Detroit's early carriage industry helped Henry Ford and others to make it the "automobile capital of the world." The Detroit region continues to be home to the major U.S. automobile manufacturers, but declines in the field have caused severe unemployment in the city and its environs, and government and the health-care industry now employ more people. In addition to the manufacture of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts, Detroit makes steel, fabricated-metal, and paper products; food and beverages; and chemicals. There is printing and publishing, and extensive salt mines lie under southwestern sections of the city. Detroit is diverse ethnically, with an African-American majority and the nation's largest community of Arab Americans.
Wayne State Univ. and the Univ. of Detroit Mercy are among the city's educational institutions. Detroit has a symphony orchestra, organized in 1914. The Detroit Institute of Arts is renowned, and the Museum of African-American History opened a large new facility in 1997. Also here are the Fox Theater, a renovated movie palace; a civic center, with Cobo Hall, one of the world's largest exhibition buildings; Joe Louis Arena, where the National Hockey League's Red Wings play; and Fort Wayne (1849). Tiger Stadium, formerly the oldest (1912) major-league baseball park, closed in 1999, to be replaced by Tiger Ballpark. The Detroit Pistons (basketball) play in suburban Auburn Hills, the Detroit Lions (football) in Pontiac. Belle Isle in the Detroit River is a popular park and the site of the annual Detroit Grand Prix auto race. The Ambassador International Bridge (the world's longest international suspension bridge) and a vehicular tunnel link Detroit with Windsor, Ont.
A French fort and fur-trading settlement founded here in 1701 by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and called Ville d'étroit [city of the strait] were captured by the British in 1760. Three years later the British withstood a long siege during Pontiac's Rebellion. American control, resulting from Jay's Treaty, was established in 1796. Detroit was first the territorial and then the state capital from 1805 to 1847. Fire in 1805 destroyed nearly all of the several hundred buildings in the town, but the settlement was rebuilt from a design by Pierre C. L'Enfant. Detroit was surrendered in 1812 to British forces, but was recovered by Gen. William Henry Harrison in 1813. With the development of land and water transportation, the city grew rapidly during the 1830s. It assumed great importance after the mid-19th cent. as a shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing center, attracting immigrants from around the world, including Poles, Italians, Germans, Serbs, Croats and others.
Large numbers of migrants from the South, especially African Americans, also arrived in Detroit after 1900 as factory production increased rapidly. Detroit was a leading producer for the military during World Wars I and II. In 1943, the National Guard was called in as race riots broke out in the city. Race riots erupted again in 1967, killing 43 and causing extensive property damage. Detroit's dependence on the declining automobile industry brought job loss, social problems, and massive migration to suburbs in the 1970s and 80s. The city's population declined 32% from 1970 to 1990, and scores of businesses left or closed.
Revitalization projects during the 1970s and 80s, including the Renaissance Center (1977), a 73-story hotel and office complex, and casinos constructed during the early 21st cent. have helped Detroit's downtown but not brought significant benefits to the city at large. Today, Detroit remains a largely minority city struggling with economic problems, surrounded by more affluent white suburbs. Detroit's notable mayors include James Couzens (1919-22) and Frank Murphy (1930-33). Coleman Young, the city's first (1974-93) black mayor, presided during difficult years of decline, and the years since have been marked by population losses and city financial difficulties.
See S. Glazer, Detroit: A Study in Urban Development (1965); F. B. and A. M. Woodford, All Our Yesterdays: A History of Detroit (1969); B. Thompson et al., Detroit (1976); W. H. Ferry, Buildings of Detroit (1980).
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Detroit (Détroit, meaning "strait", IPA ) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Wayne County. Detroit is a major port city on the Detroit River, in the Midwest region of the United States. Located north of Windsor, Ontario, Detroit is the only major U.S. city that looks south to Canada. It was founded in 1701 by the Frenchman Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.
It is known as the world's traditional automotive center — "Detroit" is a metonym for the American automobile industry — and an important source of popular music, legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, The Motor City and Motown. Other nicknames emerged in the twentieth century, including Rock City, Arsenal of Democracy (during World War II), The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, and The 3-1-3 (its telephone area code).
In 2007, Detroit ranked as the United States' eleventh most populous city, with 916,952 residents. At its peak, the city was the fourth largest in the country, but since 1950 the city has seen a major shift in its population to the suburbs.
