The University of Michigan isn’t the only one celebrating a milestone birthday this year: The state of Michigan also marked the 180th anniversary of its admission to the United States on Thursday.
According to a historical marker outside the present-day courthouse on East Huron Street, Ann Arbor played an important role in Michigan’s statehood when a convention in 1836 at the Washtenaw County courthouse met to discuss a proposal from Congress to resolve a dispute between Michigan and Ohio about border territory.
“Both (Michigan and Ohio) claimed a narrow strip of land, including the present city of Toledo,” the marker states. “Congress proposed giving the greater part of the Upper Peninsula to Michigan, while awarding the ‘Toledo Strip’ to Ohio.”
Once the dispute was resolved and supported at the convention, it cleared the way for the Congressional bill and then-President Andrew Jackson’s signing of the bill making the roughly 200,000-person territory the 26th state in the Union.
After this landmark decision, Ann Arbor further cemented its location as one of importance when the University also moved from Detroit in 1837. The first students enrolled in 1841 and the University started that year with a total of seven students.
After 180 years of statehood, Michigan now has a population of 9.9 million people and the University has grown to encompass about 51,000 students between its Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses, a vast growth since its humble beginnings in 1837.