Timeline of Detroit

The following is a timeline of the history of the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan.

18th century

History of Michigan
Michigan portal

19th century

20th century


  • 1900: At the beginning of the century, Detroit had 285,704 residents (13th largest city in the U.S.
  • 1901
  • 1902
  • 1903
  • 1904
  • 1907
  • 1909 - Ford Building constructed.
  • 1911: Chevy opens its first factory in Detroit. This was significant in the birth of Detroit as an auto industry, something that became huge in the city's economy and overall identity.
  • 1912
  • 1913 - Broadway-Strand Theatre in business.[20]
  • 1914 - Detroit Institute of Musical Arts founded.
  • 1915 - Kiwanis Club founded.
  • 1916: Large influx of African Americans into the city
  • 1917: The World War I Draft occurred. Known as the Selective Service Act of 1917, 24 million men between the ages of 18 and 45 registered to fight. This created many more jobs for African Americans in the city of Detroit as a lot of working men went off to war.
  • 1918 - 1918 influenza epidemic.
  • 1918: WW1 ends
  • 1919 - Orchestra Hall opens.
  • 1920: Detroit becomes the 4th largest city in America
  • 1920s: All throughout the 1920s, patterns arose of whites beginning to define black neighborhoods by race. The 8 mile Wyoming colonie became a prominent arena for African Americans. White bureaucrats decided to erect a wall known as the"Detroit Wall" to segregate a black neighborhood in Detroit for real estate purposes. Paradise Valley also became a place that many blacks were confined to during this time.
  • 1921 - Detroit Historical Society formed. Organizations in the United States and Canada
  • 1923: The Ford Motor Company and African American churches align. During this time, due to Henry Ford's strong relationship with prominent Black ministers in the city, his company was the largest employer of African American workers in all of Detroit. Ford and church leaders worked together in the black community to employ thousands and prevent conflicts between black and white workers.
  • 1924 - Ambassador cinema in business.
  • 1925 - Buhl Building constructed.
  • 1925: Ossian Sweet riots. A large crowd was protesting outside Ossian Sweet's house because they did not want him moving into their neighborhood. Rocks were thrown at his home and many windows were broken. Sweet responded by shooting into the crowd and was subsequently charged with murder.
  • 1927
  • 1928
  • 1929
  • 1930
    • Detroit-Windsor Tunnel construction completed.
    • Detroit's electric streetcar systems peaks in size with 30 lines stretching over 534 miles.
    • Population: 1,568,662.
  • 1932: Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Act was passed. This act served to form the Federal Home Loan Bank Board which supervised loan institutions and to lower the overall cost of home ownership.
  • 1933: Formation of Home Owners Loan Cooperation (HOLC). Established as part of the New Deal, this group mainly served to help refinance home mortgages that faced a risk of foreclosure due to the 1929 economic crash and the housing industry collapse.

- Diego Rivera paints Detroit Industry Murals in the Institute of Arts.

  • 1934: Formation of the Federal Housing Authority. The FHA is responsible for setting standards for construction and insuring and underwriting loans made by various lenders.
  • 1935: The United Autoworkers Workers labor union was founded. Ford was the first company to sign a contract with them, again showing the impact that the Ford Motor Company has had throughout Detroit's history.

- Detroit Tigers baseball team win 1935 World Series defeating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 2. The season was their 35th since they entered the American League in 1901. It was the first World Series championship for the Tigers.

  • 1936: 239 maps wre commissioned by FHLB for the HOLC and the FHA.

The FHLB determined which neighborhoods were safe for loans and which were not. This resulted in redlining and Blacks found it very difficult to get loans.

  • 1937: Wagner Steagall legislation passed. This provided a large amount of money for public housing.

- Citizen's housing and planning council formed in Detroit

- The Davidson freeway was built (the first urban one ever built in the U.S). - Exec Order 8802 (FEPC) - mandated non discrimination in the workplace (factories) - Electric streetcars run on Woodward Avenue every 60 seconds at peak times.

  • 1942: Pickets at Sojourner Truth Housing
  • 1943: - The Detroit riot. A race riot, spurred by competition among black and white residents for wartime factory jobs, resulted in 34 deaths.
  • 1944: GI Bill was passed.

-Blacks had trouble buying property outside redline areas and couldn't get loans to buy within red line areas. - Future singer Diana Ross born.

  • 1945 - Detroit Tigers won the 1945 World Series.
  • 1946 - Russell Kelly Office Service
  • 1948: Shelley v Kraemer. The decision ruled that restrictive covenants cannot be enforced. However, it was ineffective to get people to stop using them because they didn't want their neighborhood to get a poor rating.
  • 1949: Taft Ellender Wagner Act is passed. This resulted in more funding for public housing.


