Wyandotte, Michigan

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Wyandotte, Michigan
—  City  —
Location in Wayne County and the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 42°12′31″N 83°9′45″W / 42.20861°N 83.1625°W / 42.20861; -83.1625Coordinates: 42°12′31″N 83°9′45″W / 42.20861°N 83.1625°W / 42.20861; -83.1625
CountryUnited States
StateMichigan
CountyWayne
Government
 • Typecouncil-mayor
 • MayorJoseph Peterson
Area
 • Total7 sq mi (18.1 km2)
 • Land5.3 sq mi (13.7 km2)
 • Water1.7 sq mi (4.4 km2)
Elevation581 ft (177 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total25,883
 • Density3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code48192, 48193
Area code(s)734
FIPS code26-88900[1]
GNIS feature ID1616849[2]
 
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Wyandotte, Michigan
—  City  —
Location in Wayne County and the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 42°12′31″N 83°9′45″W / 42.20861°N 83.1625°W / 42.20861; -83.1625Coordinates: 42°12′31″N 83°9′45″W / 42.20861°N 83.1625°W / 42.20861; -83.1625
CountryUnited States
StateMichigan
CountyWayne
Government
 • Typecouncil-mayor
 • MayorJoseph Peterson
Area
 • Total7 sq mi (18.1 km2)
 • Land5.3 sq mi (13.7 km2)
 • Water1.7 sq mi (4.4 km2)
Elevation581 ft (177 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total25,883
 • Density3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code48192, 48193
Area code(s)734
FIPS code26-88900[1]
GNIS feature ID1616849[2]

Wyandotte is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 25,883 at the 2010 census,[3] a decrease of 7.6% from 2000. Wyandotte is located in southeastern Michigan, approximately 11 miles (18 km) south of Detroit on the Detroit River, and is part of the collection of communities known as Downriver. Wyandotte is bounded by Southgate (west), Lincoln Park (northwest), Riverview (south, Ecorse (north) and Lasalle (east).

Wyandotte is a sister city to Komaki, Japan, and each year delegates from Komaki come to Wyandotte to tour the city.

Contents

History

Originally founded as a village in 1854 (deeded by John Biddle to Eber Ward, et al. on December 12, 1854), Wyandotte was incorporated as a city, and granted a charter by the State of Michigan, on December 12, 1866, with the first city election held in April 1867 (the second oldest incorporated city in Wayne County outside of Detroit). The site where Wyandotte sits today in the 18th century was a small village called by the native Indians "Maquaqua" and by the local French "Monguagon". This Native American tribe was known as the Wyandot or Wendat, and were part of the Huron nation originally from the Georgian Bay area of Canada. It was from near here, along the banks of Ecorse Creek, now a northern boundary of the present-day city, that Chief Pontiac plotted his failed attack against the British garrisoned Fort of Detroit, in 1763. The center of the village was nearly parallel to Biddle Avenue between Oak and Eureka streets near the river and its sandy beach, which was a welcome feature to the local tribesmen, as their main mode of transportation to the fort in Detroit was by birch bark canoe. The tribe was considered peaceable and friendly with the British, the remaining French in the area, and the newly arrived Americans. They were a farming tribe and were therefore fairly stable in their settlement, relying heavily on hunting in the local surrounding hardwood forest, fishing from the river, and trading with the nearby fort and associated settlers to supplement their existence. Between Maquaqua/Wyandotte and Detroit (a distance of roughly 10 to 12 miles (16 to 19 km)) there were numerous settlers living along the river who inhabited their ancient "Ribbon Farms", some dating back to the time of Antoine Cadillac's founding of "Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit", in July 1701.

In 1818, the Wyandot signed a treaty with the U.S. government relinquishing this land, moving to an area near Flat Rock, Michigan, then to Ohio, Kansas and finally Oklahoma. The name somewhat lives on as Wyandotte County, Kansas.[4]

One of the first white settlers to come to Wyandotte in the years after the Native Americans left was John Biddle, a Pennsylvania-born former Army major who fought in the War of 1812 and later went on to a prolific political career, serving as mayor of Detroit, delegate from the Territory of Michigan in the U.S. Congress, president of the Michigan Central Railroad, member and later speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and one-time candidate for Michigan Governor.[5] West Jefferson Avenue, which begins in downtown Detroit and runs south to Berlin Township, becomes Biddle Avenue within Wyandotte city limits.