The name Detroit sometimes refers to the Metro Detroit area, a sprawling region with a population of 4,467,592 for the Metropolitan Statistical Area, making it the nation's eleventh-largest, and a population of 5,405,918 for the nine-county Combined Statistical Area as of the 2007 Census Bureau estimates. The Detroit-Windsor area, a critical commercial link straddling the Canada-U.S. border, has a total population of about 5,700,000.
The city name comes from the Detroit River (l'étroit du Lac Erie), 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 51 additional French-Canadians, founded a settlement called Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit, naming it after the comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. 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 the British. Detroit's city flag reflects this French heritage. (See Flag of Detroit, Michigan.)
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.
From 1805 to 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan. As the city expanded, the street layout plan developed by Augustus B. Woodward, Chief Justice of the Michigan Territory was followed. Detroit fell to British troops during the War of 1812 in the Siege of Detroit, was recaptured by the United States in 1813 and incorporated as a city in 1815.
Prior to the American Civil War, the city's access to the Canadian border made it a key stop along the underground railroad. Then a Lieutenant, the future president Ulysses S. Grant was stationed in the city. His dwelling is still at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Because of this local sentiment, many Detroiters volunteered to fight during the American Civil War, beginning with the Iron Brigade which defended Washington, D.C. early in the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying Thank God for Michigan! Following the death of President Abraham Lincoln, George Armstrong Custer delivered a eulogy to the thousands gathered near Campus Martius Park. Custer led the Michigan Brigade during the American Civil War and called them the Wolverines.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, 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. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit emerged as a transportation hub. The city had grown steadily from the 1830s with the rise of shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue. In 1904 he founded the Ford Motor Company. Ford's manufacturing — and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge brothers, Packard, and Walter Chrysler—reinforced Detroit's status as the world's automotive capital; it also served to encourage truck manufacturers such as Rapid and Grabowsky.
With the introduction of Prohibition, smugglers used the river as a major conduit for Canadian spirits, organized in large part by the notorious Purple Gang. Strained racial relations were evident in the 1920s trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black Detroit physician acquitted of murder. A man died when shots were fired from Ossian's house into a threatening mob of whites who gathered to try to force him out of an all-white neighborhood.
Labor strife climaxed in the 1930s when the United Auto Workers became involved in bitter disputes with Detroit's auto manufacturers. The labor activism of those years brought notoriety to union leaders such as Jimmy Hoffa and Walter Reuther. The 1940s saw the construction of the world's first urban depressed freeway, the Davison and the industrial growth during World War II that led to Detroit's nickname as the Arsenal of Democracy.
Industry spurred spectacular growth during the first half of the twentieth century as the city drew tens of thousands of new residents, particularly workers from the Southern United States, to became the nation's fourth largest. At the same time, tens of thousands of European immigrants poured into the city. Social tensions rose with the rapid pace of growth. The color blind promotion policies of the auto plants resulted in racial tension that erupted into a full-scale riot in 1943.
Consolidation during the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased competition for jobs. An extensive freeway system constructed in the 1950s and 1960s had facilitated commuting. The Twelfth Street riot in 1967, as well as court-ordered busing accelerated white flight from the city. Commensurate with the shift of population and jobs to its suburbs, the city's tax base eroded. In the years following, Detroit's population fell from a peak of roughly 1.8 million in 1950 to about half that number today.
The gasoline crises of 1973 and 1979 impacted the U.S. auto industry as small cars from foreign makers made inroads. Heroin and crack cocaine use afflicted the city with the influence of Butch Jones, Maserati Rick, and the Chambers Brothers. Renaissance has been a perennial buzzword among city leaders, reinforced by the construction of the Renaissance Center in the late 1970s. This complex of skyscrapers, designed as a city within a city, slowed but was unable to reverse the trend of businesses leaving the city's downtown until the 1990s.
In 1980, Detroit hosted the Republican National Convention which nominated Ronald Reagan to a successful bid for President of the United States. By then, nearly three decades of crime, drug addiction, and inadequate policies had caused areas like the Elmhurst block to decay. During the 1980s, abandoned structures were demolished to reduce havens for drug dealers with sizable tracts of land reverted to a form of urban prairie.
In the 1990s, the city began to enjoy a revival, much of it centered downtown. Comerica Tower at Detroit Center (1993) arose on the city skyline. In the ensuing years, under new leadership, three casinos opened in Detroit: MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino, which have now added permanent resorts and Greektown Casino which is scheduled to open its permanent resort at the end of 2009 . New downtown stadiums were constructed for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions in 2000 and 2002, respectively; this put the Lions' home stadium in the city proper for the first time since 1974. The city hosted the 2005 MLB All-Star Game, 2006 Super Bowl XL, 2006 World Series and WrestleMania 23 in 2007, all which prompted many improvements to the downtown area.
