Items of potential interest to government documents librarians or government information managers in Michigan. For more information contact Jon Harrison at email@example.com.
How could fictitious towns have been placed on a state highway map? Peter Fletcher, then Chairman of the Michigan State Highway Commission, admitted responsibility. To learn more, this author went directly to the source. I spoke to Peter Fletcher himself on October 24, 2008.
Mr. Fletcher told me the story behind this infamous map. He explained that a fellow University of Michigan alumnus had been teasing him about the Mackinac Bridge colors. According to Fletcher, this man wondered how Fletcher, as State Highway Commission Chairman, could allow the Bridge to be painted green and white. Those were the colors of Michigan State University! Mr. Fletcher noted that the bridge colors were in compliance with federal highway regulations, so he had no choice in that matter. He did, however, have more control over the state highway map. Mr. Fletcher said that he thus ordered a cartographer to insert the two fictitious towns. These towns displayed his loyalty to his alma mater.
Mr. Fletcher noted that the map accurately depicted the area within Michigan state lines. His imaginary towns were placed in Ohio, outside the map's focus. "We have no legal liability for anything taking place in that intellectual swamp south of Monroe," Mr. Fletcher jokingly told me. He added that he had never forgiven Ohio for the Toledo War of 1835!
Today, the 1978-1979 edition of the official State of Michigan transportation map, with the Beatosu and Goblu towns, is a collector's item!
For the full story, see Beatosu and Goblu, Ohio, an Image of the Month from the State of Michigan Historical Archives.
A copy of the map is available in the MSU Map Library Call Locked Cabinet, 843-b D-1978/79
Although it had been closed for a number of years, it was still sad on October 24, 1998 when Mayor Dennis Archer pressed a button to implode the the downtown Detroit Hudson's Building.
At the time, Hudson's was the largest and tallest building ever imploded.
Hudson's Implosion via YouTube
On this day, on a practice run from Goose Bay, Labroador to Lincoln, Nebraska during the height of the Cold War, a four-engine British Vulcan military jet tore through treetops before burying itself in Detroit among houses on Ashland near Scripps, leaving behind a trench 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. Mud, red-hot debris, and jet fuel rained down on Harbor Island, the one-street island directly across the canal from Ashland. Splintered boards and timbers from the shattered seawall flew like giant matchsticks. “A car got blown from the foot of Ashland across the canal,” Schwartz says. “The transmission was stuck in the seawall.” Pieces of the plane and crew were scattered over a seven-block area. A 6-foot wing section landed on a porch, while a 1-pound fitting hit the back of a terrified paperboy. For blocks around, the force of the explosion cracked plaster walls, blew out windows, and even ripped a garage door off its hinges. Although the entire British air crew were blown to bits, no one in Detroit died.
For the full article, see Richard Bak, "Mayday! Fifty years ago, a British bomber crashed into an east-side Detroit neighborhood", Hour Detroit, July 2008.
Robert Fish, a native of Gladwin, MI, joined the Army Air Corps in 1939, received his wings in 1940, and would serve in the military for the next 30 years. During World War II, he played an instrumental role in planning and executing a secret military operation : "Operation Carpetbagger". The Carpetbaggers completed 1860 sorties, delivering 20,495 packages of supplies to resistance fighters, and released more than 1000 Joes and Josephines (parachutists) into enemy territy between January 1944 and May 1945.
For more information, see Bernice Miller Sizemore, Remembering Michigan's Carpetbaggers, Michigan History, January/February 2013, pp. 47-51.
On Oct. 24, 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher from Bay City became the first person to conquer Niagara Falls in a barrel. Annie Edson Taylor hoped plunging over the falls would help her earn some money on the lecture circuit.
She was a widow who had recently failed at an attempt to start a dance school and was near financial ruin. She survived the stunt with just a few minor injuries, and said, "Nobody ought ever to do that again." Taylor was unable to cash in on her fame, however, and her life ended in poverty. She spent her last years autographing postcards at Niagara Falls.
Michigan Every Day
Marvin Kusmierz , Anna Edson Taylor (1839-1921) entry from Bay Journal.
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