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Detroit, Michigan

Alternate meanings: Detroit (disambiguation).

Detroit, Michigan
  Image:Detroit Seal.gif
Seal of Detroit
County Wayne County, Michigan
 - Total
 - Water

370.2 km² (142.9 mi²)
10.8 km² (4.2 mi²) 2.92%

 - City (2000)
- Metropolitan
 - Density


Time zone Eastern: UTC-5


42°23' N
83°05' W

City of Detroit Official Website
Detroit skyline
Detroit skyline

Detroit is a city located in Wayne County in the state of Michigan, in the Midwest region of the United States. In the 2003 U.S. Census estimate [1], the city had a total population of 911,000, down from 951,270 in the 2000 census, but is still the tenth largest city in the country. It is the anchor of Metro Detroit, the eighth largest metropolitan area in the United States with 5.5 million people.

Located along the Detroit River between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, it is the seat of Wayne County. Detroit and its suburbs are the home of the modern American automobile industry, the Big Three companies. General Motors is based in Detroit, Ford Motor Company is based in nearby Dearborn and one of the two world headquarters for DaimlerChrysler is in Auburn Hills (the other is in Stuttgart, Germany). The Detroit metro area is also home to Domino's Pizza and Little Ceasar's, Inc. (two national pizza chains), and nearby Troy is home to Kmart Corporation. Detroit is also known for its musical heritage as it was the birthplace of Motown and has been highly influential in the origins of punk and techno music. Detroit has several sister cities including Toyota, Japan; Minsk, Belarus; Chongqing, People's Republic of China; Nassau, Bahamas and Kitwe , Zambia.

Long a symbol of rust belt urban blight, Detroit has endured a painful decline over several decades. The city's population fell to half its peak and large numbers of buildings and homes were abandoned. Devil's Night, on the night before Halloween saw large numbers of arsons every year, often in abandoned houses. The city's crime rate led the nation. During recent urban renewal, several abandoned skyscrapers and large buildings were demolished or renovated, large numbers of old houses were torn down for new housing developments and an expedited procedure was established to remove abandoned homes near schools. The Angel's Night campaign, which brings out thousands of volunteers to patrol the streets on the days around Halloween, has ended Devil's Night arson. While Detroit's rate of violent and property crime has fallen recently, the numbers are still among the highest in the country as is the murder rate, which is inextricably tied to the city's drug trade. The Detroit Police Department, after numerous scandals and court decisions, was being reorganized in 2004 under supervision of the FBI. Large numbers of abandoned buildings still remain in numerous blighted areas. As the city prepares to host a number of major events in coming years, including the 2005 Baseball All-Star Game and Super Bowl XL in 2006, it faces the challenge of cleaning up and improving its image for an international audience.



