January 26, 2012 at 1:00 am

Great trade-off: Toledo for U.P.

Why both states wanted border city, and who won

Long before Bo and Woody cranked up the antipathy between Ohio and Michigan to hysterical levels, anger over a chunk of barely inhabited land bordering a swamp almost caused a civil war.

Nearly two centuries ago, when Michigan was but a territory and Ohio a nascent state, militias were formed, proclamations issued and sabers rattled. But after decades of squabbling over The Toledo Strip, the only injury was a knife wound.

The so-called Toledo War was finally resolved when Congress brokered a deal that paved the way for Michigan to become a state 175 years ago today: Michigan got 9,000 square miles of what is now the western Upper Peninsula, and Ohio would claim Toledo and rich farmland to the west. It also got control of the Maumee River and the coveted bay that led to Lake Erie, which both sides desperately wanted.

Back then, Michigan officials scoffed at acquiring more of the Upper Peninsula, deeming it a "sterile region … destined to remain forever a wilderness." Eventually, though, they grudgingly took the deal to gain statehood.

Now, as Michigan celebrates its 175th birthday, University of Michigan alums News columnist Laura Berman and reporter Mike Wilkinson, who lives in the once disputed region, try to answer the question: Who really won The Toledo War?

Read Mike Wilkinson's column: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120126/METRO/201260383">Toledo was a prize for good reason .

Laura Berman's column: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120126/METRO/201260379">Michigan got better of scrap with Ohio .