Chapter 29: the enrichment of cultural life.
Judged by the numbers, organized religion in Michigan generally attracted increasing support until recent years when the trend in many denominations has been downward. The five major Protestant denominations reported a total membership of only 60,560 out of a total population of 749,113 in 1860 (approximately 8 percent). In 1870 the Roman Catholic Church claimed 170,000 members in Michigan out of a total population of 1,184,509 (approximately 14 percent). When the United States Census Bureau in 1936 conducted its last census of religious bodies, it tabulated a total of 1,786,839 persons who were members of all such bodies in Michigan--nearly a third of the population and over 700,000 more than the number recorded in 1906. (1) The most recent data, compiled by the National Council of Churches in 1980, listed the total number of members and "adherents" of Michigan Christian churches and Jewish synagogues at 3,952,916, nearly 43 percent of the state's total population, which was, however, a 3 percent drop from that recorded in the council's 1971 survey. (2) But these figures are misleading, because not all Christian and Jewish groups, including the large number of nondenominational churches and the largest of the Jewish organizations, took part in the survey, and those of the non-Judeo-Christian faith were not included at all. In addition, there can be little doubt that many people in recent times are church members in name only, a fact that the National Council took into account when it distinguished between those who were claimed as full church members and those who were merely adherents of a church. The inclusion of the latter category in the survey may have encouraged some of the denominations upon which the council relied for its data to exaggerate the numbers of their supporters. Many people have weakened in their commitment to their church (as the term "adherent" implies), in most cases because the church has lost its status as the center of community social life. The automobile, movies, radio, and television, as well as the increased interest in sports and the emergence of the school as a community center, have provided alternative means of mingling with others. Charity, once dispensed in large measure through the church, is now entrusted to a variety of public and private agencies. The theory of evolution and the critical study of the Bible also have had an effect on the influence of the Christian churches over their members.
The Catholic Church enjoyed phenomenal growth in Michigan for many years following the Civil War. The 170,000 Catholics of 1870 had increased to 844,106 by 1926, and in 1980 they numbered 2,043,483, 22 percent of the state's entire population, and more than half of the churchgoers listed in the 1980 survey. The influx of Poles, Hungarians, Italians, and other predominantly Catholic European immigrants who were drawn to the state by the opportunities in the auto plants helped to explain the growth earlier in the century, particularly in Detroit, which between 1916 and 1926 had the second largest increase in church membership of any American city. These factors were no longer present in later years, however, and the number of Michigan Catholics in 1980 was about 200,000 less than in 1971.
The establishment of separate dioceses in different parts of the state reflected the growth of the Catholic Church. The diocese of Upper Michigan in 1853 was carved out of the original diocese that had encompassed the entire state. It was followed by the diocese of Grand Rapids in 1882, Lansing in 1937, Saginaw in 1938, and Gaylord and Kalamazoo in 1971. On August 3, 1937, the Archdiocese of Detroit was created, with its archbishop, Edward Mooney, in 1945 becoming the first Michigan Catholic clergyman to be named cardinal. Cardinal Mooney died in 1958, and his successors as archbishop likewise were made cardinals--John Dearden in 1969, Edmond C. Szoka in 1988, and Adam J. Maida in 1994. (3)
The growth of the Catholic Church contributed to the growth of educational institutions and other facilities. Catholic hospitals have been established in most of the state's major cities. By 1958 the church maintained the enrichment of cultural life 595 thirty-one general and four special hospitals in Michigan. The University of Detroit, established by the Jesuits in 1877, was the only one of the state's church-related schools that attempted to compete in the range of its programs with the state's publicly supported universities. Several other religious orders played an important part in these developments. The Felician Sisters, the first of whom arrived in Michigan in 1873, were staffing thirty-three schools and two orphanages by 1937. The Sisters of St. Joseph came to Kalamazoo from New York in 1889, and around their growing community Borgess Hospital and Nazareth Academy and College developed. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who belong to an order founded in Monroe in 1845, started the school that later became Marygrove College. The Sisters of St. Dominic came to Adrian in 1878, and through their efforts Siena Heights College was established. In Grand Rapids the work of another group of Dominican Sisters resulted in the founding of Aquinas College in 1931. Mercy College, founded in Detroit in 1941, and Madonna College in Livonia, founded in 1946, round out the Catholic colleges. But heavy financial burdens, combined with declining membership figures, led in recent years to sharp cutbacks. A great many Catholic parochial schools were closed, beginning in the 1960s. Nazareth College held its last classes in 1992, while Mercy College was merged with the University of Detroit in 1990 to form the University of Detroit Mercy. St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids was actively exploring merger possibilities with other hospitals, and cutbacks in other activities in the future seemed certain.
Among Protestant denominations, the Methodists were for many years the most numerous in the state. The Methodist circuit rider of pioneer days was an effective instrument in promoting the spread of Methodism, and the well-developed central organization of the church, with its bishops, superintendents, and assigned pulpits, was an important factor in its subsequent growth. The Methodist Episcopal Church, as the largest body of this denomination was called until 1939, grew in membership from 41,490 in 1870 to 142,141 in 1936. In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal churches in the South were reunited with those in the North, along with the Methodist Protestant Church, to form what is presently called the United Methodist Church. In 1980 this church claimed 290,570 members and adherents in the state, a decline of some 38,000 from the 1971 figure but still enough to make this Michigan's second largest single church group. Not included in the union of 1939 were the Wesleyan Methodists, founded originally by the antislavery advocates within the Methodist denomination and which in 1971 counted nearly 10,000 members and adherents (this group did not participate in the 1980 national survey), and the Free Methodists, which had first been organized in Michigan in the 1860s and in 1980 had 33,963 followers in the state. Also staying out of the union of Methodists in 1939 were several black Methodist groups which had 596 the enrichment of cultural life been organized in Michigan as early as 1841. One of these, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, grew from some 12,000 members in Michigan in 1936 to 24,000 in 1978, while the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which had only 3,039 members in 1936, reported 46,205 members and adherents in 1980. (4)
Among the features of Methodism that had great popular appeal were the democratic character of the service, simplicity, emotional fervor, and the doctrine of "free grace." The Methodists, more than any other denomination, developed the camp meeting, which grew out of the great revivals of the early nineteenth century. One of the oldest camp-meeeting sites in Michigan is Crystal Springs, near Dowagiac. Bay View Assembly, near Petoskey, was founded in 1875 on the model of the original "chautauqua" in New York and was a sophisticated version of the summer camp meeting. In association with Albion College the Bay View Assembly took on increased educational features later in the twentieth century. Following the formation of the Methodist youth organization known as the Epworth League, this group grew rapidly in Michigan. It sponsored a recreational and educational program in Epworth Heights, near Ludington. Methodists also supported a number of hospitals and social agencies, in addition to the colleges at Albion, Adrian, and Spring Arbor.
The Baptists were another Protestant group that grew in membership, although because of the proliferation of Baptist organizations it is difficult to determine their overall strength in Michigan. Baptist membership was listed as 20,051 in 1870, and this increased to 49,275 by 1936 among those churches affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention. This organization, subsequently renamed the American Baptist Churches, USA, claimed 72,712 followers in the state in 1980. But with the migration into Michigan, particularly southeastern Michigan, of large numbers of southerners in the twentieth century, the Southern Baptist Convention, which was represented by only one church and 256 members in 1936, had by 1980 established 186 churches in the state, with a total number of members and adherents of 54,586. Most of this membership resulted from the influx of southern whites, while the arrival of large numbers of southern blacks which took place from 1916 onward added enormously to the membership of black Baptist churches, which had been established in the state earlier in the nineteenth century. Although several black Baptist organizations were distinctive, the census of 1936 lumped nearly all of them under one heading and credited them with some 35,000 members. More recent figures are not available, but the membership in black Baptist churches has undoubtedly increased greatly since 1936. (5) In addition, churches affiliated with the Baptist Missionary Association, Free Will Baptists, General Baptists, North American Baptists, several other associations, and numerous unaffiliated, independent Baptist churches add many thousands more to the ranks the enrichment of cultural life 597 of those who claim the Baptist name. In southeastern Michigan this has certainly been the fastest-growing Protestant group in the latter part of the twentieth century. Both Kalamazoo and Hillsdale colleges were founded by the Baptists, and in recent years some of the more fundamentalist Baptist churches, not liking the education provided by public schools, have set up Christian schools for their children.
Other Protestant denominations were also active in support of missionaries in Michigan's pioneer days and continued to maintain a substantial presence in the state thereafter. By 1936 the Presbyterians included nearly 70,000 members. By 1980 the principal Presbyterian organization, the United Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, listed a total of 156,233 members and adherents, which was, however, some 30,000 below the figure of 1971. A handful of members were affiliated with several smaller Presbyterian sects. Alma College was founded by the Presbyterians in 1886, and in recent years has sponsored an annual festival celebrating the strong Scottish roots of this church. The Congregationalists, who had cooperated with the Presbyterians in the early missionary endeavors, numbered nearly 42,000 by 1936. Later in the fifties, the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, the latter with 22,000 members in the state in 1936, merged to form the United Church of Christ, which had 85,917 members and adherents in Michigan in 1980, a drop of about 16,000 since 1971. About a fourth of the state's Congregational churches, however, stayed out of this union, and had an additional 19,988 members and adherents listed in 1980.
Foreign immigration was responsible for swelling not only the ranks of the Catholics but also those of a number of other religious groups. The large German immigration of the nineteenth century had been responsible for introducing the Lutheran Church to Michigan, and in later years many of the Scandinavian and Finnish immigrants were also affiliated with this Protestant denomination. The Lutherans came to be adherents of different synods, frequently with widely varying religious viewpoints. If the members of these various Lutheran groups were counted as one, they had surpassed the Methodists as the state's largest Protestant element by 1936, as they are still today. The largest such Lutheran body by 1936--those associated with the Missouri Synod--numbered 106,854, and it remained by far the largest in 1980, with the total of its members and adherents numbering 258,937, which was, however, down about 24,000 from the 1971 figure. The American Lutheran Church, with 74,892 members and adherents, the Lutheran Church of America, with 95,101, and the Wisconsin Synod, with 49,501, rounded out the state's major Lutheran groups in 1980. Although the Lutherans maintained parochial schools in some areas of the state, they had little luck in establishing a college until Concordia College in Ann Arbor was founded as a junior college in 1962 by the Missouri Synod and was advanced to a full four-year status in 1976. Suomi College in Hancock, a unique Finnish-language school, developed out of a school founded by the Finnish Evangelical Lutherans in 1896.
