A gigantic map of all the cool plaques in the world. A project of 99% Invisible. Logo by Chop Shop

Israelite House of David / Mary's City of David

Based on the teachings of the Christian Israelite tradition begun by Joanna Southcott in England in 1792, Benjamin and Mary Purnell founded the House of David communal religious community in ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Michigan Becomes a State

On this site in 1836, delegates from all parts of Michigan met in Washtenaw County’s first courthouse to consider a proposal by Congress for settling the boundary dispute between Michigan and Ohio. ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Fort Brady

On July 6, 1822, a battalion of American troops under Colonel Hugh Brady reached the Sault, thereby reconfirming the assertion of American authority over this region made by Lewis Cass in 1820. Fort ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Bishop Baraga's First Church

Near this site, on May 15, 1832, the Right Reverend Frederic Baraga, then a young Catholic missionary to the Indians, established and blessed his first church. A small building of logs and bark, it ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Michelson Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1882, residents of Grayling built the town’s first church for the Methodist Episcopal congregation that had organized in 1879. In 1918, local lumberman Nels Michelson donated funds to erect a ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

St. Clair River

Linking the Upper and Lower Great Lakes, this river has become one of the world’s great marine highways. In the 1700s canoes passed by here with furs destined to adorn Europe’s royalty. Ships built ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Michigan's Petroleum Industry

In 1860 State Geologist Alexander Winchell reported that oil and gas deposits lay under Michigan’s surface. First commercial production was at Port Huron where twenty-two wells were drilled, ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Wallaceville School

Constructed in 1824 as a church, the original log building on this site was the first school in Bucklin (later Dearborn) Township. In 1829 the building became a public school. When John B. Wallace ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Wawashkamo

In 1898 Chicago cottagers founded the Wawashkamo Golf Club. By 1900 the club had been incorporated and the clubhouse had been built on the site of the 1814 Battle of Mackinac Island. Wawashkamo ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

The Polar Bears / The Polar Bears

In the summer of 1918, President Woodrow Wilson, at the urging of Britain and France, sent an infantry regiment to north Russia to fight the Bolsheviks in hopes of persuading Russia to rejoin the war ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Market Street

During the peak of the fur trade this street bustled with activity. Each July and August Indians, traders, and trappers by the thousands came here with furs from throughout the Northwest. In 1817 ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

West Highland Cemetery / West Highland Cemetery

The need for a burying ground arose soon after Highland’s first settlers arrived in the 1830s. They “laid out” an acre for cemetery use in 1835-36. The Highland Baptist Church bought the land in ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

St. Ignace Mission

In 1671 the mission of St. Ignace was established so that the Christian message could be brought to several thousand Indians living on this shore. The founder was Father Jacques Marquette, the ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Michigan Grayling/Michigan Grayling

Although fishermen had been catching this fish in such rivers as the Manistee, Pere Marquette, and Au Sable for some years, its classification as true grayling came only in 1864. The thrill ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Indian Lake Cemetery

Indian Lake Cemetery has been in use since the 1840s and contains the remains of many of the earliest settlers of Silver Creek Township. Many of the community's first funerals were held in a log ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

David Simmons House

A native of Ontario County, New York, David Simmons moved to this area around 1827. Here he farmed, eventually acquiring 156 acres of land. He built this Greek Revival house around 1843. It features ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Suomi College / Old Main

In the 1880s large numbers of Finns immigrated to Hancock to labor in the copper and lumber industries. One immigrant, mission pastor J. K. Nikander of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

The Underground Railroad

Vandalia, prior to the Civil War, was the junction of two important “lines” of the “Underground Railroad.” Slaves fleeing through Indiana and Illinois came to Cass County, where Quakers and others ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Omer Masonic Hall

This church-like white frame structure with its graceful cupola was built in 1890 as the second Arenac County Courthouse. The first courthouse on this site burned the previous year. Omer had been a ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

First Presbyterian Church

The Reverend Charles G. Clarke of Washtenaw County led eleven people in organizing the First Presbyterian Church in Unadilla on February 4, 1837. It was the township’s first religious society. The ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Thompson / Christmas Tree Ship

The Delta Lumber Company of Detroit, headed by E. L. Thompson, platted the village of Thompson in 1888. Seven different lumber companies ran the mill in the village. By 1907 the population ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Council Point / Pontiac's Council

On April 27, 1763, Obwandiyag, an Odawa who was also called Pontiac, assembled a council of warriors from various tribes near this site. He urged them to fight to maintain control of their land and ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Fort St. Joseph

Built near here in 1686 by the French explorer Duluth, this fort was the second white settlement in lower Michigan. This post guarded the upper end of the vital waterway joining Lake Erie and ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

George Armstrong Custer / "Sighting the Enemy"

Raised in Monroe, George Armstrong Custer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1861. In 1863 he became a brigadier general and commanded the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...

Sport

The tug Sport, one of the nation’s earliest steel- hulled vessels, was built for lumber and steel entrepreneur Eber Brock Ward in 1873 by the Wyandotte Iron Ship Building Works in ...

  • michigan
  • michigan histor...
  • underwater