Posted by: Kath Usitalo | December 4, 2012

Tuesday Trivia: Party Game Bonanza

What is it? ( photo)

Tapping into the computer system at the Michigan State Highway Department in the late 1950s ( photo)

Hey Kids! Just in time for the Holidays!

You can have hours of fun in front of your computer, just like the fellows above, mining the State of Michigan Archives for all sorts of impressive trivia and stuff that will dazzle your friends, family members and coworkers at the rounds of festive gatherings on the horizon. Or just add to your knowledge base.

There’s a good chance you’ll be the first on your block to explore the volumes of material stashed in the online stacks of the Archives of Michigan, housed at the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing.

This map for the railway known as "the fishing line" depicts the extinct grayling that once thrived in Michigan rivers

What was the Michigan Fishing Line? ( image)

The wealth of information includes genealogy resources, a variety of maps, historical data and forms and guides chock full of dry tables and charts.

It takes some digging to get to the good stuff but you’ll thank me for pointing you to this fountain of fun facts when the small talk dries up at the office party and you can spark a fascinating conversation about the history of Michigan license plate slogans.

Here’s just a sampling of the mind-boggling trivia at your fingertips (answers below):

  1. In what year did Michigan introduce a promotional slogan on its license plates? What was that slogan?
  2. So as not to show preference for one car company over another, when President Theodore Roosevelt visited Lansing in 1907 he insisted on arriving at his speech in one locally-made set of wheels and departing in the other. Name the two car companies.
  3. Who developed the first effective Whooping Cough vaccine?
  4. A trip on the Detroit River inspired Abraham Lincoln to do what?
  5. What Michigan route was nicknamed the “Fishing Line?”
  6. How many NASA astronauts have been born in Michigan?
Who are these women and what was their notable contribution?

Who are these women and what was their notable contribution? (

1. 1954; the slogan “Water Wonderland” won out from 20,000 entries in a contest and it was used on license plates until 1964.

2. Roosevelt arrived in an REO Motor Car and departed in an Oldsmobile.

3. Dr. Pearl Kendrick (1890-1980) and Dr. Grace Eldering (1900-1988) cooked up the whooping cough vaccine in 1938.

4. Apply for a patent. While traveling on the Detroit River in 1847 Lincoln saw a steamboat that had run aground. He came up with an idea for a solution, applied for and received a patent for inflatable air chambers that would lift grounded vessels out of that situation.

5. The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad’s route to northern Michigan’s abundant fishing waters, popular with 19th century tourists and anglers.

6. 11; the first Michigan-born astronaut was Alfred M. Worden (b 1932); most recent is Michael J. Bloomfield (b 1959)


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