Several other religious bodies drawing their membership largely from a single nationality developed into large denominations. The Reformed Church tripled in membership between 1906 and 1936 and had more than doubled its membership again by 1980, with 83,904 members and adherents, but the Christian Reformed Church, which developed out of a split in the Reformed Church around the time of the Civil War, with 96,740 members and adherents in 1980, remained the largest of these two predominantly Dutch religious groups. In addition to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, which the Christian Reformed Church founded in 1876, following the example of the Reformed Church's Hope College of the preceding decade, the Christian Reformed Church also maintains a network of elementary and secondary schools throughout the Holland--Grand Rapids--Kalamazoo region.
Membership in Jewish congregations, established initially as an outgrowth of the German immigration in the mid-nineteenth century, grew rapidly with the arrival of immigrants from eastern Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, increasing in numbers from only 1,530 reported in 1906 to 99,366 by 1936. By 1971, however, the total membership of the state's Jewish congregations was reported to have declined to 93,530. (6)
Immigrants from eastern Europe and the Near East also led to the emergence of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the state. By 1936 membership in the Greek, Romanian, Russian, and Syrian Orthodox branches totaled 14,666. Although a combined total of 6,596 members and adherents were listed for the Romanian, Syrian, and Ukrainian Orthodox churches in 1980, no figures were given for the Greek Orthodox Church. But from the number of Greek Orthodox churches found in the Detroit area and in Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and several other outstate cities, it would appear that the combined Orthodox numbers would place this element at least among the medium-sized Christian groups in the state. In addition, the Detroit area in 1992 reportedly had some 60,000 Chaldeans, Christians from Iraq, the largest such group in the country, with over 5,000 having arrived since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. (7)
Among the smaller Christian groups, the Society of Friends (Quakers), the Unitarian-Universalist Association, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) were among those that were established in the state before the Civil War and that have continued on to the present day. The Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and the Salvation Army were religious organizations that developed in later years. The Seventh-day Adventists opened a college in Battle Creek, which was then the church's world headquarters, in the 1870s. The college was moved to Berrien Springs in 1901 and renamed Emmanual Missionary College. In 1960 the denomination moved Potomac University from Washington, D.C., to Berrien Springs and merged it with Emmanual Missionary under the new name of Andrews University.
Nearby in Benton Harbor one of the most famous of the newer churches, the Israelite House of David, was founded in 1903 by Benjamin Purnell. At its peak in 1920, Purnell's millennialist cult had a thousand members, but by 1990 only thirty-nine all told remained in the House of David and the City of David, the two factions into which the group split after Purnell's death in 1927. A few others could be counted as adherents but not official members. Although this handful of surviving Israelites continued to believe in the validity of Purnell's religious teachings, the organization is chiefly remembered for its nonreligious ventures, such as the famous bearded House of David baseball team that barnstormed through the country in the years before World War II, and for the bizarre accounts of Purnell's personal conduct that surfaced during the numerous legal actions brought against him in his later years. (8)
In cities and even in many rural communities, the growth of small sects which were conservative in doctrine, preached the "old-time religion," and relied heavily on emotional appeal was a noteworthy sequel to the modernist-fundamentalist split of the 1920s. The older Protestant denominations introduced formal ritual and appealed to the head rather than the heart. Imposing church edifices were built and leadership in church organizations went to socially prominent members. All this repelled many worshipers, who sought a warmer and more personal religious faith and fellowship. Assemblies of God, the Church of the Nazarene, and a large number of smaller denominations rose to meet this need. Services were frequently held in vacant store buildings, garages, or tents, but in many instances more permanent structures and regularly organized denominations evolved in due course. The first Nazarene church in Michigan was founded in Grand Rapids in 1910 by persons with various former church affiliations who organized themselves into a "Holiness Band." By 1936 the denomination had 5,560 members in the state, and by 1980 it claimed a total of 36,146 members and adherents. With 45,959 members and adherents by 1980, the Assemblies of God was the fifteenth largest Christian group in the state.
At the opposite extreme from these evangelical churches was the Episcopal Church, with its time-honored ritual. The most tradition-oriented of all Protestant groups, its membership in the cities tended to include a large number of the wealthier, more socially elite elements in the population. Never one of the largest Protestant groups in the state, its listed membership increased from 57,789 in 1936 to 116,000 members and adherents in 1971. This staid organization was rent by strife in the 1970s, however, as many of the church leaders, concerned that it must reach out to more people, carried through a revision of the church's
Book of Common Prayer. Many conservatives objected to this revision as well as to other departures from past practices, most striking of which was the move to ordain women priests. At the end of the seventies, some Episcopalians in Michigan were participating in a nationwide movement that threatened a permanent schism in Episcopalian ranks and that partially explained a decline in the number of followers of the church to 100,070 in 1980.
In the latter part of the twentieth century, the addition to the state's population of elements not commonly found in earlier times had an impact on the state's religious composition. Some of the new arrivals strengthened existing religious groups, as was the case, for example, with the Mexican and other Hispanic peoples who were welcomed in existing Catholic parishes, such as Ste. Anne's in Detroit. But the inroads that Protestant missionaries had made among these traditionally Catholic peoples was evident in the number of Spanish-speaking churches, especially of the evangelical denominations, that sprang up in these same areas, as in Holland, where at least a dozen such churches were found by the early 1990s. To some extent this same influence was visible among the state's growing Asian population, as evidenced by the number of Korean Christian churches found in an area such as Ann Arbor, which had significant numbers of Korean residents.
As one would expect, the arrival of Asiatic peoples led to the emergence of non-Christian religious organizations more representative of those most commonly found in Asia, but some of this development also reflected the interest these religions had aroused among those already residing in the United States. Evidence of this interest was found in the Vivekananda Monastery established in the 1970s in the little western Michigan village of Ganges, a name drawn from the subcontinent of India, as were the Hindu beliefs of those who were associated with the monastery, most of whom were Americans of non-Asiatic origins. (9) Similarly, the Bahai faith, founded by a Persian mystic in the nineteenth century, attracted many American followers in the cities of southern Michigan. (10)
Most, if not all, of these Americans turned to these new religions because of their dissatisfaction with the Christian beliefs to which they had always been exposed. In the case of many black Americans, however, a second reason for their rejection of Christianity in favor of another religion was that they had come to regard Christianity as "the white man's religion" and their action thus went beyond the bounds of mere religious differences. According to the black social scientist C. Eric Lincoln, black intellectuals who sought to assert their independence from whites in regard to religion embraced the Bahai faith while at the same time being careful to remain "within the orbit of the white man's culture." By contrast, those blacks who wanted to show their utter disdain for whites and all they stood for tended to join the Black Muslims, a name given by Lincoln in 1956 to a religious group that had originated in Detroit. (11)
The Islamic religion in an organized sense was introduced to Michigan early in the twentieth century by immigrants from the Middle East who were attracted by southeastern Michigan's economic opportunities. In 1919 what is said to have been America's first mosque was built in Highland Park to minister to the followers of Islam, referred to as Muslims. ("Moslem," the spelling commonly used until recently, has come to be regarded as offensive and hence is no longer preferred; similarly, "Quran" has replaced "Koran" as the accepted spelling for the Islamic scriptures, the primary written source of Muslim beliefs.) By the 1990s an estimated 250,000 Muslims lived in the metropolitan Detroit area, plus some additional numbers in outstate areas, putting Islam on a par numerically with the largest of the state's Protestant Christian denominations. (12)
In addition to the Detroit area's large Arabic population, which accounts for much of the Muslim strength, the area's black population also contributed to these numbers. But until recently the Black Muslims were in a separate category, not recognized by orthodox Islamic leaders as meeting the standards required of orthodox Muslims. The group began in 1930 when a peddler appeared in Detroit's black ghetto. Although he is most often referred to as W. D. Fard, there is no certainty that that was his real name. Nor is there any agreement as to his race or nationality or his background before he arrived in Detroit. But he was a persuasive talker and teacher, preaching his own interpretation of Islam, and he soon acquired a following of some eight thousand blacks, who were won over by the message that he had been sent to awaken them "to the full range of the Black Man's possibilities in a world temporarily dominated by the 'blue-eyed devils.'." (13) He organized the Nation of Islam, with a temple, an elementary and secondary school which he called the University of Islam, and a security force called the Fruit of Islam. In June 1934, however, Fard disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared four years before and was neither seen nor heard from again. The mantle of leadership was taken over by Elijah Muhammad, who had been born Elijah Poole in Georgia in 1897 and who with his wife and two children had moved to Detroit in 1923. He worked at various jobs before becoming one of Fard's followers and eventually his chief lieutenant.
