Michigan, the Great Lakes State, is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant cities. But like many states, Michigan has its fair share of bizarre and outdated laws. Some of these laws might have made sense at the time they were enacted, but today, they seem downright silly.
Let’s dive into ten of the most absurd laws in Michigan, sprinkled with some fun facts for your amusement.
10. Smoking in Bed is Prohibited
In the city of Soo, lighting up a cigarette while you’re tucked into bed is a no-no. While the origins of this law are unclear, it’s likely rooted in fire safety. After all, smoking in bed could lead to accidental fires.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Michigan is the 11th largest state based on land area?
9. Painting Sparrows is a Crime
If you ever thought of painting a sparrow to make it look like a more exotic bird, think again. In Michigan, it’s illegal to paint sparrows and sell them as parakeets. This law was probably enacted to protect consumers and birds alike.
Fun Fact: Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes.
8. Vintage Radios are Sacred
In Detroit, if you have an old radio that you no longer want, you better think twice before destroying it. It’s illegal to intentionally destroy vintage radios in the Motor City. Perhaps this law was meant to preserve historical artifacts.
Fun Fact: Detroit is known as the car capital of the world.
7. No Drunken Train Rides
If you’ve had one too many drinks, stay off the trains. In Michigan, it’s illegal to be drunk on a train. This law likely exists to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers.
Fun Fact: Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the U.S.
6. Women, Ask Before You Snip
Ladies, if you’re thinking of getting a new haircut, you might need permission. In Michigan, a woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s consent. This outdated law harks back to a time when women had fewer rights.
Fun Fact: The name “Michigan” is derived from the Ojibwa word “mishigamaa,” meaning “large water.”
5. No Car Sales on Sundays
Thinking of buying a car on a Sunday in Michigan? You might be out of luck. It’s illegal to sell cars on Sundays, a law rooted in religious traditions and the idea of Sunday being a day of rest.
Fun Fact: Michigan is home to the first paved road, Woodward Avenue.
4. Adultery is a Big No-No
While adultery might be frowned upon morally, in Michigan, it’s also illegal. However, it can only be punished if the affected spouse files a formal complaint.
Fun Fact: The world’s largest limestone quarry is located in Michigan.
3. Decompression Chambers and Dogs Don’t Mix
In a rather specific law, it’s illegal in Michigan to kill a dog using a decompression chamber. The origins of this law are a mystery, but it’s safe to say it’s for the protection of our furry friends.
Fun Fact: Michigan has more public golf courses per capita than any other state.
2. Unmarried Couples, Beware
If you’re in a relationship but not married, you might want to think twice before moving in together. In Michigan, it’s illegal for unmarried couples to live together.
Fun Fact: The first soda pop made in the U.S., Vernor’s ginger ale, was created in Detroit.
1. Serenading in Kalamazoo is Forbidden
Topping our list is a law that seems to go against the very idea of romance. In Kalamazoo, it’s illegal to serenade your girlfriend. So, if you’re feeling romantic, you might want to express your love in a different way.
Fun Fact: Michigan is the only state that consists of two peninsulas.
Alligators and Fire Hydrants Don’t Mix: If you ever find yourself in possession of an alligator in Detroit (which would be odd in itself), remember not to tie it to a fire hydrant. Yes, you read that right. It’s illegal to tie an alligator to a fire hydrant in the city. While the origins of this law are a mystery, it’s safe to say it’s for the safety of both the alligator and the public.
Hoop Skirts and Streets: In South Haven, if you come across an abandoned hoop skirt, resist the urge to toss it onto the street or sidewalk. Doing so could land you a fine of $5. This law likely dates back to a time when hoop skirts were in fashion and perhaps caused obstructions or posed hazards in public areas.
Pigs and Nose Rings: In Detroit, pigs are free to wander, but there’s a catch. Unless they have a ring in their nose, they can’t roam freely. This law was probably enacted to ensure that pigs, which can be destructive, were kept under control.
Bathing Suit Inspections: Planning to take a dip in Rochester? Make sure your bathing suit is up to code. In this city, all bathing suits are supposed to be inspected by the head of police. While this law might seem intrusive today, it likely reflects past societal norms around modesty.
Robbers’ Rights: In a twist that seems to favor the criminal, if a robber gets hurt on your property in Michigan, they can file a claim. This law highlights the importance of homeowners being cautious about setting up potential hazards, even if they’re meant to deter criminals.
Putt-Putt Curfew: For all the mini-golf enthusiasts out there, be aware that in Detroit, all putt-putt golf courses must be closed by 1:00 a.m. Whether this is to prevent late-night disturbances or just to ensure golfers get a good night’s sleep is anyone’s guess.
Michigan, with its vast lakes and rich history, is not just a state of beauty and innovation but also one of intriguing peculiarities. Its tapestry of laws, some dating back to bygone eras, offers a whimsical journey into the past, reminding us of the ever-evolving nature of society.
These quirky regulations, while often amusing, are a testament to the state’s diverse cultural and historical landscape. So, whether you’re a resident, a visitor, or just a curious soul, remember to appreciate the unique blend of tradition and eccentricity that Michigan brings to the table. After all, it’s not every day you come across a place where serenading your love might just land you in a spot of bother!
What’s the strangest law in Michigan related to animals?
One of the most peculiar laws in Michigan prohibits tying an alligator to a fire hydrant in Detroit. While the origins of this law are unclear, it’s certainly one of the state’s most unique regulations.
Is it true that there’s a law about serenading in Kalamazoo?
Yes, it’s true! In Kalamazoo, Michigan, it’s illegal to serenade your girlfriend. This law, while sounding romantic, is one of the state’s more whimsical prohibitions.
Why does Michigan have a law about painting sparrows?
The law against painting sparrows and selling them as parakeets likely exists to protect consumers from being deceived and to ensure the welfare of the birds. It’s a testament to the state’s commitment to both consumer protection and animal welfare.
Are there any laws in Michigan that seem to favor criminals?
Interestingly, there’s a law in Michigan that allows robbers to file a claim if they get hurt on someone’s property. This law underscores the importance of homeowners being cautious about potential hazards on their property, even if meant to deter criminals.
What’s the deal with Michigan’s law about women cutting their hair?
In Michigan, there’s an outdated law that states a woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s consent. This law harks back to a time when women had fewer rights and societal norms were vastly different.
Are all these strange laws in Michigan still enforced today?
While many of these laws remain on the books, most are not actively enforced. They serve more as historical remnants of past societal norms and values. However, it’s always a good idea to be aware of local regulations, no matter how quirky they might seem!