The Michigan quarter is the first of 2004, and the 26th in the United States Mint's 50 State Quarters® Program. On January 26, 1837, Michigan became the 26th state to be admitted into the Union. The Michigan quarter depicts the outline of the State and the Great Lakes system. The quarter is inscribed "Great Lakes State."
As indicated by the State's nickname, much of Michigan's history is tied to the Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. These are five of the world's largest lakes that, together, encompass more than 38,000 square miles and form the largest body of fresh water in the world. Michigan is the only State that borders four of the five Great Lakes, more than any other state. Standing anywhere in the State, a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes. To assist in navigating, Michigan has 116 lighthouses and navigational lights.
On November 28, 2001, Governor John Engler established the 25-member Michigan Quarter Commission. The Commission members consisted of individuals from the fields of education, art, history, and numismatics. The Commission solicited recommendations for design concepts from the residents of the State and received over 4,300 suggestions. The Commission narrowed the entries down to five candidate concepts that were approved by Governor Engler, and forwarded them to the United States Mint on May 10, 2002. Other design concepts considered included "Michigan State Outline, with Great Lakes and State Icons," "Michigan State Outline, with Great Lakes and the Mackinac Bridge," "Michigan State Outline, with the Mackinac Bridge and Automobile," and "Michigan State Outline, with Great Lakes and Automobile."
In September 2003, following a consultation with the Michigan Quarter Commission, Governor Jennifer Granholm selected the Great Lakes design.