Shortly after assuming the leadership of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad moved his headquarters to Temple No. 2 in Chicago, which he had established in 1932 when Fard had begun to try to reach out beyond Detroit. Muhammad now concentrated on refining and greatly expanding Fard's message. Fard, who had been called a Prophet, was now deified as Allah himself, with Muhammad as his Messenger. By 1960 the Nation of Islam had perhaps 100,000 members, many now located well beyond the original Detroit-Chicago base, and the fierce black nationalism that Muhammad espoused and his denunciation of all white men as devils made the Black Muslims one of the most publicized of the protest groups of that turbulent era. After Muhammad died in 1975, however, his son, W. Deen Muhammad, abandoned his father's racial message and the use of the term "Black Muslim" in favor of orthodox Islam's colorblind, universal teachings. A majority of Elijah Muhammad's followers sided with the son and were assimilated into orthodox Islam's ranks. A minority, however, followed Louis Farrakhan, who revived the Nation of Islam and its aggressive Black Muslim approach. Both Muhammad and Farrakhan have their supporters among Michigan blacks, adding further to the increasing complexity of the religious viewpoints found in the state by the end of the twentieth century. (14)
By the twentieth century, Americans had become famous as "joiners," and some of the qualities associated with this term may have attracted some people to join churches more for the social activities than for the religious benefits. It may also account for the growing popularity in Michigan in later years of clubs, societies, and organizations of various types, some of which had specific religious overtones to them. This was particularly the case with the many fraternal orders, which became so numerous and absorbed such a large part of the interest of the people that many churches opposed them. There was a Masonic lodge in Michigan as early as 1764, and many Masons were among the pioneers. A wave of anti-Masonic feeling that swept the West in the late 1820s drove the lodges in Michigan and elsewhere underground until 1840, when a convention was held in Mount Clemens to revive the Masonic order in Michigan. Three of the old lodges surfaced again, and a Grand Lodge of Michigan was instituted in 1844. Progress from this point was rapid, and by the close of the century there was a Masonic lodge in virtually every city and town in the state. The first Odd Fellows lodge was organized at Detroit in 1843; by 1865 more than a hundred lodges of this order had been founded in Michigan. The Eastern Star lodge, associated with the Masons, and the Rebekahs, associated with the Odd Fellows, were organizations for the wives of these lodge members that had been started before the Civil War. The Maccabee order was one that originated in Michigan under permission granted by the legislature in 1881. The Knights of Pythias was another order that originated in the state, its ritual written by a schoolteacher in the Upper Peninsula in 1859, with the first lodge in the state established at Detroit in 1871. These and many other lodges were designed as fraternal and social organizations, and all of them aided those of their members who were sick as well as the widows and children of those who died. Several developed life-insurance programs of considerable size and importance, with the Maccabees being the best example of this development. (15)
The noonday luncheon clubs originated during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The first of these was Rotary International, and the first club in Michigan was formed in Detroit in 1910. Two of the major luncheon or service clubs had their origin in Michigan: the Exchange Club in 1911, and Kiwanis International, whose number one chapter was organized in Detroit in 1915. Today, although the strength of the fraternal orders is not as great as it was earlier, the luncheon clubs, made up of business and professional men, continue to flourish. Although much of the interest in them is social, the clubs engage in various fund-raising activities to support worthy causes. The Lions' clubs, for example, support the Seeing-Eye Dog program at Rochester and the Kiwanis clubs support programs for patients at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
Important among the organizations in every Michigan community since the Civil War have been the veterans' associations. Until after 1900, the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Civil War veterans, wielded enormous influence on the political affairs of the state and provided a social outlet for its members and a pressure group for pensions and other benefits. The United Spanish War Veterans grew out of a number of organizations formed by the men who fought in the Spanish-American War. Although it never attained the proportions of the Grand Army of the Republic, it had about sixty-five local "camps" in Michigan as late as 1935. The Veterans of Foreign Wars originated from one of the organizations of Spanish-American War veterans which was formed in 1899. Its present name dates from 1913. A large accretion of World War I veterans to its membership led to the establishment of the Department of Michigan in 1920. A national home for widows and orphans of members was built at Eaton Rapids. Another great increase in membership came after World War II. The Disabled American Veterans and the Amvets--the latter composed exclusively of World War II Veterans--were two other large veterans groups represented in Michigan. Largest of all, however, was the American Legion. Michigan was represented by forty-six delegates at the meeting in New York in 1919 at which this organization was formed. The Michigan department received its charter the next year. In addition to its work on behalf of the veterans, the American Legion promoted a program of Americanization and sponsored such projects as the Wolverine Boys State, patriotic speaking, and essay contests. Like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, it perpetuated itself by recruiting membership from veterans of subsequent wars, a feature that distinguished these twentieth-century veterans groups from the earlier ones, which died out with the death of the last veteran of the war commemorated by the organizations. Despite radically different views about war and patriotism that arose among participants in the far less popular Korean and Vietnam wars, veterans' organizations succeeded in enlisting new members because of the social activities these organizations offered. For workingmen, the local American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post provided some of the same kinds of outlets that the service clubs offered to businessmen in the town and that country clubs provided to an even more elite group. (16)
Women have proved no less zealous than men in forming clubs and associations. Women's clubs were formed in Kalamazoo in 1852, Battle Creek in 1864, Grand Rapids in 1869, and Detroit in 1872. The Women's Christian Temperance Union--a statewide organization to fight the battle against the purveyors of alcohol--formed at Grand Rapids in 1875. A State Federation of Women's Clubs originated at a meeting in Bay View in 1894. The earliest chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution were organized in Michigan in 1893. Women's auxiliaries were attached to all the veterans' groups, and similar groups were associated with the various lodges. Women in business and the professions also had service clubs such as Zonta International, the Altrusa Club, and the Business and Professional Women's Clubs, and in recent years have been admitted to membership in such previously all-male luncheon clubs as Rotary and Kiwanis. (17)
The importance of libraries as repositories of cultural heritage and as sources of information has been recognized since the earliest days in Michigan. The first three state constitutions all stipulated that monies collected from fines for penal offenses should be set aside for the support of libraries. The present Library of Michigan dates from 1828. Formerly known as the State Library, the new name was adopted in 1983 when the library was transferred from the executive to the legislative branch of government. Prior to the Civil War, relatively little was done to establish public libraries. In 1861 only 12 percent of the townships were appropriating any funds for libraries. The desire of the people for libraries had to be met by private library organizations, often called "subscription libraries." A city library was organized at Detroit in 1817 and shares of stock were sold to obtain funds. It was merged with the Detroit Young Men's Society in 1832. The Detroit Mechanics' Society, formed in 1818, also maintained a library. The Historical Society of Michigan, which came into being in 1828 with Governor Lewis Cass as its president, collected manuscripts and articles on the history of Michigan. In Kalamazoo a Ladies' Library Association was organized in 1852 and incorporated in 1859. In 1879 this association erected a large building, reputed to be the first in the nation built exclusively for the use of a woman's club. (18) A women's library association was formed in Flint in 1853. Subsequently, similar associations were formed in other cities and even in small villages and towns.
Funds realized from the collection of fines constituted the financial basis the enrichment of cultural life 605 of the Detroit Public Library, opened in 1865. The Grand Rapids Public Library originated in 1871 with the consolidation of the school district libraries. The Kalamazoo Public Library was founded about the same time, also originally as a school library. Private gifts made public library buildings possible in such cities as Battle Creek, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Many cities benefited from Andrew Carnegie's donations for library construction. Typical of these were the Carnegie libraries in Niles, St. Joseph, and Ironwood. As the public libraries developed, private library associations gradually disappeared or directed their attention to other objectives.
While cities of the state developed public libraries, rural areas and small towns remained for many years with no library service or only subscription libraries. The legislature passed a county library act in 1917, but little action was taken under its provisions until 1933, when federal funds were made available. The Depression of the 1930s brought a heavy demand on libraries. Unemployed workers found in libraries a means by which their idle time could be occupied profitably. Thirty county and village libraries were established through federal aid between 1934 and 1936. But large areas in the state were still without libraries. Governor Frank Murphy in 1938 declared that nearly a quarter of the people of Michigan did not have access to a library, and that another 30 percent had only nominal service. State aid was provided on a broad scale starting in 1937. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek performed a great service to rural communities of southwestern Michigan by providing thousands of new books for local libraries. Another important contributor to making books available to areas lacking libraries was the State Library in Lansing, through its "bookmobiles" and its lending services. In 1974-75, $5,998,527 was appropriated by the state legislature for libraries, while federal aid of $6,985,130 was received to strengthen state library services to local libraries. But budgetary problems led to sharply reduced support for libraries. In 1992 Detroit's public library ranked among the top ten public libraries in the country in terms of the number of volumes it held, but it ranked twenty-seventh in the amount of money spent annually on acquisitions. For the state as a whole the per capita expenditures for public libraries in 1990 placed Michigan twenty-fourth in the nation with a figure of $14.72, compared with per capita spending of $25.98 in Ohio and $25.69 in Indiana, which ranked third and fourth. (19)
The colleges and the universities gradually built up large collections of books, periodicals, and documents. Much more emphasis was placed on the importance of libraries after the abandonment of the classical course of study around 1900. The University of Michigan alone in 1979 had 5 million volumes in its libraries. The donations of an alumnus and former regent of the University of Michigan, William L. Clements of Bay City, made possible the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan, one of the nation's greatest depositories of original materials on the colonial and revolutionary periods in American history. A Detroiter, Clarence M. Burton, collected original source materials on the history of Michigan and the Northwest, which became the nucleus of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library. The Bentley Library on the north campus of the University of Michigan, named after the principal donor, and its Michigan Historical Collections, the Clarke Memorial Library at Central Michigan University, and smaller archival collections at other institutions provide the historian with the raw materials needed for recreating the past of the state. The State Archives at Lansing, a division of the Bureau of Michigan History in the Department of State, is the repository for state records of historical value. The Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs, housed in the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University, is a recent example of a new collection, which, as the major repository of labor union records in the country, has great significance not only for the student of Michigan's history but for this aspect of American history in general. The J. M. Longyear Research Library in Marquette, a rich depository of records relating to the Upper Peninsula, illustrates that not all these special collections are found in the more populous parts of southern Michigan.
Newspapers are one of the historian's most important resources, and although many newspaper files have been lost forever, the present Library of Michigan since the 1960s has been performing a valuable service by ferreting out existing files and making them available on microfilm. The task is a formidable one, since no one will probably ever be able to come up with a complete inventory of all the newspapers that have appeared in the state since Michigan's first paper, the Michigan Essay or Impartial Observer, appeared in Detroit in 1809.
