This morning I crossed the Mackinac Bridge into the lower peninsula of Michigan. The bridge is the longest suspension bridge in north America and third in the world. (10 years ago Japan built two longer bridges). Sadly bicycles are prohibited, so a bridge authority worker gave me a lift in his pickup. He was full of cool facts (like the one above) and rocked one of the best mullets I’ve seen this millennium.
So in saying farewell to the upper peninsula, I figured a bit of history was in order. Originally thought to be a barren wasteland of uselessness, the UP was originally not part of Michigan. Due to a bit of mismapping, the great states of Ohio and Michigan actually went to WAR with each other in the 1800’s. (Crazy, right? It’s actually not just a college football thing) The two states had a dispute over a border section of land know as the Toledo Strip, a very important commerce port between great lakes back then (much like Buffalo NY). The war was considered bloodless, but I believe someone got shot in the arm but nonetheless, no fatalities. It’s all on wikipedia if you need references.
In the end, Ohio won control of the Toledo Strip and as a concession Michigan was granted the upper peninsula. At the time Michigan considered it huge loss, but since then the port of Toledos importance has diminished and a huge rich amount of minerals and ores have been mined out of the UP; not to mention the timber and tourism it generates.
When I look at it, in the end Wisconsin was the real loser of that inter-state war, and they weren’t even a state at the time.