Mexicantown, Detroit

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Mexicantown is a community in Southwest Detroit, Michigan.[1]

Andrew Eckhous, a columnist for the Michigan Daily, said that Mexicantown was "one of Detroit’s most vibrant communities".[2] John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press said that the commercial activity on West Vernor in Mexicantown is an example of what the Detroit Future City report suggested as something to replicate throughout the city.[3]

History[edit]

Detroit's Mexican population began settling in Mexicantown in the 1940s. The Mexican community established itself on Vernor Street.[4] The community was originally known as "La Bagley".[5] The Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church began holding weekly masses in Spanish by 1969. At one point the Lithuanian Hall building was renamed the Hispanos Unidos Hall.[4] Waves of immigration came in the 1970s and 1980s which added to the community. In the late 1980s the neighborhood was christened "Mexicantown" as part of a public relations campaign.[5] A wave of immigration from Mexico in the 1990s greatly increased the number of Mexicans in Detroit.[4] In one period Mexicantown's population increased with seasonal immigrations of about 2,000 people while Detroit as a whole had population decreases.[6] Benedict Carey of The New York Times said that Mexicantown was "on the rise" in 2005.[7]

In December 2012 Ford Motor Company announced that it would open the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in the Mexicantown Mercado facility and spend $10 million to finance the operations of the center.[8] Prior to the Ford center opening, the building was closed.[9]

Composition[edit]

The main thoroughfares are Bagley Street and Vernor Street. Meghan McEwen of Model D said "Nebulous are the borders of Mexicantown" and that "Some say it begins at the old train station and ends at Clark Park. Others passionately insist it includes Clark Park. More than a few people expand its spread all the way to Livernois."[1] Vince Murray, the executive director of Vince Murray, argued that the community could include Springwells Avenue and that the name "Mexicantown" may be too limiting.[1] McEwen said "Perhaps even more important to defining the neighborhood, though, are its enviously unique traits and robust character, attracting visitors, as well as residents, from all over the state and even Canada."[1] McEwen also said "Mexicantown is a place where vibrantly colored buildings, decorated with even brighter murals and hand-painted signs, dot" Bagley and Vernor.[1] As of 2011 there are many restaurants at the intersection of Interstate 75 and Vernor that cater to customers from the suburbs.[4] Mcewen said "[o]ne might guess there are more restaurants per square foot than any other neighborhood in Detroit"[1]

Education[edit]

The neighborhood is in the Detroit school district, and is served by Western International High School.[10]

The Detroit Public Library Bowen Branch is in Mexicantown.[11] It was named after a Detroit Library Commission member Herbert Bowen. It opened on December 28, 1912.[12] it is also served by two non-public high school Detroit cristo rey High School and Cesar Chaves Academy

In media[edit]

A documentary called "A Journey to Mexico" was created, highlighting travels of people from two Mexican towns to the Mexicantown area of Detroit.[6]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Mcewen, Meghan. "Mexicantown Visiting Guide." Model D. Tuesday February 28, 2006.
  2. ^ Eckhous, Andrew. "Andrew Eckhous: Rejuvenating Detroit." The Michigan Daily. January 14, 2013. Retrieved on January 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Gallagher, John. "Blueprint shows what Detroit could be." Detroit Free Press at the Battle Creek Enquirer. January 13, 2013. 2. "The thriving mixed-used district of Midtown, the commercial activity along West Vernor in Mexicantown, and the robust apartment and condominium markets of the Gold Coast along the east riverfront -- these illustrate the denser, mixed-use character of much of what Detroit Future City hopes to create elsewhere in the city."
  4. ^ a b c d Denvir, Daniel. "The Paradox of Mexicantown: Detroit's Uncomfortable Relationship With the Immigrants it Desperately Needs." (Archive) The Atlantic Cities. September 24, 2012. Retrieved on January 15, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Bonisteel, Sara. "In Detroit, It's the Mexicans Welcoming Visitors to America." (Archive) Fox News. January 11, 2007. Retrieved on May 19, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Movie explores roots, culture of Mexicantown: Detroit-produced film features Jesus Maria and St. Ignacio to detail lives of immigrants." The Detroit News. December 29, 1999. Retrieved on January 15, 2012. "Mexican pride is expected to get a boost on Cinco De Mayo next year at the premier of A Journey to Mexico, a documentary that will chronicle the experiences of thousands of people who immigrated to Detroit from two towns in Mexico. "More than two-thirds of the people from these towns live and work in Detroit at least part of the year now," said Maria Elana Rodriguez, president of the Mexicantown Development Corporation, which is helping to fund the estimated[...]" and "Rodriguez said that while many people were moving out of Detroit, the city's Mexicantown area grew as about two thousand people immigrated here seasonally[...]"
  7. ^ Carey, Benedict. "Life in the Red." The New York Times. January 15, 2013. Retrieved on January 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Helms, Matt. "Ford announces $10-million community center in Mexicantown." Detroit Free Press. December 18, 2012. Retrieved on January 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "Ford Donation Boosts Detroit’s Mexicantown." CBS Detroit. December 18, 2012. Retrieved on January 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "High School Boundaries - 2012/13 School Year." (Archive) Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  11. ^ "Faculty Research Portfolios - Dr. José Cuello." Wayne State University. Retrieved on January 16, 2013. "Although trained as a historian, he has also showcased his artwork at several Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) exhibitions and read poetry at the Bowen Library Branch in Mexicantown. "
  12. ^ "Bowen Branch." Detroit Public Library. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  13. ^ Kantowski, Ron. "Pro ballplayer's story ends humbly in desert town." Associated Press at San Diego Union-Tribune. September 27, 2008. Retrieved on January 15, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]