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Index of Detroit History

Trivia and History of the City of Detroit

1642 the Catholic missionaries published the "Jesuit Relations." It contained records of their explorations. It also included information on plants, animals and the people living in Michigan.

1667 A treaty with the Iroquois was signed by the French. It allowed the French to explore what was later to become Michigan.

1669 Jolliett became the first European to see Detroit.

1701 Cadillac left Montreal to found a settlement on the Detroit River.

1701 Founding of the City of Detroit by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

1704 First baptism in Detroit: Marie Therese Cadillac

1707 First land grants given by Cadillac.

1710 First marriage of Europeans in Detroit. John Baptiste Turpin and Margaret Fufard.

1728 King Louis XIV gave permission to lease farms in the Detroit area.

1730 Cadillac, founder of Detroit, died in France.

1760 Along with all of Canada, Fort Pontchartrain surrendered by the French to the English.

1763 Gladwin exposed Chief Pontiac's plans for an uprising against the settlers.

1763 Siege of Detroit begun by Pontiac and his followers.

1763 Pontaic's forces defeated the British at the Battle of Bloody Run.

1777 John Coutincinau and Ann Wyley were hanged for stealing.

1787 Northwest Ordinance adopted.

1794 General Anthony Wayne defeated the Indians at the Battle of the Fallen Timbers.

1796 The U.S. flag was first raised over Detroit.

1796 Wayne County established.

1802 Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair approved the charter incorporating the City of Detroit.

1802 First city tax as assessed on each individual over 21. The tax was 25 cents per person.

1802 First municipal elections held in Detroit.

1802 The Detroit Fire Department was created.

1805 The Michigan Territory is established with Detroit as the capital.

1805 Detroit was destroyed by a fire started in the barn of John Harvey, the village baker. No lives were lost in the fire.

1805 The first session of the Michigan Territorial legislature met at Richard Smyth's Tavern.

1813 British troops left Detroit, having occupied the city on August 16, 1812.

1818 Log building dedicated to mark the first Protestant church in Michigan.

1818 - Walk-in-the-Water, was the first steamboat on the Great Lakes, arrived in Detroit.

1824 Congress approved $10,00 for a road survey for a road between Detroit and Chicago.

1824 Thanksgiving Day was first observed in Detroit.

1824 John R. Williams was elected the first mayor of Detroit.

1827 New City Charter granted.

1830 The last execution in Michigan. Stephen Simmons was hanged for murdering his wife.


1835 First state constitutional convention met in Detroit.

1837 Michigan admitted to the Union as a state. Detroit was its first capital.

1831 Alexis de Tocqueville visit Detroit for three days.

1833 A riot prevented Thorton Blackburn, a runaway slave, from being returned to Kentucky.

1837 Detroit Anti-Slavery Society was created.

1839 Detroit Boat Club was organized. It is the oldest boat club in the U.S.

1841 Mt. Elliott Cemetery opened.

1842 Detroit's first Board of Education organized.

1846 Elemwood Cemetery opened in Detroit.

1847 The legislature passed a bill moving the state capital to Lansing, Michigan. (Previously it was in Detroit.)

1848 First train arrived at the Michigan Central RR depot on third street.

1848 Telegraph line completed between Buffalo and Detroit.

1848 The first Michigan State Fair opened.

1849 New fort named in honor of General Anthony Wayne.

1849 Mariner's Church (Sailors' Bethel) dedicated on Woodward at Woodbridge.

1855 Shanty erected in middle of the frozen Detroit River to sell liquor.

1857 First telegraph cable laid across the Detroit River.

1859 John Brown arrived in Detroit with fourteen slaves from Missouri to plan a raid on the South.

1859 First national billiard championship was held in Detroit.

1860 First post office building in Detroit opened.

1860 The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII visited Detroit.

1861 News arrived of the attack on Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War.

1861 A Day of public prayer and fasting during the Civil War.

1861 First Orthodox Synagogue opened in Detroit.

1862 The City of Detroit taxed all market wagons.

1862 Passes to Canada were required to prevent citizens fleeing from military service.

1863 Clinton Street jail opened.

1863 First horse-drawn street cars ran on Jefferson Avenue.

1864 The 102nd U.S. "Colored" Troops left Detroit for service in the Union Army.

1864 Steamer Philo Parsons seized by Confederate sympathizers in the Detroit River.

1865 Ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was authored by Detroiter Jacob M. Howard. (The 13th amendment abolished slavery.)

