1907 : Faygo Founded
Nov 4 all-day

Faygo Orange Billboard from the 1940's or 1950's. Courtesy of James C. Ritchie Fine Photography

Russian immigrant brothers Ben and Perry Feigensen founded a pop brand on this day, starting with grape,  fruitpunch, and strawberry which would later be renamed as redpop as the initial flavors.  The flavors were based on the Feigenson brothers’ cake frosting recipes.

Since Feigensen would not fit on a pop bottle very well, the name was shortened to Faygo. Faygo was heavily advertised at Detroit Tiger games, and eventually spread out into 32 different states, mostly east of the Mississippi.

Author and former Free Press editor Joe Grimm’s new book, “The Faygo Book,” explores not only the timeline of the influential company, but the social history that has bonded it to the city of Detroit.

The book features an inside look into Faygo’s founders, who pledged to keep the company in Detroit, despite the tricky economic times the city has seen through the last century.

Faygo was even the last pop bottler on “Pop Alley” — where in 1935 some of Faygo’s neighbors on Gratiot Avenue on the east side of Detroit included plants and bottlers from Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, and 40 others, who eventually left the neighborhood. Faygo eventually absorbed the two cola companies buildings and connected them to make a 400,000-square-foot complex, where the headquarters still stands.

Faygo sold to National Beverage in 1987, but still is produced in Detroit.

And since the company is defined by its presence in Detroit, many infamous Detroiters have had run-ins with Faygo. In the book, Grimm notes that while Henry Ford called the drink, sold outside his factory around the turn of the century, “belly wash,”  hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse adores the soft drink so much that “Faygo showers” are an integral part of its live performances.

But let’s get one thing straight: it’s pop … not soda. But Faygo didn’t coin the term. It dates to 1868, and bottlers in Michigan were already calling themselves “pop companies” — after the sound the bottle made when opened. But the term “pop” holds steady here in Michigan, as other companies and states have adopted “soda.”

Sources :

Michigan Every Day.

Meira Gebel, “What You Never Knew About Faygo“, Detroit Free Press, September 28, 2018. (Appeared in print newspaper on October 4, 2018.)

The Faygo Book / Joe Grimm.  Detroit, Michigan : Wayne State University Press, [2018].  135pp.

Faygo : Remember When You Were a Kid.

Faygo Boat Commercial

1939: Western Michigan University’s Waldo Stadium Dedicated
Nov 4 all-day

Western Michigan has competed in football since 1906, when they played three games in their inaugural season. WMU (then Western State Teacher College) played at the current location of Waldo Stadium from 1914 until 1938, without the benefit of permanent facilities.  In 1938 the school started a fundraising campaign.  Those who donated were awarded tickets to the November 4, 1939  game against Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers.  At that game, the stadium was named after Plainwell native Dwight B. Waldo, the school’s first president and a strong advocate of Bronco Athletics.

The Broncos actually played two games at the new stadium before then on October 7 and 14, 1939 against Miami (Ohio) and Akron, winning both by 6-0.

Prior to 1939, Western Michigan’s athletic teams were known as the Hilltoppers. However, their game against Western Kentucky must have caused consternation.   Both teams had the same name!  At any rate, Western Michigan University chose a new mascot name, the Broncos.

WMU has had 11 perfect seasons at home,  (1941, 1942, 1947, 1966, 1982, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2016).

WMU’s main rival is the Central Michigan University Chippewas and they play for the WMU–CMU Rivalry Trophy.  Western Michigan University played in the inaugural International Bowl in 2007 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It did not win a bowl game until it defeated Middle Tennessee, 45–31, in the 2015 Bahamas Bowl.

P. J. Fleck was named as Broncos head coach on December 18, 2012, which, at the time, made him the youngest Division I FBS head coach.   Under Fleck, the Broncos had their best season in school history.   After six victories in a row, the Broncos were ranked at number 25 by the Coaches Poll, breaking into the top 25 for the first time in school history.   A week later, the Broncos cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time in school history by being ranked as the No. 24 team in the country.

