Dearborn, Michigan

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Dearborn is a city of nearly 98,000 people located in the Metro Detroit metropolitan area and Wayne County, Michigan in the United States. The city is the hometown of Henry Ford and the world headquarters of the Ford Motor Company, and the site of a University of Michigan campus as well as Henry Ford Community College.

Dearborn is home to over 29,000 Arab-Americans, the second largest population within the U.S (New York, New York has nearly 70,000). Arabs first settled here to work in the automotive industry. In January of 2005 a new Arab American National Museum opened as a result of this large concentrated population. The city is also home to the Dearborn Mosque. Because of the Arab influence in Dearborn, store signs and billboards written in Arabic are common sights.

Dearborn is home to the Ford River Rouge Plant, built by Henry Ford to make Ford Model T components, and later the birthplace (and former production line) of the Ford Mustang. It currently produces Ford F150 trucks. At one time the plant employed 100,000 people and produced finished vehicles from iron ore and sand.



The Dearborn area was first settled by Europeans in 1786. The village of Dearborn was established in 1836, named after patriot Henry Dearborn, a general in the American Revolution and Secretary of War under President Thomas Jefferson. Its origins as a city trace back to a January 1929 consolidation vote which established its present-day borders by merging Dearborn and neighboring Fordson (previously known as Springwells) which feared being absorbed into Detroit. The area between the two towns was, and still remains in part undeveloped. This, once farm land, was bought by Henry Ford who built his estate and Ford World Headquarters on it. Later developments in this corridor were the Ford airport, (later converted to the Ford test track), other Ford administrative and development facilities, The Henry Ford village and museum and Fair Lane, the Henry Ford Centennial Library and the Dearborn Civic Center. Some of the land remains open as of 2005 and is planted with sunflowers and often in Henry Ford's favorite soybeans, presumably for property tax reduction purposes. The crops are never harvested.

Dearborn was known nationally for its de facto racial segregation under Mayor Orville L. Hubbard, whose 36 year tenure ended in 1978. Hubbard became the most famous segregationist north of the Mason-Dixon line and openly admitted to allowing the use of intimidation tactics against African-American families looking to move to Dearborn. This unsubtle policy is, in part, responsible for the minute black population in Dearborn today.

Timeline of Dearborn history

European exploration and colonization

  • 1603 French lay claim to unidentified territory in this region, naming it new France.
  • July 24, 1701 Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and his soldiers first land at what is now Detroit.
  • November 29, 1760 The British take control of the area from France.
  • 1780 Pierre Dumais clears farm near what is today's Morningside Street in Dearborn's South End. First non-Native American activity in present-day Dearborn.

Early U.S. history

  • 1783 By terms of the Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain cedes territory south of the Great Lakes to the United States, although the Brithish retain practical control of the Detroit area and several other settlements until 1797.
  • 1786 Agreed year of first permanent settler in present-day Dearborn.
  • 1787 Territory of the US north and west of the Ohio River is officially proclaimed the Northwest Territory.
  • December 26, 1791 Detroit environs become part of Kent County, Ontario
  • 1795 James Cissne becomes first settler in what is now west Dearborn.
  • 1796 Wayne County is formed by proclamation of the acting governor of the Northwest Territory. Its original area is 2 million square miles, stretching from Cleveland, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois and northwest to Canada.
  • May 7, 1800 Indiana Territory, created out of part of Northwest Territory, although the eastern half of Michigan including the Dearborn area, was not attached to Indiana Territory until Ohio was admitted as a state in 1803.
  • January 11, 1805 Michigan Territory officially created out of a part of the Indiana Territory.
  • June 11, 1805 Fire destroys most of Detroit.
  • November 15, 1815 Current boundaries of Wayne County drawn, county split into 18 townships.
  • January 5, 1818 Springwells Township established by Gov. Lewis Cass
  • October 23, 1824 Bucklin Township created by Gov. Lewis Cass. The area ran from Greenfield to approximately Haggerty and from Van Born to Eight Mile.
  • 1826 Conrad Ten Eyck builds Ten Eyck Tavern at Michigan Avenue and Rouge River.
  • 1827 Wayne County's boundaries changed to its current 615 square miles.
  • April 12, 1827 Springwells and Bucklin townships formally organized and laid out by gubernatorial act.
  • October 29, 1829 Bucklin Township split along what is today Inkster Road into Nankin (west half) and Pekin (east half) townships.
  • March 21, 1833 Pekin Township renamed Redford Township.
  • March 31, 1833 Greenfield Township created from north and west sections of Sprinwells Township, including what is now today east Dearborn.
  • April 1, 1833 Dearborn Township created from southern half of Redford Township south of Bonaparte Avenue (Joy Road).
  • 1833 Detroit Arsenal built.
  • October 23, 1834 Dearborn Township renamed Bucklin Township.
  • March 26, 1836 Bucklin Township remaned Dearborn Township.
  • January 26, 1837 Michigan admitted to the Union as the 26th state. Stevens T. Mason is first governor.
  • 1837 Michigan Central Railroad extended through Springwells Township. Hamlet of Springwells rises along railroad.
  • April 5, 1838 Village of Dearbornville incorporates. Village later unincorporated on May 11, 1846.
  • 1849 Detroit annexes Springwells Township east of Brooklyn Street.
  • April 2, 1850 Greenfield Township annexes another section of Springwells Township.
  • February 12, 1857 Detroit annexes Springwells Township east of Grand Boulevard
  • March 25, 1873 Springwells Township annexes back section of Greenfield Township south of Tireman
  • May 28, 1875 Postmaster general changes name of Dearbornville post office to Dearborn post office, hence changing the city's name.
  • 1875 Detroit Aresenal closed.
  • 1875 Detroit annexes another section of Springwells Township.
  • 1876 William A. Nowlin writes The Bark Covered House in honor of country's 100th birthday.
  • June 20, 1884 Detroit annexes Springwells Townshp east of Livernois.
  • 1889 First telephone installed in Dearborn at St. Joseph's retreat

