Chelsea is incorporated on this day in 1864.
Settled in 1834, this Washtenaw County community was first called Kedron until it was renamed after Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Source : Michigan History magazine, October 2003.
Michigan’s first attempt at a live mascot was carried off by no less a tradition-builder than Fielding Yost himself, longtime head football coach (1901-1923, 1925-1926) and athletic director (1921-1941), first at the Michigan Stadium Dedication Game against Ohio State (Oct. 22, 1927) and again when Michigan played Navy that season.
Yost was a visionary but he was also a competitor. He built Michigan Stadium so that, some day, it could be expanded to fit some 300,000 football fans. (Michigan Stadium is not even halfway there more than eight decades later.) And Yost’s competitive nature drove him to pursue a live mascot for the Wolverines football team.
The rival Wisconsin Badgers had wowed fans by using a live badger to rally support back in 1923. Almost immediately Yost set about one-upping the team from Madison by bringing in a live, caged wolverine. Two of them, actually, Bennie and Biff.
“Today, for the first time in the annals of Michigan gridiron history, a Maize and Blue team will take the field of battle with two live Wolverines as mascots on the sidelines,” the Michigan Daily declared the morning of Oct. 22, 1927, the day of the dedication game. The wolverines were a gift of two Detroit-based alums, Fred Lawton and Clark Hyatt, both of the Class of 1911.
“Up until today,” the article continued, “Michigan teams have had a mascot, and that mascot was a wolverine, a mounted one that has graced the trophy case in the administration building at Ferry Field for some time.”
The plan was for the wolverines — Bennie and Biff — to be walked around on leashes. And when Michigan faced Navy that November, the wolverines were going to meet Navy’s mascot, a live goat, at midfield. But Biff and Bennie proved too vicious for any of that.
The live wolverines were a disaster. When Biff was first placed into his cage a week before the game, he snapped a bar in two with his teeth. Said Yost of the wolverine experiment, which ended after that first season: “It was obvious that the Michigan mascots had designs on the Michigan men toting them, and those designs were by no means friendly.” After the season, Bennie was sent to the Detroit Zoo while Biff was placed in the now-defunct University of Michigan Zoo.
For the full article, see James David Dickson, “The wolverine that wasn’t”, Michigan Today, June 16, 2011.
On Oct. 22, 1927, Michigan Stadium (The Big House) in Ann Arbor was dedicated as Michigan defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 21-0 before a capacity crowd of 84,401.
General admission tickets sold for three dollars. The 11,114 student-ticket purchasers had to pay a 50-cent surcharge on the normal $2.50 price for this and the other “big games” of the year. The box seats in the lower rows went for four and five dollars. More than 17,000 tickets were sold at Ohio State.
Nearly 1,000 Boy Scouts, from all over Michigan, plus a few from Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, were on hand to usher the ticket holders to their seats. A crowd of nearly 85,000 was on hand as the dedication ceremonies got under way at 2 p.m.
As a football spectacle, of course, the day wholly surpassed anything in Michigan history. As the Michigan Alumnus writer noted, “Ann Arbor flung open its gates to a horde of visitors nearly triple the size of its own population – and the new stadium swallowed them by two o-clock in the afternoon.”
The dedication ceremony itself was simple. Michigan Governor Fred W. Green and his Ohio counterpart Vince Donahey, and Presidents C.C. Little of Michigan and George W. Rightmire of Ohio, led the massed bands of the two universities onto the field from the east tunnel. The bands paraded to the flag pole where the national ensign was raised and the vast throng stood bareheaded during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “The Yellow and Blue.” The Detroit Free Press carried a particularly colorful account of the ceremonies.
With the formalities completed, the Stadium was turned over to the use for which it was built.
The state’s first official historic marker was dedicated on the campus of Michigan State University on this day. It commemorated the founding of the first state supported agricultural college in the country.
Michigan State University
On this site stood College Hall, the first building in the United States erected for the teaching of scientific agriculture. Here began the first college of its kind in America, and the model for Land-Grant colleges established under the Morrill Act of 1862. This act granted lands for the endowment of colleges to provide for “liberal and practical pursuits and professions in life.”
Michigan Historical Calendar courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.
