views updated May 18 2018


Getting There
Getting Around
Public Safety
Health Care
Parks and Recreation
Performing Arts
Libraries and Museums
Holidays and Festivals
Famous Citizens
For Further Study

Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, North America

Founded: 1701; Incorporated: 1802 (Village), 1815 (City)
Location: Southeastern border of Michigan, where the Detroit River separates the United States and Canada. Because of a bend in the river, Detroit is directly north of Windsor, Ontario.
Motto: "Resurget Cineribus" (It shall rise again from the ashes) and "Speramus Meliora" (We hope for better things)
Flower: Apple Blossom (Pyrus coronaria)
Time Zone: 7 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White 21.6%, Black 75.7%, American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut 0.4%, Asian and Pacific Islander 0.8%, Other 1.5% (1990 Census)
Elevation: 585 feet above sea level
Coastline: Michigan has 3,288 miles of shoreline.
Climate: Winters are cold; summers are hot and humid.
Annual Mean Temperature: 48.6°F; January, 28.1°F; July 72.3°F
Annual Precipitation: 30.97 in (787 mm)
Government: Mayor-council
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Unit: Standard U.S.
Telephone Area Codes: 313, 810, 248, 734
Postal Codes: 4820148240, 4824248244

1. Introduction

The metropolitan city of Detroit is a combination of old and new and often is associated with adjectives like dynamic, bustling, and progressive. A history peppered with ethnic richness grants Detroit an edge. It is a strong city, thriving with people, and a genuine delight for the senses. Art makes a statementwhether it is music from an area pub, aromas from street vendors, or vivid murals and architecture.

Economically, Detroit has come a long way from the fur trapping days of French soldiers, traders, and missionaries. The vision of its founder, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, was for this fort on the strait to grow into a thriving trade center. What he could not have known is that not only would the trading post succeed, but the settlement would eventually become the anchor of a tri-county area with more than four million culturally diverse people.

2. Getting There

Located in Southeastern Michigan, Detroit is the largest city in the state. It is a well-designed city. Transportation flows smoothly, like the spokes of the wheel it represents. The street signs are generally visible; entrance and exit ramps are clearly identified, and monitored parking is available. None of this should be a surprise in the automobile capital of the world.


Served by several interstate highways and a number of additional limited-access expressways, Detroit's freeway system, designed in the 1950s, is one of the most efficient in the country. Networks of six-lane freeways weave across city boundaries. Drivers can access the city from either north or south on Interstate-75 or US-10; east and westbound expressways include Interstates 696, 96, and 94.


Detroit is also home to two major airports: Wayne County Metropolitan Airport and City Airport. Wayne County Airport is a regional center for Northwest Airlines and is the world's 14th busiest airport. Located 29 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of downtown, it is a major international business and leisure travel hub with 1,200 scheduled departures and landings per day. Geographically, Detroit is about a 90-minute or less flight to over 60 percent of the United States. A $1.6 billion expansion project that began in 1996 includes new construction and improvements to the three existing terminals. The scheduled project completion year is 2001. All major domestic airline carriers and three international carriers offer service from this locale.

Detroit City Airport is located about 16 kilometers (ten miles) from downtown and offers both private and commercial passenger service.

3. Getting Around

The early 1900s found the first mile of concrete pavement in the United States on Woodward Avenue, and the tide of transportation has moved forward ever since.

Detroit Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 1,514,000
Area: 360.6 sq km (138.7 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 21.6% white;75.7% black; 0.4% American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut; 0.8%, Asian and Pacific Islander; 1.5% other
Nicknames: Arsenal of Democracy, The Motor City, Motown

Metropolitan Area

Population: 3,785,000
Description: City and suburbs in three-county area
World population rank 1: 66
Percentage of national population 2: 1.4%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.3%

  1. The Detroit metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the total US population living in the Detroit metropolitan area.

The main arteries that frame and connect the city include the famous avenues of Woodward, Jefferson, Michigan, Grand River, and Gratiot. One of the better-known boulevards is named after Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist who settled in Detroit. With industrialization exploding, the late 1920s found tunnel and bridge access, commencing with the opening of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge. Easy mobility has always been a priority for the city's visionaries. Public transportation by taxi, bus, train, and trolley is readily available.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has distinctive green and yellow bus stations and runs a prompt schedule on a fixed route. Most routes operate during the day and evenings until 1 AM. The fare is $1.25; transfers are 25 cents. Tickets can be purchased at Comerica Bank branches.

The Downtown Detroit Trolley operates authentic trolley cars, manufactured from 1895 through the 1920s, along Jefferson Avenue and Washington Boulevard, between the Renaissance Center and Grand Circus Park. Correct change is required for the 50-cent fare.

The People Mover is transportation by monorail on an elevated track that encompasses a three-mile radius. Another economic 50-cent fare allows a bird's-eye view of the city. Normal business hours are Monday through Thursday, 7 AM11 pm. Friday and Saturday until midnight, and Sunday until 8 pm. Token machines are at every station, but hours of operation may change.

The buses for Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), located at 660 Woodward Avenue, run a flexible agenda and various routes between Detroit and its surrounding suburbs to accommodate the lifestyles of its passengers. Whether heading to the office, shopping malls, or major attractions, SMART transports for $1.50 fare. Customer Service is open from 6:30 am until 6 PM.


A vacation means sights, sounds, and flavors. Visitors can have it all by sightseeing on foot. Enjoy a coney dog, a walk through Hart Plaza, and a visit to "The Fist," Robert Graham's 7-meter (24-foot) sculpture commemorating Detroit boxer Joe Louis at Woodward and Jefferson Avenue. Take a city bus down Woodward to the Campus Martius area and view the figure of " Emancipation, " modeled after Sojourner Truth, the nineteenth-century abolitionist and feminist who is rumored to have lived in the area at the time. The outdoor plazas and sidewalks invite bicycles and roller blades, and summer months find the streets filled with people and activity.

4. People

Detroit is defined by its people. A culturally diverse population, the city's character has been defined and redefined by wave after wave of immigrants from all over the world, many of whom arrived with hope for a new and better life. The reality, however, is that some ethnic minority groups and illegal immigrants are among the city's less privileged people, living in deprived inner-city neighborhoods.

The latest figures indicate Detroit's current population is approximately one million. Included in that figure is a spectrum of personalities. In 1834, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of the Detroit Diocese arrived, Bishop Frederick Rese. A century later, the city's first policewoman was appointed; Gar Wood won the international prize for unlimited powerboat racing; and in 1937, Joe Louis emerged as the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. The early 1960s found newly elected Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh changing Detroit's image. A favorite of the national press and Democratic administration in Washington, D.C., Mayor Cavanaugh aided Detroit on the road to racial peace. Shrewd political moves brought an acknowledged and successful administration to its peak. In response, federal assistance, in the amount of $360 million, began pouring into the city. Civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., debuted his " I Have a Dream " speech on the streets of Detroit in 1963.

City Fact Comparison
IndicatorDetroit (United States)Cairo (Egypt)Rome (Italy)Beijing (China)
Population of urban area 13,785,00010,772,0002,688,00012,033,000
Date the city was founded1701AD 969753 BC723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city
Hotel (single occupancy)$109$193$172$129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)$44$56$59$62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.)$26$14$15$16
Total daily costs (hotel, meals, incidentals)$155$173$246$207
Major Newspapers 3
Number of newspapers serving the city2132011
Largest newspaperThe Detroit Free PressAkhbar El Yom/Al AkhbarLa RepubblicaRenmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper278,2861,159,339754,9303,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established1831194419761948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion
of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based
on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips.
Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3 David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

Currently, the professionals who reside or work in Detroit demonstrate community ideals. At a grass roots level, many citizens are involved in civic affairs, local sports, or social activities. With culture, education, and growing prosperity, employment is at an all time high.

5. Neighborhoods

Detroit neighborhoods are evolving. Mayor Albert Cobo began a slum clearance in the 1950s that led to private development of cleared lands. His administration had direct bearing upon future urban development. The 1960s endured public housing changes and a shocking crime wave that proved painful, indeed. But, Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh brought economic growth and prosperity to a formerly distressed city. In the 1970s Coleman Young promoted the city as a model of social progress. Today, median housing value is $69,260, and owner-occupied (single family) housing is approximately 70 percent, one of the highest in the country. Still prospering, the locals and immigrants who continue to migrate into the Detroit area keep the economic structure developing.

Greektown is admirably well known, and metro Detroit has a significant Polish influence. The enclave city of Hamtramck is known for authentic cuisine, as well as a visit from Pope John Paul II in 1987.

To the west, Dearborn is home to the largest Arabic community in the world outside the Middle East. On the east side, small Italian neighborhood markets have evolved into major building and manufacturing companies.

Not far from historic Tiger Stadium is Mexicantown, where a growing number of Hispanic communities are flourishing. Oakland County is home to a steadily expanding number of Russian Jewish immigrants, while the Metropolitan Airport area and southern Wayne County are attracting Japanese families. Further south, along the Detroit River from Wyandotte to Grosse Ile, are communities rich in Hungarian and Polish traditions. Suitably, the distinct mix of people make metro Detroit a cosmopolitan map of the world.

6. History

Historically, the Civic Center in downtown Detroit started as a fur trading post and grew into a frontier military station. Cadillac Square was formed with 1-meter (3-foot) flagstones before it was paved, and the marketplace sold produce and goods, much like the Eastern Market today.

The city of Detroit was founded on July 24, 1701, by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. With a pledge of patriotism, he demonstrated community ideals and the courage to foster them.

In the middle 1700s, Detroit was turned over to the British as a spoil of the French and Indian War (17551763), but by 1796, George Washington forced the British out of the city and the American Flag was raised over Fort Pontchartrain.

A devastating fire swept Detroit in 1805 that destroyed each one of its 200 structures and left only a stone warehouse standing. Following the War of 1812, the development of the steamboat, and the opening of the Erie Canal, Detroit began to experience dramatic growth again and finally was incorporated as a city in 1815.

By the time Michigan was admitted to the Union as the twenty-sixth state in 1837, Detroit had become a significant station on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a secret system that helped fugitive slaves reach freedom in the northern states and Canada. Eight years later, the city was honored to hold President Andrew Jackson's funeral.

With the dawning of the Industrial Age, new products surfaced, and the manufacture of stove and kitchen ranges became Detroit's leading industry. Tastefully complimenting the ranges, additional consumable products emerged, like Vernors Ginger Ale, Stroh's Beer, and the famous Sanders candy, cakes, and ice cream. Having all the goods, Detroit needed a place to promote their treats, and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau was born, the world's first such organization.

With the population rapidly multiplying, communities and businesses were prospering. Ford Motor Company was established, and the introduction of the assembly line revolutionized the auto industry. Detroit put America on wheels. The daily wage paid five dollars. The year was 1921, and the Detroit Times newspaper was purchased by William Randolph Hearst.

Making headlines was nothing new to Detroit. The following decade brought with it the retirement of baseball's great Ty Cobb, the grand opening of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the unveiling of the Ambassador Bridge. The bridge connected Detroit to Canada and was hailed as the longest international suspension span in the world. Complementing the bridge, travelers could also gain international entry to Canada via the new Windsor Tunnel.

Business for Detroit merchants boomed until the Great Depression, which temporarily slowed the city's progress. But in the world of sports, there was no depression. Detroit teams were still making headlines.

In 1935, the Tigers captured the World Series; the Lions were National Football League champions; and the Red Wings won hockey's Stanley Cup. Detroit was riding high, and the world was still watching. In 1937, Mr. Joe Louis Barrow (Joe Lewis), the Brown Bomber, won the world's heavyweight boxing championship. On the eve of World War II (19391945), Joe Louis was a good guy to have on your side.

During World War II, Detroit played a key role as the nation's "Arsenal of Democracy." Economic growth during the mid 1940s placed Detroit at the forefront of the nation's industrial fields, including salt products, electric refrigeration, seeds, adding machines, stove manufacturing, and of course, automobiles.

In turn, the city engineers designed a massive freeway system to transport the fruits of the automobile industry. However, for progress there was a price. Many public housing units were destroyed in order to accommodate the planned freeway expansion. Public housing residents were evicted and offered no plan for relocation. The city of Detroit did not comply with the Federal Housing Act 048, which required alternative housing for dislocated renters. In effect, the city created 17,000 refugees and wide distrust for local government.

Thereafter, the city's middle-income population began to shift to more suburban locales, and the nation's first shopping mall opened in Southfield in 1954. Northland Mall was the harbinger of the new suburban lifestyle.

The following decade, Detroit recovered under Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh's administration. The formerly distressed city became a model of social progress. In July 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a massive civil rights movement in Detroit; still, Detroit was not an island unto itself. The riots in July 1967 shattered the city like a terrifying earthquake. The shock was to prove painful, indeed. On the heels of freedom and turmoil, Berry Gordy created the Motown Sound and taught the nationand indeed the worlda new way to sing. By the year's end, New Detroit was founded.

