Detroit Turns 309
If you didn't know, this weekend marks Detroit's birthday. We're officially 309 years young.
On this date in 1701, Frenchman Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac made his way to the place he would call Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit, the settlement that would one day be our city. Like many French settlers of his day, Caddy dreamed of "European-izing" the Native Americans (who were here first, of course); making a killing off of trade; and curtailing British expansion. He figured le detroit du Lac Erie (French for "the strait of Lake Erie"), a piece of land situated by the river, would provide an ideal location for travel and defense. So he set sail from Canada in early June and arrived here more than a month later. On July 24, he and his party ventured into what's now modern-day Detroit and soon began establishing a settlement, building their first structure, Ste. Anne's Catholic Church, near what we now know as Jefferson Ave. and Griswold Street.
There's still no word on how long it took them to hit to Eight Mile Road.