The city's riverfront is the focus of much development; in 2007, the first portions of the Detroit River Walk were laid, including miles of parks and fountains. This new urban development in Detroit is a mainstay in the city's earnest desire to reinvent its economic identity through tourism. Along the river, upscale million dollar condos are going up, such as Watermark Detroit, some of the most expensive the city has ever seen. Some city limit signs, particularly on the Dearborn border say "Welcome to Detroit, The Renaissance City Founded 1701."
After much legal wrangling, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigned effective September 19, 2008, after being charged with eight felonies on March 24, 2008, and having reached plea agreement.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.0 square miles (370.2 km²); of this, 138.8 square miles (359.4 km²) is land and 4.2 square miles (10.8 km²) is water. Detroit is the principal city of the Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan regions. The highest elevation in Detroit is in the University District neighborhood in northwestern Detroit, just west of Palmer Park sitting at a height of 670 feet (204 m). Detroit's lowest elevation is along its riverfront, sitting at a height of 579 feet (176 m). Detroit completely encircles the cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park. On its northeast border are the wealthy communities of Grosse Pointe. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is the only international wildlife preserve in North America, uniquely located in the heart of a major metropolitan area. The Refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands along of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie shoreline.
Three road systems cross the city: the original French template, radial avenues from a Washington, D.C.-inspired system, and true north–south roads from the Northwest Ordinance township system. The city is north of Windsor, Ontario. Detroit is the only major city along the U.S.-Canadian border in which one travels south in order to cross into Canada. Detroit has four border crossings: the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel provide motor vehicle thoroughfare; the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel provides railroad access to and from Canada. The fourth border crossing is the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, located near the Windsor Salt Mine and Zug Island. Not far from Zug Island, the southwest part of the city sits atop a salt mine that is below the surface. The Detroit Salt Company mine has over of roads within it.
Seen in panorama, Detroit's waterfront shows a variety of architectural styles. The post modern neogothic spires of the Comerica Tower at Detroit Center (1993) were designed to blend with the city’s Art Deco skyscrapers. Together with the Renaissance Center, they form a distinctive and recognizable skyline. Examples of the Art Deco style include the Guardian Building and Penobscot Building downtown, as well as the Fisher Building and Cadillac Place in the New Center area near Wayne State University. Among the city's prominent structures are the nation's largest Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
While the downtown and New Center areas contain high-rise buildings, the majority of the surrounding city consists of low-rise structures and single-family homes. Outside of the city's core, residential high-rises are found in neighborhoods such as the East Riverfront extending toward Grosse Pointe and the Palmer Park neighborhood just west of Woodward. Neighborhoods constructed prior to World War II feature the architecture of the times with wood frame and brick houses in the working class neighborhoods, larger brick homes in middle class neighborhoods, and ornate mansions in neighborhoods such as Brush Park, Woodbridge, Indian Village, Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, and others. The oldest neighborhoods are along the Woodward and Jefferson corridors, while neighborhoods built in the 1950s are found in the far west and closer to 8 Mile Road. Some of the oldest extant neighborhoods include Corktown, a working class, formerly Irish neighborhood, and Brush Park. Both are now seeing multi-million dollar restorations and construction of new homes and condos.
Many of the city's architecturally significant buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and the city has one of the nation's largest surviving collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings. There are a number of architecturally significant churches, including St. Joseph Catholic Church and Saint Anne de Detroit Catholic Church.
There is substantial activity in urban design, historic preservation and architecture. A number of downtown redevelopment projects — of which Campus Martius Park is one of the most notable — have revitalized parts of the city. Grand Circus Park stands near the city's theater district, Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
The Detroit International Riverfront includes a partially completed three and one-half mile riverfront promenade with a combination of parks, residential buildings, and commercial areas from Hart Plaza to the MacArthur Bridge accessing Belle Isle (the largest island park in a U.S. city). The riverfront includes Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor, Michigan's first urban state park. The second phase is a two mile (3 km) extension from Hart Plaza to the Ambassador Bridge for a total of five miles (8 km) of parkway from bridge to bridge. Civic planners envision that the riverfront properties condemned under eminent domain, with their pedestrian parks, will spur more residential development. Other major parks include Palmer (north of Highland Park), River Rouge (in the southwest side), and Chene Park (on the east river downtown).