Billed as the United States' first " urban coalition, " New Detroit organized to improve education, employment, housing, and economic development. With strong leadership and community support, New Detroit set a new pace for the city. Soon afterwards, business leaders founded Detroit Renaissance to help formulate the city's economic future. In 1971, Henry Ford II, head of Detroit Renaissance, Inc., announced plans for the construction of the largest privately financed project in the worldThe Renaissance Center.

Celebrated in rebirth, Detroit's renaissance was an attempt to protect the value of existing investments and future profit opportunities in the downtown hub. The city's first black mayor, Coleman Young, took office in 1974 to build Detroit's assets. Mayor Young sought to improve racial equality in city government and increase solidarity among African-American residents. He served an unprecedented five terms.

With the 1980s, the revival continued. Detroit hosted the thirty-second Republican National Convention at the new Joe Louis Arena. The Millender Center and Greektown's Trappers Alley Marketplace opened. Complementing new business, the Detroit People Mover provided another source of downtown transportationa monorail. Expansion of the $225 million Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center was completed, and sports enthusiasts were thrilled. Detroit hosted the first Grand Prix on the city streets, and Super Bowl XVI played to a sold out crowd at the Pontiac Silver-dome. Sparky Anderson and the affable Detroit Tigers captured the 1984 World Series, and the Pistons secured consecutive NBA championship titles in 1989 and 1990.

Metro Detroit's prosperity continued in the 1990s. Chosen as a site for World Cup Soccer in 1994, the Silver-dome earned the unique opportunity to host the first indoor soccer championship in World Cup history. The American automobile industry and the Metropolitan Convention and Visitor's Bureau celebrated their Centennial, and the decade ended with another block-buster season in sports. The Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back National Hockey League Stanley Cup Championships and kept Lord Stanley's cup for two years, 1997 and 1998.

7. Government

The Detroit city mayor and nine-member city council are elected members and serve a four-year term of office. The charter rules under a mayor-council form of government. Aided by a chief administrative staff, the mayor collaborates in the performance of duties. Citizen bureaus include organizations dedicated to improving and maintaining the business and civic community of Detroit; for example, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is a voluntary association of more than 130 local governments designed as a regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency.

8. Public Safety

As the city council conducts hearings for the new budget, commitment to improving public safety remains an important issue. Following the scandal with city police chief William Hart, who was convicted and sent to prison for stealing drug money, and accusations of police racism, the city departments are undergoing a healthy purge and continually integrating means for securing new equipment and more recruits.

Additional coalitions have formed, like the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, dedicated to serving the disadvantaged. A public corporation endowed with the power to establish project areas where jobs are at stake, they acquire properties, issue taxes, and enjoy strong support from citizens in the community.

9. Economy

Detroit is well positioned to benefit from the trends currently shaping the nation. A tight labor market, combined with the area's low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, reflect the larger prosperity of the country. Welfare statistics have fallen to the lowest level since 1970, and city officials feel there are almost more jobs than can be filled, particularly in the field of engineering.

Detroit has a large skilled labor force, which is supported by both industrial and public technical centers. Wayne State University, the University of Detroit-Mercy, and the Detroit College of Law are located in the region; technical and community colleges are numerous and include Henry Ford, Highland Park, and Wayne County Community Colleges, among others. The quality of life is very different from the image of living in a Rust-Belt city. Recreational activities, like golf, skiing, tennis, and sailing, abound in the region. Detroit is home to a renowned symphony, the renovated Opera Hall, several museums, major sports teams, and four-star dining establishments. The vibrant growing economy is shifting from sole reliance on the automotive industry to a diversified high-tech and commercial base. Recently named the largest metropolitan exporting center in the country, Detroit exports over $27 billion of industrial goods to countries around the globe.

An increase in the available number of high-skilled jobs has made employee turnover an issue of concern. To entice commitment from employees, local employers are offering higher salaries, stock options, and training programs. In return, the managers are sharpening their listening and social skills, making Detroit the perfect vehicle for business success. Excellent transportation and communication links make it easy for multinationals to stay connected. Throughout the 1990s, the business climate improved dramatically as a result of state and city regulatory and administrative reforms aimed at attracting and retaining businesses; this includes a competitive tax system, which rewards new investment and profitable companies.

A diversified marketplace, many of the world's innovative companies are based in Detroit or its metropolitan area. Among others it is home to Better Made potato chips, Duraliner truck beds, Falcon golf clubs, Faygo beverages, Jiffy mixes, Kowalski sausage, Lionel trains, Sanders ice cream, Shedd's spread, and Vlassic foods. Compuware, the world's eighth largest software company, is currently developing a massive, 130,060 square-meter (1.4 million square-foot) building and adjacent parking structure that accommodates 3,000 cars. Mexicantown Community Development Corporation has announced plans for an $8 million International Welcome Center and Mercado in Detroit's Hispanic neighborhood.

Free enterprise has always played a dominant role in Detroit's economy, but recently some residents rejected the idea of building a casino. Prosperity in the Canadian casinos prompted a change of heart, and the Motor City skyline has shifted. Two new casinos, MGM Grand and Motor City opened in 1999. Atwater and Greek Town casinos were scheduled to open in 2000 on Detroit's waterfront.

The value of commercial real estate in the city is prime. The last vacant piece of Stroh River Place, a large brick structure within a historic mixed-use development along the Detroit River, will be converted into luxury loft condominiums. Earlier in the twentieth century, the 14,864 square-meter (160,000 square-foot) structure served as the headquarters for Parke Davis Pharmaceutical Company. The building will undergo a $15 million renovation and is the last building to be redeveloped by the Stroh Brewing Company. The complex, located south of East Jefferson, includes offices, loft apartments, stores, and restaurants. The lofts will be priced from $140,000 and are joined by several neighboring developments, including a $40 million headquarters for the United Auto Workers-General Motors (UAW-GM) Human Resource Center, expected to open in 2001.

Finally, Detroit remains the U.S. headquarters for General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Daimler-Chrysler, Mazda, and Volkswagen. With recent efforts by automotive companies to take a more global approach toward business, Detroit's economy should remain on the cutting edge.

10. Environment

Air pollution is a point of great concern for the Motor City. Like other major cities, Detroit's air is contaminated daily by human activities, such as driving cars, burning fuel, and industrial manufacturing.

The Detroit region is surrounded by hundreds of lakes and miles of rivers and streams. Most are working or recreational bodies of water. Some watershed areas have previously been plagued with environmental degradation, like Zug Island, Metropolitan Beach Parkway, and the Detroit River. The state, U.S. Federal, and Canadian governments have identified the Detroit River as an international area of concern. The river's environmental problems and ecological impairments stem from urban growth and industrial development. Since the late 1800s, 95 percent of the Detroit River's original wetland habitat has been lost through urban and industrial development. Areas of the Detroit River have sediments contaminated with high concentrations of metals and organic compounds, a legacy of industry and a naive understanding of the ecosystem.

Although industrial history has played a significant role in the river's problems, the environmental degradation continues. Municipal and industrial discharges, poor land-use practices, combined sewer overflows, urban and agricultural runoff, and contaminants from air deposition continue. Plans to address the environmental concerns and improve the overall quality of the ecosystem have been developed and implemented by several different conservancy organizations in and around the Detroit area. A plan with priority action is to protect the remaining fish and wildlife habitat in the Detroit River watershed.

11. Shopping

The ethnic diversity of the Detroit community makes shopping in the city a global experience. Unusual and unique shops are scattered everywhere, but premier shopping can be found to the west at Maple and Woodward in Birmingham or Big Beaver Road in Troy at the Somerset Mall. All corporate-owned stores, like Neiman Marcus, Hugo Boss, and Saks Fifth Avenue, are connected by a pedestrian overpass that offers a bird's-eye view of the surrounding area.

To satisfy a taste for the alternative, shoppers should head for Royal Oak, where boutiques are nonpareil; cuisine is trendy; and the streets are energetic.

Home, garden, and food shoppers will be thrilled at the Eastern Market, located at 2934 Russell. There, weekends explode with activity as vegetable farmers, flower growers, honey collectors, plant vendors, and orchard owners display their fresh wares, and city dwellers arrive in droves. The most ardent shoppers at this market, which dates back to the late 1800s, arrive in the pre-dawn hours to get prime selections. Bargain seekers arrive in late afternoon when vendor prices are reduced to sell.

In addition to Saturday vendors who sell goods both inside and out, there are also supreme wholesale stores. Restaurants, pubs, and specialty shops extend for several blocks in and around this no-pretense-permitted market. The Central Market, for example, holds fresh meat and fish counters; Rafal's aromatic spice shop sells only spices, coffee, and sauces, and R. Hirt, Jr., boasts blue ribbon cheeses.

A must stop on Monroe Street in Greektown is Astoria Pastry shop, where rows of treats beckon to be tasted. Across the street is a used music and book store, where coffee house aromas linger closeby.

Winding back toward the river, the Renaissance Center's unmistakable cluster of glass towers caters to both the practical and the prosperous. With restaurants, stores, theater, shops, a hotel, and occasional access to the People Mover, the "Ren Cen" offers a variety of stores and personal services.

At 10125 Jefferson Avenue is Pewabic Pottery, now listed as National Historic Landmark. Pewabic tiles grace everything from fireplaces to lobbies in many of Detroit's historic homes. The pottery studio, founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry Stratton, moved in 1907 to its present address. A Tudor mansion, the shop operates as a nonprofit arts center and museum. Visitors can learn about the pottery process through a self-guided tour and view both antique and contemporary displays of pieces designed and executed by Stratton and her earliest students. Many of the Pewabic art pieces, which include tiles, candlesticks, and vases, are available for purchase.

Finally, there are the outdoor strip malls and several indoor shopping malls in the suburban areas outside Detroit. Most are within a 40-minute ride of the city. Hours and locations are listed in the local yellow page directory.

12. Education

A rich resource of which Detroit is proud is the wide array of educational services and schools available. Anyone can improve skills, learn new technology, and earn degrees or certification in a variety of fields, all within a short radius of the city. Dog grooming, court reporting, beauty, seminary, x-ray technology, modeling, and flying are only a few of the many fields in which certification is available. Two public schools of higher education include Wayne County Community College and Wayne State University (WSU).

Of the nation's 3,600 accredited colleges and universities, the top classifications must annually award 50 or more doctoral degrees. Wayne State awarded 239 in 1998. Rated in the country's top three percent, WSU is located in the heart of the University Cultural Center and has branch extension centers throughout the metropolitan area. The university offers over 5,500 courses, 128 bachelor programs, 61 doctoral programs, and 30 certification specialist and professional programs.

Additionally, there are several privately funded institutions that join the ranks of higher education. Among these are Detroit College of Business, Detroit College of Law (Michigan State Campus), University of Detroit Mercy, and Marygrove College.

13. Health Care

Many of Detroit's medical care facilities are considered outstanding. Children's Hospital is no exception. Nationally recognized for exceptional care and facilities, the hospital continues to provide top-notch service for children's health care needs. Joined by Detroit Receiving, Harper Hospital, Huron Valley-Sinai, Hutzel, Sinai-Grace, the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, the International Center, Karmanos Cancer Institute, and the Kresge Eye Institute, patients are afforded the most recent developments in medical procedures. In addition, The Detroit Medical Center (DMC), also located downtown, is the regulating center for seven hospitals, 3,000 doctors, two nursing centers, 100 primary care physicians, and both teaching and clinical research for Wayne State University. Detroit is headquarters to Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan, one of the nations largest health care providers.

Also making headlines is DMC's Huron Valley-Sinai hospital. They welcomed the first millennium baby in the United States, Bella Rose, born on January 1, 2000, at the stroke of midnight.

14. Media

Like most progressive centers, Detroit has a good amount of media resources. Supplementing the three top television stations, WDIV (NBC), WXYZ (ABC), and WWJ-TV (CBS), is UPN 50 (United Paramount) and WTVS (PBS), Detroit's own stations. Fox2-WJBK and WB20 (Warner Brothers) keep viewers up to date with news and information.

In print are the city's two major newspapers: the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. These two publications share production facilities but are each printed daily and cover both local and national news. The Free Press is the morning edition, and the News hits stands in the afternoon. Sunday's paper is a combined effort, and this system works well. The Observer and Eccentric newspapers produce geographic editions, focusing on local suburban news. Covering alternative and funk is the Metro Times, which discusses music, dining, and shopping. Business headlines in and around the metro area can be found in the Detroit Legal News, the Detroit Journal, or Crain's Detroit Business.

For listening pleasure, there are an abundance of radio stations that play a diverse mix of country, rock, jazz, soul and motown, classical, and offbeat music 24 hours a day. Listeners who enjoy talk radio can tune in to AM stations WJR-760, which covers topics of public interest, or WWJ-950 radio, the first commercial radio station in America, which encourages a reader forum to exchange ideas.

