Monday, July 04, 2011

A Little History Lesson

Those of us here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have had to endure the derision of the 'trolls'--those that live 'under the bridge' (the Mackinac Bridge)--in the Lower Peninsula, forever.  For all of history, founded or not, we have felt that we have not been given our due and that the LP has all of the power and gets most of the considerations when it comes to money, etc.  And while this may be an exaggeration, there is some truth to it.  And this all goes back to the days when Michigan was FORCED to take the UP instead of getting the piece of land it REALLY wanted.

Back in the early 1800s, Michigan was not a state.  When Michigan asked to become a state, things didn't work out that well because of a piece of land known as the Toledo Strip.  Michigan wanted this land and Ohio said it owned it.  Blah, blah, etc, etc--things happened, words were exchanged and there came a 'conflict' known as the Toledo War in 1835-36.  It turned out to be a relatively bloodless war, but ended with the Toledo Strip being given to Ohio and the UP being given to Michigan.  (You can read the entire story here.)  Case closed, but Michigan wasn't happy.  Everyone was completely convinced that Michigan came out the loser in this deal--and it seemed that way.  After all, Toledo was a very important port on the Great Lakes and it was a 'gateway' city to the west.  And the UP was nothing more than a wilderness, far, far away--inhabited by nothing more than trappers, fur traders, and Indians.  Even though this deal paved the way for Michigan to become a state, it didn't improve the 'oh, woe is me' attitude.  And really, who could blame.

As things turned out, Michigan--while not exactly a WINNER--didn't lose at all in this deal.  Copper and iron were discovered here and it brought a great deal of money to the state.  Despite the copper boom lapsing, eventually, iron ore is still being mined today.  There also has been some gold, silver, and nickel mined here, as well.  And the UP is most definitely a vacation destination for a lot of people--we have great beaches for swimming, lots of lakes for fishing/kayaking, etc, places to hike, hunting, snowmobile trails, campsites, ski hills, etc, etc, etc.  All in all, Michigan DIDN'T get screwed, no matter WHAT the 'trolls' might think.  Besides, if it wasn't for the 'great' Toledo War, would we have the Ohio/Michigan sport rivalries we have today?  I think not.


meleah rebeccah said...

I'd love to come visit there one day!

cmk said...

And we would LOVE to have you here! Oh, the places I could bring you and the wonders you could see... (Is that 'Dr Seuss' enough to get you here sooner rather than later? :D)