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Great Neighborhoods: Detroit

Photo courtesy of Detroit Metro
Convention and Visitors Bureau
and Marji Silk

A great deal of history is contained in this city on the lake, located at the base of Michigan’s ‘thumb.’ There were the Native Americans who settled in the region for centuries before the French arrived, the French explorers and settlers, the French and Indian War and British rule in the in the 1700s until U.S. rule in 1796. Detroit, incorporated as a city in 1815, was the last stop on the Underground Railroad and the nexus of two of America’s passions: cars and music. Affordable cars were first mass-produced in Detroit by moving assembly lines invented by Henry Ford. As far as music goes, Berry Gordy Jr. who, with $800 loaned to him by his family, introduced the world to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokie Robinson, Michael Jackson, the Temptations, Diana Ross through his legendary record label, Motown.

Four million people of African-American, Eastern European, Hispanic, and Arab descent live in the region, a varied population in a thriving economic landscape no longer dominated by belching smokestacks. The Detroit area's median home price is $156,000 following several years of modest growth. On the expensive end are the northern suburbs and Ann Arbor, while Detroit offers the chance to live the 1920s domestic high life at surprisingly reasonable prices. Typical rent on a single family home is about $500.

Be Reminded: Detroiters worship the car. Expect public transportation, limited to buses, to be spotty and often inconvenient.

Four wonderful neighborhoods caught our eye. In Detroit, we chose historic Indian Village and tight-knit North Rosedale Park. Farther a field, we fell for retro Royal Oak and the Old West Side in upscale, academic Ann Arbor.

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