15. Sports

Detroit sports bring only one word to mindchampionship. In addition to optimal convention facilities and festivals, sporting arenas like the Palace of Auburn Hills, Joe Louis Arena, and the new multi-plex Comerica Park are second to none. Detroit is a huge sports town with loyal fans who won't hesitate to prove their dedication.

The Motor City boasts a long history of sports legends. A sculpture memorializing boxer Joe Louis, designed by Edward N. Hamilton, is located in Cobo Convention Center's main entrance. Also in the Center is memorabilia on Louis's life and career. Boxing victors Thomas Hearns and Michael Moorer also hail from Motown, as do National Football League Hall of Famer Lem Barney and basketball superstars Dave Bing and Chris Webber.

In addition to producing sports superstars, the past two decades have produced a series of victories for professional sports teams in Detroit. Tiger baseball at Tiger Stadium, Pistons basketball at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and Red Wing Hockey at Joe Louis Arena, all have captured world championship titles. The Tigers started the 2000 season in their new digs at Comerica Park, a $285 million arena. Blending innovation, show business, and sports tradition, Comerica Park seats 40,000 fans. The stadium also hosts a 60-passenger ferris wheel on site. The sport park's turn-of-the-century theme is underscored with the 12-passenger ferris wheel cars designed like baseballs. In keeping with respect for the game, Comerica Park houses the largest scoreboard in baseball history.

Complementing its world-class sports teams, Detroit has most recently introduced the Detroit Shock, playing for the Women's National Basketball Association; the Vipers, playing for the International Hockey League; and the Detroit Rockers, playing soccer.

16. Parks and Recreation

Detroit parks are hot spots for recreation. There are hundreds of lakes in the region and miles of rivers and streams. Michigan claims more registered boaters than any other state and boasts about 230 public and private golf courses, not to mention dozens of downhill ski runs and cross-county trails within easy driving distance.

In the city, Chene Park winds gently along the waterfront, landscaped and inviting. Summertime brings a mix of open-air concerts, festivals, and people.

Belle Isle is an island park, spread over 397 hectares (982 acres) in the Detroit River. Native Americans called the island "Mah-nah-be-zee," or Swan Island. French settlers called it Isle St. Claire. During the eighteenth century, farmers used the island as a safe haven for animals; thus, it also became known as Hog Island. However, it was renamed Belle Isle, which translates as beautiful island, and by 1845, it was a popular picnic spot for city residents. The City of Detroit purchased Belle Isle for $200,000 in 1879 and designated it as a park in 1881. The original park, designed by Frederick L. Olmsted (18221903), featured only recreational canals; however, in the early 1900s, the city built Lake Takoma, Lake Okonoka, and some other canals.

Historically, walkways along the water, ornate bridges, and covered bandstands were popular attractions. Canoeing was an important recreational activity for island visitors. In the 1930s, the Civilian Work Authority (CWA) labored with shovels, wheel barrows, and small tractors to create more canals and lakes on the island. Belle Isle supports over three kilometers (two miles) of canals and four lakes, ranging from 7 to 17 hectares (18 to 43 acres). However, some years of neglect have resulted in stagnant water, excessive weed growth, and poor aesthetic character.

Today, Belle Isle is one of the most used parks in the city of Detroit. It provides many of its four million annual visitors opportunities to participate in a variety of recreational experiences within a unique natural environment. Recognizing the value of this resource, the City of Detroit Recreation Department has committed to restoring basic water recreational activities, which have historically been part of the Belle Isle experience.

Boating enthusiasts can find worthy marinas in the area. Information on docking facilities at Erma Henderson, Grayhaven, Riverside, and St. Aubin can be obtained by phoning the supervisor.

Several area recreation centers offer the opportunity for fitness, swimming, and ice skating for youth and seniors alike.

17. Performing Arts

World renowned for its musical history, Detroit frequently jives with live performances at a variety of downtown venues. National tours of Broadway productions include stops at four Detroit locales: Fox Theatre at 2211 Woodward Avenue; Fisher Theatre at 3011 W. Grand Boulevard; Masonic Temple and Detroit Music Hall at 350 Madison. Most venues have been architecturally preserved and are an important part of Detroit's performance art history.

Other local professional theatre companies include Second City Comedy Troupe at 2305 Woodward; Attic Theatre; Chene Park Music Theatre at 2600 E. Atwater; Detroit Actors Guild; Detroit Opera House at 1526 Broadway; Detroit Repertory Theatre; Gem Theatre at 333 Madison; Hartland Theatre Company; Harmonie Park Playhouse at 230 E. Grand River; Jewish Ensemble Theatre; 1515 Broadway at 1515 Broadway; and Wayne State Theatre.

18. Libraries and Museums

The Detroit Public Library is an independent municipal corporation governed by a seven-member Detroit Library Commission. In addition to the main locale, there are 24 branch libraries, a Municipal Reference Library, Special Collections, and a bookmobile service for seniors and shut-ins.

Library revenues originate from resources that include money from the state equity grant, penal fines, the single business tax reimbursement, the city general fund, state air, and the city of Detroit property taxes. The Main Library receives funding as a state of Michigan resource.

The Detroit Public Library, in association with Highland Park's McGregor Public Library, forms the Detroit Associated Libraries (DAL), one of 16 public library cooperatives in Michigan. The Detroit Public Library is also a member of DALNET, the Detroit Area Library Network, an organization of southeastern Michigan libraries who share the costs and benefits of automation.

Detroit is also home to many legendary museums and celebrated galleries. Indeed rated as world class, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is the country's fifth-largest fine arts museum. Erected in 1885, the striking building houses " The Thinker, " a famous outdoor sculpture by Auguste Rodin (18401917). Locals are proud, and visitors are surprised by the museum's treasures.

Included galleries are those of Italian Renaissance Art, the works of notable African-American artists, a rare armor collection, and the masterworks of luminaries Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Warhol.

Making a statement is Mexican muralist Diego Rivera's " Detroit Industry. " Frescos in the museum's central courtyard, the dramatic mural pays tribute to the good and evil of American industrialization. A guidebook helps mural viewers discover hidden symbols, including faces of celebrated people tucked into the scenes.

Galleries featuring Ancient Art, Islamic, and the audio phone tour of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are only a few of the unique exhibits.

Music plus museum equals MotownBerry Gordy's love child that changed the voice of America was founded on the streets of Detroit in 1959. The museum memorializes the sights and sounds of artists who graced that period.

Greenfield Village is living history at its best. Authentic representation of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century America, museum presenters are dressed in period clothing and encourage visitor participation with chores like dishwashing and candle making.

Other noteworthy historical properties in the Detroit area include the Detroit Historical Museum, the Museum of African American History, the Detroit Garden Center, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Detroit Hydro-plane Museum, the Detroit Science Center, Graystone Jazz Museum, the Heidelberg Project, and Hitsville USA/Motown Historical Museum.

19. Tourism

Detroit has a reputation that beckons loudly, and it is becoming a popular tourist destination. With great enthusiasm, visitors are flocking to the Motor City. In fact, the Detroit metropolitan area (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties combined) drew more than 16 million visitors last year. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization that promotes Detroit as a destination for meetings, conventions, trade shows, and visitors.

20. Holidays and Festivals

Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday
North American International Auto Show

African American Heritage Month
Motown Historical Museum Artist Tribute

Annual St. Patrick's Pub Crawl
Oscar NightDetroit Institute of Arts

NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner
Detroit Tigers Baseball Opening Day

May Eastern Market Flower Day
Bal Africanblack tie hosted by Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Grand Prix
Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield
VillageCelebration of Emancipation Village Art FestivalGrosse Pointe

International Freedom Festival and Fireworks
Afro-American Music FestivalMetropolitan
Arts Complex

African World FestivalHart Plaza

Montreaux Detroit Jazz FestivalHart Plaza

October Ancestors Day

Thanksgiving Parade

21. Famous Citizens

The Motor City is well known for its automotive legends and musicians. The following people also call Detroit their hometown:

Charles Lindbergh (190274), airmail pilot who achieved worldwide fame by making the first non-stop solo transatlantic flight.

Ralph J. Bunche (190471), diplomat, United Nations mediator, winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize.

Francis Ford Coppola (b. 1939), film director and producer.

Ed McMahon (b. 1923), television personality.

Singers Diana Ross (b. 1944), William "Smokey" Robinson (b. 1940), and Bob Seger (b. 1945).

Singer-actresses Madonna (Madonna Louise Ciccone, b.1959) and Della Reese (b. 1932).

Actors George C. Scott (192799) and Tom Selleck (b. 1945).

Robin Williams (b. 1952), actor and comedian.

Sports figures who had notable careers in Detroit include:

Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow, b. Alabama, 191481), heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949.

Baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline (b. Maryland, 1934), a Detroit Tigers star.

22. For Further Study


Detroit Net. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Detroit Institute of Arts. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Metro Guide. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Visit Detroit. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Government Offices

Detroit City Clerk
200 City County Building
(313) 224-3270

Detroit City Council
1340 City County Building
(313) 224-3443

Detroit Mayor's Office (Dennis Archer)
2 Woodward Avenue
(313) 224-3400

Detroit Port Authority
8109 E. Jefferson
(313) 331-3842

Ombudsman Office
114 City County Building
(313) 224-6000

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Cobo Hall Conference Center
1 Washington Boulevard
(313) 877-8111

Detroit Chamber of Commerce
1 Woodward Avenue, Suite 1700
Detroit, Michigan 49232
(313) 964-4000

Metropolitan Detroit Convention
and Visitors Bureau
211 W. Fort Street, Suite 100
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 202-1952


Crain's Business
1400 Woodbridge
Detroit, MI
(888) 909-9111

Detroit News/Free Press
615 W. Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 222-6400

Metro Times
733 St. Antoine
Detroit, MI

Michigan Chronicle
479 Ledyard
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 963-5522

Observer and Eccentric Newspapers
805 E. Maple
Birmingham, MI
(248) 644-1100


Beasley, Norman and George W. Stark. Made in Detroit. New York: Putnam's Sons, 1957.

Henrickson, Wilma Wood. Detroit Perspectives, Crossroads and Turning Points. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991.

Stark, George W. City of Destiny. Detroit: Arnold-Powers, Inc., 1943.


views updated Jun 11 2018


DETROIT , largest city in Michigan, U.S., with a Jewish population of around 103,000 (with Ann Arbor) in 2001, comprising 1.9% of the city's total population. Part of the distinction of Detroit Jews derives from the nature and history of Detroit. Its economy, the first to emerge as distinctly 20th century American – that is, mobile, grounded in automobiles, roads, and related industries, and therefore suburbs, shopping centers, and massive industrial complexes like the Ford Rouge Plant – produced enormous wealth or the prospects of it. If Jewish immigration to the U.S. stopped in 1924, immigration to Detroit did not. Jews came from other American cities, seeking employment in the Ford factories or the related industries. Sometimes families that had been in this country for as many as 20 years picked up and left places like New York, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Cleveland, or Baltimore to come to Detroit.


Jews had come to Michigan in the 18th century as fur traders and merchants. Chapman Abraham, Detroit's first known Jewish settler, arrived in Detroit in 1762 and became a successful trader for more than 20 years. Levi Solomons, partner of Chapman Abraham, was captured by the Indians near Detroit during the 1763 Pontiac Conspiracy. Chapman Abraham was captured during the 1763 Indian siege of Detroit, and after two harrowing months was released in exchange for an Indian chief. During the American Revolution Abraham fought in Canada against the invading Americans, remaining a loyalist all his life. Later records show he lived in Detroit in 1783. Hayman *Levy of New York, largest fur trader among the colonists and at one time a partner of Levi Solomons, carried on extensive business with Detroit merchants from 1774.

Ezekiel *Solomon, Michigan's first known Jewish settler, arrived in Fort Michilimackinac (today Mackinaw City) in 1761, and lived in Detroit in 1789. Moses David, of the well-known Montreal *David family, lived in Sandwich (now Windsor), Ontario, in 1792, when Sandwich and Detroit were still under British rule. Isaac *Moses joined Zion Lodge, Detroit's first Masonic lodge, in 1798, two years after Detroit's occupation by the Americans. Louis Benjamin was awarded a new plot of ground in 1808 to indemnify him for his loss in Detroit's great fire of 1805. Frederick E. Cohen, an English Jew, was in Detroit in 1837 during the Canadian rebellion, when he served in the Canadian militia. He became a prominent portrait painter, the first Jewish artist in Michigan. His self-portrait hangs in the Detroit Institute of Arts.