Following the 10–0 start to the season, ESPN’s College GameDay announced the program would broadcast their weekly pregame show in Kalamazoo before the Nov. 19 game against the University of Buffalo. This marked only the second time a MAC school was featured by ESPN. The Broncos went on to defeat Buffalo, 38–0. Western Michigan ended the regular season with a 55–35 win over division rival Toledo. The win sealed their spot in the MAC championship game located at Ford Field in Detroit on December 2, 2016. The Broncos defeated Ohio in a tight 29–23 game. The win gave WMU the MAC title, sealed an undefeated regular season, and landed them in the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin. WMU entered the Cotton Bowl at 13–0 overall with an 8–0 conference record. This earned WMU the end-of-year national rankings of #12 in the AP poll, #14 in the coaches poll, and #15 in the CFP poll.

WMU earned a trip to the program’s first “New Year’s Six” bowl, the Cotton Bowl, against Wisconsin.  Unfortunately the Broncos fell behind 14–0  before making a comeback,  losing 24-16.

Western Michigan’s attendance record at Waldo Stadium was set during the 2000 opener with 36,361 fans, while the 1999 season set a record for attendance average in a season with 26,874.

The stadium normally seats 30, 200 Bronco fans.

Sources :

Western Michigan University Waldo Stadium Facilities website

Wesern Michigan University Football wikipedia entry

1952 : First Black Woman Elected to Michigan Senate
Nov 4 all-day

When she was elected on this day in 1952, Cora Mae  Brown became the first woman of color ever to serve in the Michigan Senate.

Image result for cora mae brown photo

Cora Mae Brown (April 19, 1914 – Dec. 17, 1972) was born in Alabama, but moved with her family to Michigan when she was 8 years old. After graduating from Cass Technical High School, she was encouraged by members of her community to continue her education at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tenn., where she earned a degree in sociology.

Returning to Detroit, she found a position as a social worker in the women’s division of the Detroit Police Department. As the Great Depression took its toll on her community, Brown worked to help young African-American women overcome obstacles and challenges. She eventually continued her education at Wayne State University, where she earned a law degree in 1948.

As part of her effort to improve the lives of people in her community, Brown sought elected office. After running unsuccessfully for the Michigan Senate in 1950 and 1951, she won a seat in 1952, becoming the first African-American woman to win a seat in the state Senate. During her four years in office, Brown supported legislation for fair housing and equal employment, and was an advocate for civil rights. Brown ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1956, but was appointed as a special associate general counsel for the U.S. Postal Service the following year. She later opened a private law practice in California, and then returned to Michigan, where she became a referee for the Michigan Employment Security Commission.

Sources :

Michigan Every Day.

Senator Cora Mae Brown, Official Blog of the Michigan House Democrats, February 12, 2015.

Cora M. Brown, Motor City Politician, African American Registry.

1975 : Marquette and Iron Mountain Turn Down Proposal for 51st State
Nov 4 all-day

On November 4, 1975, Marquette and Iron Mountain residents had the chance to secede from Michigan, a move that would have turned their communities into the 51st state. An advisory election proved Michiganders weren’t thrilled with the proposal, with voters shutting it down 1,841-770 in Marquette and 1,601-745 in Iron Mountain.

Source: Michigan Every Day

1993 : White Pine History: Logging in Michigan 1840-1900 Documentary Released
Nov 4 all-day

This YouTube video, produced in 1993, contains information on Michigan’s logging era, with an emphasis on Clare County during the last quarter of the 19th century. This video was part of the Forrest Meek collection given to the Clare County Historical Society in 2013 by Mr. Meek’s estate. Credit at the end of the video is also given to Ed McKenzie for the production. Questions about the content of the video or the logging era should be directed to

2014 : Richard Bernstein, First Blind Person to Run for Statewide Office, Wins Seat on Michigan Supreme Court
Nov 4 all-day
Image result for richard bernstein photo

History was made Tuesday night when 39-year-old Richard Bernstein won a spot on Michigan’s Supreme Court.

Bernstein’s victory was significant because the Bloomfield Hills native has been classified as legally blind since birth.

He is reportedly the first blind person to run for statewide office in Michigan, according to

For the full article, see Eric Lacy, “Blind marathon-running lawyer, a Detroit native, makes history with Michigan Supreme Court win”, MLive, November 5, 2014.