The National Register of Historic Places lists several area neighborhoods and districts such as Lafayette Park, part of the Mies van der Rohe residential district. On Saturdays, about 45,000 people shop the city's historic Eastern Market. The Midtown and the New Center area are centered around Wayne State University and Henry Ford Hospital. Midtown has about 50,000 residents, yet it attracts millions of visitors each year to its museums and cultural centers; for example, the Detroit Festival of the Arts in Midtown draws about 350,000 people. The University Commons-Palmer Park district in Northwest Detroit is near the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College and has historic neighborhoods including Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, and Green Acres.
Lifestyles for rising professionals in Detroit reflect those of other major cities. This dynamic is luring many younger residents to the downtown area. Luxury high rises such as the three Riverfront Towers have views of Hart Plaza and Canada. The New Center area contains examples of historic housing redevelopment. The Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel will include a number of luxury condos. The east river development plans include more luxury condominium developments. A desire to be closer to the urban scene has attracted young professionals to take up residence among the mansions of Grosse Pointe just outside the city. Detroit's proximity to Windsor, Ontario, provides for spectacular views and nightlife, along with Ontario's 19-and-older drinking age.
Live music has been a prominent feature of Detroit's nightlife since the late 1940s, bringing the city recognition under the nickname Motown. The metropolitan area has two nationally prominent live music venues: DTE Energy Music Theatre and The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Detroit Theatre District is the nation's second largest. Major theaters include the Fox Theatre, Music Hall, the Gem Theatre, Masonic Temple Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, the Fisher Theatre and Orchestra Hall which hosts the renowned Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Nederlander Organization, the largest controller of Broadway productions in New York City, originated with the purchase of the Detroit Opera House in 1922 by the Nederlander Family and continues to operate to this day.
Important music events in the city include: the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, the Motor City Music Conference (MC2), the Urban Organic Music Conference, the Concert of Colors, and the hip-hop Summer Jamz festival.
The city of Detroit has a rich musical heritage and has contributed to a number of different genres over the decades leading into the new millennium.
In the 1940s, blues artist John Lee Hooker became a long-term resident in the city's southwest Delray neighborhood. Hooker, among other important blues musicians migrated from his home in Mississippi bringing the Delta Blues to northern cities like Detroit. During the 1950s, the city became a center for jazz, with stars performing in the Black Bottom neighborhood. Prominent emerging Jazz musicians of the 1960s included: trumpet player Donald Byrd who attended Cass Tech and performed with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers early in his career and Saxophonist Pepper Adams who enjoyed a solo career and accompanied Byrd on several albums. The Graystone International Jazz Museum documents jazz in Detroit.
Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records which rose to prominence during the 1960s and early 1970s with acts such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Jackson 5, Martha and the Vandellas and Marvin Gaye. The Motown Sound played an important role in the crossover appeal with popular music, since it was the first record label owned by an African American to primarily feature African-American artists. Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles in 1972 to pursue film production, but the company has since returned to Detroit. Aretha Franklin is another Detroit R&B star who carried the Motown Sound; however, she did not record with Berry's Motown Label.
Detroit's music includes many popular rock bands from the 1960s and 70's. During this period, local and national acts performed regularly at venues such as the Grande Ballroom and the Eastown Theater. Popular local bands producing and performing music included artists like: the MC5, The Stooges, Bob Seger, Amboy Dukes featuring Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Rare Earth, and Alice Cooper. The group Kiss emphasized the city's connection with rock in the song Detroit Rock City and the movie produced in 1999.
In recent times, the city's music scene has produced a number of influential artists. From the late 1990s into the new millennium, the band Sponge toured and produced music, with artists such as Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker. The city has an active garage rock genre that has generated national attention with acts such as: The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, Electric Six, The Hard Lessons, and The Enemy Squad. Detroit has also been cited as the birthplace of techno music. Prominent Detroit Techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson.
Many of the area's prominent museums are located in the historic cultural center neighborhood around Wayne State University. These museums include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, and the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. Other cultural highlights include Motown Historical Museum, Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Fort Wayne, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), and the Belle Isle Conservatory. Important history of Detroit and the surrounding area is exhibited at the The Henry Ford, the nation's largest indoor-outdoor museum complex. The Detroit Historical Society provides information about tours of area churches, skyscrapers, and mansions. The Eastern Market farmer's distribution center is the largest open-air flowerbed market in the United States and has more than 150 foods and specialty businesses. Other sites of interest are the Detroit Zoo and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle.