German Jews arrived in Detroit in significant numbers in the 1840s. Charles E. Bresler, a settler of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area in the 1830s, moved to Detroit in 1844. He dealt in horses, furs, and wool, and made a fortune importing steel pens. He was one of the incorporators of Detroit's first Jewish congregation, Temple Beth El. Edward Kanter arrived in Detroit that same year, moving to Mackinac the following year where he was employed by the American Fur Company. Later he worked for the Leopold Brothers, pioneers on the island of Mackinac in the fishery business, and fur traders. Kanter returned to Detroit in 1852 and became Detroit's first Jewish banker and the first Michigan Jew to serve in the state legislature. Kanter Street is named after him. Simon Freedman, a settler of Adrian, Michigan, in the early 1840s, established a large dry goods business in Detroit around 1844, joined by his family. Like Besler, the Freedman brothers were among the founders of Beth El: Joseph was the first secretary of the congregation, Simon served as president, and Herman was president of the religious school board. In the 1870s David J. Wockum was the first Jew to serve on the Detroit Board of Education.

In 1850 Congregation Beth El was founded in the home of Sarah and Isaac Couzens by 12 German Jewish families. In 1851 a half acre of land on Champlain (later Lafayette) Street was purchased for a cemetery, the oldest Jewish congregational cemetery in Michigan. Beth El congregation's first rabbi, Samuel Marcus, was interred there in 1854 during a cholera epidemic. Originally an Orthodox congregation, Beth El became Reform in 1861, resulting in the withdrawal of 17 members who formed the Orthodox Shaarey Zedek congregation, later an important Conservative congregation. Beth El became a large and influential Reform Congregation, and among its leading rabbis was Kaufmann *Kohler (1869–71).


By 1880 there were approximately 1,000 Jews in Detroit, more than half from Eastern Europe, the others, German Jews. Detroit's Jewish population leaped during the so-called Great Migration from Eastern Europe, especially from 1880 to 1910 and from 1917 to 1924 when the government instituted its immigration restrictions. By 1920 the number of Jews in Detroit had reached almost 35,000, a 247% increase in 10 years while the general population of Detroit increased only 114%. There was one Reform congregation, Temple Beth El, and four Orthodox congregations, Shaarey Zedek, B'nai Israel (1871), B'nai Jacob (1875), and Beth Jacob (1878). Three charities existed: the Ladies' Society for the Support of Hebrew Widows and Orphans, popularly known as "Frauen Verein" (1863), Beth El Hebrew Relief Society, and Shaarey Zedek Jewish Relief Society. B'nai B'rith, Kesher Shel Barzel, and the Free Sons of Israel all had lodges in Detroit, and there was one flourishing social club, the Phoenix Social Club (1872).

Relations between the Ostjuden newcomers, most of whom were of the Orthodox tradition, and the more acculturated German Jews, primarily members of Temple Beth El, were ambivalent. Considerations of class, social standing, religious outlook, and degree of Americanization tended to keep the groups separate. However, the German community's sense of obligation to their less fortunate coreligionists overcame their feelings of antipathy, at least publicly, with the founding of two new charitable societies, the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Society (1882) and the Self-Help Circle (1889), organized to assist the new immigrants, although many of them felt patronized. In 1896 a Detroit News article noted that "it is very rare that a German Israelite seeks relief from anybody," contrasting German Jews with East European Jews who needed charity. By 1903, however, a Detroit Free Press article pointed out that Russian Jews, while not so successful in business as German Jews, were "making their way upward." The article listed leading Jewish businessmen and four synagogues, the Division Street Talmud Torah, the House of Shelter, and the Hebrew Free Loan Office and concluded that Russian Jews were "intelligent, sensible, hard-working people, sober and religious, of good moral character and determined to get ahead in the world. They are men with characteristics that make any nation strong." Their German counterparts rarely agreed.

Some Eastern Europeans, conscious of the gulf between themselves and the city's German Jewish community, preferred to establish communal institutions more responsive to their special needs. The most important of these were the Talmud Torah Institute (1897), Hebrew Free Loan Association (1895), and Workman's Circle (Arbeter Ring) (1907). By 1917, Branch 156 of the Workmen's Circle was not only the largest secular Jewish organization in Detroit, but the largest Workmen's Circle branch in North America. It was the first of a wave of secular Jewish institutions that included Labor Zionist organizations, the Yiddish Sholom Aleichem Institute, Hayim Greenberg, and Farband Shule and the five iwo Communist-affiliated Hersh Leckert Schools. When the Farband Shule declared itself "the non-parteische" (non-partisan) school, it meant it was not a Hersh Leckert School.

Realizing that the profusion of Jewish charities resulted in unnecessary duplication and waste, Leo M. *Franklin, rabbi of Temple Beth El (1899–1941), united the Beth El Hebrew Relief Society, Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Society, Jewish Relief Society, and Self-Help Circle into the United Jewish Charities (1899). David W. Simons was the first president and Blanche Hart was superintendent until 1923. Despite differences, the German and the East European groups managed to cooperate in communal undertakings. This was exemplified when Temple Beth El, oldest and most prestigious congregation in the city, agreed to join the Kehilla (1911) organized by the Orthodox community. Prominent rabbis of the period included Leo Franklin; Judah Leib Levin, who was instrumental in organizing the United Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in the early 1900s, and founded the Yeshivah Beth Yehuda; and Abraham *Hershman of Conservative Shaarey Zedek (1908–46), an ardent Zionist.

Starting in the 1880s, Detroit's Jewish communities concentrated most heavily in the retail and wholesale clothing trades, mostly as proprietors of their own businesses, and in the clerical or white collar occupations as salesmen, insurance agents, and office workers. While Jews did not dominate any trade the way they did the garment industry in New York, a Jewish "monopoly" in Detroit's economic life did develop in the waste material and scrap metal business. By the late 1880s Jews outnumbered gentiles in this industry, and by the 1890s it had become almost solely a "Jewish" industry. This dominance was to continue after World War ii.

Jews participated in the political life of Detroit during this period. Samuel Goldwater, a city alderman in 1894 and the Democratic Party's candidate for mayor in 1895, was the major force behind the organization of the Michigan Federation of Labor (1889). David E. Heineman served as a member of the state legislature (1896–1901) and Detroit's City Council (1902–09), and was city controller during 1910–13. In 1909 he was president of the American League of Municipalities; he also designed the flag of Detroit. Charles C. Simons was a state senator (1902). David W. Simons was a member of the first nine-man city council (1918).


The outbreak of World War i ended European immigration to Detroit until 1920. In 1915 the Jewish communities contained one Reform and 19 Orthodox congregations and by 1940 the Jewish population had risen to 85,000 as the number of congregations rose to 48. During these years the Jews of Detroit strengthened their communal organization. A survey of communal needs made in 1923 by the Bureau of Jewish Social Research of New York resulted in the organization, in 1926, of the Jewish Welfare Federation. Its first director was Morris D. *Waldman. Eventually housed in the Fred M. *Butzel Memorial Building, the Federation included among its affiliate agencies the Jewish Community Council, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family and Children's Service, Jewish Home for the Aged, Fresh Air Society, Hebrew Free Loan Association, Federation Apartments, Jewish House of Shelter, Jewish Vocational Service and Community Workshop, Resettlement Service, Midrasha-College of Jewish Studies, Sinai Hospital and Shiffman Clinic, United Jewish Charities, and the United Hebrew Schools. The Jewish Community Council, organized in 1936, comprised 340 organizations and immediately took an active role in urban affairs, the civil rights movement, holding joint meetings with the naacp and African American clergy. They would later offer staunch support of Israel. The first community-wide fund drive of the Jewish Welfare Federation in 1926 had 3,185 contributors; in 1940 there were 20,440 contributors; and in 1967 and 1969 the city's Allied Jewish Campaigns raised two of the highest per capita totals in the U.S.

Jewish education received a boost in 1919 when the United Hebrew Schools was organized by a merger of two talmud torahs. By 1940 the United Hebrew Schools had ten branches. In 1925 Congregation Beth El opened a College of Jewish Studies, and in 1940 an Institute on Judaism for Christian Clergymen. In addition to the various congregational Sunday and Hebrew schools and the secular schools, Jewish education had been fostered by the Beth Yehuda Day and Afternoon School, the Hillel Day School, and the Akiva Hebrew Day School.

If Detroit had become known for its modern, industrial achievements, it also gained a more infamous, less savory reputation that set it apart from other cities. It was unfortunately tarnished by its social and cultural blights. Racism and antisemitism may have been common features of the American cultural landscape in the 20th century, but their malevolence in Detroit was unmatched anywhere else. Father Charles Coughlin's vitriolic antisemitic national radio broadcasts in the 1930s, Henry Ford's anti-Jewish newspaper campaign in the Dearborn Independent during the 1920s, the Black Legion's night-riders and lynching, Gerald L.K. Smith and others, still evoke fear and anger in Detroit Jews. The 1930s also saw Detroit's German American Bund become fairly active. Along with news of the events in Europe, more subtle actions like department store ads from J.L. Hudson's that read "only Gentiles need apply," and public swimming pools that did not allow Jews to swim, or restrictive covenants that prevented Jews from purchasing or renting houses in Pleasant Ridge or Grosse Pointe or Birmingham, appreciably increased anxiety among Jews in Detroit.

The ujc 1923 Survey had noted: there appeared to be "no Jewish labor class consciousness in Detroit." While that lack of "labor class consciousness" may have been pervasive, organized Jewish groups, like the Jewish Community Council, the Workmen's Circle, the more than 80 landsmannschaften, supported the labor movement in Detroit. Perhaps the most notable example of this was the Detroit Laundry and Linen Drivers Association founded and led by Isaac Litwak in 1934. Within two years it had become Teamster Local 285 and in 1937 carried out no fewer than 12 major strikes. Unique among Jewish urban businesses, 25% of the laundry and linen workers in Detroit in 1936 were Jews. Locked out of other, more traditional Jewish enterprises like department stores because of antisemitism, Jews logically gravitated from tailoring and rag peddling to this trade. Nearly 90% of the laundry and linen industry was owned by Jews. Yet, in 1937, picket lines were attacked by goons, Litwak was severely beaten several times, once dragging himself to the line; he was arrested and joined in jail by Jimmy Hoffa, who made sure Litwak was not beaten or killed. The union triumphed in 1937 as it brought unorganized drivers earning $18/wk to contractual arrangements guaranteeing $95. The turmoil was typical of the early days of union organizing in Detroit, but with added emotional trauma in this case: although no charges were brought, it was clear that Jewish owners or their surrogates had hired Jewish hoodlums from the remnants of the notorious Jewish Purple Gang, to beat and break Jewish workers and their union.

Post-World War II

This period witnessed a growth in prosperity among the Jews of Detroit, and increasing mobility characterized by a steady move to the suburbs. The community's religious institutions were consolidated: by 1968 there were 23 Orthodox, six Conservative, four Reform, and one humanistic congregation founded by Rabbi Sherwin Wine, the Birmingham Temple, in the Detroit metropolitan area. Prominent in Jewish and general community affairs was Rabbi Morris *Adler, who served Congregation Shaarey Zedek from 1938 to 1966, when he was tragically shot in his pulpit and killed. A constant of Detroit Jewish history has been movement. By the time Jews began to move into Oak Park, the first suburb northwest of Detroit, beginning around 1948, an organized or identifiable Jewish presence in Detroit had existed for a hundred years. In that century, perhaps nothing characterized that people more than its movement – mytho-biblical in its quick, successive generational wanderings and in its group cohesion. It seemed that Jews moved en masse about every 20–30 (not to say 40) years. Morris Waldman, Federation's first executive director, who arrived in 1924, observing the rapid evacuation of the Hastings neighborhood in favor of the Westminster-Oakland area, called the phenomenon a hegira, a mass migration. The pattern of Jewish settlement in Detroit from 1840 to 1940 was a northwest exodus: from Lower Hastings to Upper Hastings, to Oakland between 1910 and 1940, to the Twlefth Street and Dexter areas just west of Oakland, to Northwest Detroit, from the late 1930s to the 1960s. After World War ii, Oak Park, then Southfield became the greener pastures, where Jews could buy the typical brick ranch houses, in the midst of trees and open spaces, followed quickly by West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills. When correlated with generational, socio-economic upward mobility, such a prolonged series of moves seems to have sprung, in part, from a desire for larger homes, more space, and the pursuit of symbols of economic success. It mirrored the non-Jewish, upwardly mobile middle class abandonment of the central cities for the suburbs, the American dream of the 1950s: suburban life. As each generation of Jews became more educated, more successful, more American, and more assimilated, the wish to demonstrate all those features strengthened and took the form of new and bigger or better homes in new neighborhoods. Yet more than a quest for symbols of educational and economic achievement accounts for the regular relocation of whole communities. Federation surveys implied that, for all their tolerance, many Jews retained stereotypic views of African Americans and feared living in the same neighborhoods, although they often supported civil rights and defended blacks in that arena. In the Hastings Street neighborhood, long after Jews had moved their residences from there, they retained businesses. In the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s often only Jewish merchants would allow blacks to shop in their stores. And only Jews would sell their businesses to blacks as white, non-Jewish racists grew more hostile to black neighbors – and to Jewish neighbors or businessmen. As black workers moved into Detroit, they occupied the areas in which Jews lived, and fears or prejudices on both sides fostered the Jewish moves.