Back in the day before data sheets and computers, runners were registered by friends and family members of Neal Shine, a Detroit Free Press reporter, who organized the first Detroit Free Press Marathon. A 27-year old college instructor from Bowling Green Ohio, Robert McOmber was the first male to cross the finish line, and Erma Tranter, a former Detroiter, was the women’s winner. 3000 runners participated.
Source : Kayla Daugherty, “How non-running newspaper guy launched the Detroit Free Press marathon“, Detroit Free Press, September 29, 2017.
More Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon information.
It’s been more than a century since the original Lansing Brewing Company closed in 1914 due to local prohibition.
One of the first breweries in Michigan’s Capitol city, the Lansing Brewing Company supplied craft beer to artisans, laborers and tradesmen as they built our city over a century ago. Opened a year after Ransom E. Olds’ historic automobile ride down a city street in 1897, the Lansing Brewing Company welcomed its first customers.
The brewery’s impressive architecture graced the early Lansing skyline. The full-production brewery was located near the heart of the city so the beer could be delivered fresh and quickly to local watering holes.
The brewery quickly made a name for itself with its Amber Cream Ale, the local beer of choice for everyone from laborers to statesmen. The beer’s popularity continued until the pressure of the local dry crusaders, temperance movement and generally un-fun people proved too much to overcome. Eventually, the momentum toward Prohibition lead to the closing of Lansing Brewing Company in 1914.
The recipe for Amber Crème Ale was lost for more than 100 years, and it’s a rare style in the Midwest. When head brewer Sawyer Stevens attempted to resurrect the dead recipe, he had to play around with it.
“It was really cool to recreate,” Stevens said. “It’s got a subtle caramel malt to it. It’s a beer that goes down easy.”
All told, Stevens and the brewing staff made 12 beers for the opening, filling 580 kegs.
The new reincarnation is located at 518 E. Shiawassee St.
For the full article, see Alexander Alusheff, “Lansing Brewing Company opens to beer-thirsty crowd”, Lansing State Journal, October 23, 2015.
Imagine it this way: It’s like a jet ski powered by Rolls-Royce engines that’s longer than a football field, with room for a helicopter and 98 friends. It’s also not something to mess with.
The new USS Detroit, classified as a littoral combat ship (LCS), cost approximately $440 million.
The USS Detroit is part of a new controversial breed of naval vessel, which operates with speed, agility and is designed to work in shallow waters. It is, according to one of its designers, “not like anything else out there.” It’s designed to be quickly modified, even at sea, to take on different missions.
“The fact (Detroit) has had six ships named after it — most names in the Navy are rarely given more than once or twice,” said historian Mark Evans, who works with the Naval History and Heritage Command.
For the full article, see Jim Lynch, “USS Detroit: A new breed of ship for U.S. Navy“, Detroit News, October 13, 2016
USS Detroit (LCS 7) Joins Navy’s Fleet“, Navy Live Blog, October 22, 2016.
Bonus: A History of Ships That Bore the Name USS Detroit
Ships bearing the name “Detroit” on behalf of the United States Navy began patrolling the world’s waters over two centuries ago and have played a role in events that shaped history.
Sunset at Amherstburg Naval Yard during the War of 1812 painting by Peter Rindlisbacher. In the midst of supply shortages, the crew of the new flagship HMS Detroit is seen fitting a sail borrowed from the HMS Queen Charlotte anchored on the right. After their defeat on the Lake, the British abandoned this site, and located their new Upper Lakes naval base at Penetanguishene, on Lake Huron.
In the midst of the War of 1812, British and American forces traded control of Detroit following incursions into each others’ territory. Britain commissioned the construction of the HMS Detroit, launched in August 1813. Its relatively small design made the ship ideal for scouting and carrying dispatches. Within a month, the sloop of war was engaged with American vessels in the Battle of Lake Erie, where it was heavily damaged, captured by the Americans and renamed the USS Detroit. “She was 12-guns at the Battle of Lake Erie … not a large ship for the most part,” said Mark Evans, a historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command. “It was a fierce battle. (The Americans) shot her to pieces and captured her from the British. When the smoke cleared, however, what was left of the Detroit was barely seaworthy. American ships towed her out of Lake Erie’s open waters and into the safety of Put-in-Bay. The Detroit stayed there for the next 12 years until she was sold to a private interest.
