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Dates in Detroit History

1701 Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Detroit after he landed on what is now the location of the Civic Center in the downtown area. Detroit became a fur-trading center.
1760  Britain took command of Detroit as a result of the French and Indian War.
1796 American forces took command of Detroit and it became a U.S. city.
1802 
Detroit held its first election.
Detroit was incorporated as a town.
1805
Detroit burned to the ground. All but one of the town's 300 buildings was destroyed.  
1815 Detroit was incorporated as a city.
1824  Detroit's first mayor, John R. Williams, was elected. 
1837 
Michigan was admitted to the Union as the 26th state.
Detroit became an important station on the Underground Railroad. 
1843  The first schoolhouse is opened by the Board of Education. 
1850  Detroit's leading industry manufactured stove and kitchen range. 
1851  Hog Island was officially renamed Belle Isle after Lewis Cass' daughter, Belle.  
1872 
Elijah McCoy, an African American inventor, patented the automatic locomotive Lubricator, which was so good that railroad men asked for "the real McCoy." 
1879  Belle Isle opened as a public park. 
1889  The Hammond Building, Detroit's first skyscraper, was built. 
1890s  Detroit built more ships than any other American city. 
1896 

Charles Brady King introduced Detroit's first automobile. Three months later, Henry Ford completed his first car, the Quadricycle.
The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau was founded. 
1897  Sebastian S. Kresge opened his first dime store, which later became Kmart.  
1901  The first concrete road in the world was built in Detroit. 
1903  Ford Motor Company was formed.
1908

Henry Ford introduced the Model T. It became the first low-priced, mass-produced automobile with standard interchangeable parts.
General Motors was formed.  
1920 
Due to the automobile industry, the city's population rapidly increased. Nearly two million foreign-born residents were now living in Detroit.
1929  The Ambassador Bridge opened.  
1930  The Detroit-Windsor tunnel opened. 
1934 Wayne University was formed and renamed Wayne State University in 1956.
1935 

The United Automobile Workers of America (UAW) was formed.
The Detroit Tigers won their first World Series.
The Detroit Lions won their first National Football League championship. 
1936  The Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup. 
1937  Joe Louis Barrow won the world's heavyweight boxing championship.
1940s 
Detroit was known as the "Arsenal of Democracy," producing a fifth of the world's armament during World War II.
1947   Detroit's first commercial television station, WWJ-TV, began broadcasting. 
1950  Detroit began constructing its freeway system.  
1951  The city celebrated its 250th anniversary. 
1954 
The nation's first shopping mall (Northland Center) opened in nearby Southfield, Michigan. 
1960s 

Detroit became Hitsville USA with Detroit musical talent capturing the hearts of a generation. 
 
1960 
Cobo Hall (now Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center), Detroit's major convention center, opens to rave reviews. 
1963 
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in Detroit two months before its famous delivery in Washington, D.C. 
1967 

New Detroit was founded as the United States' first urban coalition. It was organized to improve education, employment, housing and economic development in the city.  
1970 
Detroit Renaissance, which consisted of a group of business leaders, was founded to help plan Detroit's future. 
1971 
Henry Ford II, head of Detroit Renaissance, announced plans for the construction of the Renaissance Center.  
1974 
Coleman A. Young became the first African-American mayor and was the
longest serving chief executive of Detroit, holding the position for twenty years. 
1977 
The Renaissance Center, the largest office complex in Michigan, opened as a symbol of Detroit's rebirth.  
1987 
The Detroit People Mover, an elevated train system, began operations. 
Pope John Paul II visited Detroit. 
1996      In November, Michigan voted to allow the operation of three casinos in Detroit. 
1999 
The Detroit Tigers played their final baseball game in the classic Tiger Stadium, which opened in 1912. 
2001  Detroit celebrated its 300th birthday. 
2002 
The Detroit Lions football team began playing in the new, state-of-the-art Ford Field, returning to downtown Detroit after 27 years in suburban Pontiac.   
2004 
The "restored" Campus Martius Park opens in downtown Detroit featuring an ice skating rink. 
2005  Detroit hosts the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game at Comerica Park. 
2006  The city hosts Super Bowl XL. 
2009 The city hosts NCAA Final Four