A prominent Jewish community leader was Max M. *Fisher (d. 2005), long associated with the uja, United Israel Appeal, and American Jewish Committee. As war seemed imminent in the Middle East in 1967, Fisher was flown from his yacht in the Aegean (where he was vacationing with Henry Ford ii) to Tel Aviv, where he learned of Israel's needs and strategies. When he returned to his yacht, he convinced Ford to write a personal check for $100,000 and took Detroit by storm. Working with his friend Paul Zuckerman, who chaired the Israel Emergency Defense Fund, Fisher, just after a record-breaking uja drive that had raised $5,627,136, cajoled, harangued, and convinced the Jews of Detroit to "give as you never gave before." Detroiters gave $4,700,000. Jewish Detroit had never been more united.

As Jewish professional success grew, and vestiges of anti-Jewish discrimination remained, Jews responded with specific actions. When Jewish physicians were blocked from practicing at some Detroit hospitals, Sinai Hospital was created; Jewish lawyers led the way in ending "restrictive covenants" in the Detroit metropolitan area and in reforming the civil rights codes in the Michigan Constitution. Jews were to be found in every area of the city's economic life, although despite the prominence of automobile manufacturing in Detroit, few Jews are employed in this industry. The occupational sphere where Jews have predominated is the waste industry, continuing their control of it from the 1890s. By the late 1960s almost 55 percent of those Jews who were employed could be classed in the manager or proprietor class. By 1970 almost 25 percent of the Jewish working force was in the professions, while 73 percent were white-collar workers. Less than 10 per cent of the Jewish population were blue-collar workers.

Jews prominent in political life included Melvin Ravitz, councilman (1969), and Sander *Levin, state senator and chairman of the State Democratic Committee (1969). Sander's brother, Carl, has served three terms in the U.S. Senate and Debbie Stabenow is Michigan's other senator (2000). Among noted civic leaders have been David A. *Brown (1875–1958); Max M. Fisher, who, after the Detroit Riots of 1967, led the foundation of New Detroit to try to reconstruct the city; Norman Drachler, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools; Leonard N. Simons, president of the Detroit Historical Commission; Alfred A. May, president of the Detroit Round Table of Christians and Jews; Lawrence Fleischman, past president of the Detroit Institute of Arts Commission, and numerous others.

Detroit Jews have a distinguished record as jurists at the state and national level. Henry M. *Butzel was justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan; Charles C. Simons, a judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals; Lawrence Gubow and Theodore Levin, district court judges (1969); and S. Jerome Bronson and Charles Levin, judges of the state court of appeals (1969), and Avern Cohn, a federal judge. Jews of Detroit also play a prominent part in the cultural life of the city. When the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was organized in 1918, Ossip Gabrilowitsch became the principal conductor. He filled the post until his death in 1935 when Victor Kolar succeeded him. Mischa Mischakoff was concertmaster. Karl Haas was director of fine arts of radio station wjr and president of the Interlochen Arts Academy, a position then held by Robert Luby; concert pianist Mischa Kottler was director of music at radio station wwj; Harry Weinberg hosted a long-lived Yiddish Radio Hour; Littman's People's Theatre featured everything from high drama with leading Yiddish speaking actors to burlesque. Albert *Kahn, world-renowned architect, built the city's General Motors Building, Fisher Building, and New Center Building, among many others. Charles E. Feinberg (d. 1988) was an internationally known collector of Jewish ceremonial art and authority on the poet Walt Whitman. Detroit's Jewish population remains a diverse and significant part of the city's culture.


M. Tumin, Intergroup Conflicts in Northwest Detroit (1945); Katz, in: Detroit Historical Society Bulletin (Feb. 1950), 4–9; Meyer, in: jsos, 2 (1940); Detroit Jewish Chronicle, 1–53 (1916–51); G.B. Catlin, Story of Detroit (1923); J.A. Miller, Detroit Yiddish Theater, 1920–1937 (1967); I.I. Katz, Beth El Story (1955); Rockaway, in: Michigan History, 52 (1968), 28–36; Goldberg and Sharp, in: M. Sklare (ed.), The Jews (1958), 107–18; Meyer, in: S.M. Robison (ed.), Jewish Population Studies (1943), 109–30. add. bibliography: R.A. Rockaway, The Jews of Detroit: 1762–1914 (1986); idem, But He Was Good To His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters (2000); S. Bolkosky, Harmony and Dissonance: Voices of Jewish Identity in Detroit, 1914–1967 (1991); S. Glazer, Detroit (1965); J. Levin Cantor, Jews in Michigan (2001); N. Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (2002).

[Irving I. Katz and

Robert Rockaway /

Sidney Bolkosky (2nd ed.)].

Detroit: Recreation

views updated Jun 11 2018

Detroit: Recreation


Signs of Detroit's revitalization are particularly apparent in the downtown district. The People Mover, an elevated computerized rail transit system, features 13 stations with some of the most impressive publicly commissioned works of art in the country, all viewable from the train cars. Hart Plaza, named in honor of the late Senator Philip A. Hart, stands adjacent to Detroit's most visible symbol of renewalthe recently renovated Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors. Hart Plaza is the center of many downtown festivals, parades, and the Freedom Festival fireworks, and includes the Dodge Memorial Fountain, designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Nearby, at the foot of Woodward Avenue, sits Robert Graham's sculpture The Fist, commemorating fighter Joe Louis and considered the city's most controversial piece of art. Another more conventional statue of Joe Louis stands inside the Cobo Hall Convention Center, where a museum dedicated to the boxer's life is open to the public on weekends.

During its heyday in the post-World War I 1920s, Detroit saw the construction of several high-rises built in ornate Art Deco style. Not all of those buildings are still standing, but those that are include the Penobscot, Guardian, and Buhl buildings downtown, as well as the original General Motors and Fisher buildings further uptown, and several magnificent theaters, including the Fox, the Fisher, the Masonic Temple, and Orchestra Hall. Just west of downtown, the Ambassador Bridge, the world's longest international suspension bridge built in 1929, spans the Detroit River and connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, a small Canadian city with a casino and charming Italian and Chinese neighborhoods.

The Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak was the first zoo in the United States to make extensive use of barless exhibits; the zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals representing 286 different species. The new "Arctic Ring of Life" exhibit displays several polar bears, arctic foxes, seals, and sea lions in a massive simulated arctic tundra environment. In 2004 the zoo opened the National Amphibian Conservation Center to educate and provide research facilities on amphibians. The "Chimps of Harambee" exhibit covers four acres of naturalistic habitat. Other popular exhibits are the penguinarium, reptile house, free-flying aviary, butterfly garden, and giraffe house.

Belle Isle, located in the Detroit River two miles from downtown, was purchased from the Chippewa and Ottawa native Americans and was landscaped as a 1,000-acre city park in 1879 by Frederick Law Olmsted. Belle Isle is the home of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, a nature center, the nation's oldest fresh water aquarium, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Scott Fountain, and the Floral Clock.

The Cranbrook Institute of Science is a natural history museum and planetarium located north of the city in Bloomfield Hills.

The Detroit area is graced by a number of mansions built by automobile industrialists that are now open to the public. Meadow Brook Hall, a 100-room mansion on a 1,400-acre estate on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, was built by auto baron John Dodge in 1926. Henry Ford's final home, the 56-room Fairlane, is located on the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus. The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, overlooking Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores on a 90-acre estate, is built with an authentic Cotswold stone roof and leaded glass windows with heraldic inserts. The Fisher mansion on the Detroit River features original Eastern art works, Italian Renaissance and vintage Hollywood architecture, and more than 200 ounces of pure gold and silver leaf on the ceilings and moldings.

Other historic structures in Detroit include Moross House, Old Mariners Church, Sibley House, and Pewabic Pottery, where ceramic Pewabic tiles were first developed. The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit is an agency for the foreign-born founded by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in 1919, with a "gallery of nations" featuring the arts and crafts of 43 nations.

Arts and Culture

The Detroit Symphony, one of the country's few orchestras with international stature, plays a September-to-May season of classical and pops concerts at Orchestra Hall as well as a summer season at Meadow Brook, an outdoor amphitheater in Rochester. While Maestro Neeme Jarvi planned to step down as Conductor in 2005, a worldwide search for his successor was underway; meanwhile, famed violinist Itzhak Perlman continues his tenure as principal guest conductor with the Symphony. Michigan Opera Theatre produces classical grand opera in seasons at the magnificently restored 1922 Detroit Opera House, with two productions each fall and three more each spring. In 2005 the Opera premiered one of the most anticipated new American operas in decades when Margaret Garner was performed with a cast of international stars, including Denyce Graves. The opera was based on author Toni Morrison's classic novel Beloved, with the author also penning the libretto.

Detroit supports an active theater community; performances are staged in some of the finest restored facilities in the country. The Attic Theatre presents the best of the new and the offbeat. The intimate Gem and Century theaters offer Broadway-style shows, comedy acts, and other productions in cabaret style seating. The Fox Theatre, the largest movie theater in the United States, was designed by movie palace architect C. Howard Crane in 1928; it has undergone renovation to preserve its "Siamese Byzantine" interior featuring Far Eastern, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Indian themes, and is the site of performing arts events. Another opulent theater facility is the Fisher Theatre, designed by Albert Kahn; it sponsors Broadway shows.

The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and Masonic Temple Theatre bring professional touring theater and dance companies to Detroit audiences. Meadow Brook Theatre at Oakland University presents an eight-play season of musicals, classics plays, and new works. Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre produces classic drama performed by graduate student actors; undergraduate productions are staged at the Bonstelle Theatre. The Cranbrook Performing Arts Theatre in Bloomfield Hills offers orchestra, band, and vocal concerts, in addition to dance and drama, by high school students at the Cranbrook Educational Community. Other venues for the performing arts are the Riverfront Music Theatre in Chene Park, Joe Louis and Cobo arenas, the outdoor amphitheaters DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston and Meadow Brook Music Theater in Rochester, and the Palace of Auburn Hills, frequently named Arena of the Year by Performance Magazine.

The Detroit Institute of Arts, established in 1885, is the nation's fifth-largest fine arts museum. Art treasures from throughout the world and covering a historical period of 5,000 years are housed in 100 galleries. The museum's collection has literally outgrown its space and many major works had to be warehoused; a major renovation and expansion is set to be completed in 2007, adding 77,000 square feet of additional exhibit space. Among the institute's most prized holdings is the four-wall mural Detroit Industry by Diego Rivera. Also known worldwide is the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, which Henry Ford founded in 1929 to document America's growth from a rural to an industrial society by exhibiting objects from the nation's material culture. Henry Ford Museum is a fourteen-acre complex housing major collections in transportation, industry, agriculture, and the domestic arts; the museum features one of the world's most comprehensive car collections, including the vehicle President John F. Kennedy was traveling in when he was assassinated. A state-of-the-art IMAX Theatre was part of a $125 million makeover that started in 1999. Greenfield Village, a 240-acre outdoor museum, gathers on a single site one of the largest collections of historic American homes, work-places, and communities; among them are Thomas Edison's Menlo Park laboratory, the Wright brothers' bicycle shop, and Noah Webster's Connecticut home.

The Detroit Historical Museum in the Detroit Cultural Center was founded in 1928 as an archive of the history and customs of Detroiters. The museum's collection of more than 250,000 urban historical artifacts is one of the largest such collections in the country. An educational unit of the Detroit Public Schools, the Children's Museum displays collections that focus on African musical instruments, the Inuit, and American folk crafts and toys. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is dedicated to the contributions of African Americans in the humanities and creative arts. The Motown Historical Museum, a Michigan Historic Site, is quartered in the former home of Berry Gordy, Jr., Motown's founder, and preserves the music studio and recording equipment used in pioneering the Motown Sound. The Graystone International Jazz Museum preserves the city's jazz history. Fort Wayne is home to the National Museum of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-African American unit of World War II fighter pilots.

Arts and Culture Information: Detroit Department of Culture, Arts & Tourism, 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226; telephone (313)224-3470; fax (313)244-3399.

Festivals and Holidays

From April until Labor Day, Detroit's downtown riverfront is the scene of a program of ethnic festivals (the largest is the African World Festival in August) and the Downtown Hoe-down. June events include the Annual Heritage Fair at the Dearborn Historical Museum; Art on the Pointe, a juried art show at the Ford Estate; and the Muzzle Loaders Festival at Greenfield Village. The International Freedom Festival, begun in 1959, is a summer celebration of the friendship between Canada and the United States; it attracts more than 3 million people and culminates in a large fireworks display on the Detroit River.

