Signs That You’re From Midland, Michigan

I am from Midland, Michigan, which is one of those cities that is passionately hated by most people who grew up there. It was named the fourth best small city in the United States to raise a family by Forbes and it was actually recently named the most boring place in Michigan - read about it here. After coming to college at Michigan State, I have met and become friends with a lot more people from Midland. Midland is a seemingly insignificant town, but it has some defining features for the people who grew up there.

You have spent an insane amount of time eating at Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings

These used to be basically the only two restaurant chains in Midland, so you’ve probably memorized their menus. Half-off appetizers at Applebee’s is called “Happs,” and on Friday nights almost all the tables are filled with high schoolers. I still go to Happs when I go home.

You know what a “tridge” is, and may have jumped off of said Tridge

One part of the Tridge

The Tridge is a three-way footbridge that goes over the spot where the Titabawassee and Chippewa Rivers meet, and it is a staple of Midland. It goes over the brown, murky, chemical-filled water downriver from Dow, and you may have even jumped off of it and been afraid you might land on a shopping cart (which has been seen down there.)

 Me jumping off the Tridge (don’t do this kids, it’s illegal)

DowMac was once a significant place for you to hang out

What is DowMac, you may ask? It’s just a name for one of the three McDonald’s’ in Midland, which is open inside 24 hours a day. People go to sit in there at 2:00 a.m., and a lot of people get MIPs (minor in possession) in the parking lot.

Your favorite ice cream places are Great Lakes Ice Cream, Pizza Sam’s and Cottage Creamery

Great Lakes Ice Cream cups were a staple at every school event when we were younger. Pizza Sam’s ice cream is open year-round and they have the best Superman and mint cookie ice creams. Cottage Creamery is newer, but you can rollerblade there on the Rail Trail. Plus, Pizza Sam’s has the best cheesy breadsticks in the world.

You know someone who works at Dow (now DowDuPont)

Dow is the reason Midland is on the map. A large majority of Midland’s population is there because they work for Dow. At least one of your friends’ parents works for Dow.

You have been inside a house designed by Alden B. Dow

Herbert Henry Dow founded Dow Chemical, and his son Alden B. Dow became an architect under the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. Alden B. Dow had his own home in Midland, which is a unique staple, and houses designed by him are littered all over the city. They’re one of the better aspects of Midland.

The Alden B. Dow House

When you were little, you played at the Fun Zone and went to Plymouth Pool

The Fun Zone is one of those large, wooden playgrounds and is the best place to play tag and hide and seek. The best days when you were younger were spent there, and at Midland’s Plymouth Pool, which is right next door.

You know school rivalry

Midland High School and Dow High School are on opposite sides of town and their rivalry is intense. It actually compares to U of M and Michigan State’s rivalry. The last football game of the year is when they play each other, and the whole week before is Spirit Week. For that week, friends from opposite schools hate each other (Sorry you aren’t included in this, Creekers!)

In the summer, you go to gross beaches

We aren’t close enough to a nice beach to go to every day in the summer, so you have to settle for Sanford Beach, where you most likely go in the spray park rather than the lake. Or, worse, you could go to Stratford Lake, which is water that should never be touched.

The Tridge at night

You probably had some really great teachers

Midland, point blank, has amazing grade school teachers. I remember every teacher I’ve ever had, and almost all of them were amazing. The coaches are great, too. Shout out to Midland High’s teachers, Mr. Demko (who’s now retired) and Mr. Edelbrock!

You’ve definitely been to church

Even if you aren’t religious, you went to church with friends on Sunday morning when you slept over on Saturday night. There are churches on every corner in Midland. I’m not religious, and neither are my parents -- and I went to Bible school. It can be a social thing. Everyone remembers JAM (Jesus and Me) in middle school.

You took all of your prom and homecoming pictures at Dow Gardens

Yet another thing named after the Dow family is the sweeping property of gardens behind the old Herbert Henry Dow House (where the family lived) and the Alden B. Dow house. It has a butterfly house, and people get married there and it’s very beautiful. It’s where literally everyone in Midland goes to take prom and homecoming pictures, and senior pictures as well.

A bridge in Dow Gardens

You took a field trip to the Chippewa Nature Center in elementary school

We have this cool place called the Chippewa Nature Center, which is just a big piece of land where you can learn about the nature. It has an old farm and some animals, where in elementary school you take a field trip and learn how they used to turn butter (yes, really.)

When you go home for Thanksgiving, you see everyone you’ve ever known at Oscar’s

This applies only to those over the age of 21, but the night before Thanksgiving (the biggest bar night of the year,) literally everyone you graduated with is at Oscar’s, one of the very few bars in town. It’s like its own high school reunion.

Lunch in high school was interesting

When you could go off-campus for lunch (at Midland High specifically,) you went to BABs (Big Apple Bagel,) walked to McDonald’s, got single slices of pizza from the Papa John’s that used to be on the corner, went to Hamilton’s bakery to get a long john, or to the rat-infested Golden Buffet. Now, most of those places are gone, but they’ll live on in our memories.

The most lit concert you’ve ever been to is Lizard Fair

The radio station WIOG used to put on a concert every year called Lizard Fair and it was the absolute best. There were around six artists to come every year, and you would see all of them perform. Some notable artists were Flo Rida, Boys Like Girls, Drake Bell, Aly and AJ, Sean Kingston, Iyaz, Jessie James, and more. Throwback to when Flo Rida threw money into the crowd... also, to when it started raining and Boys Like Girls sang “Thunder” and when they sang “Bring on the Rain,” it started raining harder. *Sobs*

Nobody knows what this is, but it’s on a trail near the Tridge

Every mall is an upgrade to the Midland Mall

The Midland Mall is just the worst. It used to be okay, and have stores like American Eagle and PacSun, but almost everything has left and it’s close to closing. Even McDonald’s left the mall. It’s sad. But, of course, it was a notable hangout in middle school, when everyone went to Spencer’s to try to be cool.

You love Target because it’s the only good store left in Midland

At least Target is left. I go to Target just to walk around and hang out there when I’m at home. Honestly, there’s not much else to do. How bad can it really be if Target is still there? (Answer: Still pretty bad.)