Biddle Avenue at Maple and 1st Streets in the downtown area
Location in Wayne County and the state of Michigan
|• Mayor||Joseph Peterson|
|• Total||7.01 sq mi (18.16 km2)|
|• Land||5.27 sq mi (13.65 km2)|
|• Water||1.74 sq mi (4.51 km2)|
|Elevation||581 ft (177 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||25,485|
|• Density||4,911.4/sq mi (1,896.3/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code||48192, 48193|
|GNIS feature ID||1616849|
Wyandotte is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 25,883 at the 2010 census, 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).
- 1 History
- 2 Business and industry
- 3 Government and municipal services
- 4 Education
- 5 Historic sites
- 6 Sports and recreation
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Geography
- 9 Demographics
- 10 Religion
- 11 Notable people
- 12 References
- 13 External links
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, thus making it the oldest incorporated city in Wayne County other than 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 Street and Eureka Road 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.
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. 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. 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 remodeled it remains the oldest building in the city today) for decades until it relocated into a new building at the northwest corner of Biddle and Eureka Road in 1981, where it remained until it was acquired in January 1989 by NBD Bancorp. Today, Chase Bank, the successor to NBD, continues to operate in the same building, sharing it with the Wyandotte City Hall, which relocated into that building from a former department store a block north in late 2012.
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.
A community named New Jerusalem consisting of immigrants from multiple nations was founded in the 1890s in what is now Wyandotte. It was incorporated as a vilalge with the name of Glenwood in 1900. In 1901 a post office was established here with the name of Bacon since there was already a Glenwood post office in Wayne Township, Cass County, Michigan. Wyandotte annexed the community in 1905.
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.
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. 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 largest manufacturer of toy guns and pistols in the US, 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.
Bishop Park, located on the riverfront north of downtown, once had a dock to board the Boblo Boat ferry to Boblo Island.
Today, much of the remaining industry is minor, with a notable exception being BASF Wyandotte on the city's north riverfront.
In July 2001, three workers at an Atofina plant in neighboring Riverview 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.
The city is served by three newspapers: the regional Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News; as well as The News-Herald, which is a more local paper serving the Downriver communities and has roots tracing back to two former newspapers that were published in Wyandotte.
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.
Wyandotte's community is served by the Bacon Memorial District Library, a member of the tri-county library system The Library Network. Built out of the Ford-Bacon House on Vinewood Street, it replaced the Wyandotte Carnegie Library in 1942; following the death of Congressman Mark R. Bacon, his widow Mary Ford-Bacon deeded the building to the city. The staff offer guided tours through the historic part of the building.
Primary and secondary schools
- Elementary and middle schools include:
- Garfield Elementary School, built in 1932
- James Monroe Elementary School, built in 1954
- George Washington Elementary School, built in the 1930s
- Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, built in 1950
- Middle schools include:
- Woodrow Wilson Middle School, built in 1956
Wyandotte's public high school is Theodore Roosevelt High School, began in 1921 and completed in 1923 and has since expanded four times.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2009)|
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, renamed Our Lady of the Scapular Parish in late 2013, 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.
There is currently no regularly-scheduled passenger rail service that serves the city of Wyandotte. A former union depot still stands on Oak Street and is currently an American Legion post. It operated as a rail station from its completion in 1891 until 1959. However, between 1980 and 1995, Amtrak did operate the Lake Cities between Toledo, Ohio and Chicago that passed non-stop through Wyandotte.
Freight service is provided by the Canadian National Railway on the former Grand Trunk Western Shoreline and River Subdivisions and by the Norfolk Southern Railway through the Conrail Shared Assets Detroit Line. NS/Conrail also has a spur line which parallels Alkali Street and serves BASF. These rail lines all parallel each other through the city, separated by a wide area of grass.
Three Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation bus routes pass through the city of Wyandotte, providing service seven days a week.
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 the east-west Hillsdale, Marshall, Vassar, Ludington, Negaunee and St. Ignace streets, as well as the north-south Albion Street, which is located between 5th and 6th Streets in the far southeast side. The city has an East Side and a West Side, both unofficial, separated by the aforementioned railroad lines. 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 Wyandotte's western city limits runs along M-85 (Fort Street). It lays in what would've been the location of a 24th Street since it is a block west of 23rd Street, but it is never referred to as "24th Street".
As of the census of 2010, there were 25,883 people, 10,991 households, and 6,727 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,911.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,896.3/km2). There were 12,081 housing units at an average density of 2,292.4 per square mile (885.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.7% White, 1.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.1% of the population.
There were 10,991 households of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.8% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.99.
The median age in the city was 40.4 years. 21.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.4% were from 25 to 44; 29.9% were from 45 to 64; and 13.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.
As of the census 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.
Ancestries (2000): Polish (22.5%), German (21.9%), Irish (17.5%), English (9.0%), French (8.5%), Italian (8.4%).
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.
The population of Wyandotte is predominately Roman Catholic.
Among the city's Roman Catholic churches are: Our Lady of Mount Carmel (now the parish of Our Lady of the Scapular), and St. Joseph and St. Patrick (combined into the parish of St. Vincent Pallotti). The status of the church of St. Stanislaus Kostka (which was ordered closed after being combined with Mt. Carmel as Our Lady of the Scapular) is under review in Rome.
- Lucille Ball, actress who was raised in the city as a child
- Dick Dean, born Richard Dean Sawitskas, automobile designer and builder of custom cars
- Aaron Diaz, science popularizer and creator of the comic Dresden Codak
- Justin Hicks, golfer who currently plays on the Nationwide Tour
- Denise R. Johnson, first woman appointed to the Vermont Supreme Court
- Connie Kreski, 1969 Playboy Playmate of the Year
- Bob Kuzava, baseball pitcher
- Budd Lynch, the Detroit Red Wings' public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena
- Lee Majors, actor most noted as The Six Million Dollar Man
- John Martin, baseball pitcher
- Thomas McGuane, novelist, screenwriter known for such works as Ninety-Two in the Shade and The Missouri Breaks, husband of actress Margot Kidder
- Matt Shoemaker, baseball pitcher for Los Angeles Angels
- Fritz Shurmur, football coach for five NFL teams
- Craig Titus, former IFBB bodybuilding champion and convicted murderer
- Louis A. Waldman, art historian specializing in the Italian Renaissance
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "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. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "History of the City of Wyandotte". Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "BIDDLE, John". Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "America's First Bessemer Steel Mill". Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- Walter Romig, Michigan Place Names, p. 226
- Walter Romig, Michigan Place Names, p. 201
- "The Archives & Collections". Archived from the original on January 20, 2005. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Bacon Memorial Branch Library Official Website". http://www.baconlibrary.org/. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Christie, Les. "I've been priced out of downtown Detroit" (Archive). CNN/Money. May 27, 2014. Retrieved on September 5, 2014.
- Lucille D. Ball thinkquest.org biography
- "Bob Kuzava Statistics". Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Lee Majors at the Internet Movie Database
- Thomas McGuane Biography (1939-), Film Reference
- Litsky, Frank (1999-08-31). "Fritz Shurmur, 67, a Coach Of Innovative NFL Defenses". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Wyandotte.|
||Lincoln Park||Ecorse||Detroit River / Windsor|
|Southgate||Detroit River / LaSalle|
Grosse Ile Township
|Detroit River / Amherstburg|