On the Fourth of July weekend the Colonial Music and Military Muster at Greenfield Village features uniformed American and British troops in simulated encampment activities. Also in July at Greenfield Village is the Fire Engine Muster with hand-pulled rigs and horse-drawn pumpers in a re-creation of early fire-fighting techniques. The Blues Festival of Detroit, the Henry Ford Day at the Fairlane Mansion, and the Wyandotte Street Art Fair conclude July activities. The Michigan State Fair at the State Fairgrounds, the nation's oldest state fair, takes place in August, as does the Spirit of Detroit Car Show and the Swap Meets at Historic Fort Wayne. The Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival over Labor Day weekend brings together over 100 international artists and local jazz musicians in the nation's largest free jazz festival. The Autumn Harvest Festival in Dearborn, the Detroit Festival of the Arts, the Hamtramck Polish Festival, and the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village are popular activities in September.

A major event in November is America's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which presents 20 floats, 15 helium balloons, 25 marching bands, more than 1,000 costumed marchers, and Santa Claus in one of the nation's largest Thanksgiving Day parades; televised coverage of the parade is broadcast around the country. Other November events include Detroit Aglow and the Festival of Trees and Christmas Carnival at Cobo Conference Center. Christmas at Greenfield Village in December features Christmas past and present at more than two dozen historic village sites, with yuletide meals cooked at open hearths. Other seasonal shows are Noel Night at the Detroit Cultural Center, the Wassail Feast at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Christmas dinner at the Fairlane Manor.

Detroit's automotive era is evoked at numerous local events. The North American International Auto Show is among the most important auto shows in the world and is held each January. Autorama comes to Michigan each March and features classic and custom hot rods. The Concours d'Elegance, an exhibition of the world's finest classic cars, is held at Meadow Brook Hall in the summer. And the Woodward Dream Cruise bills itself as the world's largest one-day celebration of car culture, attracting over 1.7 million visitors from around the U.S. and even foreign countries, and more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector, and special interest vehicles. Cruisers travel a 16-mile, spectator lined section of Woodward Avenue through nine communities on the third Saturday in August, though cruising often begins several days before the official event.

Sports for the Spectator

A tough, gritty, blue-collar town throughout much of its history, Detroit identifies itself through nothing elseexcept perhaps its rich musical legacyas it does its passion for the local sports franchises. Detroit supports professional franchises in all the major sports, and each team has a rich tradition of all-time great players, oddball characters, and world championships. The Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League host visiting competitors at Joe Louis Arena, located downtown on the riverfront. The Red Wings have won hockey's fabled Stanley Cup 10 times, including 3 between the years 1997-2002. The Detroit Tigers, the city's oldest team, began play in the American League of Major League Baseball in 1901; a few years later the club acquired Ty Cobb, who played 22 years in a Detroit uniform and became one of the most legendary players in the history of the game. The club has won four World Series titles, the latest in 1984. In 2000 the Tigers moved to the new Comerica Park, across from the Fox Theater. The Detroit Lions compete in the National Football Conference of the National Football League. In 2002 the team moved its home field to downtown Detroit, adjacent to Comerica Park. The $450-million, enclosed Ford Field was privately financed and is set to host the 40th Super Bowl in February 2006. The Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association play their home games at the Palace of Auburn Hills, a 22,000-seat arena north of the city. Club attendance has led the NBA from 2003-2005, and the 2004 Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in five games to win the 2004 World Championship, the third title in club history. The Detroit Shock of the Women's National Basketball Association also plays at the Palace. The University of Detroit Mercy plays NCAA Division I basketball and other sports in the Horizon League. Both the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans compete in Big Ten athletics within an hour's drive of the city.

The Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest brings super-power hydro-planes to race on the Detroit River in June. Harness Racing is on view at the Hazel Park Harness Raceway and at Northville Downs.

Sports for the Participant

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy was formed in 2003 with an initial $50 million grant from the Kresge Foundation, to develop and beautify the land along the city's Detroit River frontage. The group's ultimate goal is to raise $110 million and build a five-mile-long RiverWalk connecting the Belle Isle Bridge (east of downtown) and the Ambassador Bridge to the west. The 62-foot wide pathway, expected to be completed by 2006, will have landscaping, lighting, benches, picnic areas, and paved trails for cyclists, skaters, and walkers, and will provide views of the river, its nonstop boating and freighter traffic, and the city of Windsor, Ontario. In addition to this project, the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation oversees 6,000 acres of park land. More than 350 city parks contain a total of 318 baseball diamonds, 257 tennis courses, six golf courses, and two marinas. Detroit has developed four smaller downtown riverfront parks, and there are miles of paved walkways for walking, running, and biking on Belle Isle. Outdoor sports such as swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, and skating are available at metropolitan parks. There are 170 public golf courses and six ski resorts in the Detroit region.

Runners of the Detroit International Marathon cross borders twicetaking in stunning views on the Ambassador Bridge on the way to Windsor and then hoofing it through the tunnel on the way back to Detroitas they tour both Detroit and Windsor's downtowns over 26.2 miles.

Shopping and Dining

Detroit offers unique shopping venues like Eastern Market, the largest flower-bedding market in the world and an outlet for fresh meats and produce from neighboring states and Canada. Adjacent to Eastern Market are specialty stores selling fresh meat, poultry, gourmet foods, and wines. Pewabic Pottery, founded in 1903, continues to produce handcrafted vessels and architectural tiles for public and private installations from its East Jefferson factory and gallery. There are numerous shops and restaurants throughout the sprawling Renaissance Center complex, and at the Millender Center directly across Jefferson.

Greektown and International Center, a popular Detroit tourist spot, features bakeries, restaurants, bars, and coffee-houses. Bricktown, located in a refurbished sector of downtown, is anchored by an art gallery selling Oriental vases, Persian rugs, and antique furniture.

Metropolitan Detroit offers about 150 shopping centers of at least 100,000 square feet. Vibrant downtown shopping areas can be found in communities like Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, and Royal Oak. The Somerset Collection and Somerset Collection North in suburban Troy rival the nation's finest shopping areas; the twin centers are anchored by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Marshall Field's.

Detroit offers elegant dining experiences downtown at Opus One, the Rattlesnake Club, and Sweet Georgia Brown. The Coach Insignia, situated 70 floors atop the Renaissance Center, has dining and panoramic views of Detroit, the river, the Ambassador and Belle Isle bridges, and Windsor, Ontario. Also in the Renaissance Center, Seldom Blues has fine dining, riverfront views, and a lively late-night club scene with some of the best jazz in the city. At the corner of Michigan and Lafayette, the side-by-side Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island have been Detroit legend for decades, especially for late-night after-hours crowds, serving up their unique hot dogs on steamed buns with chili, onions, and mustard, plus chili fries, and even a cold beer. Heading north from downtown diners will find sushi at Oslo, the Whitney in a restored Victorian mansion, Agave, Atlas Bistro, and Union Street. West of downtown, near the Ambassador Bridge, Mexican Village has several Mexican restaurants, as well as Spanish and Guatemalan fare. To the east of the city, Grosse Pointe has several excellent restaurants, including The Hill; in the northern suburbs the Lark in West Bloomfield and Tribute in Farmington Hills are consistently given five-star ratings by international publications. Detroit is home to the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East, and many of those immigrants live in Dearborn where a number of authentic Lebanese and Syrian restaurants thrive. Detroit is home to some outstanding Italian restaurants; Creole, Japanese, Chinese, Ethiopian, Thai, Indian, and Turkish cuisine are included among the other ethnic choices.

Visitor Information: Detroit Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, 211 W. Fort St., Ste. 1000, Detroit, MI 48226; telephone (313)202-1800; toll-free (800)DETROIT

Detroit: Economy

views updated May 21 2018

Detroit: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Automobile manufacturing continues to be a primary force in the Detroit economy, and Detroit is the nation's only older city that is home to a state-of-the-art auto assembly plant. In recent years, however, dependence on the auto industry has decreasedthe city lost 39 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the 1980swhile the services sector has increased. Still, the automobile rules, and as go auto sales, so goes the Detroit area economy. While manufacturing has globalized, virtually all of the key engineering, administrative, and testing functions of the Big Three take place in the Detroit area, employing thousands of highly-skilled and well-paid workers. Most of the world's suppliers of auto parts, such as Delphi and Guardian Industries are also located in Detroit, and advertising firms such as Campbell-Ewald, BBDO, and McCann-Erickson, do millions of dollars in annual business with the large automakers.

There is also a budding industry growing up around firms researching hydrogen fuel cells and other non-petroleum power generating technologies that may drive the automobiles of the future. More than 75 percent of the labor force is employed in non-manufacturing jobs in such areas as research and development; accounting, law, and financial services; computer services; and personnel and clerical support. The Henry Ford Health System is the sixth largest employer in the state and is a major research center. Detroit ranks among the five major financial centers in the United States; offices of all the "Big Eight" accounting firms are also located there.

Metropolitan Detroit is the world headquarters for General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler Corp., and Volkswagen of America. Other national and international corporations headquartered there include Kmart (which merged with Chicago-based Sears & Roebuck in 2004), Compuware, The Budd Company, American National Resources, and Federal Mogul. Oakland County, one of the country's wealthiest counties and directly north of the city, promotes its Auburn Hills area as "Automation Alley" due to the large number of robotics firms that have located there in recent years.

Items and goods produced: automobiles and automobile products, gray iron, machine tools and fixtures, foundry products, paints, varnishes, lacquers, chemicals, pleasure boats, paper and twine, air conditioning equipment, aircraft bearings and cushions, bolts, screws, nuts, boilers, tanks, ball bearings, tools, steel plates, flues and tubes, rubber goods, non-electrical machinery and automation equipment in pharmaceuticals, rubber products, synthetic resins, computer software, and robotics equipment and technology.

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Revitalization of Detroit's downtown and neighborhoods is a top priority for city leaders. The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization offers help via grants to community organizations operating or opening shops in city neighborhoods.

State and federal programs

Parts of Detroit are designated Michigan Renaissance Zones, which are virtually tax free for any business or resident presently in or moving there. Detroit is one of only five cities nationwide designated a federal empowerment zone. Businesses in the 18.35-square-mile zone are eligible for federal incentives. Other incentives on the state level include tax abatements, tax-exempt revenue bonds, public loans and grants. The state administers an award-winning brownfield redevelopment program, community development block grants, long-term fixed rated financing for small and medium-sized businesses, and more.

Job training programs

In 2003 new mayor Kwame Kilpa-trick created the Detroit Economic Development Organization, which has an Employment and Training Department. Several outstanding nonprofit organizations also maintain job training facilities, including Goodwill Detroit and Focus:HOPE, a now-legendary Detroit organization founded by a Catholic priest and other community leaders in the aftermath of the devastating 1967 riots. The center provides training in everything from basic reading to high-technology machining and computer-aided design.

Michigan offers a coordinated job training system using federal, state, and local resources to provide a highly productive and trained workforce. Grants can provide funding for activities that increase worker productivity. The training itself is done through the institution of the company's choice. Free recruitment and screening services are available for new and expanding employers through the Michigan Employment Security Administration's job service and also through several local school districts. Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) administers a $30 million job training program, which provides assistance to employers to train or retrain workers to meet marketplace needs. MEDC also administers Michigan Economic Growth Authority grants, which award credits against Michigan's single business tax to new or expanding businesses.

Development Projects

While Detroit continues to experience population loss similar to other large industrial cities, significant incentives such as the availability of inexpensive land and federal empowerment zone money have led to a development boom over the last decade. Since the late 1990s and the administration of former Mayor Dennis W. Archer, business investment in the city of Detroit has surpassed $15 billion. So many projects were announced that in 1999 Site Selection magazine named Detroit its number one metropolitan area for business development for the third consecutive year. Detroit attracted 1,133 new or expanded facilities that year, almost double the nearest competitor, Chicago. Among the new projects in Detroit completed in the early 2000s are Campus Martius, a giant office (housing the headquarters of Compuware, one of the world's largest software development companies), retail, and hotel development considered the most important downtown project in decades; two stadiumsthe $450-million Ford Field, a domed multi-use stadium built in part from the massive Hudson's warehouse building, and the $285 million Comerica Park, which opened in 2000 as the new home of the Major League Baseball's Detroit Tigers; and three casinos, which generate hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue and provide hundreds of jobs. Further south, Wayne State University broke ground on an expansion of its 200-acre Detroit campus by establishing a research and technology park amid an evolving residential and office district. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra also got into the action, with a privately funded renovation of Orchestra Hall on Woodward, along with construction of the adjacent Max M. Fisher Music Center, a new 450-seat recital hall, and a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art music education center.

Economic Development Information: Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, One Woodward Ave., Suite 1900, PO Box 33840, Detroit, Michigan 48232-0840; telephone (313)964-4000.