  • 1701 - Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac, with his lieutenant Alphonse de Tonty and a company of 100 men, established a trading post on the Detroit River under orders from the French King Louis XIV. They named it Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit at the present site of Detroit, with détroit being the French for strait and Pontchartrain being the name of the Count of Pontchartrain, the Royal Minister of Marine.
  • 1701 - Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic Church was the first building built in Detroit, started within two days of Cadillac's landing
  • 1760 - Major Robert Rogers and a group of his Roger's Rangers takes formal command of Fort Detroit in the name of Great Britain after the French defeat in the French and Indian War.
  • 1763 - Chief Pontiac besieges Detroit during Pontiac's Rebellion.
  • 1796 - American control over Detroit established, 13 years after it was assigned by treaty to the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1805 - On June 11, a fire burns virtually the entire city. The city's motto: Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus, "We hope for better things, it will rise from the ashes," dates from this event.
  • 1812 - On August 16, Detroit surrendered without firing a shot to British army under General Isaac Brock in the War of 1812.
  • 1813 - September, British retreat from Detroit which serves as a base for the invasion of Canada.
  • 1815 - Detroit becomes a city.
  • 1837 - Detroit is capital of state of Michigan (until 1847)
  • 1837 - 1838 Small bands of self-proclaimed "Patriots", some operating from Detroit, invade Canada in the Patriot War.
  • 1863 - Anti-draft and race riot in Detroit.
  • 1890 - Reforming mayor Hazen Pingree establishes vegetable gardens for the poor which come to be called Pingree's Potato Patches.
  • 1903 - Ford Motor Company founded by Henry Ford in Detroit.
  • 1929 - Ambassador Bridge construction completed
  • 1930 - Detroit-Windsor Tunnel construction completed
  • 1943 - Race riot occurs, spurred by competition by black and white residents for wartime factory jobs, resulting in 34 deaths.
  • 1950 - Detroit's population reaches its height at 1.85 million.
  • 1962 - Jerome Cavanagh becomes mayor. Inaugurates a series of reforms.
  • 1963 - Great March to Freedom
  • 1967 - On July 23 the 12th Street Riot, one of the worst riots in United States history, begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and ~1,400 buildings burned).
  • 1968 - "Focus: Hope" project founded by Fr. William Cunningham .
  • 1973 - Coleman Young is elected Detroit's first Black mayor - a position he holds for 20 years.
  • 1992 - On November 5, Black motorist Malice Green is beaten to death by policemen Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn during a struggle (the officers were later convicted and sentenced to prison).
  • 1996 - In November Michigan voters voted to allow the operation of three casinos in the City of Detroit.
  • 1999 - The Detroit Tigers play their final baseball game in classic Tiger Stadium, which had opened in 1912. The team relocated to new Comerica Park downtown the following year. The status of Tiger Stadium remains uncertain.
  • 2002 - The Detroit Lions football team return to downtown Detroit after a 27-year absence to state-of-the-art Ford Field, located adjacent to Comerica Park.


A simulated-color satellite image of Detroit taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite.
A simulated-color satellite image of Detroit taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite.

Detroit is located on the north bank of the Detroit River, in southeastern Michigan. It lies north of Windsor, Ontario, leading to the saying in Detroit that Canadians are "our neighbor to the south". Two border crossings exist: the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. A railroad tunnel also connects the two countries.

Detroit completely encircles the cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 370.2 km² (142.9 mi²). 359.4 km² (138.8 mi²) of it is land and 10.8 km² (4.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.92% water.

In the satellite photograph, the two large bodies of water are Lake St. Clair (northernmost) and Lake Erie. Also notice the three systems of roads: the oldest French roads running perpendicular to the river, radial roads from a Washington, D.C.-inspired system and true north-south roads from the Northwest Ordinance township system.

Detroit sits atop a large salt mine[2].


Major parks include Belle Isle, Palmer Park, Rouge Park, Chene Park. Other city recreational facilities include municipal golf courses (William Rogell, Rouge, Belle Isle, Palmer Park), Northwest Activities Center, Detroit Zoo, Belle Isle Zoo, Belle Isle Aquarium. Cultural centers include Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of African American History, Detroit Science Center, Detroit Historical Museum, Motown Historical Museum, Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Historic Fort Wayne, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the Belle Isle Conservatory.

Detroit is home to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Opera House.


Detroit is said to be home to the Nain Rouge, the red dwarf who is said to both attack people and more importantly be a harbinger of doom for the city.


Current and historic neighborhoods in Detroit include: Black Bottom, Corktown, Chaldean Town , Mexicantown, Poletown , Greektown , Indian Village, New Center , Old Redford , Palmer Woods , Rosedale Park , Warrendale , Springwells , and Del Ray .

External link: 106 neighborhoods in Detroit


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 951,270 people, 336,428 households, and 218,341 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,646.7/km² (6,855.1/mi²). There are 375,096 housing units at an average density of 1,043.6/km² (2,703.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 12.26% White, 81.55% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.54% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. 4.96% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 336,428 households out of which 33.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.7% are married couples living together, 31.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% are non-families. 29.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.77 and the average family size is 3.45.

In the city the population is spread out with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $29,526, and the median income for a family is $33,853. Males have a median income of $33,381 versus $26,749 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,717. 26.1% of the population and 21.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 34.5% are under the age of 18 and 18.6% are 65 or older.


