The New Student's Reference Work/Detroit
Detroit, the largest city and metropolis of Michigan, is situated on the Detroit River, which connects Lakes Erie and St. Clair, and is the outlet of the upper Great Lakes. The city is 18 miles from Lake Erie, 7 miles from Lake St. Clair and 284 miles from Chicago. The river at this point runs nearly east and west, so that Detroit lies on the north side of the river, facing the Canadian village of Windsor. It has an area of 35 square miles. From the public square known as Campus Martius the main avenues of the city radiate. Here is the center of the business-district, solidly built, with wide, clean streets and many tall, imposing buildings. Woodward Avenue, the main artery of the city, runs north from the river, extending into the country and dividing the city into two nearly equal parts. On the lower end of this avenue and on adjoining streets is the shopping-district, while farther out, this and adjoining avenues are marked by magnificent churches and the fine residential district. Among the notable structures are the Soldiers' Monument, the County Building, which cost some two million dollars, City Hall, the Elks Temple and the Detroit Opera House. Grand Boulevard, a macadamized thoroughfare 150 feet wide and 11 miles long, encircles the business portion of the city. Belle Isle, a beautiful island of about 700 acres, is connected with the mainland by a magnificent bridge and constitutes the main park of the city. It is an island of great natural beauty and has been improved at a cost of over two million dollars. This magnificent park, so beautifully situated and improved, together with the smaller parks which dot the city, and its broad avenues lined with trees combine to make the City of the Straits one of the handsomest cities in the country.
The growth of Detroit has been steady and substantial, resting upon the increased volume of her manufacturing and commercial interests. Its manufactories include foundries, blast-furnaces, copper-smelting works, locomotive and car-works, shipyards, iron-bridge works, safe, furniture, automobile and stove-factories and some of the largest tobacco and cigar-factories in the United States.
The city is the seat of the United States district and circuit courts of eastern Michigan. It has a law-library, an extensive public library, besides the libraries of the Masonic lodges, the trades-union council and the museum of art. It has many hospitals and philanthropic institutions, and is noted for the large number of fine churches and its well-equipped public-schools. There are more than 70 school-buildings, besides three high-schools, and the expenditure for public instruction exceeds a million dollars annually. Here also are the Detroit (R. C.) College, medical schools, law-schools, etc. Detroit is an important railroad-center and is one of the five chief lake-ports.
Detroit is one of the oldest American cities. It came into the possession of the French in 1610, who built a fort here in 1701, called Pontchartrain. The British held it from 1763 till 1796, when it passed to the United States. In the War of 1812, Detroit was captured by Sir Isaac Brock and held by the British for about a year. In 1824 the city was incorporated; from 1805 to 1837 it was the capital of Michigan Territory, and for the following ten years the capital of the state. After 1847 Lansing became the state capital. Adjacent to the city and commanding it and the approaches to the river is Fort Wayne, with extensive fortifications. Population, 465,766.