In 1850 only three daily newspapers were being published in Michigan, but most cities and villages had weeklies. As the population grew, many of the weeklies became dailies and new daily newspapers were established. During this period newspapers were fiercely partisan in their particular political preference. By the turn of the century, however, a change was evident, as publishers were regarding their newspapers more as business ventures and less as partisan outlets. In this transition James E. Scripps of Detroit became a figure of national importance. He came to Detroit in 1859 to become business manager of the Advertiser and Tribune. This newspaper supported the Republican Party, while the Free Press was the Democratic organ. In 1873 Scripps founded the Detroit Evening News, a historic event in the history of journalism in the United States. Scripps believed a newspaper should be self-supporting, not dependent on political handouts. In order to accomplish this, his first job was to increase circulation so as to attract advertisers. The paper was smaller than those being published at the time, and the news was condensed. It sold at 2[cents] a copy, in contrast to the 5[cents] price of other newspapers. Scripps enlisted other members of his family to secure funds to buy fast cylinder presses and to take over various responsibilities in the office. His brother, George H. Scripps, sold his Illinois farm and became business manager of the paper; his sister, Ellen B. Scripps, joined the editorial staff, and his half brother, E. W. Scripps, came To help increase circulation. New features were introduced and sensational news was given prominence. Circulation increased rapidly, and the venture was so profitable that E. W. Scripps established the Cleveland Press along similar lines. This was the beginning of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. James E. Scripps remained in Detroit to manage the News. The success of this newspaper naturally led other publishers to imitate it. Partisanship became less prominent, with more emphasis on features and the kind of news designed to attract readers and thus to win advertising contracts. (20)
Beginning in about 1914 many daily newspapers in Michigan were consolidated and the number of such papers greatly reduced. From 1910, when there were eighty-three dailies, the number declined until stabilizing at fifty-two dailies, the number that has remained constant for some years now. Only twenty-four of these papers appear every day, however, with the rest following a Monday through Saturday publishing schedule. In 1910 Detroit had seven daily papers, including two German dailies, and one Polish daily. Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo each had three dailies, and numerous smaller towns had two. In 1959 the consolidation of the Grand Rapids Herald with the Grand Rapids Press made Detroit the last city in the state with more than one daily newspaper. There were several reasons for these consolidations. Advertisers found it less expensive to buy space in one newspaper with general circulation, even at higher rates, than in two or more with overlapping circulation. Increasing costs of labor and the demand for more features, widespread news coverage, and attractive format were other factors. (21) The single daily newspaper that evolved from consolidations was no longer strongly partisan, usually reflecting in its editorials prevailing public opinion in the community, although on occasion there were evidences of crusading fervor.
Another evidence of the trend toward newspapers becoming a segment of big business in America was the development of companies owning newspapers in several cities. The largest such company with Michigan origins was the Booth Publishing Company. George G. Booth of Detroit, who had married a daughter of James E. Scripps, acquired the Grand Rapids Press in the 1890s, and in due course it came to have the largest circulation of any outstate paper. Early in the twentieth century Booth's brother, Ralph, obtained control of newspapers in four other Michigan cities, and these were brought together with the Press under the management of the Booth Publishing Company. This company acquired three other newspapers in 1922. The Booth chain, which included the Grand Rapids Press, the Flint Journal, the Muskegon Chronicle, the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, the Kalamazoo Gazette, the Ann Arbor News, the Bay City Times, and the Saginaw News, was itself taken over by a larger national newspaper chain, Newhouse, in 1976. In 1921 the far more flamboyant Hearst newspaper chain, founded by William Randolph Hearst, had purchased the Detroit Times, greatly enlivening that city with Hearst's distinctively sensational and personal journalistic style. But after Hearst's death his newspaper chain began to be cut back, and in 1960 the Times ceased publication and its plant was taken over by the Detroit News.
The two surviving Detroit dailies, the Free Press and the News, engaged in a fierce battle for the lead in circulation. The Free Press, which had itself become part of a chain of newspapers first put together by John S. Knight of Akron, Ohio, and then subsequently enlarged in 1974 to become the Knight-Ridder chain, maintained a large outstate following because it was the state's only major morning paper after the demise of the Grand Rapids Herald. The Detroit News, although also widely circulated outstate, gave greater emphasis to the Detroit area market; in the late seventies it had built up a commanding lead in circulation over the Free Press and was, in fact, the largest evening newspaper in the country. It had remained in the hands of the descendants of James Scripps, but in 1986 the Evening News Association, the company that owned the paper as well as the other media outlets it had acquired, was bought for $717 million by the Gannett media chain. Within a few weeks Gannett and Knight-Ridder announced plans to end the two Detroit papers' cutthroat competition and to enter into a joint operating agreement. This was an arrangement that would merge the business operations of the two papers under one management while at the same time maintaining the separate status of the editorial management of each of the papers. Such plans, approved by the federal government, had previously gone into effect in cities like Seattle but had never involved papers as large as the Free Press and the News. Local authorities, unions, consumer groups, and loyal supporters of the two papers all voiced strong opposition, but Knight-Ridder insisted that without a joint operating agreement it could not continue to absorb the losses it was suffering in publishing the Free Press. Finally, after a series of legal challenges that sought to prevent the publishers from going ahead with their plan, the United States Supreme Court in 1989, by failing to overturn a lower court ruling rejecting the opponents' arguments, cleared the way for the agreement to go into effect by the end of the year. Thereafter, it was business as usual on Monday through Friday, with the Free Press appearing on the streets with the generally liberal viewpoints its readers apparently appreciated, while the News maintained the conservative editorial outlook for which it was noted; but on weekends, when the enrichment of cultural life 609 a combined edition of the paper appeared, it was rather confusing sorting through the melange of viewpoints presented by the papers' staffs. But at least Detroit still had two opposing newspaper outlooks on developments. (22)
In towns and villages not large enough to support a daily paper a weekly publication invariably sprang up. In 1991 more than two hundred such papers were published in the state. (Forty-one of these papers were not weeklies but were published twice a week in suburban communities of Genesee, Oakland, and Wayne counties.) The country editor traditionally had had to spend long hours to make ends meet. (23) Far more profitable than the newspaper was the job printing work done in the newspaper shop. The weeklies, like the dailies, tended to become less partisan, but editors did not hesitate to express their views on local, state, and national affairs. In this area of newspaper publishing, as in the operation of daily papers, however, chains competed for the control of weeklies especially in the Detroit suburban communities, where these papers could provide more coverage to local news and advertisements than could the big dailies.
Numerous foreign-language newspapers have been published in Michigan. As early as 1850, Holland had a Dutch-language newspaper. Between 1876 and 1930 no less than thirty-three Finnish newspapers and periodicals were published in Michigan. German, Italian, and Polish papers appeared in Detroit, which also had newspapers for Jewish and black readers. (24)
In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, numerous periodicals continued to be published. Monthly or in some cases weekly magazines were produced by most church groups for their members. Some of these were the Banner, founded at Grand Rapids in 1868 for members of the Christian Reformed Church, the Michigan Christian Advocate, established at Adrian in 1874 for Methodist readers, and the Christian Herald, founded prior to the Civil War to serve Baptists. The number of trade, professional, and business publications increased rapidly after World War I. Automotive News and Michigan Living, formerly Motor News, are two Detroit publications--the former an industry publication, and the latter for members of the Automobile Club of Michigan. Among magazines aimed at a more general audience, none achieved the popularity of the American Boy, a monthly published in Detroit for several decades prior to the early 1940s. In its heyday in the 1920s, American Boy, with its roster of authors, stories, features, and artwork, was a kind of Saturday Evening Post for teenage boys. In recent years, attempts to publish a magazine about Michigan that would enjoy the same success as such state magazines as Arizona Highways have been short-lived, but Michigan Natural Resources, published by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (and by that department's predecessor, the Department of Conservation), has come the closest to that model. In the late 1970s Michigan History, a scholarly quarterly started by the Michigan Historical Commission in 1917, was transformed by the present Bureau of Michigan History into a glossy bimonthly that followed the lead of American Heritage in emphasizing a more popular approach, with extensive use of full-color illustrations.
The arts require taste, leisure, and intelligence in order to flourish. Unquestionably, the primary necessity of providing food, clothing, and shelter in a new land left little time for the pioneer to devote to the arts. Yet it is possible to mistake this cause for lack of interest. The German people who settled in Michigan exhibited a lively interest in music from the earliest years because they had a taste for it. One of the retarding influences in the development of the fine arts in Michigan was the Puritan tradition, which regarded beauty as a snare of the devil and those who devoted themselves to music, drama, or painting as lost souls. But in the period after the Civil War, courageous people began to take interest in the arts.
Music was the first of the arts to gain converts. In pioneer times ballads, folk songs, and fiddlers' dance tunes constituted the musical fare. In the years after the Civil War every community had its brass band, usually called by some such grandiloquent name as "Silver Cornet Band," which played on patriotic occasions and for dancing. As early as 1881 the Ann Arbor High School offered a music course. In 1927 a member of the University of Michigan's School of Music, Joseph E. Maddy, founded the national high-school music camp at Interlochen, which became nationally known in the years that followed. The pianist Van Cliburn was the best-known graduate of the Interlochen program. In 1962 it was expanded into a year-round school for young people of high-school age gifted in the arts. (25) The chautauqua programs of the first two decades of the twentieth century introduced thousands of Michiganians to serious music. In the twenties, when the first radio stations went on the air, their programs were devoted mostly to popular music, but some symphonic and operatic music was also broadcast, and the very surfeit of popular music turned many people to an interest in music of a more lasting character.
The growing interest in music was reflected in the organization of music clubs. A Michigan Federation of Music Clubs was formed, and in 1916 it became affiliated with the National Federation. The University of Michigan has been a vital force in the musical life of the state. Concerts were sponsored by the University Choral Society, formed in 1879. The spring festival, which has brought to Ann Arbor each year leading orchestras and musical artists of the world, was started in 1894. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1914, became one of the nation's leading orchestras under the direction of Ossip Gabrilowitsch. In later years, under other conductors and sponsors, the Detroit Symphony had only periodic success in fulfilling the hopes of its founders. It enjoyed a revival in the fifties under the French conductor, Paul Paray, and then in the late seventies another internationally known conductor, Antal Dorati, again refurbished the organization's reputation. But the orchestra's financial problems led to Dorati's resignation in 1980, ushering in another period of uncertainty. Symphony orchestras were also established in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo in 1921, and in other cities in later years, but financial costs except in a few cases restricted their development to local talent that donated their services.