The city's Greektown and casino resorts serve as an entertainment hub. Annual summer events include the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival, and Woodward Dream Cruise. Within downtown, Campus Martius Park hosts large events such as the Motown Winter Blast. As the world's traditional automotive center, the city hosts the North American International Auto Show. Held since 1924, America's Thanksgiving Parade is one of the nation's largest.
An important civic sculpture in Detroit is Marshall Fredericks' "Spirit of Detroit" at the Coleman Young Municipal Center. The image is often used as a symbol of Detroit and the statue itself is occasionally dressed in sports jerseys to celebrate when a Detroit team is doing well. A memorial to Joe Louis at the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues was dedicated on October 16, 1986. The sculpture, commissioned by Sports Illustrated and executed by Robert Graham, is a twenty-four foot (7.3 m) long arm with a fisted hand suspended by a pyramidal framework.
River Days, a five day festival on the International Riverfront, marked the opening of the River Walk along the east river leading up to the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival fireworks with about 3.5 million visitors.
Artist Tyree Guyton created the controversial street art exhibit known as the Heidelberg Project in the mid 1980s, using junk and abandoned cars, clothing, shoes, vacuum cleaners, and other garbage Guyton found in the neighborhood near and on Heidelberg Street on the near East Side of Detroit.
Detroit is one of 13 American metropolitan areas that are home to professional teams representing the four major sports in North America. All these teams but one play within the city of Detroit itself (the NBA's Detroit Pistons and the WNBA's Detroit Shock both play in suburban Auburn Hills at The Palace of Auburn Hills). There are three active major sports venues within the city: Comerica Park (home of the Major League Baseball team Detroit Tigers), Ford Field (home of the NFL's Detroit Lions), and Joe Louis Arena (home of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings). A 1996 marketing campaign promoted the nickname "Hockeytown".
In college sports, Detroit's central location within the Mid-American Conference has made it a frequent site for the league's championship events. While the MAC Basketball Tournament moved permanently to Cleveland starting in 2000, the MAC Football Championship Game has been played at Ford Field in Detroit since 2004, and annually attracts 25,000 to 30,000 fans. The University of Detroit Mercy has a NCAA Division I program, and Wayne State University has both NCAA Division I and II programs. The NCAA football Motor City Bowl is held at Ford Field each December.
Sailboat racing is a major sport in the Detroit area. Lake St. Clair is home to many yacht clubs which host regattas. Bayview Yacht Club, the Detroit Yacht Club, Crescent Sail Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, The Windsor Yacht Club, and the Edison Boat Club each participate in and are governed by the Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association or DRYA. Detroit is home to many One-Design fleets including, but not limited to, North American 40s, Cal 25s, C&C 35s, Crescent Sailboats, Express 27s, J 120s, J 105, Flying Scots, and many more.
Since 1916, the city has been home to an American Boat Racing Association Unlimited hydroplane boat race, held annually (with exceptions) on the Detroit River near Belle Isle. Often, the race is for the ABRA Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Gold Cup (first awarded in 1904, created by Tiffany) which is the oldest active motorsport trophy in the world.
Detroit was the former home of a round of the Formula One World Championship, which held the race on the streets of downtown Detroit from 1982 until 1988, after which the sanction moved from Formula One to IndyCars until its final run in 2001. In 2007, open-wheel racing returned to Belle Isle with both Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series Racing.
Detroit was given the name "City of Champions" in the 1930s for a series of successes both in individual and in team sport. Gar Wood (a native Detroiter) won the Harmsworth Trophy for unlimited powerboat racing on the Detroit River in 1931. In the next year, 1932, Eddie "The Midnight Express" Tolan, a black student from Detroit's Cass Technical High School, won the 100- and 200-meter races and two gold medals at the 1932 Summer Olympics. Joe Louis won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1937. Also, in 1935 the Detroit Lions won the NFL championship. The Detroit Tigers have won ten American League pennants (The most recent being in 2006) and four World Series titles. In 1984, the Detroit Tigers' World Series championship, after which crowds had left three dead and millions of dollars in property damage. The Detroit Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups (the most by an American NHL Franchise), the Detroit Pistons have won three NBA titles, and the Detroit Shock have won two WNBA titles. In 2007, Detroit was given the nickname "Sports City USA" in recognition of its numerous sports teams with good game statistics and the high amount of dedicated sports fans.