Biddle purchased a 2,200-acre (8.9 km2) plot near modern Biddle Avenue and Vinewood Avenue in 1835 and created a farm he called "The Wyandotte." He sold the plot in 1854 to Eber Ward of the Eureka Iron Co. for $44,000. In 1864, Captain Eber Brock Ward used a high-quality grade of iron ore (known as "Superior") from the recently opened Marquette Range in the Upper Peninsula, and smelted it into the first Bessemer Steel commercially cast in America, using the patented Bessemer process.[6] In 1865, the process created steel rails and allowed an explosion of iron-related businesses to open in the region. As a result, Detroit soon became a major center of iron production, especially for use in stoves. (Wyandotte was home to several companies as well, including the Regeant Stove Co.) It would be this technology that would give Henry Ford from nearby Dearborn the capabilities to create large amounts of steel for his automobile assembly lines.

John S. Van Alstyne, General Manager for Eber Ward of both the Eureka Iron & Steel Works and the associated Wyandotte Rolling Mills, laid out the master plan for the city. This plan was frequently called the "Philadelphia Plan", with streets laid out on a north/south and east/west grid. Streets going along one axis were named after native plants and trees; the streets running away from the river, into the interior, were simply numbered. Van Alstyne was elected as the city's first mayor in 1867. (A street along Wyandotte's Detroit River is named after him - ironically on the site of the former iron works he managed, after it failed and was razed around 1904.) He would also go on to found the Wyandotte Savings Bank in 1871, which was housed in the Main Office building of the Eureka Iron Works (which still stands at the southwest corner of Biddle and Elm; though greatly remodelled it remains the oldest building in the city today).

Eureka Iron Works prospered through the late 19th century but suffered a shortage of raw materials. It closed in 1892, but not before Wyandotte became a major hub in the chemical production industry, possible because of the many salt mines deep below the city.

Business and industry

An early figure was Captain John Baptiste Ford, who used the salt to create soda ash, which in turn was used to create plate glass. In 1893, he created Michigan Alkali Company, which created baking soda, soda ash and lye. The company, later renamed Wyandotte Chemicals Co., went on to create a variety of soaps and cleaners, eventually becoming part of BASF and expanding into the BASF industrial complex.

Wyandotte, 1896
The Oak Street union depot served as the city's passenger rail station from 1891 to 1959.

Ward also help create Wyandotte's shipbuilding role, which existed from the 1870s into the 1920s. During that time, a wide variety of boats were created along Wyandotte's riverbank, from steamers and tugs to huge ferries. In 1873, Ward's Wyandotte Iron Ship Building Works built the nation's earliest steel-hulled vessel, a tugboat called the Sport.[6] This shipbuilding industry was immortalized in 1942 in the painting of several murals which still exist today in the auditorium of Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Beginning in the 1920s Wyandotte was a major source of toy production, with the All Metal Products Company founded in 1920 and located in Wyandotte on Sycamore Street between 14th and 15th streets. From the 1920s until the 1950s the company, under the name "Wyandotte Toys", was the nation's largest manufacturer of toy guns and pistols, producing a wide variety of pop guns, clicker pistols, dart guns, cap guns and a variety of plastic pistols. The company also produced a wide range of toy airplanes and other vehicles by pressing scrap metal obtained from local automobile factories. The company's motto was "Wyandotte Toys Are Good and Safe." In the early 1950s the company moved to Ohio, and it was bought out by Louis Marx and Company three years later.[7]

Wyandotte's Bishop Park used to have a dock to board the Boblo Boat ferry to Boblo Island.

Today, much of the industry has disappeared. A notable exception is BASF Wyandotte.

In July 2001, three workers at an Atofina plant just south of Wyandotte were killed when a rail car leaked a colorless gas called methyl mercaptan. The gas exploded into flames and led to the emergency evacuation of 2,000 area residents, including some Wyandotte citizens.

Government and municipal services

Joe Peterson is the current mayor of Wyandotte as of 2008. A City Council and other elected officials oversee the community's governance. Wyandotte has its own community owned municipal services, called Wyandotte Municipal Services, it provides its own power through a municipal power plant and operates city-owned water and cable television services.

The Wyandotte Police Department, like that of its fellow Downriver community Woodhaven, has a Police Explorers post for youths ages 14–21 that have an interest in law enforcement.

