Dearborn, Michigan

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Dearborn, Michigan
City of Dearborn
Adoba Hotel and conference center
Motto: "Home Town of Henry Ford"[1]
Location in Michigan
Coordinates: 42°18′52″N 83°12′48″W / 42.31444°N 83.21333°W / 42.31444; -83.21333Coordinates: 42°18′52″N 83°12′48″W / 42.31444°N 83.21333°W / 42.31444; -83.21333
CountryUnited States
First settled1786
Incorporation (village)1893
Incorporation (city)1927
 • TypeStrong Mayor-Council
 • MayorJohn B. O'Reilly, Jr.
 • Total24.5 sq mi (63.3 km2)
 • Land24.4 sq mi (63.1 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation591 ft (180 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total98,153
 • Estimate (2012[3])96,474
 • Density4,050.9/sq mi (1,564.1/km2)
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s)313
FIPS code26-21000
GNIS feature ID0624432[4]
WebsiteCity of Dearborn, Michigan
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Dearborn, Michigan
City of Dearborn
Adoba Hotel and conference center
Motto: "Home Town of Henry Ford"[1]
Location in Michigan
Coordinates: 42°18′52″N 83°12′48″W / 42.31444°N 83.21333°W / 42.31444; -83.21333Coordinates: 42°18′52″N 83°12′48″W / 42.31444°N 83.21333°W / 42.31444; -83.21333
CountryUnited States
First settled1786
Incorporation (village)1893
Incorporation (city)1927
 • TypeStrong Mayor-Council
 • MayorJohn B. O'Reilly, Jr.
 • Total24.5 sq mi (63.3 km2)
 • Land24.4 sq mi (63.1 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation591 ft (180 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total98,153
 • Estimate (2012[3])96,474
 • Density4,050.9/sq mi (1,564.1/km2)
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s)313
FIPS code26-21000
GNIS feature ID0624432[4]
WebsiteCity of Dearborn, Michigan

Dearborn is a city in the state of Michigan. It is located in Wayne County and is part of the Detroit metropolitan area. Dearborn is the eighth largest city in the State of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 98,153.[5] First settled in the late 18th century by French farmers in a series of ribbon farms along the Rouge River and the Sauk Trail, the community grew with the establishment of the Detroit Arsenal on the Chicago Road linking Detroit and Chicago. It later grew into a manufacturing hub for the automotive industry.

The city was the home of Henry Ford and is the world headquarters of the Ford Motor Company. It has a campus of the University of Michigan as well as Henry Ford Community College. Dearborn has The Henry Ford, America's largest indoor-outdoor museum complex and Metro Detroit's leading tourist attraction.[6][7]

Dearborn residents are primarily of European or Middle Eastern heritage. German, Polish, Irish and Italian are the primary European ethnicities. Middle Eastern ancestries make up the largest ethnic grouping with Lebanese, Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian groups present.


The area had been inhabited for thousands of years by varying indigenous peoples. Historical tribes belonged mostly to the Algonquian-language family, although the Huron were Iroquoian speaking.

The Dearborn area was settled by Europeans in 1786, after the American Revolutionary War.[8] Population growth led to Dearborn Township being formed in 1833 and the village of Dearbornville within it being established in 1836, both named after patriot Henry Dearborn, a General in the American Revolution and Secretary of War under President Thomas Jefferson. The town of Dearborn was incorporated in 1893, changing to a city in 1927. Its current borders trace back to a 1928 consolidation vote that 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. Once farm land, this was bought by Henry Ford for his estate, Fair Lane, and the Ford Motor Company World Headquarters. Later developments in this corridor were the Ford airport (later converted to the Dearborn Proving Grounds), other Ford administrative and development facilities, The Henry Ford (the region's leading tourist attraction containing a reconstructed historic village and museum), the Henry Ford Centennial Library, the super-regional shopping mall Fairlane Town Center, and the Dearborn Civic Center. It is planted with sunflowers and often with Henry Ford's favorite soybeans. The crops are never harvested.

