The first Capitol city of Michigan may not surprise you.  However, why the Capitol moved just might.

When Michigan became a state in 1837, the mitten's largest city, Detroit, was the state Capitol.  Just a decade later, the state Capitol was moved to Lansing.  Detroit was a logical Capitol city because of its size and the fact that it was a port city.  However, having a Capitol in the central region of the state also makes a lot of sense.  So, why did the move happen?  Michigan Houses Online says the Capitol was moved from Detroit to Lansing in 1947 for safety,

The legislators back then believes that the Capitol was in constant danger (in Detroit) and voted to have it moved (to Lansing).

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In an effort to verify that statement, I stumbled upon the website senate.michigan.gov, which has a thorough history of the Capitol.  The only safety-related motivation to move the Capitol according to this website had to do with moving the Capitol away from the Canadian border for "increased defensibility."  Other than that, the reasons included,

  • Promoting settlement in the inner regions of the state.
  • Making the capital more accessible to the people of the entire state.
  • Boosting the economy of the interior of the state.

Lansing wasn't the only city being considered for the big move in 1847.  Marshall missed becoming Michigan's Capitol city by just one vote.

Here are more fun facts about Michigan you probably didn't know.

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