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Wyandotte Public Schools operates the city's public schools.

Wyandotte's public high school is Theodore Roosevelt High School, began in 1921 and completed in 1923 and has since expanded in 1957, 1962, 1975 and 2003.

Historic sites

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic church built in the Polish Cathedral style known for its Old World opulence. It was founded in 1899 by Polish immigrants.

Sports and recreation

The city is home to the Wyandotte Boat Club, a rowing facility. The club host to three local regattas: two spring high school regattas and one fall club regatta. The new facility features two indoor rowing tanks, numerous shell racks and shells, erg and weight rooms, men's and women's locker rooms, meeting room, and a massive club/bar over looking the Detroit River. The tanks are used by all of the rowing programs for technique and style training. They have been shown to be of great benefit in the training of novice rowers. During the off season, the tanks are rented by the hour to outside schools and universities.

Street grid

Most north-south streets are numbered, starting with 1st Street on the East Side and ending with 23rd Street on the West Side. Most east-west streets south of Northline/Ford Avenue are named after trees such as Walnut, Oak, and Cherry, starting with Spruce Street on the north and ending with Grove Street on the south. South of Grove, the east-west streets are named after Michigan cities, with Hillsdale, Marshall, Vassar, Ludington, Negaunee and St. Ignace streets. The city has an East Side and a West Side, separated by a wide area of railroad tracks which include the Canadian National Railway's (Grand Trunk Western) Shoreline and River subdivisions and the Norfolk Southern Railway/Conrail Shared Assets's Detroit Line. NS/Conrail also has a spur line which parallels Alkali Street and serves BASF. Most of the numbered streets are one way at some point. One of the streets, Electric Street, is a continuation of a street that starts in southwest Detroit and continues into Riverview. Electric is so called because of the former Detroit United Railway interurban line that ran next to it which connected Detroit and Toledo.

Most of the Wyandotte-Southgate city limits is straddled by M-85 which locally is known as Fort Street. Since it lies immediately west of 23rd Street, it is very rarely referred to as "24th Street".

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.0 square miles (18 km2), of which 5.3 square miles (14 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), or 23.82%, is water.

Demographics

Historical populations
CensusPop.
196043,519
197041,061−5.6%
198034,006−17.2%
199030,938−9.0%
200028,006−9.5%
201025,883−7.6%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 28,006 people, 11,816 households, and 7,420 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,278.1 per square mile (2,036.4/km²). There were 12,303 housing units at an average density of 2,318.7 per square mile (894.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.32% White, 0.52% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 1.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.91% of the population. Residents are predominantly of Polish descent.

There were 11,816 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,740, and the median income for a family was $54,106. Males had a median income of $42,469 versus $27,261 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,185. About 4.7% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.

Ancestries (2000): Polish (22.5%), German (21.9%), Irish (17.5%), English (9.0%), French (8.5%), Italian (8.4%).

As of the 2010 Census Wyandotte had a population of 25,883. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 91.0% Non-Hispanic white, 1.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 1.9% reporting two or more races and 5.1% Hispanic or Latino.[8]

Religion

The population of Wyandotte is predominately Roman Catholic.

Among the city's Roman Catholic parishes are: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Joseph, and St. Patrick.

Notable natives and residents

References

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), Wyandotte city, Michigan". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. http://factfinder2.census.gov. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ "History of the City of Wyandotte". Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070203161701/http://www.angelfire.com/mi/WYMUSEUM/page8.html. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  5. ^ "BIDDLE, John". http://www.infoplease.com/biography/us/congress/biddle-john.html. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  6. ^ a b "America's First Bessemer Steel Mill". http://www.michmarkers.com/startup.asp?startpage=S0158.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  7. ^ "The Archives & Collections". Archived from the original on January 20, 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050120180542/http://www.angelfire.com/mi/WYMUSEUM/page4.html. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  8. ^ 2010 population reprot for Wyandotte
  9. ^ Lucille D. Ball thinkquest.org biography
  10. ^ "Bob Kuzava Statistics". http://www.baseball-reference.com/k/kuzavbo01.shtml. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  11. ^ Lee Majors at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Thomas McGuane Biography (1939-), Film Reference
  13. ^ Litsky, Frank (1999-08-31). "Fritz Shurmur, 67, a Coach Of Innovative NFL Defenses". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=980DE7D7113BF932A0575BC0A96F958260. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 

External links