Detroit once had a tourist attraction more popular than the Statue of Liberty. The Ford Rotunda was built for the 1934 World’s Fair and was the fifth most visited site in the U.S. before burning to the ground in 1962.
There is a 1/2 mile long wall in Detroit originally built to separate blacks from whites.
Detroit’s city flag contains a four-world Latin phrase on the seal: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus.” It translates to “we hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes”. But it’s not a reference to the city’s present-day struggles. The flag was designed in 1907 and officially adopted in 1948, and the motto dates back a century further back, to 1805. On June 11, 1805, a fire ravaged the city, with devastating results: “with the exception of one stone fort and the brick chimneys of wooden houses, the city was leveled to the ground by that afternoon,” according to the Detroit Historical Society. Fortunately, no one died, and the population decided to rebuild Detroit where it was. As the Wall Street Journal explains, a local priest coined the saying to encourage the rebuilding effort.
In 2009, Detroit had a worse unemployment rate than during the Great Depression.
Alex Alsup, a committed Detroit citizen, captures the rapid disintegration of his hometown by comparing Bing and Google Street View images of the same homes over the course of several years.
Here are a few examples…
In Detroit you have to wait on average more than 58 minutes for the police to respond to a call, compared to a national average of 11 minutes. Most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.
70% of murders in Detroit go unsolved.
Eminem was offered the lead role in the 2013 sci-fi movie, Elysium. He was interested but he turned it down due to one major condition not being met: Elysium would have to be shot in his hometown, Detroit.
The term “Carjacking” originated in Detroit, MI.
The city of Detroit raised $50,000 in less than 10 days in order to fund the building of a Robocop statue.