Meanwhile music was introduced into virtually all the schools of the state. Among the many interesting activities of Henry R. Pattengill, superintendent of public instruction from 1893 to 1896, was the compilation of a "knapsack" of songs for school children, known as "Pat's Pick," which remained in use for many years. By the 1920s many high schools had developed excellent bands and orchestras.
Michigan shared with the rest of the nation the craze for popular music that started about the time of World War I. After the war, dance orchestras and dance bands increased in number with great rapidity. Around Detroit and at the more populous summer-resort areas, huge pavilions or "casinos" were built to accommodate the throngs who paid to listen and dance to the rhythms of name bands. (26) But the most distinctive impact made by Detroit in popular music came in the late fifties when a number of black artists gained national attention performing rhythm and blues music that later evolved into rock and roll. Berry Gordy, Jr., of Detroit founded the Motown Record Company, and built it into a musical empire with the talents of such performers as the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles--Detroit blacks who became the top recording artists of the sixties by performing what became known as the "Detroit Sound." It did not remain in Detroit, however, because Gordy expanded his operations into other entertainment areas and moved the company to the West Coast by the early 1970s. (27)
Interest in painting and sculpture developed more slowly than enthusiasm for music. Although the Detroit Art Association was formed in 1875 to provide art exhibitions, there was no public art gallery in Michigan until 1888. In that year, the Detroit Museum of Art was made possible through private donations. Later, in 1919, this museum was taken over by the city, which established an arts commission to manage the facility. In 1927 a magnificent building designed by Paul Cret (it was greatly enlarged in 1966) was opened to house the growing collections of what was now known as the Detroit Institute of Arts. Elsewhere in Michigan, the Ann Arbor Art Association, dating from 1909, was active in providing a number of items for the permanent art collection in the Alumni Memorial Hall at the University of Michigan. The Grand Rapids Art Museum dates from 1910, and the Muskegon Art Museum, formerly the Hackley Art Gallery, from 1911. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts was organized in 1924. It established an art center, which was housed after 1961 in a magnificent new building, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Gilmore.
Michigan produced some notable artists. Robert Hopkin, who came to Detroit from Scotland in 1832 at the age of fourteen, became a popular landscape and marine painter, surviving until 1909. The Scarab Club, an association of Detroit artists, was originally called the Hopkin Club in his honor. Most famous of these nineteenth-century Detroit painters was Gari Melchers, son of a German wood-carver who came to Detroit in 1855. His paintings won international recognition; no other Michigan artist had so many honors bestowed on him both in Europe and America. His murals for the Detroit Public Library show the landing of Cadillac's wife at Detroit, an incident in the "Conspiracy of Pontiac," and "The Spirit of the Northwest." By 1875 Detroit could boast of a sizable group of artists, some of them with a national reputation. Lewis T. Ives and his son Percy were among the most notable Detroit artists in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Many distinguished Americans and Michiganians sat for Percy Ives, among them President Grover Cleveland, Hazen S. Pingree, Thomas W. Palmer, and Russell A. Alger. Joseph W. Gies, a native of Detroit, did figure subjects and landscapes as well as portraits. Another Detroit native, Francis Petrus Paulus, was, like Gies, closely associated with the Detroit Museum of Art. He worked abroad from 1902 to the time of World War I, when he returned to his native city and remained there the rest of his life. In 1903 Mary Chase Perry founded the Pewabic Pottery, and for over a half century she and her staff produced tiles and pottery with a distinctive iridescent glaze that grace homes, churches, banks, and other public buildings not only in Detroit but throughout the country. (28)
Although Detroit was the center of art life in Michigan, other cities made their contributions. Frederick Stuart Church, born in Grand Rapids in 1842, attained enormous popularity in New York as a magazine illustrator. His "Pandora's Box," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Sorceress" won him great renown. Noted Grand Rapids artists of the twentieth century include Reynold H. Weidenaar and Armand Merizon. A Saginaw native, Eanger Irving Couse, born there in 1866, won distinction as a painter of Indian pictures. Frederick Carl Frieske, born at Owosso in 1875, won international honors for his paintings. Ezra Winters, whose murals and friezes may be seen in public buildings in Washington, D.C., New York, and Detroit, spent his early life in Manistee and Traverse City. De Jonge Smith, a muralist of distinction, and Algred Hutty, a noted etcher, came from Grand Haven.
The widespread interest in art in Michigan is evidenced by the growth of art education in the twentieth century. In Detroit the Arts and Crafts Society, formed in 1907, became established as an art school of major importance. Art instruction at the University of Michigan began as early as 1852, when a professorship of fine arts was established. Art departments and art schools were established later in almost all the state's colleges and universities. The founding of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1928 was an event of major significance in the history of art in Michigan. Headed by the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, the Cranbrook Academy soon became known throughout the nation and the world, attracting to its staff the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles and producing such illustrious graduates as Saarinen's son Eero. In 1910 a summer school of art was established at the summer-resort town of Saugatuck in western Michigan. Offering courses in crafts, graphic arts, and painting, this school--Ox-Bow--helped to make Saugatuck a mecca for artists. Another art center farther north along the Lake Michigan shore is located at Leland.
Starting in 1952, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts began sponsoring an annual outdoor "clothesline" art show. Such summer shows increasingly became a familiar sight, but none was as successful as that at Ann Arbor. This art show grew from a relatively modest beginning in 1960 to an annual four-day showing of all kinds of art which filled the streets in the university area of the city as well as spilling over into the downtown area. It is said to be the biggest and most prestigious street show in the country, bringing to the city by the mid-1980s a half million visitors who spent an estimated $37.5 million while in town. (29)
In addition to art museums, many other kinds of museums are found in Michigan: science, industrial, and historical museums. In the first building erected for the University of Michigan when it opened in 1841, a room was set aside for what was then called a "cabinet" and which would now be called a museum. By 1963 the University of Michigan had more than a dozen separate museums, containing collections in such varied fields as archaeology, musical instruments, plants, and animal life. Museums in Michigan are maintained by state agencies, cities, school districts, private associations, and individuals.
Among the museums with notable collections of natural history are the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Kingman Museum in Battle Creek. The Grand Rapids Public Museum developed out of a collection started by the Grand Rapids Lyceum of Natural History, dating back to 1854, but it has come to include extensive treatment of historical topics relating to that city's development. In 1994 the museum was moved into the magnificent new Van Andel Museum Center, named for the principal benefactor, Jay Van Andel, co-founder of Amway. Although it contains exhibits relating to the sciences, the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., Museum in Flint is perhaps best known for its collection of transportation vehicles and other exhibits tied in with Flint's history.
Among the state's distinctive exhibits have been those found in Holland, depicting the life and customs of the Dutch people. Formerly known as the Netherlands Museum, the collections were transferred in 1992 to a new museum in the city's former post office building that is now called the Holland Museum, with exhibits designed to recognize the full range of the city's diverse ethnic composition. A windmill from the Netherlands on land reclaimed from the Black River, together with several buildings, helps to explain the rich Dutch heritage of the area.
Among historical museums, the Detroit Historical Museum is one of the largest municipally supported museums of its type in the country. It started in 1928 from a collection of historical materials gathered by Clarence M. Burton. For several years it was housed in the Barlum Tower. Detroit's 250th anniversary provided the needed impetus for the establishment of a major museum. Over $400,000 was raised by popular subscription in 1943, and the city council voted an additional $500,000 to provide a spacious and beautiful new museum building at the corner of Woodward and Kirby, in the same area as the Detroit Public Library and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The building was dedicated in 1951, and a major addition was opened in 1968. A city commission was appointed in 1946 to supervise the operation of the museum. Under its director, Henry Brown, the Detroit Historical Museum sought to display materials in such a fashion as to create a sense of living history and to illustrate a single idea, concept, or period, rather than displaying everything in ways that had tended to confuse visitors to museums of an earlier day.
A number of museums are maintained and operated by professional staffs in other Michigan cities. The Kalamazoo Public Museum pioneered a plan of loaning exhibits for use in the schoolroom or even in the home. At Dearborn the local historical society in the 1940s secured a building that once was part of the United States arsenal and with later additions created a museum development of sizable proportions. Other historical museums were operated by local historical societies in Muskegon, Niles, and Marquette. In recent decades the numbers of these local museums have greatly increased, while Michigan State, Wayne State, and several other colleges and universities have followed the example set earlier by the University of Michigan. In Lansing a museum operation is part of the work entrusted to the Bureau of Michigan History of the Michigan Department of State. It is an outgrowth of the State Pioneer Museum that developed early in this century under the supervision of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, and which was later transferred to the Michigan Historical Commission when that state agency was established in 1913. The problem of providing adequate housing for the museum's collections, however, was not satisfactorily resolved until 1989, when the impressive new Michigan Library and Historical Center, housing the Library of Michigan and the Bureau of Michigan History, was opened several blocks west of the state capitol.