1865 General Ulysses S. Grant visited Detroit.

1867 The cornerstone was laid for the Soldiers' Monument in East Grand Circus Park.

1868 City Hall cornerstone was laid.

1869 The Detroit Opera House opened.

1870 African Americans voted for the first time.

1871 Grand Duke Alexis of Russia visited Detroit.

1871 A citizens' meeting raised $25,000 for the victims of the Chicago fire.

1875 Relief meeting at the Opera House to raise money for the Grasshopper Sufferers in Nebraska.

1875 Frederick Sanders opened his confectionery and ice cream store at 166 Woodward.

1877 Office of the Fire Marshal created.

1877 University of Detroit started classes with 84 students.

1877 W.A. Jackson installed the first telephone.

1879 Belle Isle was purchased as a public park.

1880 Music Hall opened.

1881 Detroit's baseball team played its first National League home game.

1881 Detroit Bar Association organized.

1881 State Telephone System went into operation.

1881 - First city dog pound established.

1883 Incandescent lights first used in Detroit in Metcalf's dry goods store.

1885 Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Company appeared in Detroit.

1886 Edison Illuminating Company was formed.

1888 Last train service at the Michigan Central Depot with the departure of the last Amtrak Train #353.

1888 Detroit milkmen met to try to raise the price of milk to 7 cents per quart.

1989 The Fox Theatre was designated a National Landmark.

1989 First combined Sunday edition of the Free Press and News was distributed.

1891 J.L. Hudson Company opened its new eight-story building on Gratiot and Farmer Streets.

1892 The first electric trolley ran in the city.

1893 First train arrived at new Fort Street Union Depot.

1894 Old Central Market was torn down and the site was renamed to Cadillac Square.

1895 Municipal power station began supplying power for street lighting and public buildings.

1895 The name "Tigers" was first used in reference to the Detroit Baseball Team.

1896 The Detroit Tigers played their first game at the present site of Tiger Stadium.

1896 While serving as Mayor, Hazen Pingree was elected Governor of Michigan.

1896 Charles King drove the first car in Detroit.

1898 William Jennings Bryan delivered an address in Detroit.

1898 First Michigan troops left for Cuba at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.

1898 Bob-lo Island Amusement Park was opened.

1901 John Philip Sousa and his band play at the Lyceum Theater.

1901 Eastern High School was dedicated.

1902 Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit

1902 First automobile show was held in the Detroit Light Guard Armory

1902 The first Cadillac automobile was produced.

1902 Detroit's first auto fatality occurred.

1903 Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

1904 Ralph Bunche was born in Detroit.

1905 The Michigan Supreme Court upheld a city ordinance requiring licenses for cars.

1908 William C. Durant founded General Motors Company.

1908 Fisher Body Company incorporated.

1911 Detroit Zoological Society organized.

1914 Over 10,000 men sought employment at Highland Park's Ford plant to earn $5.00 a day.

1914 Detroit Symphony Orchestra gave their first concert in the Detroit Opera House.

1916 Henry Ford Trade School opened.

1918 First women were employed as mail carriers.

1918 Fort Shelby Hotel opened.

1918 A new City Charter was adopted.

1918 First 3 color hand-operated traffic signal in world was installed in Detroit.

1918 Detroiters protested paying a 6 cent fare for the street car.

1919 Women in Detroit voted for the firs time in a general primary election.

1919 Women sat on a jury County Courts for the fist time.

1920 "Palmer Raids" led to arrest of Bolshviks.

1920 First automatic traffic signal installed.

1920 The first air-mail delivery arrived from Cleveland.

1921 Harry Sleizinger was killed in whiskey raids.

1922 Last horse-drawn fire-fighting units used in Detroit.

1922 Mayor James Couzens resigned to become U.S. Senator.

1922 Charter granted to Michigan Steel Corporation.

1923 A new water-filtering plant began operating at Water Works Park.

1923 Hudson's displayed the world's largest flag.

1924 First highway signs installed

1924 The cornerstone was laid for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

1924 Dodge Motor Company incorporated.

1925 The First Hudson's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held. It was later called America's Parade.

1925 Merger of the Detroit and Michigan Stove Works.

1925 Radio station WXYZ was founded.

1926 Babe Ruth hit the longest home run in baseball history (626') at Navin Field.

1926 The Great magician Hary Houdini died in room 401 of Grace Hospital.

1927 First radio broadcast of a Tiger baseball game.

1927 Cornerstone was laid for Olympia Stadium.

1927 Detroit City Airport opened.

1927 First of hundred professional hockey games was played at the Olympia Stadium.

1927 The Detroit Institutes of Arts opened.

1928 Detroit Historical Museum opened in a rented room on the 23rd floor of the Barlum Tower.

1928 The Fox Theater opened with "Street Angels" premier and "Movietone News."

1928 The Detroit Zoological Park was opened.

1929 The Ambassador Bridge opened to traffic.

1930 The nations first Black Housewives League started in Detroit.

1932 Ford hunger march and riot in Dearborn.

1932 Democratic presidential nominee, Franklin D. Roosevelt, spoke at a political rally.

1932 Diego Rivera started work at the frescoes at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

1933 "The Lone Ranger" was first broadcast on WXYZ_AM (1270)