Commercial Shipping

Detroit is a major international market. The Greater Detroit Foreign Trade Zone, the largest zone in the country, processes $2 billion in goods annually. The passage in 1989 of the United States/Canada Free Trade Agreement established the largest free trading block in the world, further expanding the parameters of the Detroit market. Detroit is adjacent to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and more foreign trade passes through the port than any other in the United States.

The Port of Detroit has direct access to world markets via the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System. The Port is comprised of seven privately-owned terminals with thirteen berths on the Detroit and Rouge Rivers. All types of cargo can be processed through port facilities; in 2000 cargo volume totaled more than 17 million tons. Service is provided by four tug and barge lines as well as two auxiliary companies, one of which operates a mail boat that is the only boat in the United States with its own zip code.

The tremendous amount of goods produced in Detroit requires a vast distribution system relying not just on the waterways, but also rail and truck carriers. More than 700 motor freight carriers use Greater Detroit's extensive highway system to transport goods to points throughout the United States and Canada. Trucking service is coordinated with that provided by the four rail lines maintaining facilities in Detroit.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Despite the efforts of Governor Jennifer Granholm to maintain the state's manufacturing base and recruit new companies to Michigan, Michigan's unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in 2005 was among the highest in the U.S. in the early 2000s. Reflecting a nationwide trend, the biggest loss of jobs was in the generally high-paying manufacturing sector. In addition, the nation's deep recession following the 2001 World Trade Center attack brought deep job cuts and layoffs in the automotive industry; not surprisingly Detroit fared even worse, and in 2005 the jobless rate in the city was at 8.2 percent. Much of an anticipated rebound in the region's economy and job growth the second half of the decade was expected to come in the high-growth regions of Oakland County (to the north of Detroit), Macomb County (northeast), and Washtenaw County and greater Ann Arbor (to the west).

The following is a summary of data regarding the Detroit metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual average:

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 2,051,000

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 85,800

manufacturing: 297,800

trade, transportation and utilities: 383,000

information: 36,200

financial activities: 117,000

professional and business services: 357,700

educational and health services: 256,200

leisure and hospitality: 181,600

other services: 98,500

government: 237,300

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $24.85

Unemployment rate: 8.2% (February 2005)

Largest employers (2002)Number of employees
Detroit Public Schools26,000
City of Detroit20,799
The Detroit Medical Center11,836
U.S. Government11,363
Chrysler Group9,707
Henry Ford Health System7,337
General Motors Corp.6,865
U.S. Postal Service6,157
St. John Health5,767
State of Michigan5,637

Cost of Living

A 2004 worldwide survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting ranked Detroit the 16th costliest American city to live in, and the 101st most expensive worldwide. In 2003 the median home price in the city was $145,000, compared to $163,000 nationally.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Detroit area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $324,420

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 107.5 (U.S. Average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 3.9% (2005)

State sales tax rate: 6.0%

Local income tax rate: 3.0% residential; 1.5% non-residential

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $67.97 per $1,000 assessed valuation (2003 millage)

Economic Information: Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, One Woodward Ave., Suite 1700, PO Box 33840, Detroit, MI 48232-0840; telephone (313)964-4000.

Detroit: History

views updated Jun 11 2018

Detroit: History

Riverside Stronghold Established by French

In July 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and his party landed at a riverbank site chosen because the narrow strait there seemed strategically situated for protecting French fur trading interests in the Great Lakes. The river was called d'Etroit, a French word meaning "strait." Cadillac and his men built Fort Pontchartrain on the site, naming the fort after Comte de Pontchartrain, French King Louis XIV's minister of state; soon a palisaded riverfront village developed nearby. Cadillac named the settlement "ville d'etroit," or city of the strait. Eventually the name was simplified to Detroit.

The control of Detroit changed hands three times during the eighteenth century. At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the resulting treaty specified the surrender of Detroit to Great Britain. Under Henry Hamilton, the settlement's British governor, armies of Native Americans were encouraged to scalp frontier settlers for rewards, earning Hamilton the sobriquet, "Hair Buyer of Detroit." France's tribal allies, led by Ottawa chief Pontiac, plotted to capture Detroit; when the plot failed, they continued their siege of the fort.

At the end of the American Revolution, the United States claimed lands west of the Alleghenies by treaty, but the British refused to leave Detroit and other western forts, encouraging allied tribes to attack settlers. It was not until two years after General Anthony Wayne defeated the Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1796 that the British finally left Detroit. During the War of 1812, General William Hull turned Detroit's fort over to the British without a fight, thus making Detroit the only major American city ever to be occupied by a foreign power. The United States regained control of the settlement in 1813 following Oliver H. Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Manufacturing Center Becomes Automobile Capital

Detroit was incorporated as a town in 1802 and as a city in 1815. In 1805 Detroit was selected the capital of the newly created Michigan territory. On June 11, 1805, a fire totally destroyed the city, and while all residents survived, 200 wood structures were reduced to ashes. Local Catholic leader Father Gabriel Richard observed at the time, "Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus (We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes)." His statement became the city's motto. Augustus B. Woodward, one of the new territory's judges, awarded a larger piece of land to each citizen who had lost his home. To create a street design for Detroit, Woodward selected Pierre Charles L'Enfant's plan for Washington, D.C.: a hexagon with a park in the middle and wide streets radiating outward in a hub-and-spoke pattern. As Detroit grew, additional hexagons could be added parallel to the original one. This idea was adopted then eventually abandoned and a grid street pattern was superimposed over the hexagonal design. Michigan gained state-hood in 1837; ten years later, fearing Detroit's vulnerability to foreign invasion, the young legislature relocated Michigan's capital from Detroit to Lansing.

Detroit's early economic development was spurred by a combination of factors: the opening of the Erie Canal in 1826, the city's Great Lakes location, the increasing use of rail transport, the growing lumber and flour-milling industries, and the availability of a skilled labor force. The Detroit Anti-Slavery Society was organized in 1837 and the city was a station on the Underground Railroad. Abolitionist John Brown brought slaves to Detroit in 1859 and there purportedly planned with Frederick Douglass the notorious raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia. During the Civil War Detroit provided supplies and provisions to the Union cause. By the end of the century Detroit had emerged as an important industrial and manufacturing center.

In 1896 Charles B. King determined Detroit's destiny when he drove a horseless carriage on the city streets. Soon Henry Ford introduced his own version of the conveyance, and Detroit was on its way to becoming the automobile capital of the world. Along with Ford, such automotive pioneers as W.C. Durant, Walter P. Chrysler, Ransom Olds, Henry Leland, and the Dodge brothers laid the foundation for the companies that emerged as the Big Three auto makersFord, General Motors, and Chryslerby the latter half of the twentieth century.

Development Brings New Challenges

The automotive industry brought thousands of immigrants into Detroit during the 1920s. Then during the Great Depression the industry was severely shaken, leaving one-third of the workforce out of jobs in 1933. The rise of the union movement under the leadership of Walter Reuther led to sit-down strikes in Detroit and Flint in 1937, resulting in anti-union violence. Federal legislation helped the United Automobile Workers win collective bargaining rights with General Motors and Chrysler in 1937 and with Ford Motor Company in 1941. During World War II, Detroit turned its energies to the war effort as Ford opened a bomber factory and Chrysler a tank plant, leading to a new nickname for Detroit"the arsenal of democracy."

Detroit's racial tension, traceable to a race riot in 1863, erupted in 1943 when violence resulted in the deaths of 35 people and injury to more than 1,000 others. Much progress was made in solving Detroit's race problems after the 1943 outbreak. Like many urban areas in the late 1960s, however, the city was forced to confront the issue once again when civil disturbances exploded in July 1967; 43 people were killed, hundreds injured, and entire city blocks burned to the ground. The organization New Detroit was founded as an urban coalition to resolve issues of education, employment, housing, and economic development, which were seen as the root causes of race problems.

A Modern Detroit Emerges

In 1970 a group of business leaders formed Detroit Renaissance to address questions of Detroit's future. The following year the group, restructured under chairman Henry Ford II, announced plans for construction of the Renaissance Center, the world's largest privately financed project, as a symbol of the new Detroit. In 1996 General Motors Corporation purchased the Renaissance Center for its new global headquarters.

In 1974 Detroit elected its first African American mayor, Coleman A. Young. In common with mayors of other large "rust belt cities," Mayor Young oversaw a city in which white residents fled to the suburbs and Detroit went into a severe economic decline. In 1993 Mayor Young announced that he would not seek a sixth term. The following year Dennis W. Archer assumed the mayorship of Detroit. Highly regarded by citizens and business leaders, Archer won national recognition for himself and his city. By the mid-1990s, after many years of headlines that linked the city with words like "crime," "decay," and "arson," Detroit was being described as "the comeback city," where according to the Chicago Tribune, "a new day may be dawning on this most maligned of America's big cities."

The early years of the twenty-first century saw mixed results in Detroit's resurgence. New Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a charismatic, young politician born and bred in the city, took over the reins at City Hall in 2001. While several large-scale development projects, including three new casinos, continued downtown's transformation, the neighborhoods continued to struggle with problems of blight, poor city services, and declining population. The 2005 elections would be a referendum on Mayor Kilpatrick's direction for the city.

Historical Information: Detroit Public Library, Burton Historical Collection, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202; telephone (313)833-1480. Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202; telephone (313)833-1805

Detroit: Education and Research

views updated Jun 11 2018

Detroit: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Like many large urban school districts, the Detroit Public School District has struggled mightily to maintain a quality level of education in the face of such daunting problems as loss of population, budget shortfalls due to a dwindling local tax base and state-supplied resources, political infighting, and the enormous social implications of a largely impoverished city population. In 1999 the Michigan state legislature authorized the Detroit mayor's office to take control of the Detroit Public Schools after years of failed efforts at reform by the school board. The mayor appoints six of seven school board members, but the chief executive of the school district makes all the decisions. By 2005, under new CEO Kenneth C. Burnley, the district was able to report some positive gains in state-mandated test scores, as well as an ongoing school consolidation plan that sought to make the district more financially workable. A large number of state-mandated charter schools also provided some relief to the district, giving parents more options in placing children in smaller schools, many of which stress discipline, fundamental education in reading and mathematics, and even institute a dress code or school uniform policy. In addition, Rogers High School, Renaissance High, and Detroit Cass Technical High School consistently rank among the best schools in the state in the numbers of students that graduate and go on college.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Detroit public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 173,742

Number of facilities elementary schools: 168

middle schools: 85

high schools: 40

other: 12 alternative education; 4 vocational-technical schools

Student/teacher ratio: 30.6:1

Teacher salaries average (statewide): $54,020

Funding per pupil: $10,031

Several private and parochial school systems offer educational alternatives at pre-school, elementary, and secondary levels, including at the highly regarded University of Detroit Jesuit High School. In 2004 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese was forced to close several of its schools within the city limits and suburbs due mainly to declining populations in some parishes. Specialized curricula have been designed by the Japanese Society of Detroit Hashuko-Saturday School, Burton International School, Liggett and Waldorf schools, Friends School, and W.E.B. DuBois Preparatory School.

Public Schools Information: Detroit Public Schools, 5057 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202; telephone (313)494-1010

Colleges and Universities

Wayne State University is Detroit's largest institution of higher learning and Michigan's only urban research university. Approximately 33,000 students are enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, including the colleges of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy and allied health, and the law school. More than 350 major courses of study are offered; particularly strong programs are offered in the college of engineering and the school of fine and performing arts, which includes a nationally recognized drama program. Wayne State is one of 98 universities nationwide to be designated a Carnegie One Research University. The university's 203-acre campus forms part of downtown Detroit's cultural center along the Woodward Avenue corridor; nearby are the Detroit Institute of Arts, the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, and the Museum of African American History.

The University of Detroit-Mercy, a Roman Catholic institution run by the Jesuit order of priests for more than 125 years, enrolls more than 6,000 students in baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate programs in the arts and sciences; the university also administers schools of law and dentistry. Approximately one-third of its students are minorities, and the university has been called one of the most diverse and one of the best educational values in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Marygrove College, located adjacent to the University of Detroit campus, is also affiliated with the Catholic Church.

The Center for Creative Studies in Detroit's Cultural Center is a private, four-year college that offers bachelor of fine arts degrees in animation and digital media, crafts, communication design, fine arts, industrial design, interior design, and photography. Colleges located in neighboring suburbs include Detroit College of Business in Dearborn, Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan, Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, and Oakland University in Rochester. Greater Detroit has a wide selection of community colleges. Central Michigan University maintains centers throughout metropolitan Detroit. Additionally, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan are within a 40-minute drive to the west of the city; Michigan State University in East Lansing is about a 90-minute drive northwest.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Detroit Public Library, founded in 1865, is not only the city's largest library, it is the largest municipal library system in the state, maintaining 23 branches. The main facility houses more than 3 million book volumes and bound periodicals in addition to 7,200 periodical subscriptions, more than 738,000 microfiche and microfilms, and recordings and videos. Special collections include materials pertaining to national automotive history, Michigan, the Great Lakes, the Northwest Territory, and African Americans in the performing arts.

