July 24 – Anniversary of the Founding of Detroit

Posted on July 24, 2014

French explorer Antoine de La Mothe-Cadillac founded a trading post that he named Fort Pontchartrain on the straits between two of the Great Lakes. (A strait is a narrow passage of water that connects two seas or other large bodies of water.)

In French, the phrase “on the straits” is “de detroit.”

Cadillac's trading post began on this date in 1701, but it was devastated just two years later. However, eventually the trading post grew into a town, which grew into the city of Detroit.

...The city where Cadillac cars are manufactured!

Detroit is...

  • Motor City....the automotive capital of the world. Henry Ford built his first automobile in a rented workshop in Detroit, and he later founded the Ford Motor Company there. In addition, other automobile pioneers took advantage of Detroit's position as a transportation hub..including William C. Durant, the Dodge brothers, the Packards, and Walter Chrysler.

Detroit is so linked in people's minds with American automobile manufacturing, people often refer to the entire industry as “Detroit.”

  • Motown...a hugely popular and influential record company founded in Detroit by Berry Gordy, Jr. The Motown sound played an important role in racial integration of popular music, as it enjoyed success with all sorts of audiences. Some of the biggest names in Motown were Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations.

  • The First in Roads...Detroit built the first mile of concrete highway in the world, installed the first 4-way 3-color traffic light, built the first traffic tunnel between two nations (as the tunnel punched through the US/Canada border), and built the first urban freeway.

  • Home of the Only Floating Post Office in the U.S....The vessel J.W. Westcott II is America's only floating zip code. The Westcott Company was originally formed to inform passing vessels of changes in orders, but now it delivers mail and freight and even the occasional mid-river pizza.

  • Birthplace of Techno... Motown isn't the only contribution Detroit has made to music. The electronic sound of techno was originated in the 1980s by three young men who were friends in a Detroit high school. Techno gained success in Europe before it did in the U.S. – but it started here.

  • The Sports Capital of the Midwest...With teams like the Pistons, the Lions, and the Tigers, Detroit is home to some great sports. But one of Detroit's nicknames is Hockeytown—and the Red Wings hockey team has appeared in many Stanley Cup playoffs (including 28 out of the last 30 seasons) and has won more Stanley Cup championships than any other team based in the U.S.

Also on this date:

Cousins Day

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