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) opened in Dearborn in 2005, the first museum in the world devoted to Arab-American history and culture. Most of the Arab-Americans in Dearborn and the Detroit area are ethnic Lebanese, who immigrated in the early twentieth century to work in the auto industry, like many immigrants to the area. They have been joined by more recent Arab immigrants from other nations.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.5 square miles (63 km2), of which, 24.4 square miles (63 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.37%) is water. The Rouge River 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 lake freighter access.

Fordson Island (42°17′38″N 83°08′52″W / 42.29389°N 83.14778°W / 42.29389; -83.14778) is an 8.4 acre (33,994 m²) island about three miles (5 km) inland from the Detroit River on the River Rouge. Fordson Island is the only major island in a tributary to the Detroit River. The island was created in 1922 when engineers dug a secondary trench to reroute the River Rouge to increase navigability for shipping purposes. The island is privately owned, and public access to the island is prohibited. The island is part of the city of Dearborn, which itself has no coast along the Detroit River.[9][10]

Dearborn is among a small number of municipalities that own property in other cities. It owns the 626-acre (2.53 km2) Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan, which is located 35 miles (56 km) from Dearborn.[11] Dearborn is among an even smaller number that hold property in another state: the city owns 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.


Historical populations
Est. 201296,474−1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
2012 Estimate[13]

As of 2010 census the population of Dearborn was 98,153. The racial and ethnic composition was 89.1% Whites, 4.0% black or African-American, 0.2% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 4.0% reporting two or more races and 3.4% Hispanic or Latino.[14] 41.7% were of Arab ancestry (categorized as "White" in Census collection data).[15]

Dearborn has a large community of descendants of ethnic European immigrants from the 19th and 20th centuries, whose ancestors generally first settled in Detroit: Irish, German, and Polish. It is a center of Maltese American settlement, from the Mediterranean island of Malta, primarily due to the auto industry and the exodus of numbers of some original Maltese who settled in Corktown.[16]

The city has a small African American population, many of whose ancestors came to the area in the Great Migration of the early twentieth century.[17]

In Census 2000, 61.9% spoke only English, while 29.3% spoke Arabic, 1.9% Spanish, and 1.5% Polish. There were 36,770 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.42.

In the city the population was 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 99.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,560, and the median income for a family was $53,060. Males had a median income of $45,114 versus $33,872 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,488. About 12.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 and over.

As of the 2012 estimate, Dearborn's population was thought to have fallen to 96,474, a decrease of 1.7% since 2010. Over the same period, though, SEMCOG, the local statistics agency of Metro Detroit Council of Governments, has estimated the city to have grown to 99,001, or an increase of 1.2% since 2000. The Census Bureau estimates the 2005 proportion of African Americans to be 4.1% of the total population of the city.

Arab Americans

The city's population includes 40,000 Arab Americans.[18] Ethnic Arabs own many shops and businesses, offering services in both English and Arabic.[19] In the 2010 census, Arab Americans comprised 40% of Dearborn's population; many have been in the city for several generations. The city has the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the United States.[20] As of 2006 Dearborn also has the largest Lebanese American population in the United States.[21]

The first Arab immigrants came in the early-to-mid-20th century to work in the automotive industry and were chiefly Lebanese Christians (Maronites). Other immigrants from the Mideast in the early twentieth century included a large Armenian-American community, who are Christian. Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs have also immigrated to the area. Since then, Arab immigrants from Yemen, Iraq and the Palestinian territories, most of whom are Muslim, have joined them. Lebanese Americans are still the most numerous group.[22][23] The Arab Muslim community has built the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America,[24] and the Dearborn Mosque. More Iraqi refugees have come, fleeing the continued war in their country since 2003.

Warren Avenue has the commercial center of the Arab-American community. The Arab American National Museum is located in Dearborn.[25] The museum was opened in January 2005 to mark the Arab American community's history and contributions to the United States.