The most extensive exhibit of Americana in Michigan is found in Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn. Greenfield Village was built on a two-hundred-acre tract of land by Henry Ford and was one of America's first examples of an outdoor museum. Ford purchased a hundred historic buildings that were moved to the village to show how Americans lived and worked during the first three centuries of their history. The Henry Ford Museum was built to exhibit the vast collection of artifacts that Ford had begun to assemble as early as 1906. In the same area Ford established schools to carry out his "learning-by-doing" ideas in education. Greenfield Village, the museum, and the schools constituted the three divisions of the Edison Institute, which was dedicated on October 21, 1929, by President Herbert Hoover on the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas A. Edison's development of the incandescent light. Greenfield Village and the museum became one of Michigan's major tourist attractions, annually drawing over a million paying visitors by the fifties. Although the schools were abandoned after Ford's death, the nonprofit private association that operates this museum complex has made extensive additions to the village and museum and has completely redone many of its exhibits, employing the latest techniques to make the material more readily understandable to all visitors, as well as carrying out major renovations of other exhibits. (30)
Another highly successful museum development in recent years has been accomplished by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. A museum at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island had existed for many years but was not given much attention and had few visitors. Largely through the efforts of W. Stewart Woodfill, owner of the island's Grand Hotel and chairman of the park commission, the legislature authorized the commission to expand this museum operation through the issuance of revenue bonds, to be paid off through admission fees to the exhibits. In 1958 Fort Mackinac opened, with its new look, and the number of visitors who now paid to get in to view the buildings and their exhibits exceeded all expectations. The park commission, under its museum director, Eugene T. Petersen, was encouraged to expand its activities to the south side of the straits, where in 1959 it began the restoration of the eighteenth-century Fort Michilimackinac. Here, in addition to the restored buildings and their exhibits, one of the most popular attractions has been the ongoing archaeological excavation of the site, which visitors can observe each summer and which has resulted in the accumulation of an immense number of artifacts. (31)
The success of Greenfield Village and the Mackinac Island State Park Commission's activities encouraged many others to develop similar historical attractions. More and more the tourist and vacation industry came to recognize the importance of history in attracting visitors to the state. Even more important is the need to remind Michigan citizens of their rich heritage and the responsibility they have to preserve and enhance that heritage. In 1956 the state, through its historical agency, the present Bureau of Michigan History, began a historical markers program which has resulted in the placement of hundreds of markers across Michigan that provide information concerning historical developments in a particular area or at a particular site. These markers are frequently placed on or adjacent to a building because of the role the building played in the events being described or because of the building's architectural, as well as historical, significance. Through such actions and through its cooperation with the federal government in its ongoing Historic American Buildings Survey, the state has sought to preserve the surviving work of the designers and builders, whose names have often not survived, of classically styled nineteenth-century structures and the twentieth-century buildings in the differing styles of such well-known architects as Frank Lloyd Wright and those whom Michigan can claim as its own--the Saarinens, Alden Dow, and Albert Kahn, among others. (32)
In spite of the antagonistic attitude toward the theater by most of the Protestant churches, traveling theatrical troupes visited Detroit and other Michigan cities even in pre--Civil War days. As early as 1830, a barn near the Steamboat Hotel in Detroit was used as a theater, and a building was constructed especially to accommodate touring players in 1848. The Athenaeum Theater was built during the Civil War but burned down in 1869. A few weeks later, however, the Detroit Opera House was opened and for forty years it remained the center of Detroit musical and theatrical life. Many other theaters were constructed in later years. The Lafayette was opened in 1925 and the Cass in 1926. The Fisher Theater, in the Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center area, opened in 1928 and survives as the city's principal center for legitimate Broadway theater offerings.
In outstate cities the evolution of the theater followed a pattern similar to that in Detroit. At first theatrical productions were given in halls used for general civic purposes. About the time of the Civil War buildings especially designed for concerts and plays and usually called "opera houses" were erected in the larger cities. Grand Rapids had its first opera house in 1859, and for many years Powers' Grand Opera House, opened there in 1873, seating 1,600 people, was the largest and best equipped in western Michigan. In Kalamazoo an "Academy of Music" (actually a theater) had its grand opening in 1882. Buck's Opera House in Lansing was constructed in 1872. Between 1870 and 1900 opera houses were built in the smaller cities and even in villages. The Midland Opera House opened about 1880. It was situated on the second floor of a store building, like most of those in the smaller cities and towns. South Haven had an opera house as early as 1879. The Beckwith Theater in Dowagiac was built as a memorial to Philo D. Beckwith, founder of that city's Round Oak Stove Company. Bellevue, with a population of only a few hundred, boasted an opera house in 1876. Another example of the small-town opera house was that in Cedar Springs, built in 1880. It had a large stage and several dressing rooms. A rural scene was painted on the front curtain by a local artist; around it, as was the custom, appeared advertisements by local merchants. The hall was lighted by acetylene lamps. Seats were removable so that the hall could be used for dances, chicken suppers, school fairs, graduation exercises, mouth organ and fiddlers' contests, political rallies, and home talent plays. But the owner, a Republican, refused to rent the hall to the Democrats when they wanted to hold a rally.
The theater enjoyed great popularity in the Copper Country around the turn of the century. In the 1890s Houghton had two theaters, as did Hancock, while Lake Linden, Calumet, and Laurium each had its own opera house or theater. In 1898 Laurium built an opera house to seat 1,300 people. Not to be outdone, the people of Calumet spent $70,000 for an elaborately decorated theater, which opened March 20, 1900, with a production of The Highwayman by a professional troupe before an audience of 1,200. The Kerredge Theater, which opened in Hancock in 1902, had a seating capacity of 1,565, a stage forty feet deep and seventy feet wide, ten dressing rooms, and a thousand incandescent electric lamps. For the opening performance, box seats sold for $40. Excellent train service to the Copper Country enabled traveling theatrical companies to appear there between engagements at Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul. (33)
Typical of the dozens of stock companies that toured Michigan between 1890 and 1914 was the one owned and managed by M. A. (Al) Hunt called Hunt's Stock Company. Hunt, a native of Bangor, started his career as a showman and musician in a traveling show band. Later he joined the "rube band" of Tucker's Show. Tucker, who resided in Decatur, was one of the most popular of the small-town showmen. Always genial, he received a hearty welcome when he returned to the same towns year after year. He was handsome, stockily built, and wore a conspicuous black moustache turned up at the ends. During all performances he wore overalls tucked into high boots. After several years of apprenticeship with Tucker, Hunt started his own troupe, consisting of twelve men and women. As the movies came in, the opera houses where Hunt's troupe played closed their doors, but Hunt continued, putting his show under canvas. Business was good until the Depression, and the venture was discontinued in 1931, when most stock companies folded up. The Slout Players, with headquarters at Vermontville, however, continued to play the small towns until the 1950s.
A combination of factors spelled the doom of the small-town and small-city opera houses and theaters between 1910 and 1920. The prime factor was perhaps the coming of the movies. But the building of high-school auditoriums was important, too, because they replaced the opera house as the center of community activities. The chautauqua played its role in dooming these once pretentious and prosperous theaters.
In the larger cities the decline of the legitimate theater was slower. Touring companies playing both serious drama and musical comedy did good business up to the close of the 1920s, although the number of attractions was smaller than in the days before the movies. Vaudeville had a tremendous vogue from about 1910 to 1929. All the principal cities had their vaudeville houses, playing daily matinees and evening performances with weekly or semiweekly changes in programs. Sound pictures, radio, and the Depression killed vaudeville shortly after 1929.
Motion pictures were first demonstrated in 1894. Bertram C. Whitney brought the first moving-picture machine to Michigan in 1896 and installed it in the Detroit Grand Opera House as an oddity. It projected about a thousand feet of celluloid film. The first Detroit movie house was the Casino Theater, opened in 1905. In Detroit and outstate cities dozens of "nickelodeons" quickly appeared in the decade after 1905. Usually occupying vacant store buildings and charging 5[cents] for admission, they showed short films. By the time of World War I longer films were being shown, and most Michigan towns had at least one moving-picture theater. A pianist provided "mood music," and in the larger cities orchestras were used to provide musical settings for the films. Before many years the production, distribution, and exhibition of films had developed into a big business. Entrepreneurs secured control of theaters in several cities and established "circuits" for the showing of movies as well as vaudeville acts. In Michigan the largest such organization was the Butterfield Circuit, formed by Walter S. Butterfield, a native of Indiana. In 1906 he acquired the Hamblin Opera House in Battle Creek and remodeled it as a popular-price vaudeville house. A few months later he opened the Bijou Theater in Kalamazoo. By 1929 he had a chain of fifty-five theaters. As vaudeville became less popular Butterfield supplemented and finally replaced the vaudeville acts with motion pictures. Expansion continued during the Depression and afterward; by 1948 the Butterfield circuit included a total of 115 theaters in thirty-three Michigan cities. Another successful operator was Claude Cady of Lansing. The Cady theaters eventually became part of the Butterfield chain.
The coming of television in the 1950s and the construction of outdoor moving-picture theaters dealt a severe blow to the ornate movie palaces built by Butterfield and others, and by the 1970s nearly all of them were out of business, although a few, such as the Fox Theater in Detroit and the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in one of Muskegon's old movie theaters, were kept in operation as entertainment centers for touring theatrical and musical performances. Many of the smaller and older theaters were closed, and most small towns ceased to have any movie houses at all. The larger cities continued to support the moving-picture theater, and the development of wide-screen movies, which gave the viewer a greater sense of realism, provided some temporary help, but by the 1970s a new kind of theater was being built, usually in connection with a shopping center, that was divided into several screening areas, allowing the theater owner to offer the public several different films, rather than only one, as in earlier days.
In spite of the competition of films, radio, and television, interest in the legitimate theater did not die out. Traveling theatrical troupes still visited Detroit and other Michigan cities, though much less frequently than earlier, and Detroit still had several legitimate theaters. Of more importance, however, was the development of the community theater. In Detroit Miss Jessie Bonstelle established a resident professional theater company in 1925. Three years later the company was reorganized as a nonprofit group called the Civic Players, and its theater became the Detroit Civic Theater. Miss Bonstelle was known as the maker of stars. Among the great figures of the theater whose talents were recognized by her were Katherine Cornell, Ann Harding, Frank Morgan, Melvyn Douglas, and William Powell.
Jessie Bonstelle was chiefly interested in the professional theater. But amateurs played a major part in rescuing the legitimate theater from oblivion. During her career in Detroit many amateurs were forming organizations of what was at first known as the "Little Theater" movement. Fundamentally this was a response of communities to the decline of the road show that was becoming apparent by 1910 as a consequence of higher rents, higher transportation costs, and dissatisfaction of theatergoers with the dramatic fare supplied by New York booking agencies. In the early stages of the "Little Theater" movement it was sometimes identified with the "Art Theater," an organization formed to provide an outlet for the creative work of playwrights, actors, directors, designers, musicians, and dancers. The art theater never attained a large popularity outside New York. Two other phases of the Little Theater movement, however, had significance throughout the nation.
