Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Ferris State University BulldogFerris State University Logo

The Copper Strike

One of W.N. Ferris' most touted decisions during his terms as governor was sending the National Guard to the Upper Peninsula to protect the area during a strike of the copper miners. This action was largely responsible for the establishment of the Michigan State Police.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, lower Michigan was strictly agricultural, with the exception of the metropolitan area around Detroit. But in the Upper Peninsula where the great mining region existed, people of mixed ethnic backgrounds settled. They spoke many languages and did not easily understand each other.

Into the camps came labor agitators preaching defiance of the mine owners, and when the 1913 strike broke out in the Copper country, Ferris sent in the National Guard. Guardsmen stayed for more than a year at great expense to the state.

This pointed out the need for a Michigan constabulary, patterned after the Canadian Mounted Police and the Pennsylvania State Police.

This pointed out the need for a Michigan constabulary.


When the constabulary was legislated during World War I, the assignment for organizing and equipping it fell to Col. Roy C. Vander-cook who later served as a charter member of the Ferris Board of Control when it reached state college status. Vandercook Hall on the Ferris campus bears the Colonel's name.

 Previous Next