The second USS Detroit also started out with a different name: The USS Canandaigua. Launched in the midst of the Civil War, she was designed to help the Union choke off Confederate ports in what was appropriately called the Anaconda Plan. With a shallow draft, the Canandaigua could reach places its larger, heavier brethren could not. “You had this combination of blockading Confederate ports from the sea and smaller ships sailing up rivers like the Mississippi and the Missouri … sneaking into various ports,” Evans said. “Ships like the Canandaigua could pursue blockade runners into the narrow estuaries while the larger ones sat offshore to tangle with the heavier ships.” The Canandaigua was renamed the USS Detroit in 1869 and served the states for another six years until decommissioning.
The third USS Detroit was a cruiser built at Baltimore’s Columbian Iron Works and launched late in 1891 and commissioned on July 20, 1893. Her earliest action came in Caribbean and Latin American waters. In countries with uprisings and conflict, the USS Detroit would often land troops, or bluejackets, in order to protect American interests and provide a show of force. During the Spanish-American War, the third USS Detroit was part of a squadron that shelled Fort San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morrow in May 1898. Despite its success, the USS Detroit was a troubled vessel that served only 14 years. She was decommissioned in 1910.
The fourth USS Detroit is ready for launching in Massachusetts on June 29, 1922 — four years too late for World War I, but well-timed to play a role in the follow-up. Like its predecessor, the ship spent its earliest years in Latin American waters as well as in the Atlantic. The fourth USS Detroit was classified as a light cruiser. It was 555 feet 6 inches long, steam powered and could accommodate 458. The fourth USS Detroit was moored at Pearl Harbor’s Ford Island on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Imperial Japanese Navy executed its infamous attack. The Detroit floated between the USS Utah and the USS Raleigh. A pair of torpedoes struck the Utah, sinking it. Aboard the Detroit, crew members reported a torpedo passed by its own stern — missing by just 30 yards. With many sailors ashore on leave, the USS Detroit’s remaining crew faced the task of getting their ship into the fight. Getting up to steam was huge to begin with with the reduced crew,” Evans said. “But she got up to steam and got underway with guns blazing. It was pretty dramatic.” USS Detroit gunners reported downing a pair of Japanese aircraft, but the reports were not officially confirmed. The Detroit’s after-action report showed the ship fired 10,000 .50-caliber rounds in the battle. With Japan about to take control of the Philippines, the USS Detroit received a load of gold bullion from the submarine USS Trout at Pearl Harbor and delivered it safely to the port of San Francisco. At the end of the war, the USS Detroit accompanied the USS Missouri and other ships to Tokyo Bay for the surrender of Japan, Sept. 2, 1945. It was decommissioned at Philadelphia on Jan. 11, 1946.
In the summer of 1969, the fifth iteration of the USS Detroit emerged from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington — a fast combat support ship destined for a 35-year career. While not a direct combatant, the fifth USS Detroit served as a support ship in the Vietnam War. At a time when it appeared North Vietnamese would overrun South Vietnamese forces in 1972, more naval firepower was called the region. To help the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga reach the area quickly, the Detroit was dispatched to meet it for a resupply at sea. That allowed the Saratoga to reach Vietnam by taking the unusual route of passing south of the African continent. The fifth USS Detroit also played a combat support role during the early 1990s in the Persian Gulf during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. After 9/11, she continually deployed in that region,” Evans said. “She served in the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean hunting traffickers — everything from al-Qaida to pirates.”
The sixth USS Detroit undergoing sea trials.
The latest USS Detroit is a new class of Navy vessel, the littoral combat ship (LCS). It is designed to operate in shallow waters — areas where larger members of the U.S. fleet cannot go. The vessel’s 13.5-foot draft makes close-to-shore operation possible, while her water jet propulsion allows for a level of speed and maneuverability no other surface combat ship has. She can do a complete turn within her own 389-foot length. A Freedom variant of the LCS class, USS Detroit was built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisc. and was commissioned in Detroit on October 22nd, 2016.
The USS Detroit in the Detroit River with the Renaissance Center in the background. Detroit dignitaries participating in its dedication in Detroit include Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority chief John Jamian, County Executive Robert Ficano, Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon and Barbara Levin, wife of U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin.