The Wayne State University Libraries system ranks among the top 60 libraries in the Association for Research Libraries. It is comprised of a central facility with about 3 million volumes and five departmental libraries with separate holdings, including law and medical libraries. In addition, the university offers a nationally ranked American Library Association-accredited Library and Information Science Program. A United States documents depository, the library has special collections in oral history, children and young people, photography, social studies, chemistry, and women and the law.

The University of Detroit-Mercy Library system maintains four separate librariesthe McNichols Campus Library, the Outer Drive Urban Health Education and Dental Library, the Instructional Design Studio/Outer Drive, and the Kresge Law Library. Together they house more than one-half million volumes, 5,000 leading literary, health, scientific and professional print and electronic journals, 11,000 audiovisual titles, and a collection of over 90,000 U.S. Federal and State government documents.

Research centers affiliated with Wayne State University conduct activity in such fields as labor and urban affairs, ethnic studies, folklore, bioengineering, human growth and development, automotive research, manufacturing, and technology. At centers affiliated with the University of Detroit-Mercy, research is conducted in aging and polymer technologies. The Budd Company, an engineering and manufacturing resource specializing in automotive design, recently opened four research and development centers in southeastern Michigan.

Public Library Information: Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202-4007; telephone (313)833-1000; fax (313)832-0877


views updated May 17 2018


DETROIT, known as the "Automotive Capital of the World," is the largest city in the state of Michigan. The city sits at the heart of an official three-county metropolitan region comprising Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

French for "by or near the straits," Detroit was founded on 24 July 1701, by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French military officer and explorer, as a base to block British expansion. The permanent outpost system did not prove successful, particularly after the French and Indian War (also called the Seven Years' War) resulted in the French losing much of their North American empire to the British in 1763. Though the United States gained official control of the region after the American Revolution, the British remained in place until the Jay Treaty of 1794. The first territorial judge, August Woodward, arrived in June 1805 to discover that the primarily French-speaking city had burned to the ground in an accidental fire. He based the new city on Pierre-Charles L'Enfant's design for Washington, D.C., using broad avenues radiating fanlike from large circular centers. The plan was never fully accepted, but the downtown area still retains some of the original Woodward design.

The city served as the territorial capital and then as the state capital from 1805 until 1847, when the capital was moved to Lansing. Industries, including wood finishing, shipbuilding, metal production, steel making, and shipping, developed before and after the Civil War. At the time Detroit lacked a full-time police force, and it was not until 1863 that one was organized. The depression of 1893 brought most of Detroit's industries to a halt and placed enormous pressure on the city's charities. Republican Mayor Hazen M. Pingree extended public aid to

workers and made plots of land available for use as vegetable patches. He also expanded the city's government, taking on the management of the city's water, sewage, electric, and public transportation services. Immigration expanded the city's population, as waves of Polish, German, Russian, and Southern European families arrived to work in the growing industries. African Americans, though still a small part of the population, had established a separate community east of downtown, a segregated ghetto that would remain in place until the 1950s.

Detroit became the financial center of Michigan's natural-resource wealth, and lumber baron David M. Whitney and railroad tycoons Frank Hecker and Henry B. Joy continued to look for new investment opportunities. A variety of entrepreneurs and inventors sought backing in the city, including Henry Ford, Horace and John Dodge, and the most successful at the time, Ransom E. Olds. Detroit quickly developed into the center of the automobile industry through a combination of financial resources, location, and luck. The expansion of industry production from 6,000 units in 1903 grew to more than 250,000 for Ford alone in 1915, and the concurrent growth in factories and suppliers transformed Detroit. The city exploded from 465,766 people in 1910 to more than 990,000 in 1920, making it the fourth most populous city in America.

Prohibition brought an increase in violence, and clashes between the United Auto Workers union and auto companies, primarily Ford Motor Company, only added to the problem. A shortage of housing continued to plague the city, as did its racial tensions, which eventually ignited into widespread rioting in June 1943. The success of the "Arsenal of Democracy," as Detroit was known during World War II, did not last as long as the auto industry, and much of the white population moved to the suburbs and open land. Detroit's population hit its high point of 1,848,568 in 1950 and then declined rapidly. Deindustrialization left minorities increasingly isolated in the central city areas. Frustration with this situation and anger at the predominantly white police force sparked another outbreak of violence in July 1967.

This period also saw significant accomplishments by the city's African American citizens. In 1959 Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown Records in Detroit, which became one of the most influential and successful record companies in the country. By 1973 Detroit had its first African American mayor, Coleman Young, who remained in office through 1993 and battled against the city's declining economy.

During this time, the "Motor City" earned a derisive new moniker—"Murder City"—as crime and poverty peaked from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. The city's population dropped from the disputed figure of 1,027,974 in 1990 to 951,270 in 2000. Instead of a housing shortage, the city now experienced a housing surplus. The election of a new mayor, Dennis W. Archer, in 1993 coincided with the economic boom of the 1990s and resulted in some new development within the city.


Darden, Joe T., et al. Detroit: Race and Uneven Development. Philadelphia: Temple University, 1987.

Glazer, Sidney. Detroit: A Study in Urban Development. Detroit, Mich.: Bookman Associates, 1965.

Levine, David. Internal Combustion: The Races in Detroit, 1915– 1925. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976.

Sugrue, Thomas J. Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Post-war Detroit. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, 1996.

Zunz, Olivier. The Changing Face of Inequality: Urbanization, Industrial Development, and Immigrants in Detroit, 1880–1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

Matthew L.Daley

See alsoAutomobile Industry ; Ford Motor Company .

Detroit: Communications

views updated Jun 11 2018

Detroit: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press are the city's two major daily newspapers; they publish joint editions on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. Hour Detroit is a glossy metropolitan lifestyle and interview magazine that aims "to feature Detroit in its finest hour." Real Detroit and Metro Times provide weekly entertainment schedules as well as reviews, humor, and commentary. The monthly newspaper Latino Press aims to help Detroit's growing Hispanic community. The Michigan Chronicle is geared toward African American readers.

A number of nationally circulated periodicals originate in Detroit. Among them are Solidarity, a monthly publication of the United Automobile Workers; Better Investing; Manufacturing Engineering; Autoweek, a weekly magazine for car enthusiasts; and Automotive News, Ward's Automotive Report and Auto World, auto industry magazines. Football News publishes 20 issues during the football season.

Television and Radio

Detroit television viewers receive broadcasts from eight stations: three national networks affiliates, three independent, one public, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Pay and cable television services are available in the Detroit metropolitan area. AM and FM radio stations schedule a full range of formats. The most popular is adult contemporary music; other formats include adult-oriented rock, African American and African American contemporary, Mo-town, classic rock, easy listening, jazz, middle of the road, modern country, news and news-talk, pop, oldies, solid gold, and urban contemporary rhythm and blues. Two of the AM stations with 50,000-watt capacity enjoy a longstanding popularity throughout the Midwest; one FM station was the first in the country to offer a full-time news-talk format. Detroit's public radio station originates from Wayne State University, but other National Public Radio programming can be picked up from Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and Lansing stations.

Media Information: Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, 321 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, Michigan 48226; telephone (313)222-6400

Detroit Online

City of Detroit home page. Available

Detroit Free Press. Available

Detroit Institute of Arts. Available

Detroit Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available

Detroit News. Available

Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. Available

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. Available

"The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit" (photographs and descriptions of Detroit's proud, old buildings). Available

Greater Downtown Partnership. Available

Guide to Detroit from The Mining Company. Available

Wayne County Economic Development. Available

Selected Bibliography

Arnow, Harriette Louisa Simpson, The Dollmaker (New York: Avon Books, 1972, 1954)

Avery, Joan, Angel of Passage (Harper, 1993)

Bak, Richard Detroit Across 3 Centuries (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2001)

Chafets, Ze'Ev, Devil's Night And Other True Tales of Detroit (New York: Random House, 1990)

Georgakas, Dan Georgakas, et al., Detroit, I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution (Classics Series) (South End Press, 1998)

Henrickson, Wilma Wood, ed., Detroit Perspectives: Crossroads and Turning Points (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991)

Leonard, Elmore Out of Sight (New York: Delacorte, 1996)

Lichtenstein, Nelson, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor (New York: Basic Books, 1996)

Lindsay, Paul, Witness to the Truth: A Novel of the FBI (New York: Random House, 1992)

Detroit: Transportation

views updated May 18 2018

Detroit: Transportation

Approaching the City

Served by 14 major commercial airlines, Detroit Metropolitan Airport serviced more than 32 million passengers in 2003, making it the 10th busiest terminal in North America and 17th busiest in the world. The major hub for Northwest Airlines, Metro has more than 100 national and 20 international nonstop flights daily. Since the opening of the new $1.2 billion midfield McNamara terminal in 2002, with its 97 gates, elevated tram, and new parking facilities and access roads, the airport is now mentioned among the most efficient and highly-rated in the country. In 2004 the airport authority announced plans to replace the old Smith and Davey terminals with a new 29-gate terminal set for complete in 2006. Approximately 18,000 people are employed at the facility, which also moves more than 500 million pounds of freight each year. Destinations for charter and private air traffic are Willow Run Airport and Oakland-Pontiac Airport. Amtrak provides passenger rail transportation to Detroit from Chicago. Detroiters have easy access from Windsor via train to Toronto and virtually all of Canada through that country's excellent Via Rail system.

Detroit was built around the automobile; there is no commuter rail system. Hence, the freeways are many and excellent, as they must be in order to get commuters around the sprawling city. Six interstate highways and several limited-access expressways serve the Greater Detroit area. Interstate-75, with its northern terminus in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, extends through the city from north to southwest; north of downtown it is called the Chrysler Freeway, and southwest of downtown it is the Fisher Freeway. I-75 extends all the way to southern Florida. Interstate-375 connects the Fisher and Chrysler Freeways. East-west I-94, known as the Ford Freeway, is the primary connection from Detroit Metropolitan Airport and heads across southern lower Michigan to Chicago and Minneapolis. West-northwest I-96, the Jeffries Freeway, approaches Detroit from Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. Interstate-696, the Walter Reuther Freeway, is the main east-west route across the northern suburbs in Macomb and Oakland counties. Interstate-275 is a north-south bypass on the city's west side, linking I-75 and I-96. Other major routes leading into Detroit are north to west U.S. 10 (Lodge Freeway) and north-south S.R. 39 (Southfield Freeway). Canadian Highway 401 enters Detroit from Windsor via the Detroit/Windsor International Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge.

Traveling in the City

Most Detroit streets conform to a grid system. East-west streets are labeled "mile road" in ascending order northward. The northern boundary of the city is Eight Mile Road. Superimposed on the downtown grid are hubs and squares, the focal point being Kennedy Square and Cadillac Square in the center of the business district. Radiating from this hub are east-west Michigan Avenue, northeast Monroe Street, and east-west Fort Street. The largest hub is Grand Circus Park, which is bisected by Woodward Avenue, a main north-south thoroughfare. Jefferson Avenue follows the curve of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair past Belle Isle through the Grosse Pointes into Harrison Township and downriver past Wyandotte to Grosse Ile.

Detroit is served by two public transportation systems: the Detroit Department of Transportation (D-DOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transport (SMART). The People Mover, a 2.9-mile elevated rail circuit, provides travel to major downtown sites from 13 stations.

Detroit: Health Care

views updated May 11 2018

Detroit: Health Care

Detroit is the primary medical treatment and referral center for southeastern Michigan. Vital factors in the health care industry are the education, training, and research programs conducted by the city's institutions of higher learning. The Wayne State University and University of Michigan schools of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy and allied health services provide area hospitals and clinics with medical professionals and support staff. The University of Detroit-Mercy offers programs in dentistry, nursing, and medical technology, and Madonna University provides a baccalaureate program in nursing.

The Detroit-area health care network is dominated by six health care providers. Those based in Detroit are the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System. The Detroit Medical Center is affiliated with Wayne State University; the complex includes Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper Hospital, Hutzel Hospital, Sinai-Grace Hospital, Kresge Eye Institute, Karmanos Cancer Center, and the Rehabilitation Institute. The medical center is also home to the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Henry Ford Hospital operates 32 centers and clinics, with more than 2,800 physicians serving 2.5 million patients throughout Southeastern Michigan each year. Among them are the Center for Chemical Dependency and the new Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, one of only a handful of such facilities in the country. The flagship 903-bed Henry Ford Hospital near Detroit's New Center is consistently ranked among the nation's best hospitals. The Henry Ford Health System is affiliated with the medical school of Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland. Other large hospitals in the metro region include the Renaissance Hospital and Medical Centers, one of Michigan's few minority-owned health systems; St. John Hospital on the city's east side; William Beaumont Hospital in suburban Royal Oak; and the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

Health Care Information: Detroit Medical Center Referral Service, telephone (800)666-3466