No matter where you spent them, the 1990s were a time of questionable fashion choices, leaps in technology, and political ups and downs. If you’re from Michigan, though, there are likely a few specific events and people that stand out just a little more clearly in your mind. Take a walk down memory lane with this brief review of Michigan in the 90s.
1. Governor John Engler's decade in office
Most Michiganders will remember the administration of Governor John Engler, who held office for nearly all of the 1990s. During his time as governor, Engler was briefly considered a strong contender for Vice Presidential running mate alongside Republican nominee Bob Dole.
2. The Russian Five
Put together by Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman, The Russian Five was a group of all-star hockey players that created an incredible force to be reckoned with. Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Viacheslav Fetisov led the Wings to win two consecutive Stanley Cups in the late 90s.
3. Saying goodbye to J.L. Hudson's
In 1998, Michiganders watched somberly as Hudson’s Department Store was demolished following economic decline in the city of Detroit. Hudson’s had been a successful fixture in downtown Detroit, once holding the title of the world’s tallest department store.
4. The rise of Eminem
Detroit’s own Marshall Mathers, more commonly known as Eminem, rose to stardom in the 1990s with the release of his first EP, “Slim Shady EP.” He would quickly become a household name and a point of pride for many Michiganders.
5. The saga of Jack Kevorkian
The nation watched as Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a lifelong Michigan resident, defended his belief in assisted suicide and argued for terminally ill patients’ right to end their lives. Michiganders had a front-row seat to the controversial legal battle that ensued.
6. The 1990 Detroit Pistons
Hot on the heels of their first-ever NBA championship win in 1989, the Detroit Pistons managed to defend their title and defeat their longtime rivals, the Chicago Bulls, during the 1990 NBA finals.
7. Detroit newspaper strike
In 1995, workers and journalists from Detroit’s two major newspapers went on strike to protest what they considered to be unfair labor practices. Incredibly, the strike continued for two years, until the journalists’ union ultimately lost its legal battle against the newspapers.
8. Desmond Howard
Clearly, the 90s were a fun time for sports fans in Michigan. Following a record-breaking football season at the University of Michigan, Desmond Howard was awarded the coveted Heisman Trophy in 1991. Howard remains a Michigan legend to this day.
9. Shivering Timbers
Thrill-seekers throughout the state will remember the excitement of riding Shivering Timbers for the first time after its opening in May of 1998. The attraction, located at Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon, has been called one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world.
R&B fans were excited by the emergence of young singer Aaliyah, who graduated from the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts. Throughout the 90s, the immensely talented Michigander produced hits like “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” and “One In A Million.” Tragically, Aaliyah’s life was cut short by a fatal plane crash in 2001.
11. Scary weather
In late May of 1998, Michigan was hit with a destructive line of tornadoes and a “derecho” (straight-line windstorm) that caused approximately $178 million in damages throughout the state. Four people were killed and nearly 150 were injured during the frightening storm.
Of course, this list only scratches the surface of an entire decade. What comes to mind when you think back to Michigan in the 90s?