Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from

The coal mines of the Saginaw Valley

driver boy by j3net
driver boy by j3net

What lies beneath: A look at Saginaw’s coal mining past from yesterday’s Saginaw News says that the new “Mining for Prosperity: Coal in the Saginaw Valley” exhibit at the Castle Museum identifies 29 coal mines in Saginaw County and notes that In the early part of the 20th century, more than 1,000 people made their living working in Saginaw’s coal mines.

An excellent article on The Coal Fields of Bay County explains that:

The first discovery of coal in the valley was made simultaneously with the discovery of salt. Through the influence of the late Dr. George A. Lathrop, the East Saginaw Salt Manufacturing Company was organized in 1859, and the first well was completed in May 1860. While the work was in progress Dr. Lathrop, who was a geologist, made a drawing giving an analysis of the mineral deposits through which the drill passed. This map shows that coal was struck in two places at a depth of over two hundred feet. The doctor then made the remark that the time was coming when coal would be drilled for all over the valley…

(Saginaw Mine director) Mr. Chappell said recently: “I have drilled a great deal and can safely say that Saginaw Valley coal is far superior to any coal in Michigan. It is a free coal that burns up to a light ash without leaving clinkers, and is a coal of almost complete combustion, throwing out but very little soot, making it a first-class domestic soft coal. For steam purposes it compares very favorably with the Ohio product, more especially that from the Hocking Valley. There is a large area of the Saginaw Valley under laid with this coal; just how much will not be determined until the territory is drilled up, but enough has been shown already to make it a splendid inducement for manufacturers to locate here on account of this advantage.”

Read on for information about many of the mines in the region. The Saginaw News notes that the Federal Government is pretty concerned about many of the old mine shafts.

About the photo: Janet writes: This young miner is carrying the braided whip he uses to drive his mule. I bought this card on ebay where it was described as coming from a collection of cards from St. Louis, Michigan. Real photo card, divided back, unused. AZO stamp box dates it to between 1904 and 1918.

Ticket Giveaway: Daughtry – Lansing & Saginaw, October 28 & 29

daughtryDaughtry is coming to Michigan and will be performing two concerts on their 36-date U.S. tour. We are pleased to announce that Absolute Michigan is giving away a pair of tickets for their October 28th tour stop in Lansing at the Breslin Center and their October 29th tour stop in Saginaw at The Dow Arena.

The contest is now complete and the winners have been notified.

If you did not win tickets they are still available for purchase online. Reviews of the tour have been very positive, so if youare a fan we suggest you don’t miss Daughtry’s first arena tour!

Their most recent release Leave This Town continues its impressive streak of success. The album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, has sold more than a half million copies in it’s first five weeks. The album’s first single, “No Surprise,” reached No.1 on the Hot A/C chart. It is the band’s fourth #1 hit, a rare feat for any recording artist.

After finishing a sold out club tour, Chris Daughtry stated the band is busy preparing for the upcoming arena tour. “We dreamed about how it would feel playing these songs to packed arenas, and we’re excited to get our chance,” Chris says, “We have a great show planned and can’t wait to hit the road to share it with our fans.”

Check out the video for daughtry’s latest single “No Surprise”

Check out many more videos on Daughty’s Official YouTube Channel

Join Daughtry on Facebook and MySpace

Motoring through Michigan’s snow

Snow Plow by Seeking Michigan
Snow Plow by Seeking Michigan

As the wind howls through the state this morning, I thought it might be a good time to shovel out a few stories – you can see a photo a snowplow in Bessemer from the Archives of Michigan over on Michigan in Pictures this morning!

Last week mLive reported that the Saginaw County Road Commission became the first road agency in the state (and maybe the country) to use GPS to display where the plow trucks have gone. Road Commission Manager Brian J. Wendling acknowledged ”It’s not a foolproof means of knowing what the road conditions are, but it will at least allow (motorists) the ability to see if a plow has been through the area.” Check it out on the Saginaw County Road Commission web site. It’s a little crude, but on days like today it’s probably useful!

You might also be interested in this article about Michigan road salt and salt mining on Michigan in Pictures. For a look at what plowing was like in the days before modern plows (and when the plow operator had a taste for whiskey), check out Old Harry in the Northern Michigan Journal:

Fifty years ago in Leelanau, so the old timers tell it, the winters were much rougher than what we have today. Whether this is really so or merely the result of memories changing over the course of time is open to debate, but without the modern snow fighting equipment we have now-a-days, it’s for sure that the winters back the must have at least seemed tougher.

Anyway, back then few people had their own snow plows, snow blowers were unheard of, and the primary weapon in the war against Old Man Winter was the shovel. Harry drove plow truck for the county in those days; a great big old Osh Kosh monster that roared and belched black smoke as it pushed the snow off the roads.

Seeking Michigan posted this 16mm demo film of the Armstead Snow Motors Company concept snow vehicle. It was filmed in 1924, and the concept is applied to a Fordson tractor and a Chevrolet automobile. The original film is part of the collections of the Archives of Michigan. In case you’re interested in how this wild machine works, here’s the text of the original patent.