Major industries and products include motor vehicles, computer software and casino gambling . In addition to property tax, the city levies an income tax of 2.65% on residents, 1.325% on non-residents, and 1.6% on corporations.

Law and government

The city is run by the mayor and a nine-member city council, elected at-large on a nonpartisan ballot. Municipal elections are held every year congruent to 1 modulo 4 (e.g., 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, ...). The current mayor is Kwame Kilpatrick; earlier mayors are listed here.

Colleges and universities

Sporting teams

The Detroit International Marathon course crosses the border into Canada on the Ambassador Bridge and returns to America through a tunnel.

On December 13, 2003 a world record was set when the largest crowd in basketball history (amateur or professional) packed the Lions' home stadium, Ford Field, to watch Michigan State University play the University of Kentucky. Kentucky won 79-74 in front of 78,129 fans.



Notable persons who were born or lived in Detroit

Aaliyah Nelson Algren Tim Allen
Anita Baker Steve Ballmer Eric Bischoff
James Blanchard Avery Brundage Jerry Bruckheimer
Ellen Burstyn Sonny Bono Christie Brinkley
Ralph J. Bunche Kenny Burrell Donald Byrd
Ben Carson Lewis Cass Ty Cobb
Alice Cooper John Conyers Francis Ford Coppola
Roger Corman Dave Coulier Wally Cox
Marshall Crenshaw Pam Dawber Dave DeBusschere
John De Lorean Dodge Brothers (John and Horace) Lamont Dozier
Joe Dumars William C. Durant Wayne Dyer
Eminem aka Marshall Mathers Jeffrey Eugenides Edsel Ford
Henry Ford Henry Ford II Aretha Franklin
Glenn Frey Kirk Gibson Marvin Gaye
Berry Gordy The Green Hornet David Alan Grier
Edgar Guest Bill Haley Tom Hayden
Thomas Hearns Joe Henderson Jimmy Hoffa
Brian Holland Edward Holland, Jr. John Lee Hooker
Ernie Hudson Kim Hunter Mike Ilitch
Milt Jackson Darren James Albert Kahn
Jackie Kallen Richard Karn Casey Kasem
William Kienzle Michael Kinsley Sebastian S. Kresge
Neil LaBute Tim LaHaye Piper Laurie
Elmore Leonard Charles Lindbergh James Lipton
The Lone Ranger Joe Louis Alexander Macomb
Greg Mathis Elijah McCoy Ed McMahon
Scott McNealy Martin Milner John N. Mitchell
Joni Mitchell Oscar Mayer Harry Morgan
Wallace Fard Muhammad Michael Moriarty Frank Murphy
Hal Newhouser Ted Nugent Joyce Carol Oates
James O'Barr Ray Parker Jr. George Peppard
Corrado Parducci Rosa Parks Freda Payne
Iggy Pop Sam Raimi Gilda Radner
Della Reese Walter Reuther Smokey Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson Kid Rock Mitt Romney
Wirt C. Rowland Diana Ross Soupy Sales
Barry Sanders George C. Scott Bob Seger
Tom Selleck Betty Shabazz Gene Simmons
Tom Sizemore Tom Skerritt Sgt. Slaughter
Bernhardt Stroh J. D. Souther Danny Thomas
Isiah Thomas Marlo Thomas Lily Tomlin
Courtney B. Vance James Vernor Robert Wagner
Ben Wallace Dinah Washington The White Stripes (Meg and Jack White)
Margaret Whiting Jackie Wilson John Witherspoon
The Winans family Stevie Wonder Malcolm X
Minoru Yamasaki Coleman Young

Detroit in literature

Detroit (and its suburbs) is the setting for a number of novels and short story collections, including:

Detroit in the movies

Detroit is a setting and/or filming location for several Hollywood feature films including:

Source: Internet Movie Database

External links

Regions of Michigan
Copper Country | Keweenaw Peninsula | Upper Peninsula | Lower Peninsula | Metro Detroit | Thumb Country | Western Michigan
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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45