The first commemorative stamp for 1987, honoring the 150th anniversary of Michigan statehood, was issued on January 26 in Lansing, the state capital.
The design, by Detroit artist Robert Wilbert, prominently features a white pine, the Michigan state tree. The stamp pictures a lone tree on a lakeshore with the sun rising over the water in the background.
French traders explored Michigan as early as 1616, and the Jesuits established a mission near the present-day site of Sault Ste. Marie in 1641. In 1701, Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain at the narrows of the river connecting Lake Huron and Lake Erie by way of Lake St. Clair. The fort, known in French as La Ville d'Etroit ("City of the Strait"), became "Detroit" in English.
The Treaty of Paris transferred Michigan from France to England, and the British subsequently relinquished control to United States. Michigan became the twenty-sixth state on January 26, 1837.
The state's early development was rapid. The discovery of rich ore deposits in the Upper Peninsula and a thriving lumber industry provided booming prosperity well into the late 1900s. In the twentieth century, Michigan's economic focus underwent a dramatic transformation from agriculture, mining, and lumbering to manufacturing. The creation of a booming automobile industry in the southeast corner of the state, with much of the activity centered in Detroit, accelerated the transition.
The stamps were printed in the photogravure process and issued in panes of fifty.
Postal Bulletin (December 25, 1986).