|UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
• fr: Détroit
• lv: Detroita
• lt: Detroitas
• el: Ντιτρόιτ
• mk, sr: Детроит
• bg, ru, uk: Детройт
• be: Дэтройт
Detroit is located on Detriot River in Southeast Michigan north of Windsor, Ontario (Canada). Detroit was founded in 1701 by the French explorer
Antoine Loumet de la Mothe Cadillac. It was originally called Ville d’étroit (city on the strait). In 1718 the French built Fort Pontchartrain for
protection against the British. However, in 1760, it had to be surrendered to England. Being a Canadian city, the first civil government of Detroit was established under
the Quebec Act in 1774. After creation of the Judicial District of Hesse, Detroit and Michigan were part of upper Canada. Detroit was occupied by American troops in 1796
and Wayne County was established in honor of Major General Anthony Wayne (originally, the boundaries of Wayne County reached farther than Michigan itself).
Detroit became a town in 1802, but was completely destroyed by fire only three years later. However, in 1815 Detroit had been largely rebuilt and was incorporated as a city.
During the second half of the 19th century it became known for making railroad cars, locomotives, engines, stoves, carriages, paint and varnish, shoes and pharmaceuticals.
The year 1896 marked the beginning of the automobile era when Henry Ford built his first car (it sold for $950). During World War II Detroit took on a major role in the production of war materials, planes and tanks.
In 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King jr. gave his first “I Have A Dream” speech, about two months before his famous delivery on August 28 in Washington, DC.
Just before the turn of the century, the Board of Supervisors of booming Wayne County decided the court system needed a new, larger home. Construction of
the Wayne County Courthouse [right] began in 1897. Designed in the classical revival style that
dominated American civic architecture at the time, the courthouse was later described as the „most sumptuous building in Michigan“. The Courthouse served as the center
of Wayne County government for the first half of 20th century, holding most of its offices, court sessions, and public hearings. After the 1950s, however, most government
functions moved to a new building several blocks away. Poorly considered alterations and neglect caused its condition to deteriorate to the point that, in the 1970s, the
county considered demolishing it. In the 1980s, however, a private partnership agreed to restore the building and lease it back to the county; this work cost $17 million
and was paid for in part through a historic preservation tax credit. The renovated Wayne County Courthouse reopened in late 1987 and is now a model for preservation in Detroit.
In 1879 the City of Detroit built what was to become one of the wonders of the world on 110 acres (45 hectares) of waterfront property – the City Water Works.
Better known as Water Works Park [left], the plant's 185-foot (56 m) brick stand pipe tower
became an instantly recognized Detroit landmark. At its peak it pumped 290 million gallons (1100 million litres) of water a day. The stand-pipe tower became
a major tourist attraction. 202 winding steps led to a balcony at the top that offered a splendid view on downtown Detroit. Its usefulness ended in1893 as new pumping stations
came on line to keep up water pressure. Eventually, it was found unsafe and unrepairable, and was razed in 1945. The entire site was closed in 1951. It took six years of
public protest to get back seven acres of the original 110-acre park. Another six acres was reopened to the public in 1961, the year operations of Pumping Station no. 1 ceased. for good.
Campus Martius [right] at one time was the corner on which the city's life turned, the end of the line for the
Pontiac-Detroit railway and the city's electric streetcars. Campus Martius means „field of Mars“ or „military ground“. It served as a drill ground for the military
in 1788 and was named after the Campus Martius at Marietta, Ohio, the first capital of the Northwest Territory.
In the original 1806 city plan, the purpose of Campus Martius was spelled out as an open place
for large public assemblies, a city center. It was meant to be kept as a park in the middle of a
The Old City Hall [background] was built 1868–1871 by James Anderson.
The four-story Italianate building, topped with a modern French mansard roof and a Georgian
cupola, set a new standard of civic monumentality in late l9th-century Detroit. It was torn down in 1961.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument [centre, barely visible] commemorates the 14,823 Michigan servicemen who
were killed in the Civil War. The 60-foot (18 m) monument was unveiled April 9, 1872, seven years after
the Confederate surrender in 1865.
The Majestic Building [right] was built by Daniel H. Burnham in 1895 as a combined
retail and office building for Mabley and Company. In a newspaper of the time it was announced that the 14-story 211-foot (64 m) building would
„overlook anything in Detroit and give metropolitan air to the most prominent corner in the city“. It was demolished in 1962.