Source : Jim Lynch, “USS Detroit has long, storied history”, Detroit News, October 13, 2016; updated October 19, 2016.
Robert Allan, “USS Detroit arrives at dock in Detroit River“, Detroit Free Press, October 14, 2016.
From 1898 to 1914, the Michigan Agricultural College Aggies had won only once against University of Michigan football teams in 1913, by a score of 12-7 in Ann Arbor. But on this day, the Aggies led by the standout African American tackle Gideon Smith, beat the Wolverines 24-0, and the event quickly became known as “the Slaughter”, at least in East Lansing.
By the way, the University of Michigan enjoyed home field advantage in 44 of the first 50 games.
For a photograph of the MAC team entering Ferry Field on that day, see Steve Grinezel, Michigan State Football : They are Spartans. Arcadia Press, 2003, p.2.
Clarence Monroe Burton (November 18, 1853 – October 23, 1932) was a Detroit lawyer and businessman, historian, and philanthropist.
Once asked by the newspaper what he did for recreation, Clarence Burton replied, “work hard at old books.” Blow him a kiss next time you visit the library.
Clarence Monroe Burton was born in Whiskey Diggings, a California gold rush town, in November 1853. His parents – Charles Seymour Burton, a doctor, and Annie Monroe Burton, a poet – had come to California in a wagon train from Battle Creek, Michigan, earlier that year.
Whatever fortune they sought there, they must not have found it, because they packed up and set out for home on the steamer Yankee Blade the following fall.
On October 1, lost in fog off the coast of Point Arguello, the Yankee Blade struck a rock. The boat broke in two.
Annie Burton, with baby Clarence on her hip and pieces of gold sewn into her skirts, tried to jump from the ship into a waiting lifeboat. She missed her mark and the two of them plunged into the rocky Pacific waters, but someone in the lifeboat grabbed Annie and pulled her and her son aboard.
Dozens of passengers drowned when the Yankee Blade sank. All of the Burtons survived. By 1855, they were back in New York. Auspicious beginnings for a man who would grow up to be – by most standards of polite society – kind of a bore.
For the rest of the story, see Amy Elliott Bragg, “Detroit’s librarian: Clarence Burton and his incredible historical collection”, Night Train, March 24, 2015.
Black and white photo of Henry Ford talking to Jean and Jeannette Piccard in front of the gondola to the balloon used in their Stratosphere Flight, as cosmic ray researcher Dr. William Francis Gray Swann peeks out through the gondola’s hatch.
On October 23, 1934, the husband-and-wife team of Jean and Jeannette Piccard navigated a balloon as high as 10.9 miles above the earth, starting from Dearborn, Michigan, and landing many hours later hundreds of miles away in Ohio. This flight reached the stratosphere.
Along for the ride was Jean’s pet turtle, Fleur de Lys. The couple’s two sons – Don, 8, and Paul, 10 – were among the 45,000 spectators who witnessed the takeoff at the Ford Airport in Dearborn, Mich.
“I was nervous right after the take-off,” Jeannette Piccard told a United Press reporter. “The wind bumped the gondola around a great deal, but before long we began to ascend rapidly and when we got into the upper air it was very calm. We hardly seemed to be moving, but I guess that sometimes we must have been drifting at 90 miles an hour or more.”
Jeannette Piccard’s flight set the women’s altitude record, and held it for 29 years, until Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 became the first woman in space, orbiting the Earth 48 times solo in the Soviet Union’s Vostok 6. According to the editors of Flying magazine, in their book Sport Flying, published by Ziff-Davis in 1976, Jeannette was “the first woman in space, a claim allowed even by Valentina Tereshkova.” She was also the first woman to pilot a flight to the stratosphere, and according to her obituary in The New York Times, the first person to do so through a layer of clouds.
The Henry Ford has digitized about 40 photographs and documents related to the flight. Here are some reposted by the Detroit Historical Society.
Ellice Engdahl, “Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Piccards’ Flight”, Henry Ford Blog, January 20, 2014.
Ben Welter, “Oct. 23, 1934: Journey to the edge of space”, Star Tribune, October 18, 2010.