Detroit has the distinction of being the city which has made the most bids to host the Summer Olympics without ever being awarded the games: seven unsuccessful bids for the 1944, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972 games. It came as high as second place in the balloting two times, losing the 1964 games to Tokyo and the 1968 games to Mexico City.
Detroit hosts many WWE events such as the 2007 WWE's WrestleMania 23 which attracted 80,103 fans to Ford Field; the event marking the twentieth anniversary of WrestleMania III which drew a reported 93,173 to the Pontiac Silverdome in nearby Pontiac, Michigan in 1987. On May 31 and June 1 of 2008, The Red Bull Air Race took place along the Detroit River.
The Detroit television market is the eleventh largest in the United States; according to estimates that do not include audiences located in large areas of Ontario, Canada (Windsor and its surrounding area on broadcast and cable, as well as several other cable markets in Ontario, such as the city of Ottawa) which receive and watch Detroit television stations.
Detroit has the eleventh largest radio market in the United States, though this ranking does not take into account Canadian audiences.
Detroit and the surrounding region constitute a major manufacturing center, most notably as home to the Big Three automobile companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. The city is an important center for global trade with large international law firms having their offices in both Detroit and Windsor. About 80,500 people work in downtown Detroit, comprising 21% of the City's employment.
There are about four thousand factories in the area. The domestic auto industry is primarily headquartered in Metro Detroit. New vehicle production, sales, and jobs related to automobile use account for one of every ten jobs in the United States. The area is also an important source of engineering job opportunities. A 2004 Border Transportation Partnership study showed that 150,000 jobs in the Windsor-Detroit region and $13 billion in annual production depend on the City of Detroit's international border crossing.
The Detroit area is accustomed to the economic cycles of the auto industry. A rise in automated manufacturing using robot technology, inexpensive labor in other parts of the world, and increased competition have led to a steady transformation of certain types of manufacturing jobs in the region. Local complications for the city include higher taxes than the nearby suburbs, with many unable to afford the levies on property. In June 2008, metropolitan Detroit's unemployment rate was 9.7%. In the city, the unemployment rate was 14.2% at the end of 2005, leaving Detroit with more than one-third of residents below the poverty line. This is in part attributed to white flight following court-ordered busing during the 1970s. Parts of the city have abandoned and burned out shells of buildings. Though the city has struggled with finances, since 2006 it has balanced its budget with more funding available to demolish blighted properties.
The Big Three automakers have collectively lost market share to foreign rivals. However, Detroit's automakers have continued to gain volume from previous decades with the expansion of the American and global automotive markets. In 1994, with rising demand for sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, the industry fought Clinton administration's efforts to implement an across the board Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) increase. In 2005, the Bush administration asked Congress for the authority to reform the CAFE standard from a single average to six different size based categories in an effort to resolve the issue. In the late 1990s, Detroit's automakers had gained market share and were enjoying record profits until the recession of 2001 and the subsequent September 11, 2001 attacks caused a severe decline in the stock market along with a pension and benefit funds crisis. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007 for its $101 billion U.S pension portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion in underfunding. With rising oil prices and war, consumers chose to purchase fewer trucks and SUVs. This negatively impacted the profits of Detroit's automakers. As a result, GM and Ford have implemented their respective turnaround plans. Concern among analysts over restored profits has fueled economic uncertainty in the metro Detroit area.
Initially, GM and Ford had sought to delay the introduction of unprofitable hybrids in favor of the all-fuel cell vehicle; however, with rising gasoline prices and foreign rivals marketing hybrid cars, Detroit's automakers responded. In 2006, Ford announced a dramatic increase in production of its hybrid gas-electric models, Ford and GM have also promoted E-85 ethanol capable flexible-fuel vehicles as a viable alternative to gasoline. General Motors has invested heavily in all fuel cell equipped vehicles, Chrysler's focus on biodiesel may boost sales. Two days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, GM announced it had developed the world's most powerful fuel cell stack capable of powering large commercial vehicles. In 2002, the state of Michigan established NextEnergy, a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to enable commercialization of various energy technologies, especially hydrogen fuel cells. Its main complex is located north of Wayne State University.