One of these was the organization of community theaters. The Ypsilanti Players are regarded as being the first Little Theater group in Michigan, but the Flint Community Players have been in longest continuous operation. The Ypsilanti project started in an old carriage house, with a tiny stage and seats for two hundred people. No salaries were paid; deficits were absorbed by Daniel Quirk, a local businessman. Some excellent plays were presented. In Detroit a number of amateur theatrical groups developed, the most important being the Players' Club and the Contemporary Theater. Sheldon Cheney, who joined the latter group, became editor of Theatre Arts, a magazine that exerted a national influence in the Little Theater movement. Outstate other amateur theatrical groups were being formed. The earliest was founded in Allegan in the 1920s; for its use Griswold Auditorium was provided. Grand Rapids was the next to develop a community theater. In Kalamazoo the Civic Players originated in 1929, and through the generosity of Dr. W. E. Upjohn a beautiful and fully equipped theater was constructed for its productions. Community theaters were established in other Michigan cities in the 1930s and subsequently. In some cases full-time directors, managers, and technicians were employed, but in the main these theaters were for the amateur. The Community Theater Association of Michigan was formed in 1949. By 1963 there were thirty-five outstate community theaters belonging to this organization, with another twenty in Detroit.
Most Michigan high schools stage dramatic productions, and in some there is serious study of dramatic art. In the colleges, too, there has been increasing attention to the theater. As early as 1928 the institution now known as Wayne State University opened a training course in drama and the experimental theater. The University of Michigan's play-production group was formed the same year. During the summer, as the Michigan Repertory Playhouse, this group presented a play each week for a period of five weeks in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater on campus--a splendidly equipped playhouse. In later years a professional theater program complemented the student drama productions and provided a wide variety of plays the year round.
Another development was the summer theater located near vacation centers. Shortly after World War II, Jack Ragotzy started an amateur group called the Village Players at Richland, near Gull Lake and within a few miles of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Later he acquired an old barn near Augusta and refurbished it as a theater. Professionals replaced the amateur players, and a summer-long series of plays was presented each year. Summer theaters were opened also in Saugatuck, South Haven, Paw Paw, Grand Haven, Manistee, Petoskey, and Traverse City. In the Copper Country, the old Calumet opera house was reopened as a summer theater, an example that was subsequently followed in Coldwater and other communities where these old buildings had survived. By the early 1990s, however, the days of the summer theater seemed numbered. The Cherry County Playhouse moved from Traverse City to the Frauenthal Theater in Muskegon in hopes of halting a decline in ticket sales; fund-raisers were desperately trying to save Calumet's opera house; and Saugatuck's Red Barn Theater, reopened after being closed for two years, attracted only small audiences in 1994.
In 1966 an ambitious plan to establish a theater for the performance of Greek drama was launched in Ypsilanti, which city was named for two brothers who were heroes in the Greek War for Independence. Unfortunately, although the great Bert Lahr and Judith Anderson starred in the Greek Theater's two critically acclaimed productions, the venture was a financial disaster and had to be abandoned. More enduring was the Meadow Brook Festival, held in the Howard C. Baldwin Memorial Pavilion at Oakland University. An eight-week season each summer featured the Detroit Symphony and other performers, both popular and classical. In 1967 a resident professional company was the enrichment of cultural life 621 established at the Meadow Brook Theater, offering dramatic fare of the highest caliber.
Michigan has produced a number of writers who have achieved national recognition and a host of others whose works have varying degrees of merit. Many of these have used Michigan materials, while others show little trace of Michigan nativity or background in their work. (34) Typical of the latter is Ring Lardner, the noted humorist who was born in Niles but whose work, written later when he was a resident of Chicago and then in the East, showed only an occasional reference to his native southwestern Michigan. (35) Similarly, the works of the novelist Edna Ferber, who was born in Kalamazoo, and Clarence Buddington Kelland, a popular story writer who was a native of Portland, Michigan, had little or nothing to do with Michigan. It was only in his last works in the 1970s that the prize-winning historian Bruce Catton, who was born in Petoskey and raised in Benzonia, Michigan, returned to themes relating to his native state with an account of his Michigan youth, Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood (1972), and a brief, less notable, history of Michigan (1976). By contrast, Ernest Hemingway, although not a Michigan native, spent much time at his family's summer home near Petoskey in the period around World War I, an experience that was reflected in the northern Michigan themes and locales in his first important work, the volume of Nick Adams stories, In Our Times, published in 1924-25.
Numerous other writers have been similarly influenced by the environment of Michigan. Among these are James Fenimore Cooper, whose novel The Oak Openings grew out of his real estate investments in Michigan lands, and Constance Fenimore Woolson, daughter of Cooper's niece, whose work Anne, A Tale of Mackinac resulted from a summer visit to that island. The most famous literary work set in Michigan, however, is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem Hiawatha, published in 1855. Longfellow, influenced by the work of the Indian authority Henry R. Schoolcraft, repeated the latter's mistake in confusing legends relating to the Chippewa demigod, Manabozho, with those surrounding an Iroquoian figure, Hiawatha, thereby transferring to Michigan's Upper Peninsula events that actually belonged in New York. But the multitudes who were enthralled by Longfellow's epic paid no attention to the critics of the work. Nor have the area's boosters, who have promoted tourism in those northern Michigan lands through the liberal use of the Hiawatha name regardless of the appropriateness of such usage.
The verse best liked by Michigan readers of the late nineteenth century dripped with sentimentality. Will Carleton's "Over the hill to the poorhouse" had that quality which endeared it to thousands. A bronze tablet was erected in 1925 just a little east of Hillsdale on the grounds of the old poorhouse that Carleton immortalized. He was so popular that the state legislature decreed that each year Michigan schools should honor him on his birthday--October 21--a date that Michigan schools are still supposed to (but rarely do) observe along with Columbus Day, Washington's birthday, and several other legally established dates. In the same category with Carleton was Rose Hartwick, whose "Curfew shall not ring tonight" was long a favorite for schoolroom recital. Another of this ilk was Julia Moore, known as the "sweet singer of Michigan," whose verse, immensely popular in the 1880s, was so incredibly bad that in the twentieth century she became a favorite of those who like to collect examples of such work. (36) For many years in the twentieth century, however, no other poet could approach the popularity of Edgar Guest, whose verses appeared daily in the Detroit Free Press for over half a century, and in collected book form enjoyed enormous sales. Although William Lyon Phelps, a professor of English literature at Yale and a frequent summer visitor to Michigan, defended the literary quality of his friend Guest's work, most critics derided Guest for the sentimental nature of his poetry. Guest himself, however, never claimed to be anything but a newsman writing verses. (37) Of a totally different character was the poetry of Theodore Roethke, who was born in Saginaw in 1908 and who received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 and the prestigious Bollingan Prize in 1958. Roethke spent his adult years teaching at colleges elsewhere in the country, but he returned frequently in his poetry to themes drawn from his Saginaw childhood.
In the early years of the twentieth century, several Michigan writers attained national recognition for their fiction. Rex Beach, a native of Atwood, Michigan, wrote more than a score of novels and many short stories, some of which used Michigan settings but the most popular of which were set in the Klondike. James Oliver Curwood, who attained an immense following, built a palatial home in his hometown of Owosso which remains that town's most famous landmark. Like Beach, Curwood wrote stories of rugged outdoor life in what was called the "he-man" school of writing. The ablest of this group was Stewart Edward White, born in Grand Rapids. His novels deal with life in the lumber camps. The Blazed Trail (1902), The Forest (1903), and The Riverman (1908) are his best-known novels. The days of the lumberman were romanticized by a number of writers besides White. Eugene Thwing, in his novels The Red-Keggers and The Man from Red Keg, used the Saginaw country as his setting.
Farm life in Michigan was depicted with a liberal dash of nostalgia in books written by Delia T. Lutes in the 1930s and 1940s, including The Country Kitchen, Millbrook, and Cousin William. In contrast, Godfrey Dell Eaton, in Backfurrow (1925), describes life in a poor farm region of Michigan as one of stupidity, beastliness, and bitterness. Ronald Jager, Eighty Acres: Elegy for a Family Farm (1990), is an autobiographical work realistically recounting the struggles of a Dutch Calvinist family attempting to make a go of farming in the mid-twentieth century in less than favorable conditions near McBain in central Michigan. In such novels as Farmer (1975), the poet and novelist Jim Harrison, a native of Grayling and a resident of Lake Leelanau, deals with the same harsh conditions affecting life in rural areas of northern Michigan. Highly praised, Harrison's work, with its setting and its often violent, male-dominated characteristics, is reminiscent, albeit on a much different creative level, of the earlier he-man school of writing.
Helen Rose Hull, who was born in Albion, explored the woman's place in the scheme of things in her novels, one of which, The Islanders (1927), depicts Michigan as it was passing out of the pioneer stage into a more complex society. The transition of Michigan from an agricultural to an industrial state was the subject of Arthur Pound's Once a Wilderness (1938) and Second Growth (1935). Edmund G. Love, with The Situation in Flushing (1965), turned from the subjects that had brought him considerable success on Broadway to a series of autobiographical works that effectively depicted the ways that the automobile and other modern developments had changed life in Michigan since the early years of the twentieth century.
The automobile industry has provided Michigan authors and writers elsewhere with material for dozens of works. Lawrence H. Conrad, who lived near Detroit and was the son of a father devoted to the ideals of handicraft and bitterly opposed to mass production, authored a novel entitled Temper (1924), giving a realistic account of the tempering of the soul of a steelworker in an automobile factory. Other novels of the auto industry include Wessel Smitter's F.O.B. Detroit (1938) and Gordon Webber's What End But Love (1959), but none achieved the popularity of two of the best-sellers of the seventies, Arthur Hailey's Wheels (1971) and Harold Robbins's The Betsy (1971), both of which centered on Detroit and its auto industry and employed the sensational style associated with these two non-Michigan writers.
Detroit is also the setting often favored by three of the most popular mystery writers of the late twentieth century--Elmore Leonard, who was born in New Orleans but whose family moved to Detroit in the 1930s, William X. Kienzle, a native of Detroit, and Loren D. Estleman, the youngest of the three, who was born in Ann Arbor. Leonard and Estleman are of the hard-boiled school of detective or mystery writers, while Kienzle's work, such as The Rosary Murders (1979), is influenced by his years as a Roman Catholic priest before he left to pursue a creative writing career.