Ford Motor Company World Headquarters in Dearborn, known as the Glass House

Ford Motor Company has its world headquarters in Dearborn.[26] In addition its Dearborn campus contains many research, testing, finance and some production facilities. Ford Land controls the numerous properties owned by Ford including sales and leasing to unrelated businesses such as the Fairlane Town Center shopping mall. DFCU Financial, the largest credit union in Michigan, was created for Ford and related companies' employees. One of the largest employers in Dearborn is Oakwood Healthcare System. Other major employers include auto suppliers like Visteon, education facilities like Henry Ford Community College and museums like The Henry Ford. Other businesses which are headquartered in Dearborn include Carhartt (clothing), Eppinger (fishing lures), AAA Michigan (insurance), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Largest employers

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[27] the largest employers in the city are:

#Employer# of Employees
2Oakwood Health System5,833
3Severstal North America4,900
7Dearborn Board of Education2,032
8Auto Club of Michigan1,664
9United Technologies Auto1,200
10Henry Ford Community College1,000


Colleges and universities

University of Michigan–Dearborn and Henry Ford Community College are located in Dearborn on Evergreen Road and are adjacent to each other. Spring Arbor University and Central Michigan University both offer classes in Dearborn.[28][29] Career training schools include Kaplan Career Institute, ITT Tech, and Sanford Brown College.

Primary and secondary schools

Dearborn residents, along with a small portion of Dearborn Heights residents attend Dearborn Public Schools,[30] which operates 34 schools including 3 major high schools. Divine Child High School and Elementary School are in Dearborn as well; the high-school is the largest private coed high school in the area. Dearborn Schools operated the Clara B. Ford High School inside Vista Maria, a non-profit residential treatment agency for girls in Dearborn Heights. Clara B. Ford High School became a charter school in the 2007–08 school year.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit previously operated the St. Alphonsus Elementary School in Dearborn. In 2005 the archdiocese announced that the school would close.[31]

Public libraries

Henry Ford Centennial Library

Dearborn Public Library includes the Henry Ford Centennial Library, the main library, and the Bryant and Esper branches.[32]

Around April 1963 the Ford Motor Company granted the City of Dearborn $3,000,000 so a library as a memorial to Henry Ford could be built. Ford Motor Company deeded 15.3 acres (6.2 ha) of vacant land to the city on July 30, 1963 for the public library. That day was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford. The Ford Foundation later granted the library an additional $500,000 so supplies and equipment could be obtained. On November 25, 1969 the library was dedicated. Library employees occupied the building since its opening; originally only the library had offices in the building. In 1979 the library staff gave up the western side's meeting rooms and the City of Dearborn Health Department occupied those rooms.[33]

The Bryant Branch, which opened in November 1924, was Dearborn's first public library. It served as the main library until the Ford library opened. In 1970 Bryant became a branch library. The library was renamed after Mrs. Katharine Wright Bryant, a woman who developed a plan for the library and campaigned for it, in 1977.[34]

The Esper Branch, the smallest branch, is located in the Arab quarter. The library has about 35,000 books, entertainment and educational videocasettes, music CDs, children's music casettes, audio books, and magazines. Newspapers are available there. Many Arabic-language books, newspapers, and videocasettes are available due to the Arab population. It was dedicated on October 12, 1953. Originally named the Warren Branch, the library had replaced the Northeast Branch, which opened in a storefront in 1944. In October 1961 it received its current name after city councilmember Anthony M. Esper.[35]


Sports facilities

Sports facilities include the Dearborn Ice Skating Center.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Dearborn, operating its Wolverine three times daily in each direction between Chicago, Illinois and Pontiac, Michigan via Detroit. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. Currently there are two rail stops in Dearborn: the ordinary Amtrak station and a rarely-used station at Greenfield Village. Amtrak operates on Norfolk Southern's (NS) "Michigan Line". This track runs from Dearborn to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Most of the freight traffic on these rails is related to the automotive industry. Norfolk Southern's Dearborn Division offices are also located in Dearborn.