Armstead Snow Motors from Seeking Michigan on Vimeo.

Dig Michigan: Flint and the Tri-cities of Bay City, Saginaw & Midland

Flint/Tri-Cities is the third of Michigan’s regions that we are exploring this month. Our goal with this series of articles is to give you a little taste of some great vacation opportunities that are probably less than a tank of gas away and an idea of what is going on in the region, so if you have suggestions or questions about visiting the area, please post them in the comments!
Old Flint HDR by hemicuda82

Michigan’s Most Enduring Settlement

Wikipedia’s Flint, Michigan page says that some scholars consider the Saginaw Valley, particularly the vicinity of Flint, to be the oldest continually inhabited part of Michigan. The Flint River had several convenient fords which became points of contention among rival tribes, as attested by the presence of arrowheads and burial mounds near Flushing. The region is a microcosm for the development of Michigan, transition from lumbering in the 19th century to carriages at the dawn of the 20th and on to a prominent role in the auto industry where it became the birthplace of the UAW.

Photos from the Region

The photo above is Old Flint HDR by hemicuda8. It’s one of a number of photos that can be explored in the Flint, MI group on Flickr. Other groups from the region include Tri-cities Michigan, Saginaw, Michigan and Bay City MI. Some searches you might enjoy include Flint Michigan, Saginaw (and Saginaw River), Midland Michigan and Port Huron.

Sugar & Wind

While the beleaguered auto industry gets much of the regional press, there are a lot of other industries in the region. One of the oldest is sugar. The Michigan Sugar Company’s history page says that after loggers had cleared the pine forests in the area, the land was virtually unusable due to the massive expanse of tree stumps left behind and (eventually) sugar beets became the solution. Fast forward 125 years and once again the resourcefulness of folks in the region is being demonstrated. Michigan’s Thumb has become the seat

What is there to DO in Flint/Tri-cities?

With its enduring history and a number of wealthy patrons of arts & culture, all kinds of cool cultural attractions have been established in the region. Some of our favorites include the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum in University Center – home to the greatest collection of work from this longtime Michigan resident, the The Castle Museum of Saginaw, the Port Huron Museum and the Frankenmuth Historical Museum. The Flint Institute of Arts features work by Renoir, Cassatt & Wyeth and the Saginaw Art Museum boasts a collection of art and artifacts in excess of 2,500 pieces that 4,500 years of art history. If you never have, a walk through the Dow Gardens is not to be missed.

Hay on the water by Alanna St. Laurent
Hay on the water by Alanna St. Laurent

There’s of course plenty of auto & vehicle history at sites like Junction Valley Railroad (Bridgeport – very cool) and Michigan’s Own Military & Space Museum. Children (of all ages) will enjoy the Antique Toy & Firehouse Museum in Bay City, Crossroads Village in Flint, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum (Saginaw) and the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.

Where do I go for more?

To explore the region, check out the county pages for Arenac, Bay, Genesee, Gladwin, Huron, Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, St Clair, Tuscola Counties. You’ll also want to see
Visit Saginaw County, Tour Bay City, The Midland CVB and Blue Water CVB (Port Huron).

One Thousand … and beyond

Spark Plug by taylorcraft75

Suzy (taylorcraft75) was the 1000th photographer to join the Absolute Michigan photo group on Flickr. It’s impossible to do justice to the impact all of these photographers have on Absolute Michigan.

All I can say is thank you all for sharing your love of Michigan with us.

Jamie-Sue Seal presents the Un-Valentine’s Roadshow

Jammin Round with Jamie-Sue Un-Valentines RoadshowThe Jammin Round with Jamie-Sue series is the creation of singer-songwriter Jamie-Sue Seal, who brings national, regional acts to Lansing and also takes the show around the state with her Roadshows. In this season of love, she’ll do it again with the Un-Valentine’s Roadshow: Songs & Tales Of Unforgiveness, Heartbreak, Dysfunction & Revenge at 4 Michigan locations in early February:

  • Friday, Feb. 8 @ The Crooked Tree Arts Center – Petoskey, MI w/Jamie-Sue Seal, John Latini, & Dave Boutette
  • Saturday, Feb 9 @ The InsideOut Gallery – Traverse City, MI w/ Jamie-Sue Seal, John Latini, Dave Boutette, Andre Villoch and Josh Davis
  • Friday, Feb 15 @ The White Crow – Saginaw, MI w/ Jamie-Sue Seal, John Latini, Chris Buhalis, Susan O’Rourke and Zig Zeitler
  • Saturday, Feb 16 @ at Christ United Church in Dewitt, MI w/ Jamie-Sue Seal, Chris Buhalis, John Latini, Dave Boutette and Greg Jenkinson.

Get more info at the link above (including a list of some of the amazing musicians from Michigan and elsewhere who have appeared) and listen in to some of the artists at