Great Turnout for Michigan's New "Great Lakes State" Quarter
Cold weather didn't cool the enthusiasm of hundreds of residents who gathered on Statehood Day at the Capitol to catch a first look at Michigan's new quarter. Governor Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore and Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL) Director Dr. William Anderson led the official unveiling ceremony inside the State Capitol Monday morning, as onlookers packed into the rotunda.
The new quarter – the 26th to be redesigned as part of the U.S. Mint's "50 State Quarters" program® – offers a clean depiction of Michigan's two distinctly shaped peninsulas, the five Great Lakes, and the motto "Great Lakes State." Governor Granholm cited the release of this new quarter as an opportunity for people around the country and throughout the world to "meet Michigan" all over again.
"Everyone who sees our new Michigan quarter for the first time will get a fresh glimpse of our prized peninsulas and abundance of natural water," the governor said. "A quarter that begins its journey here today in Michigan could very well, months from now, wind up in the hands of a beachcomber in southern California or a fisherman off the coast of Maine."
Michigan author and storyteller Larry Massie marked the ceremony by sharing tales of Michigan's rich Great Lakes history. Massie's tales of French explorers, fur traders, lumbermen, miners and entrepreneurs and how their fates were so tied to the Great Lakes helped cement Michigan's role as the Great Lakes State.
"Our quarter commission members were charged with recommending a quarter design that tells all who see it about our history and about who we are and what makes us special," said HAL's Dr. Anderson. "I think they have gotten it exactly right. There are so many things unique to Michigan – the Mighty Mac, our links to the auto industry, our incredible number of lighthouses – but none of these would have been possible without our enviable position in the heart of the Great Lakes. What a very important lesson to share with the world!"
Near the conclusion of the ceremony, Governor Granholm began the official release of the new coin into circulation by purchasing the first $10 roll of quarters from David O'Leary, a charter director of Capitol National Bank, the event's sponsor bank. Every child who attended the ceremony received a free, new Michigan quarter.
Contact the Michigan Historical Center.