Augustus Woodward’s plan following the 1805 fire for Detroit’s baroque styled radial avenues and Grand Circus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m a Detroiter, I was born in the city, and I love the city. I no longer live in Detroit, I now live about 30 minutes outside of the city, but still consider myself a Detroiter. It pains me to hear negative news stories of Detroit, but it seems that’s all we ever hear. Murder, Rape, miss use of Government powers, Kids killing Kids, Drugs and other horrid actions. It saddens me when I do venture to the City to see all the majestic buildings and homes is shambles to see the empty lots filled with trash and the parks and streets empty of life.
Detroit is a shell of its former self, many do not know the true Detroit, they only know the current Detroit. The one that is on a path to self destruction, the one that fills the national news with murder and deception. Detroit is more than that, Detroit has 300 years of history, of pride and accomplishments. No, not just Cars and Motown, but Art and Architecture, Culture and Innovation. Detroit is a city of many first, The first expressway, phone book and more. Detroit is not what you think she is, she is a diamond in the ruff.
• is home to the first Van Gogh painting in a public collection in the U.S. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, "Self Portrait," Vincent Van Gogh, 1887
• installed the first mile of paved concrete road, just north of the Model T plant, on Woodward Avenue between McNichols and 7 Mile Roads in 1909
• built the nation’s first urban freeway, the Davison, in 1942
• is home to the oldest state fair in the nation — the Michigan State Fair, first held in 1849
• is the potato chip capital of the world, based on consumption
• has country’s largest island park within a city — Belle Isle Park
• is home to the world’s only floating post office, the J.W. Westcott II, can be found on the Detroit River
• is north of Canada
• is second in the nation in fishing rod sales
• shares the world’s first auto traffic tunnel between two nations – the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel
• is home to the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere – the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, at 727 feet/73 stories
• has the most registered bowlers in the United States
• was the first city in the nation to assign individual telephone numbers in 1879
History of Detroit
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ste. Anne de Détroit, founded in 1701 is the second oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the United States. The present Gothic Revival cathedral styled church was completed in 1887 and serves a largely Hispanic community.
The city of Detroit, Michigan, developed from a French fort and missionary outpost founded in 1701 to one of the largest American cities by the early 20th century. As reflected by the emblems on its flag, Detroit has been governed by three world powers: France, Great Britain, and the United States. The city, settled in 1701, is one of the oldest cities in the Midwest. Detroit experienced a large scale fire in 1805 which nearly destroyed the city. After the fire, Justice Augustus B. Woodward devised a plan similar to Pierre Charles L’Enfant‘s design for Washington, D.C. Detroit‘s monumental avenues and traffic circles fan out in a baroque styled radial fashion from Grand Circus Park in the heart of the city’s theater district, which facilitates traffic patterns along the city’s tree-lined boulevards and parks. Main thoroughfares radiate outward from the city center like spokes in a wheel.
During the 19th century, Detroit grew into a thriving hub of commerce and industry, the city spread along Jefferson Avenue, with multiple manufacturing firms taking advantage of the transportation resources afforded by the river and a parallel rail line. Beginning in the late 19th and early 20th century, many of the city’s Gilded Age mansions and buildings arose. Detroit was referred to as the Paris of the West for its architecture, and for Washington Boulevard, recently electrified by Thomas Edison.
Following World War II, the Detroit area emerged as a global business center with the metropolitan area becoming one of the largest in the United States. The Detroit area is the second largest U.S. metropolitan area linking the Great Lakes system. Immigrants and migrants have contributed significantly to Detroit’s economy and culture. In the 1990s and the new millennium, the city has experienced increased revitalization. Many areas of the city are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and include National Historic Landmarks.
The first recorded mention of what became Detroit was in 1670, when the French Sulpician missionaries François Dollier de Casson and René Bréhant de Galinée stopped at the site on their way to the mission at Sault Ste. Marie. Galínee’s journal notes that near the site of present-day Detroit, they found a stone idol venerated by the Indians and destroyed the idol with an axe and dropped the pieces into the river. Early French settlers planted twelve missionary pear trees "named for the twelve Apostles" on the grounds of what is now Waterworks Park.
The city name comes from the Detroit River (French: le détroit du Lac Érie), meaning the strait of Lake Erie, linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie; in the historical context, the strait included Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. Traveling up the Detroit River on the ship Le Griffon (owned by La Salle), Father Louis Hennepin noted the north bank of the river as an ideal location for a settlement. There, in 1701, the French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, along with fifty-one additional French-Canadians, founded a settlement called Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit, naming it after the comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. Ste. Anne de Détroit, founded July 26, 1701, is the second oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the United States and the church was the first building erected at Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit.
France offered free land to attract families to Detroit, which grew to 800 people in 1765, the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans. Francois Marie Picoté, sieur de Belestre (Montreal 1719–1793) was the last French military commander at Fort Detroit (1758–1760), surrendering the fort on November 29, 1760 to British Major Robert Rogers (of Rogers’ Rangers fame and sponsor of the Jonathan Carver expedition to St. Anthony Falls). The British gained control of the area in 1760 and were thwarted by an Indian attack three years later during Pontiac’s Rebellion. The region’s fur trade was an important economic activity. Detroit’s city flag reflects this French heritage. (See Flag of Detroit).
The City of Detroit (from Canada Shore), 1872, by A. C. Warren
During the French and Indian War (1760), British troops gained control and shortened the name to Detroit. Several tribes led by Chief Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, launched Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763), including a siege of Fort Detroit. Partially in response to this, the British Royal Proclamation of 1763 included restrictions on white settlement in unceded Indian territories. Detroit passed to the United States under the Jay Treaty (1796). In 1805, fire destroyed most of the settlement. A river warehouse and brick chimneys of the wooden homes were the sole structures to survive.
Father Gabriel Richard arrived at Ste. Anne’s in 1796. While the local priest, he helped start the school which evolved into the University of Michigan, started primary schools for white boys and girls as well as for Indians, as a territorial representative to U.S. Congress helped establish a road-building project that connected Detroit and Chicago, and brought the first printing press to Michigan which printed the first Michigan newspaper. After his death in 1832, Richard was interred under the altar of Ste. Anne’s.
Detroit was the goal of various American campaigns during the American Revolution, but logistical difficulties in the North American frontier and American Indian allies of Great Britain would keep any armed rebel force from reaching the Detroit area. In the Treaty of Paris (1783), Great Britain ceded territory that included Detroit to the newly recognized United States, though in reality it remained under British control. Great Britain continued to trade with and defend her native allies in the area, and supplied local nations with weapons to harass American settlers and soldiers.
In 1794, a Native American alliance, that had received some support and encouragement from the British, was decisively defeated by General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne negotiated the Treaty of Greenville (1795) with many of these nations, in which tribes ceded the area of Fort Detroit to the United States. Detroit passed to the United States under the Jay Treaty (1796). Great Britain agreed to evacuate forts held in the United States’ Northwest Territory. In 1805, a fire destroyed most of the settlement. A river warehouse and brick chimneys of the wooden homes were the sole remains of the structures. Detroit’s motto and seal (as on the Flag) reflect this fire.