, 1904

Henry Ford set the world speed record at 91.37 MPH driving the “999” on ice covered Lake St. Clair.

January 15, 1890

Progressive Detroit shoemaker, Hazen “Potatoes” Pingree, became mayor.

January 17, 1983

Last business day for downtown Detroit’s J.L. Hudson Department Store.

January 18, 1802

Detroit was incorporated as Michigan’s first city.

January 19, 1915

The first Kiwanis Club was founded in Detroit.

January 20, 1880

World’s first international telephone line opened between Detroit and Windsor.

January 21, 1670

Rouge River (St. Anne’s River) was discovered by French explorer, Robert de LaSalle.

January 21, 1987

Motown singer Aretha Franklin became the first female vocalist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

January 22, 1813

In the bloodiest battle ever fought in Michigan, British troops with strong Indian support surprised American troops at Frenchtown (Monroe) on the Raisin River. Major George Madison was convinced to surrender after he was promised his men would be protected.

January 23, 1915

Supreme Court Justice, Potter Steward was born in Jackson.

January 26, 1837

Congress formally accepted Michigan as a state after Michigan reluctantly agreed to the Enabling Act thus giving up its claim to the Toledo Strip. In exchange Michigan acquired the western part of the Upper Peninsula.

January 26, 2004

Governor Granholm introduced the Michigan Quarter, the 26th quarter in the U.S. Mint’s 50 States Quarter Program.

January 27, 1883

The first electric lights in Michigan were installed at Metcalf’s dry goods store in Detroit.

January 28, 1958

Ozzie Virgil became the first African American player for the Detroit Tigers. He was acquired by trade from the San Francisco Giants.

January 29, 1945

Actor Tom Selleck was born in Detroit.

January 30, 1922

Comedian Dick Martin was born in Battle Creek.

January 30, 1933

First broadcast of the Lone Ranger on Detroit’s WXYZ.


Tags: History