HISTORIC MICHIGAN: The Home of Harriet Quimby
Sorry, Amelia, but the first American woman to receive a pilot's license was Michigan's own Harriet Quimby.
Harriet was born in Arcadia, Michigan in Manistee County in 1875; when she was in her early teens, her family packed up and moved to California. She became a writer, cranking out travel articles and screenplays, some of which were made into films by silent movie director D.W. Griffith. By 1911, she had become interested in aviation and received her pilot's license on August 1. Not only was she the first American woman to receive a pilot's license, but also the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
Harriet died on July 1, 1912 when the aircraft she was flying "unexpectedly pitched forward for reasons still unknown." She and a passenger were ejected from their seats and, with no parachutes (as they were still in the experimental stage), plunged to their deaths. She was 37 years old.
For some reason or another, Harriet appeared to be embarrassed that she hailed from Michigan and would forever claim she was born in California. This snub has a double-edge to it: while her denouncement of her true birthplace is a thorn in the sides of Michiganders, we're still proud of the fact she was from here and have turned her birth home into an historical marker.
The house has not been renovated or modernized, but it has been taken care of to show the original rustic appearance.
If you care to visit - and you should - don't rely on addresses; I found a handful of different addresses and all were close, but wrong. One site said it was even close to Coldwater, but it's NOWHERE NEAR Coldwater! You'd be better off following the co-ordinates:
N 44° 27.455 W 086° 12.116. Just add that into Google Maps and it'll take you to the exact spot. It's on Erdman Road, between Nelson Rd. & Norconk Rd.
Harriet was buried in New York...but pay a visit to her original 1800's Michigan house on your next Michigan roadtrip!