Happy 185th Birthday Michigan!

Happy 185th Birthday Michigan!

Happy 185th Birthday Michigan!

On this day, 185 years ago, Michigan gained its statehood. January 26th, 1837. There have become many symbols, brands, people, and imagery that have come to represent our beautiful state, and we have given some time to learn just a little bit more about our state recognized symbols.

Michigan State Symbols

State Bird: American Robin

A common bird seen throughout most of Michigan in the warmer months, and is often a sign that spring is near, the American Robin is declared as Michigan’s state bird in 1931. While this bird is common in Michigan, it is also seen throughout other states frequently, and is even two other states recognized state bird. There has been some debate over the years of changing the state bird to something more specific or native to Michigan, however the American Robin still holds its title for the State Bird of Michigan.

State Fish: Brook Trout

The State Fish of Michigan was recognized as the Brook Trout in 1988, although initially, the State Fish was just the Trout, but did not specify which of the four main species of trout was recognized as the symbol. The Brook Trout is a common fish in Michigan, that can only be found in cool and clear water, often streams and rivers, but are also found in lakes.

State Flower: Apple Blossom

The Apple Blossom is Michigan’s state flower, but not to be confused with our state wildflower, which is a different flower entirely. The Apple Blossom was declared as our state flower in 1897. There is no surprise that the Apple Blossom is recognized as our state flower considering not only its beauty, but also because Michigan is well known for its apple crop grown every year.

State Tree: White Pine

Michigan’s state tree was established as the Eastern White Pine in 1955, a symbol of Michigan’s long logging history. During the height of the lumber history, the focus in Michigan was the Eastern White Pine, a tree seen throughout Michigan, and never fully sheds, unlike many other trees. Almost every county in Michigan homes some of these trees.  

State Stone: Petoskey Stone

Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey Stone, received its state symbol title in 1965. This stone is uniquely patterned, and is easily recognizable, even in an unpolished form. The stone is actually a form of fossilized coral, hence why it is often found on Great Lake shorelines. Finding a Petoskey stone somehow always feels like finding treasure in Michigan.

State Reptile: Painted Turtle

The Painted Turtle, named Michigan’s state reptile in 1995, is a state symbol that is not commonly brought up, but nonetheless, it is not uncommon for Michigan drivers to stop in the warmer months to allow these turtles to cross the road, or sometimes even assist them! While the Painted turtle is not the only turtle seen throughout Michigan, it is one of the more well recognized, and friendly reptiles. (Watch out for snapping turtles!)

State Fossil: Mastodon

The state fossil of Michigan, which is one of the newest recognized state symbols, is the Mastodon, declared in 2002. The Mastodon, similar to the Wooly Mammoth, was a large elephant like mammal. It became extinct around 10,000 years ago, yet there was the most complete Mastodon skeleton ever found, located in Owosso MI. There’s just something crazy imagining these oversized creatures walking through what is now Mid-Michigan.

State Motto: “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.”

“Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.” Which translates from Latin, means “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Is the Michigan state motto, and has been since 1835, before Michigan received its statehood. The motto is pretty self-explanatory, yet many Michigan residents are less familiar with the motto than you may think.


Did you know all of these symbols, or did you learn something new?


Recourses/Works Cited: “Michigan.” State Symbols USA, https://statesymbolsusa.org/states/united-states/michigan.

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