Firms in the suburbs pursue emerging technologies including biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, cognotechnology, and hydrogen fuel cell development. The city of Detroit has made efforts to lure the region's growth companies downtown with advantages such as a wireless Internet zone, business tax incentives, entertainment, an international riverfront, and residential high rises. Thus far, the city has had some success, most notably the addition of Compuware World Headquarters, OnStar, EDS offices at the Renaissance Center, PricewaterhouseCoopers Plaza offices adjacent to Ford Field, and the 2006 completion of Ernst & Young's offices at One Kennedy Square. However, Comerica Bank decided to move its headquarters from Detroit to Dallas in 2007 while maintaining its substantial presence in the region. On November 12, 2007, Quicken Loans announced its development agreement with the city to move its world headquarters, and 4,000 employees, to downtown Detroit, consolidating its suburban offices, a move considered to be a high importance to city planners to reestablish the historic downtown. The construction sites reserved for development by the agreement include the location of the former Statler on Grand Circus Park and the former Hudson's location.
Some Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Detroit include General Motors, auto parts maker American Axle & Manufacturing, and DTE Energy. Detroit is home to Compuware and the national pizza chain Little Caesars. Downtown Detroit has major offices for Electronic Data Systems, Visteon, Delphi, Ford Motor Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Touche, KPMG, the Jeep and Dodge Truck arm of Chrysler, GMAC, and OnStar. Other major industries include advertising, law, finance, chemicals, and computer software. One of the nation's largest law firms, Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone P.L.C., has offices in both Windsor and Detroit. Compuware's new headquarters, GM's move to the Renaissance Center, and the State of Michigan's redevelopment of Cadillac Place in the New Center district have provided new synergies for the redevelopment of downtown.
Casino gaming plays an important economic role, with Detroit the largest city in the United States to offer casino resorts. Caesars Windsor, Canada's largest, complements the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino in Detroit. Though the casinos have brought new tax revenue and jobs to the city, the city still has high unemployment. Gaming revenues have grown steadily, with Detroit ranked as the fifth largest gambling market in the USA for 2007. However, when Casino Windsor is included, Detroit's gambling market ranks third or fourth. In 2006, downtown Detroit reported $1.3 billion in restorations and new developments which increased the number of construction jobs in the city. Medical service providers such as the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Hospital are major employers in the city.
Media reviews of Detroit's economy tend to reflect the economic cycles. In 2007, downtown Detroit was named among the best big city neighborhoods in which to retire by CNN Money Magazine editors.
The city's population increased more than sixfold during the first half of the twentieth century, fed largely by an influx of Eastern European, Lebanese and Southern migrants to work in the burgeoning automobile industry. However, since 1950 the city has seen a major shift in its population to the suburbs. The city population dropped from its peak in 1950 with a population of 1,849,568 to 916,952 in 2007. This is partly attributable to the construction of an extensive freeway system during the 1950s and white flight.
As of Census 2000, the city of Detroit was 81.6% African American, 12.3% White American, 1.0% Asian American, 0.3% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander American, 2.5% from other races American, and 2.3% from two or more races. 5.0 percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 10.5% of Detroit's population. The city's foreign-born population is at 4.8%.
There were 336,428 households out of which 33.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.7% were married couples living together, 31.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families, 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.45.
There is a wide age distribution in the city, with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.
For the 2000 Census, median household income in the city was $29,526, and the median income for a family was $33,853. Males had a median income of $33,381 versus $26,749 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,717. 26.1% of the population and 21.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 34.5% of those under the age of 18 and 18.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The Detroit suburbs in Oakland County, Macomb County, and northeastern and northwestern Wayne County are predominantly white. Of the African-Americans who live in the metropolitan area, about 70% live within the Detroit city limits. Metro Detroit's ethnic communities are diverse and include descendants of the French founders, as well as Irish, Germans, Scots, Poles, Italians, Greeks, Serbians, Turks, Armenians, Jews, Arabs, and Lebanese who settled during the city's early twentieth century industrial boom. Metro Detroit has the largest concentration of Belgians outside of Belgium; Cadieux Street on the city's east side north of Grosse Pointe constituted the heart of one of the few distinctly Belgian neighborhoods in the U.S. during the early- and mid-twentieth century. Dearborn has a sizable concentration of Arab Americans.
]] The city government is run by a mayor and nine-member city council and clerk elected on an at-large nonpartisan ballot. Since voters approved the city's charter in 1974, Detroit has had a "strong mayoral" system, with the mayor approving departmental appointments. The council approves budgets but the mayor is not obligated to adhere to any earmarking. City ordinances and substantially large contracts must be approved by the council. The city clerk supervises elections and is formally charged with the maintenance of municipal records. Municipal elections for mayor, city council and city clerk are held at four-year intervals, in the year after presidential elections (so that there are Detroit elections scheduled in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, etc.).
