Detroit is a city that is located in Wayne County in the state of Michigan. It is the biggest city in Michigan and covers an are of one hundred and forty- three square miles with a population in excess of nine hundred and twelve thousand residents. The city can trace its roots back to the eighteenth century, when a French officer named Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded a settlement named Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit. France bolstered the population of the settlement by offering free land to French families willing to relocate to the area. By 1765, the population of the settlement had increased to over eight hundred families.
In 1760, during the French and Indian War, the British seized the settlement and shortened the name to Detroit. Under the terms of theTreaty of London of 1794, Detroit became a possession of the United States. Eleven years later a huge fire swept through the settlement and destroyed most of it. A warehouse located on the river was the only structure to survive. Between 1805 and 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan, but was captured briefly by the British during the War of 1812. The British only held it for a year and the United States recaptured it in 1813. In 1815, Detroit was incorporated as a city. During the rest of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries, Detroit was known as the ‘Paris of the West’ and many of the city’s mansions were built during this time. Because of the city’s proximity to the Great Lakes waterway, it became a prominent hub of transportation. In 1896, Henry Ford built his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue. Eight years later, he found the Ford Motor Company. His manufacturing endeavors, as well as the endeavors of fellow automobile pioneers Durant, Packard, Chrysler and the Dodge brothers cemented the city’s status as the world’s automotive capital.
Today, tourism is the life blood of Detroit’s economy. Ten percent of the city’s economy is derived from tourism and it employs over one hundred and eighty thousand people in the city. Each year sixteen million people visit the city and spend an estimated five billion dollars. Since the city has strong historical ties to the automotive industry, the city capitalized on this by hosting automotive related events such as the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, The Old Car Festival, Motor Muster and the annual North American International Auto Show (which occurs every year in January). Other festivals and special events in the city include Plymouth Ice Festival, Motown Winter Blast, Detroit Music Awards, Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Detroit Civil War Remembrance, Detroit Festival of the Arts, Detroit River Days, Salute to America, Ann Arbor Art Fairs, APBA Gold Cup, Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance, Fash Bash, Detroit Fashion Week, Meadowbrook Music Festival, Detroit Indy Grand Prix, Detroit International Jazz Festival, Rochester Art & Apples Festival, America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Urban Organic Festival. Detroit also has many museums and other attractions dedicated to the automotive industry and attracts millions of visitors each year.
A prominent attraction in Detroit is the Henry Ford Museum. The Henry Ford Museum is a National Historic Landmark and is the largest indoor & outdoor history museum. Its named after Henry Ford and is centered around his desire to preserve the historical heritage of the Industrial Revolution. This museum is situated on twelve acres and contains many items from Ford’s personal collection, with some items going all the way back to 1906. Some of the items in its collection include John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limo, Thomas Edison’s alleged last breath in a sealed beaker, George
Washington’s camp bed, an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a rocking chair from Ford’s Theatre in which President Abraham Lincoln was sitting when he was shot, model of the Ford Nucleon automobile, Igor Sikorsky’s prototype helicopter and a seat from the Montgomery Bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. There is also an IMAX theater that shows documents and feature films.
Another portion of the Henry Ford Museum is Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village has almost one hundred historic buildings from the seventeenth century to the present. The purpose of the village is to show how Americans lived sinced the founding of the United States. Greenfield Village is situated on two hundred and forty acres, but only about ninety acres is used for the exhibit. The rest is made up of sheep pasture and forest. Prominent buildings located here include Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory (moved from New Jersey), Henry Ford’s prototype quadricycle garage, Luther Burbank’s office, Noah Webster’s Connecticut home and the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop (moved from Dayton, Ohio). The Detroit Zoo is another popular attraction in the city. This zoo was founded in 1883 and has more than five thousand invertebrates and eighteen hundred vertebrates from over two hundred and seventy species. Habitats and attractions in Detroit Zoo include the Arctic Ring of Life, Amphibiville, Australian Outback, African Grasslands, Wild Adventure Ride and the Tauber Family Railroad.
Other Detroit attractions include Detroit Institute of Arts, Motown Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Historical Museum, Eastern Market, Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions), New Detroit Science Center, Belle Isle, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Detroit Opera House, GM Renaissance Center, the Chrysler Museum, Comerica Park, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, The Heidelberg Project, World’s Largest Stove, Old St. Mary’s Church, GM World, Detroit Symphony, Fox Theater, Fisher Theater, The Majestic Theater, Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum and the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. The city is also home to a number of casinos which include the Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, Caesars Windsor and the MotorCity Casino. The city of Detroit is also home to nice restaurants, bars and hotels, as well. Hotels in the city include the Atheneum Suite Hotel, The Westin Book Cadillac, Motorcity Casino Hotel, Doubletree Hotel and the Leland Hotel. Restaurants in the city include the Whitney Restaurant, Pegasus Taverna and the Hard Rock Cafe.