The nationalities that comprise the people of Michigan have been the subject of many works of fiction and nonfiction. Arnold Mulder, in The Sand Doctor (1921) and several other books, and David C. DeJong, in With a Dutch Accent (1944), deal with the immigrants to Michigan from the Netherlands.
Among the children of those immigrants, Paul de Kruif of Zeeland was one of the most successful writers of nonfiction studies of scientific subjects, such as Microbe Hunters (1926). His career is covered in his memoirs, The Sweeping Wind (1962). Leonard Cline wrote in realistic fashion about a Finnish settlement in the Upper Peninsula in God Head (1925), while Newton G. Thomas's The Long Winter Ends (1941) tells of the adjustment by Cornish immigrants to life in the Copper Country. Harriette Arnow's The Dollmaker (1954) describes the problems of southern whites moving to industrialized southeastern Michigan.
The Upper Peninsula has been a favorite subject of many writers. John F. Voelker, an Upper Peninsula lawyer who served for a time on the state supreme court and wrote under the pseudonym of Robert Traver, wrote several novels with northern Michigan settings. The best known of these, The Anatomy of a Murder (1958), was a best-seller and was used as the subject of a successful motion picture. Richard Dorson, a leading authority on American folklore, collected examples of Upper Peninsula folklore while he was on the faculty at Michigan State that he published under the title Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers (1952). The folkways of a Swedish family in Ironwood are recalled in a charming novel, Latchstring Out (1944), by Skulda Baner, whose father, Johan G. R. Baner, was a poet and writer of great talent whose work, appearing in Swedish-language publications in Ironwood and other areas near Lake Superior, has gone relatively unrecognized because of the language in which it was written. (38)
Twentieth-century developments have had profound effects on much of what has traditionally been considered cultural. These developments have also affected the attitudes of many people toward traditional ways and the use they make of them. Motion pictures were already cutting into the support for live drama by the 1920s, but in that decade the development of radio would have an even broader impact. Within a short time after the Detroit News pioneered radio broadcasts in 1920, other radio stations were opened in Detroit and a growing number of communities outstate. By 1925 some of these had become affiliates of national networks that provided a wide variety of programming material. By the thirties the radio was the major source in more and more Michigan homes not only for dramatic presentations of all types but also for comedy programs that replaced vaudeville, classical and popular music, and news. Affiliates of the CBS and NBC radio networks that developed in the late twenties benefited from the programs they offered to a national audience, but in 1933, when CBS changed its Detroit-area affiliation from WXYZ in Detroit to what became CKLW across the river in Windsor, George Trendle, president of WXYZ, put together a network of Michigan stations over which he sought to present programming which would rival that of the national networks. His most famous creations were "The Lone Ranger" and "The Green Hornet" dramatic series, which were syndicated and enjoyed long runs on radio and later on televison and in the movies. Brace Beemer, the station manager, was initially the narrator for "The Lone Ranger" before going on to play the part of the famed masked man himself. (39)
In 1947 the Detroit News pioneered the introduction of television in Michigan, as it had radio a quarter of a century earlier. Within three or four years this new medium had taken away much of radio programming because of its great visual impact. Radio by no means disappeared, however. Hundreds of radio stations in Michigan have now gone from the variety of programming of the pretelevision days to specialized programming, usually concentrating on a particular style of music. Meanwhile, the forty-six television stations operating in the state by 1991 assumed many of the roles that the theater, concerts, newspapers, and books had had in the lives of Michiganians of an earlier time. By the 1980s, with the widespread availability of cable television services, supplemented by the satellite "dishes" that sprouted in the yards and on the rooftops of more remote homes, program choices were multiplied many times over as television viewers were no longer limited to whatever was carried by the commercial station or stations serving the area.
Sports became one of the favorite offerings of radio and television. Aside from some interest in horse racing, organized sporting events were virtually unknown in nineteenth-century Michigan. With the growth of urban areas, however, an interest in sports developed, partly as a health measure among those city dwellers who felt the need for exercise. Sports served as a substitute for outdoor living and the hard physical labor that men and women had known all too well on the farm. Furthermore, athletic activities constituted a psychological compensation for the tedium and monotony of assembly-line production or office routine. Whatever the cause, sports of every kind became popular.
Baseball leaped into the spotlight in the early years of the twentieth century. Thousands of boys and young men played ball on "sandlots," while many thousands more were equally enthusiastic as fans of the sport. Detroit had a major league baseball team after 1900, when Frank J. Navin obtained a franchise in the American League. Since that time the Detroit Tigers have been favorites throughout the state, although southwestern Michigan's proximity to Chicago led to a good deal of support there for the Windy City's Cubs and White Sox. Beginning in the late 1920s, millions got their baseball thirdhand, for they neither played the game nor attended it but followed the radio description or later watched the play on television. Many Michigan schoolboys --and in later years, not a few girls--might not be able to identify Hazen Pingree or James Couzens, but they had no difficulty in providing facts and figures regarding such Tiger stars as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Al Kaline, or Cecil Fielder. Minor league baseball teams appeared in other Michigan cities, but television spelled their doom until 1994, when the West Michigan Whitecaps, a new Grand Rapids entry in the Midwest League, enjoyed spectacular box office success, encouraging Battle Creek and Lansing to field teams in that league in 1995 and 1996. Amateur leagues continued to flourish, and "little leagues" sprang up for the younger set.
As a spectator sport, football, with its short season, rivals baseball. The immense stadium at Ann Arbor was built in the late 1920s and enlarged in later years not to accommodate the university student body alone but also the thousands from Detroit and elsewhere who came by train, bus, and automobile to see the games. In the early thirties professional football became popular. Detroit acquired a franchise in the National Football League, the Lions, in 1934. The popularity of professional football was greatly increased when the games were televised, and in the seventies the Detroit Lions moved into a domed stadium at Pontiac to accommodate the increased crowds. The colleges and universities, however, had made football a major sport, and the frenzy that surrounded the annual clash between the University of Michigan and Michigan State football teams or the Michigan--Ohio State rivalry was something that the Lions rarely could duplicate.
Hockey, like baseball and football, became a popular professional sport, with the Detroit Red Wings following the Tigers and Lions in the public eye as the seasons advanced. Basketball also had its professional teams, but in Michigan the interest remained largely on basketball as a high school and college sport until the 1980s, when Detroit's professional team, the Pistons, finally caught on with the fans. Boxing was another spectator sport, and in the thirties and forties the heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis--a product of Detroit's black ghetto--was the most celebrated sports figure in the country.
Sports of all kinds seemed to become more popular as the cities grew. Roller skating flourished intermittently, but ice skating, along with other winter sports, achieved great and lasting popularity. Lawn tennis was imported to America about 1875 and began to become popular around the turn of the century. It is only in recent years, however, that it has developed a mass following, leading not only to the building of outdoor courts but in the late seventies to the construction of elaborate indoor tennis facilities in most large cities in southern Michigan. The increase in the number of YMCAs during and after World War I provided facilities for such other indoor sporting activities as volleyball, squash, and handball. During the twenties, golf attained widespread popularity. Formerly a game played by rich men on private courses associated with exclusive country clubs, it now attracted many more players as municipal and other public courses were built that were open to everyone. By 1992 Michigan had 779 golf courses, most of them open to the public, and there were 1.3 million golfers in the state. (40)
Golf and tennis, in contrast with baseball and football, which were primarily spectator sports, were examples of sports in which the individual could participate with relative ease. As the length of the workday and the workweek shortened, and as more and more businesses began giving their employees paid vacations, the amount of leisure time, a scarce commodity in earlier times, now spurred the growth in popularity of sports and recreational activities of all sorts. Cities began devoting more attention to providing parks where the residents could relax and enjoy themselves. In 1917 a system of state parks began to be established, enlarging the opportunities of enjoying Michigan's lakes and other natural attractions that had previously been out of reach of most people who could not afford the expense of resort hotels. Despite rapidly increased appropriations to expand existing parks and add new ones, crowded conditions, together with the popularity of these facilities, led voters in November 1968 to authorize a $100 million bond issue for recreational purposes. Additional camping facilities were developed on state and national forest grounds, as well as at private campgrounds. By the seventies the Pictured Rocks area near Munising and the Sleeping Bear Dunes area near Traverse City had been established as part of the national parks system, which previously had been represented in Michigan only by Isle Royale National Park.
By the 1990s the state park system faced a crisis. Fiscal support of the parks had declined steadily since the late 1970s. At that time 62.5 percent of the parks revenues had come from the state's general fund, but by 1992-93 that percentage had fallen to 21.5, forcing the parks to make drastic cuts in staff and services. Revenue-producing operations such as concessions, vehicle permit sales, and campsite rental fees, together with legislative appropriations, were barely enough for ordinary maintenance, not for needed improvements. To reverse this trend the legislature and governor in 1994 approved the Michigan State Parks Initiative, a package of measures designed to help the parks in a variety of ways. A summertime jobs program would enable young people to be employed in the parks. Organizations would be encouraged to adopt a park and to help the staff in routine maintenance programs. Most important, an $800 million endowment fund was to be established to provide on-going support for operations and improvements. A variety of sources were to be tapped to create this fund, including $20 million in revenues from the Natural Resources Trust Fund that had annually been used by the state for other projects. The trust fund, made up of royalties received from oil and gas drillings on state lands, was designed to provide grants for local park development projects. Voters in November approved a proposal prohibiting any further diversion of revenues for non-park purposes and authorizing the $20 million annual shift of trust fund revenues into the state park endowment. Although there were doubts concerning the long-range cultural benefits of some twentieth-century developments, few questioned the belief that by bringing camping and other recreational opportunities within the reach of virtually all residents, there would be a broadened acquaintance with nature and its wonders that could provide endless and rewarding experiences. (41)
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|Publication:||Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State|
|Article Type:||Culture overview|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1995|
|Previous Article:||Chapter 28: years of change and turmoil.|
|Next Article:||Chapter 30: toward a new century.|