21st century

  • 2002 - Detroit Lions football team begin play in the new, state-of-the-art Ford Field, returning to downtown Detroit after 27 years in suburban Pontiac.
  • 2003
  • 2004
    • "Restored" Campus Martius Park opens in downtown Detroit. Featuring an ice-skating rink, it is the focal point of the city's new Winter Blast festival.
    • The Detroit Pistons win the NBA Finals.
  • 2005 - Comerica Park hosts Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.
  • 2006 - February: city hosts Super Bowl XL, and in October, the Detroit Tigers, only three years after having a 119-loss season, defeat the Oakland A's in the American League Championship Series, winning the Penant. They then play in their first World Series since 1984, losing to their 1968 series rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in five games.
  • 2008 - Kwame Kilpatrick resigned his office as mayor effective September 19, 2008, after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and no contest to one count of assaulting and obstructing a police officer.[36][37] Kilpatrick was succeeded in office on an interim basis by City Council President Kenneth Cockrel, Jr..
  • 2009 - Following a special election in May 2009, businessman and former Detroit Pistons star Dave Bing became the Mayor and was subsequently re-elected to a full term of office.
  • 2010 - Population: 713,777.[38]
  • 2013
  • 2014 - Mike Duggan becomes mayor.
    • December: Governor Rick Snyder announced that Detroit had emerged from bankruptcy, and that he had accepted Orr's resignation as emergency manager, returning control of Detroit to its elected government.
  • 2016 - June: CNU24, the 24th Congress for the New Urbanism, is held in Detroit. Congress focuses on the city's resurgence and legacy projects.
  • 2017 - October: National Women's Convention held.[44]
  • 2018 - Bedrock Detroit, owned by Dan Gilbert, announces a $900 million, two building project on the site of the former J.L. Hudson store (which once had the tallest retail tower in the world), including a 58-story tower.[45]

See also


  1. "Detroit History". City of Detroit. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  2. "FRENCH DETROIT (1700-1760)". Detroit Historical Society. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  3. Federal Writers' Project 1941, p. 629+, Chronology.
  4. Ernie Gross (1990). This Day in American History. Neal-Schuman. ISBN 978-1-55570-046-1.
  5. Britannica 1910.
  6. "Timeline of Detroit". Detroit Historical Society. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  7. Bonk 1957.
  8. Burton 1922.
  9. "US Newspaper Directory". Chronicling America. Washington DC: Library of Congress. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  10. Davies Project. "American Libraries before 1876". Princeton University. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  11. "Chronology of Catholic Dioceses: United States of America". Norway: Roman Catholic Diocese of Oslo. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  12. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, US Census Bureau, 1998
  13. "Conventions by Year". Colored Conventions. P. Gabrielle Foreman, director. University of Delaware, Library. Retrieved March 30, 2017.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. "Encyclopedia of Detroit". Detroit Historical Society. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  15. Franklin 1903.
  16. "Police Commissioners History". City of Detroit. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  17. "Detroit". Oxford Art Online. Missing or empty |url= (help) Retrieved March 31, 2017
  18. Colin Lawson, ed. (2003). "Orchestras Founded in the 19th Century (chronological list)". Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00132-8.
  19. "The River that changed the World". Motorcities.org. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  20. "Movie Theaters in Detroit, MI". CinemaTreasures.org. Los Angeles: Cinema Treasures LLC. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  21. Aaron Brenner; Benjamin Day; Immanuel Ness, eds. (2015) [2009]. "Timeline". Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-45707-7.
  22. "Garden Search: United States of America: Michigan". London: Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  23. "Michigan". Official Congressional Directory. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1956 via HathiTrust.
  24. Gavrilovich 2000, p. 232.
  25. Detroit Historical Society (8 July 2016). "The Spirit of Detroit (1959)" via YouTube.
  26. Hellmann 2006.
  27. "Sister Cities Program". City of Detroit. Archived from the original on June 29, 2010.
  28. Patrick Robertson (2011). Robertson's Book of Firsts. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-60819-738-5.
  29. American Association for State and Local History (2002). "Michigan: Detroit". Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada (15th ed.). pp. 397–398. ISBN 0759100020.
  30. "Michigan". Official Congressional Directory. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1966.
  31. Detroit's 'great warrior,' Coleman Young, dies, CNN.com, November 29, 1997
  32. "History of Cities in 50 Buildings", The Guardian, UK, 2015
  33. Baulch, Vivian M. (September 4, 1999).Michigan's greatest treasure Its people Archived 2007-07-31 at Archive.today. Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved on January 31, 2010.
  34. "City of Detroit Official Web Site". Archived from the original on December 7, 1998 via Internet Archive, Wayback Machine.
  35. Kevin Hyde; Tamie Hyde (eds.). "United States of America: Michigan". Official City Sites. Utah. OCLC 40169021. Archived from the original on December 5, 1998.
  36. Bill McGraw (March 24, 2008), "Kilpatrick a first for Detroit", Detroit Free Press
  37. Monica Davey; Nick Bunkley (March 25, 2008). "Mayor of Detroit Faces 8 Counts in Perjury Case". New York Times.
  38. "Detroit city, Michigan". QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  39. Richard Blackden (April 1, 2013), "Kevyn Orr - the man who must fix Detroit", The Telegraph
  40. Bankrupt Detroit goes on trial, Politico.Com, Associated Press, 2013-10-22
  41. "Detroit bankruptcy eligibility case goes to trial", PBS NewsHour, October 23, 2013
  42. Isidore, Chris (November 7, 2013). "Detroit is broke. Who's going to pay?". Money.cnn.com.
  43. "Federal grant to hire 150 Detroit firefighters", Detroit News, November 29, 2013
  44. "At Women's Convention in Detroit, a Test of Momentum and Focus", New York Times, October 28, 2017
  45. Detroit breaks ground on tallest tower, symbol of resurgence Retrieved May 26, 2018


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