Detroit's courts are state-administered and elections are nonpartisan. The Probate Court for Wayne County is located in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit. The Circuit Court is located across Gratiot Ave. in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, in downtown Detroit. The city is home to the Thirty Sixth District Court, as well as the First District of the Michigan Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
In 2000, the City requested an investigation by the United States Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003 over allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations. The city proceeded with a major reorganization of the Detroit Police Department.
Urban development in Detroit has been an important issue. In 1973, the city elected its first black mayor, Coleman Young. Despite development efforts, his combative style during his five terms in office was not well received by many whites. Mayor Dennis Archer, a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, refocused the city's attention on redevelopment with a plan to permit three casinos downtown.
Detroit is home to several institutions of higher learning, including Wayne State University, a national research university with medical and law schools in the Midtown area. Other institutions in the city include the University of Detroit Mercy with its schools of Law and Dentistry, the College for Creative Studies, Lewis College of Business, Marygrove College, and Wayne County Community College. The Detroit College of Law, now affiliated with Michigan State University, was founded in the city in 1891 and remained there until 1997, when it relocated to East Lansing. The University of Michigan was established in 1817 in Detroit and later moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. In 1959, another campus was established in neighboring Dearborn.
In the mid- to late 1990s, the Michigan Legislature removed the locally elected board of education amid allegations of mismanagement and replaced it with a reform board appointed by the mayor and governor. The elected board of education was re-established following a city referendum in 2005. The first election of the new eleven-member board of education occurred on November 8, 2005. Due to declining enrollment the city planned to close 95 schools, and the state mandated deficit reduction plan calls for the closure of a total of 110 schools. The State officials report a 61% graduation rate for Detroit's public schools.
Within the city of Detroit, there are over a dozen major hospitals which include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. The DMC, a regional Level I trauma center, consists of Detroit Receiving Hospital and University Health Center, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women's Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Sinai-Grace Hospital, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The DMC has more than 2,000 licensed beds and 3,000 affiliated physicians. It is also the biggest non-governmental employer in the City of Detroit. The center is staffed by physicians from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the largest single-campus medical school in the United States. The metro area has many other hospitals, among which are William Beaumont Hospital, St. Joseph's, and University of Michigan Medical Center, mostly in suburban counties.
With its proximity to Canada and its facilities, ports, major highways, rail connections and international airports, Detroit is an important transportation hub. The city has three international border crossings, the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. The Ambassador Bridge is the single busiest border crossing in North America, carrying 27% of the total trade between the U.S. and Canada.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the area's principal airport, is located in nearby Romulus and is the primary hub for Northwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines. Bishop International Airport (FNT) in Flint, Michigan is the second busiest commercial airport in the region. Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), previously called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side. Although Southwest Airlines once flew from the airport, the airport now maintains only charter service and general aviation. Willow Run Airport, in far-western Wayne County near Ypsilanti, is a general aviation and cargo airport.
Mass transit in the region is provided by bus services. Ridership on the region's mass transit systems increased by 8.4% in 2006. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides service to the outer edges of the city. From there, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) provides service to the suburbs. Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus.
An automated guideway transit system known as the People Mover, completed in 1987, provides daily service around a 2.9 mile (4.6 km) loop downtown. Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its service between Chicago and Pontiac. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. The current passenger facility is north of downtown. The J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to freighters on the Detroit River, is the world's only floating post office.
From 1976 until June 21, 2003, Detroit operated a one mile narrow-gauge trolley along an "L-shaped" route from Grand Circus Park to the Renaissance Center along Washington Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, with the trams coming from Lisbon, Portugal. The tram was originally just 3/4 miles long, but was extended 1/4 mile to the Renaissance Center in 1980. The tracks were removed in November 2003 following the extensive reconstruction of Washington Boulevard, and the carbarn (building that housed the trolleys) was demolished in 2004. With the advent of the People Mover, trolley ridership had eventually plummeted to less than 3000 per year (from its peak of 75,000 riders per year) before the trolley suspended operations indefinitely. Its trolleys are currently being refurbished in Seattle.
The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) has analyzed the feasibility of a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter line, which would provide an added option for daily commuters between the two regional hubs. The proposed system would be funded by a $100 million federal grant that is secured based on the results of the study.
In a separate proposal, DDOT is pursuing a plan to bring light rail rapid transit. In March 2008, it was announced that a line is being planned for Woodward Avenue. It will cost $372 million and is tentatively scheduled to begin operation by 2013.
Historical research and current events