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Detroit, Michigan: Automobiles and Motown
When visiting Detroit, Michigan one can only think back to almost a century ago when Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company rolled a group of mass-produced automobiles off the assembly line. Or, perhaps the mind goes to a more recent date when the Motown music sound was founded in 1957 by Berry Gordy, Jr. Either way, there are many reasons why Detroit is an interesting place to visit.
Detroit Facts and History
Detroit is located in Wayne County on the Detroit River and is often called "The Motor City." Its population as of 2003 was estimated at 911,402. A trader founded the community named Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701, and was an important area of commerce for Native American tribes. In 1815, the city was incorporated. It became known for manufacturing kitchen ranges and cigars.
During the late 1800s, a farmer's son named Henry Ford began building cars in Detroit. He did not invent the automobile, but the way he produced later would be the key to his success - and the city's growth.
Other auto manufacturers moved to the area, giving the city a great population boost during the early 1900s. During World War II, factories concentrated their production efforts on war supplies and vehicles. After the war, companies who had survived resumed their old businesses.
In 1957, a man named Berry Gordy, Jr. founded the Motown record company, which put Detroit in the limelight once again. Famous entertainers such as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokie Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations and Stevie Wonder had their start here and many of them also lived in Detroit.
Places to visit while in Detroit include the Motown Historical Museum and the Detroit Historical Museum. Car fans will enjoy the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in the nearby town of Dearborn, Michigan (http://www.hfmgv.org), where the history of the automobile can be seen through unique displays, memorabilia, antique cars and more.
Families touring the area will have a blast at the Detroit Zoological Park (http://detroitzoo.org). The zoo is home to polar bears, apes and other fascinating animals and has a beautiful indoor rain forest.
Other places of interest are the New Detroit Science Center, Greektown, Fox Theater Building, Ambassador Bridge and the Hart Plaza.
Detroit Festivals and Events
Detroit hosts two very popular music festivals each year. The Spirit of Detroit Music Festival is held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in July and features a variety of music, from jazz to blues to R&B. Local musicians and several national figures perform on three individual stages. Another festival is the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, held on Labor Day weekend at Detroit's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. This is the largest free jazz festival in America and features around 1,000 jazz musicians from all over the world!
Other festivals and events in Detroit include the Detroit Auto Show, Ann Arbor Spring Art Fair, Comerica TasteFest, America's Thanksgiving Parade and the Motor City Bowl.
Recently, Detroit has been taking steps to create a better image and attract more visitors and residents to the area. As a result, many buildings have been renovated and new businesses have opened, giving the city new life. To learn more about Detroit, Michigan USA visit the Detroit tourism site. (http://www.visitdetroit.com/)