1933 Michigan was the first state to vote to repeal of Prohibition.

1933 Colleges of City of Detroit was organized. It later became known as Wayne State University.

1934 The Portsmouth, Ohio Spartan (Lions) moved to Detroit.

1934 New federal building and post office on Lafayette Street opened.

1934 Colleges of the City of Detroit changed its name to Wayne University.

1934 New federal building on Lafayette was dedicated.

1934 The Detroit Lions beat the New York Giants 9-0 at the University of Detroit Stadium in the first NFL game.

1935 The Lions defeated the New York Giants, 26-7 for their first Championship.

1935 The Detroit Tigers won the World Series for the first time.

1935 United Automobile Workers organized.

1936 The Ford Rotunda opened to the public.

1937 After a three-month strike, General Motors recognized the United Auto Worker Union (UAW)

1937 Battle of the Overpass at the Rouge Plant in Dearborn.

1938 Church of the Blessed Sacrament was proclaimed the Cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit.

1938 Joe Louis defeated German Max Schmeling.

1938 The Detroit Lions played their first game in Tiger Stadium.

1939, New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig voluntarily benched himself at Briggs Stadium, ending a streak of 2,130 consecutive games.

1941 Ford Motor Car Company was unionized by the UAW-CIO.

1941 The Duke of Windsor visited war plants in Detroit.

1941 Army guards were placed at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

1942 Last truck produced for the civilian market until the end of World War II

1942 The first of 8,685 B-24 Bombers were produced at Willow Run.

1943 Negro-white race riots occurred. Federal troops were brought in to restore order.

1946 Walter Reuther was elected as UAW President.

1946 Detroit television went on the air for the first time.

1947 Henry Ford died at the age of 83.

1948 First night baseball game held in Briggs Stadium.

1949 First woman elected to City Council, Mary V. Beck, was sworn into office.

1951 Arthur H. Vandenberg died. He had been Michigan's U.S. Senator since 1928.

1952 Virgil Trucks from the Detroit Tigers pitched a no-hitter.

1959 Detroit police patrol cars were racially integrated.

1959 Little Casears opened its first restaurant in Garden City.

1959 The Detroit News raised the price of their paper from 7 to 8 cents.

1960 "I heard it through the grapevine" that Motown Records was incorporated.

1963 Martin Luther King Jr. first gave his "I have a Dream" speech at Cobo Hall.

1965 Detroit housewife and civil rights activist, Viola Liuzzo, was murdered in Alabama by the KKK.

1967 Racial violence led to declaration of a state of emergency, a curfew as imposed and the National Guard called to duty.

1968 Denny McLain became the first Tiger pitcher to win 30 games. I was sitting in the bleachers.

1968 The Detroit Free Press won a Pulitzer rise for coverage of the 1967 riot.

1970 Walter Ruther, President of the UAW, died in a airplane crash.

1973 Renaissance Center building ground breaking ceremony.

1973 U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of school bussing between Detroit and the suburbs.

1973 State Senator Coleman A. Young was elected the first black Mayor of Detroit.

1975 Jimmy Hoffa disappeared.

1978 A Statue of General Thaddeus Kosciusko was dedicated. A gift of the citizens of Krakow, Poland.

1979 First event held at the Joe Lewis Arena. ( U. of M vs. U. of D. Basketball game.)

1979 The Red Wings played their final game in Olympia. Stadium.

1979 First Red Wings game played at Joe Lewis Arena.

1981 GM broke ground for their new Poletown plant.

1983 The downtown J.L. Hudson store closed for good.

1984 Michigan's first test tube baby was born in Hazel Park.

1987 Pope John Paul II visited Detroit.

1987 Northwest Airline crash at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

1990 Dr. Jack Kevorkian assisted in his first suicide, when he helped Janet Adkins commit suicide.

1990 Nelson Mandela spoke to over 49,000 people at Tiger Stadium.

1997 Over 380,000 homes lost their power in the worst ice storm in Detroit Edison's history.

1997 The 13 day journey in the Moving of the Gem theatre to its new location began. It was moved to make way for the building of Comerica Park.

2006 Super Bowl XL was played at Ford Field. The Steelers beat the Seahawks.

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