Dearborn is served by buses of both the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) systems.

From 1924 to 1947, Dearborn was the site of Ford Airport, with the world's first concrete runway and the first scheduled U.S. passenger service.


The metropolitan area newspapers are The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.

The The Arab American News is published in Dearborn.[36]

Notable people

Henry Ford's Fair Lane estate in Dearborn.
River Rouge from Henry Ford's estate.

Free speech controversy

Four members of the Christian group "Acts 17 Apologetics" were arrested and prosecuted for breach of the peace in 2010 because they were walking around the annual Arab-American Festival talking to people at the festival about Christianity.[38] All the charges, except one of failure to obey a police order, were thrown out by a jury.[39] During the festival, four other people from Apologetics were blocked from handing out Arabic-English copies of the Gospel of John on a public street. Police ordered them to stop filming the incident, to provide identification, and to move at least five blocks from the border of the fair.[40]

A Tea Party Senatorial candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, suggested that Dearborn was contributing to a non-widespread "militant terrorist situation,"[38][41] and said that the city was enforcing Islamic law.[38] Angle was sharply criticized by the Mayor Jack O'Reilly, who called her comments "shameful."[38] "He said they were based on distorted Tea Party accounts of the arrest of members of an anti-Islam group at an Arab festival."[38] Angle was defeated in the election by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Preacher Terry Jones planned a protest in 2011 outside the Islamic Center of America. Local authorities required him either to post a $45,000 "peace bond" to cover Dearborn's cost if Jones was attacked by extremists or to go to trial. Jones contested that requirement, and the jury voted on April 22 to require the posting of a $1 "peace bond", but Jones and his co-pastor Wayne Sapp continued to refuse to pay. They were held briefly in jail, while claiming violation of First Amendment rights. That night Jones was released by the court.[42] The ACLU had filed an amicus brief in support of Jones's protest plans.[43]

A week later, on April 29, Jones led a rally at the Dearborn City Hall, designated as a free speech zone. Riot police were called out to control counter protesters.[44][45][46]

On November 11, 2011, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Ziolkowski vacated the “breach of peace” ruling against Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp on the grounds that they were denied due process.[47]

Terry Jones led a rally at City Hall and then planned to speak at the annual Festival on June 18, 2011, but on his way there he was blocked by protesters, six of whom were arrested. Police said they did not have enough officers present to maintain safety.[48] Christian missionaries accompanied Jones with their own signs of protest; they were alleged by festivalgoers and protesters to have yelled insults at Arabs, Muslims, Islam, and Catholics.[49]

On April 7, 2012 Terry Jones led a protest in front of the Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, speaking about Islam and Free Speech. The mosque was placed on lock down. 30 police cars were there to block traffic and prevent a counter protest.[50]