Incorporation as village

  • March 24, 1893 Village of Dearborn incorporates.
  • 1906 Detroit annexes another section of Springwells Township.
  • 1916 Detroit annexes more of Springwells Township, forming Dearborn's eastern boundary.
  • 1917 Rouge "Eagle" Plant opens.
  • November 1, 1919 The first house numbering ordinance in Dearborn starts. Residents required to place standard plate number on right side of the main house entrance five feet up.
  • December 9, 1919 Springwells Township incorporates as village of Springwells.
  • October 16, 1922 Springwells Township annexes small section of Dearborn Township east of present-day Greenfield Road.
  • December 27, 1923 Voters approve incorporation of Springwells as a city. It officially became a city April 7, 1924.
  • September 9, 1924 Village of Warrendale incorporates.
  • November 1924 Ford Airport opens.
  • April 6, 1925 Warrendale voters and residents of remaining Greenfield Township approve annexation by Detroit.
  • May 26, 1925 Village of Dearborn annexes large portion of Dearborn Township.
  • December 23, 1925 Springwells changes name to city of Fordson.
  • February 15, 1926 First U.S. airmail delivery made, going from Ford Airport in Dearborn to Cleveland.
  • September 14, 1926 Election approves incorporation of village of Inkster. Unincorporated part of Dearborn Township split into two unconnected sections.
  • October 11, 1926 Only dirigible to ever moor in Dearborn docks at Ford Airport.

Reincorporation as city


Location of Dearborn, Michigan

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 63.3 km² (24.5 mi²). 63.1 km² (24.4 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.37% water. The River Rouge runs through the city with an artificial waterfall/low head dam on the Henry Ford estate to power his powerhouse. The Upper, Middle, and Lower Branches of the river come together in Dearborn. The river is widened and channeled near the Rouge Plant to allow freighter access.


Dearborn is among a small number of municipalities that owns property in other cities (Camp Dearborn, in Milford, Michigan) and is possibly unique in holding property in another state (the Dearborn Towers apartment complex in Clearwater, Florida). These holdings are considered part of the city of Dearborn, and revenues generated by camp admissions and rent collected are used to bolster the city's budget.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 97,775 people, 36,770 households, and 23,863 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,549.7/km² (4,013.2/mi²). There are 38,981 housing units at an average density of 617.8/km² (1,600.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 86.86% White, 1.28% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.73% from other races, and 9.38% from two or more races. 3.00% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. The White ethnic groups include Arab, Polish, Czech, German, Italian, Irish, etc., as all these peoples are considered Caucasian.

There are 36,770 households out of which 31.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% are married couples living together, 9.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% are non-families. 30.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.65 and the average family size is 3.42.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 99.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $44,560, and the median income for a family is $53,060. Males have a median income of $45,114 versus $33,872 for females. The per capita income for the city is $21,488. 16.1% of the population and 12.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.4% of those under the age of 18 and 7.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Famous people from Dearborn, Michigan

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