For more information see Richard H. Bernstein wikipedia entry

2014 : Stephanie Chang, 1st Asian American in Michigan’s Legislature
Nov 4 all-day

Stephanie Chang won the Democratic primary for 6th District Representative and is poised to become the first Asian-American woman in Michigan’s State Legislature. General elections will be held on November 4th, but in this heavily Democratic district, her win is presumed.

The second-generation Taiwanese American beat out six candidates, winning 49% of the vote in Detroit, in a district that is 87% African American.

“Our campaign was really focused on connecting with residents individually,” said Chang. “I personally knocked on all the primary voters’ doors twice! One resident joked with me that I had been over to his house more than his family members and another even jokingly referenced during her sermon at church that I had been by her house too many times!”

Chang was born and raised in Michigan to immigrant parents from Taiwan who worked in the auto industry. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she moved to Detroit to serve as an assistant to Asian-American civil rights icon Grace Lee Boggs. Over the next decade, she worked with a host of community organizations and progressive causes, taking on issues like affirmative action, voting rights, and immigrants’ rights.

While finishing up graduate degrees in public policy and social work at the University of Michigan, Chang was encouraged to run for office by friends and community leaders, including current state representative for District 6, Rashida Tlaib. Chang’s motivation, she says, was personal.

“My husband and I plan to start our family here in Detroit,” said Chang, “So I want to fight for a future that includes excellent education for every child, safe neighborhoods, a fair justice system, and a safety net to make sure everyone has a chance to thrive.”

[Chang became the first woman to give birth while serving as a Michigan State Senator.]

Her district, Chang says, has a legacy of diverse leadership from which she could draw lessons.

“We’ve had Hungarian American, Latina, Jewish, Palestinian state representatives in this seat,” said Chang. “One lesson is that residents really can see past difference. Ultimately people want someone who is going to work really hard for them, someone who shares their values, and someone they can trust.”

“I think that winning this election with 50 percent of the vote in a seven-way primary shows that people really just want someone who will get results regardless of race or background.”

Source: “Stephanie Changes Makes Political History in Michigan“, NBC News, August 14, 2014.

2016: Matilda R. Dodge Wilson Day
Nov 4 all-day

The Michigan House  passed a resolution on September 14th to recognize November 4 as Matilda R. Dodge Wilson Day in the state of Michigan.

In 1957, the Matilda Dodge Wilson family donated the entire 1,500 acre estate and $2 million to Michigan State University to create a branch college campus, which later became Oakland University.

Matilda and Alfred lived in the home until he died in 1962 and she died in 1967.

In 1940, she was appointed the 43rd lieutenant governor of Michigan, making her the first woman to serve as a lieutenant governor in the United States.

Matilda was also the first woman to sit on the board of a major automotive firm.

“I am proud to represent an area home to a University with such a colorful history,” said Rep. Webber, R-Rochester.  “Matilda Dodge’s story is truly inspiring in terms of hard work and leadership, both of which are qualities that have been passed on to Oakland University and its students.”

For more information see Tanya Moutzalias, “Inside Meadow Brook Hall, the historic estate of one of the world’s wealthiest women of her time“, MLive, October 28, 2015.

2021 : Gov. Whitmer Signs Bill Ending Tampon Tax
Nov 4 all-day

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Thursday to repeal the state’s “tampon tax,” calling it a bipartisan move to help “every menstruating Michigander.”

“After years of trying to repeal this tax, I am proud that we are bringing people together to put Michiganders first and drive down costs on these essential products,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Everyone should be able to take care of their most basic healthcare needs without an unnecessary added financial burden.”

The bill makes feminine hygiene products — including tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins and other similar items — exempt from the state’s six percent sales and use taxes.

“By repealing the tax on menstrual products, we are saving families from paying taxes on up to $4,800 in spending over the course of a lifetime,” Whitmer said.

Twenty other states have removed similar taxes, the governor also said.

Internationally, a growing list of countries have abolished the “tampon tax” on menstrual products.

Source: Aaron Parsley, “Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Eliminates State’s ‘Tampon Tax’: ‘The Right Thing to Do'”, People, November 5, 2021.

1912 : Michigan Voters Back Third Party Candidate Theodore Roosevelt
Nov 5 all-day

In the presidential election, Michigan voters backed Progressive candidate Theodore Roosevelt, marking the first time since 1856 that Michigan had not supported a Republican.

Source : Michigan History, November-December 2014.