Historical timeline

European exploration and colonization

Early U.S. history

Incorporation as village

Reincorporation as city

See also


  1. ^ "City of Dearborn, Michigan". City of Dearborn, Michigan. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Dearborn, Michigan
  5. ^ Population of Michigan Cities, Villages, Townships, and Remainders of Townships.
  6. ^ America's Story, Explore the States: Michigan (2006). Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village Library of Congress. Retrieved on May 2, 2007.
  7. ^ State of Michigan: MI Kids (2006).Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village Retrieved on May 2, 2007.
  8. ^ "History", Dearborn Area Living, accessed 15 May 2010
  9. ^ Buttle and Tuttle Ltd (2000–2008). "Wayne County island place names". Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  10. ^ Heritage Newspapers (2009). "Dearborn Area Living: rivers, creeks, ditches". Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  11. ^ Camp Dearborn, Dearborn city website
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ Dearborn (city), Michigan, 2010 census results
  15. ^ 2010 ancestry report for Dearborn
  16. ^ Maltese In Detroit, Diane Gale Andreassi, Larry Zahra, Arcadia Publishing, Feb 28, 2011, p. 47
  17. ^ Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, Denounces 'Residents Only' Policy at New Dearborn Civic Center as Racist Attempt to Limit Access by African-Americans,PR Newswire, HighBeam Research
  18. ^ Dearborn, Michigan: America's Muslim Capital
  19. ^ of Citizenship, University of Michigan
  20. ^ The Arab Population: Census Bureau, 2000, pp. 7-8, accessed 15 Apr 2008
  21. ^ Raz, Guy. "Lebanese-Americans Are Angry and Anxious." National Public Radio. August 8, 2006. Retrieved on March 27, 2013.
  22. ^ Michigan statistics - Arab Institute of America
  23. ^ Living together peacefully in heart of Arab America by Pierre M. Atlas - Common Ground News Service
  24. ^ Islamic Center of America - Dearborn, Michigan - Mosques on
  25. ^ Karoub, Jeff. "Oasis of Arab culture sits comfortably in Dearborn, Michigan." Chicago Sun-Times. August 6, 2011. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  26. ^ "Contact Ford." Ford Motor Company. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  27. ^ "City of Dearborn 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). 
  28. ^ Locations: Detroit (Dearborn), Spring Arbor University, accessed November 8, 2012
  29. ^ CMU in Dearborn, Michigan, CMU Global Campus, Central Michigan University, accessed November 8, 2012
  30. ^ "Dearborn Public Schools". Dearborn Public Schools. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  31. ^ Pratt, Chastity, Patricia Montemurri, and Lori Higgins. "PARENTS, KIDS SCRAMBLE AS EDUCATION OPTIONS NARROW." Detroit Free Press. March 17, 2005. A1 News. Retrieved on April 30, 2011. "School closings announced Wednesday by the Archdiocese of Detroit doomed eight high schools in Detroit and neighboring suburbs and will shutter 10 elementary schools, including historic landmarks such as St. Alphonsus Elementary in Dearborn and St. Florian Elementary in Hamtramck."
  32. ^ "Hours/About Us." (Archive) Dearborn Public Library. Retrieved on November 15, 2013.
  33. ^ "A LOOK AT THE Henry Ford Centennial Library." (Archive) Dearborn Public Library. Retrieved on November 15, 2013.
  34. ^ "A LOOK AT THE Bryant Branch." (Archive) Dearborn Public Library. Retrieved on November 15, 2013.
  35. ^ "A LOOK AT THE Esper Branch." (Archive) Dearborn Public Library. Retrieved on November 15, 2013.
  36. ^ "About Us." The Arab American News. Retrieved on September 22, 2013.
  37. ^ "Michigan's Rima Fakih Wins Miss USA Pageant". CBS News. May 16, 2010. 
  38. ^ a b c d e Jill Lawrence, "Sharron Angle on Sharia Religious Law: It's Already Supplanting the Constitution", Politics Daily, 7 October 2010
  39. ^ Light, Jonathan (September 25, 2010). "Acts-17 Group Acquitted of Inciting Crowd". Dearborn Free Press (DEARBORN, Michigan). Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  40. ^ Brayton, Ed (2010-07-22). "Dearborn police accused of violating First Amendment". The Michigan Messenger. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  41. ^ "Sharron Angle Claims Dearborn, Michigan Ruled by Sharia Law", The Atlantic
  42. ^ "Jones Released from Jail After Paying 'Peace Bond'". WJBK (Dearborn). 2011-04-22. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  43. ^ "Terry Jones Amicus Brief", ACLU Michigan Website, accessed 1 September 2011
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ Wattrick, Jeff (November 11, 2011). "Judge vacates 'breach of peace' judgement against Terry Jones". Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ WARIKOO, Niraj (Jun 19, 2011). "Christian missionaries take on Muslims, Catholics at Arab International Festival". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  50. ^ Warikoo, Niraj (4/7/2012). "Fla. pastor Terry Jones: Islam's goal is 'world domination'". USA Today. 

Further reading

External links