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Michigan: Wolverine State

CAPITAL: Lansing
JOINED UNION: January 26, 1837
STATE FLOWER: Apple Blossom
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Based on Chippewa Indian word "meicigama" meaning "great water" and refers to the Great Lakes
1992 POPULATION: 9,436,628
LAND AREA: 56,809 square miles
ECONOMY: Automobiles (Detroit is nicknamed "Motor City"), machine tools, airplane parts, agriculture, livestock, mining, tourism
HISTORY: The first white person to view Michigan was French explorer Etienne Brule in 1618, followed by Jolliet, Marquette, and fur traders. The first permanent settlement began in 1668 at Sault Ste. Marie. Britain gained hold of the area in 1763. After the war, Michigan was the site of many conflicts between British and U.S. forces, each supported by various Indian tribes. In 1812, the British seized Fort Mackinac and Detroit; later America recaptured these sites, thanks to a battle on Lake Erie led by Commodore Oliver Perry. In addition to cars, Detroit was the home of Motown, a shortening of Motor Town, which became a highly successful music company that recorded black singing artists such as Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, the Supremes, the Four Tops, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. While today Motown Records is based in Los Angeles, its distinct sound made Detroit famous.

The Galloping Ghost 1924


In an October 18, 1924 game against Michigan to dedicate the University of Illinois' new Memorial Stadium, Illini running back Red Grange had one of the greatest days in college football history. He returned the opening kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown, then scored on runs of 67, 56 and 44 yards, all in the first 11 minutes of the game. He later scored a fifth touchdown, threw for a sixth and accounted for 402 total yards.

Afterward, a Michigan coach tried to downplay Grange's performance by scoffing, "All he can do is run." Illini coach Robert Zuppke replied, "And all Galli-Curci can do is sing." Grange, who soon became known by his fancy moniker, "The Galloping Ghost of the Gridiron" (usually shortened to simply "The Galloping Ghost"), was the person most responsible for the surge in popularity of professional football. A three-time All-America at Illinois, his decision to sign with the Chicago Bears immediately after his final collegiate game in 1925 caused unprecedented excitement (and also unprecedented protest from the college ranks, leading to the passage of a long-standing rule prohibiting a player from turning pro until his college class had graduated).

Grange played his first pro game on Thanksgiving Day, 1925, and 36,000 fans jammed Wrigley Field to watch a 0-0 tie. Grange and the Bears went on to play nine games in the next 15 days, packing stadiums across the Midwest and East. Grange pocketed an unheard of $50,000 from the tour, and another $50,000 from a subsequent sweep of the South and Far West. It turned out to be a bargain, because the publicity Grange generated helped established the fledgling pro league.

Grange went on to play professionally through 1935, and eventually was named to both the collegiate and professional Halls of Fame. "What a football player -- this man Red Grange," wrote Damon Runyon. "He is melody and symphony. He is crashing sound. He is brute force."

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