Michigan: Wayne County

Wayne County (pop. 1,820,584) is Michigan’s most-populous county and the 17th-most-populous county in the U.S. It reached its peak population of 2,666,751 in 1970.

It is one of 16 Wayne counties in the U.S., all of them named for Revolutionary War general “Mad Anthony” Wayne (1745-1796).

The county seat of Wayne County is the city of Detroit (pop. 713,777), 18th-largest city in the U.S. In 1950, when Detroit had a population of 1,849,568, it was the fifth-largest city in the country.

Downtown Detroit and Detroit River

The many musicians who grew up in Detroit include Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Jackie Wilson, Jack White, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Ted Nugent.

The headquarters of Motown Records is now the Motown Museum.

Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis (1914-1981) lived in Detroit for many years. Today, the NHL Detroit Red Wings play in downtown’s Joe Louis Arena.

Joe Louis fist statue (1986)

The American League Detroit Tigers and NFL Detroit Lions play at the adjacent Comerica Park (2000) and Ford Field (2002) in downtown Detroit.

Ford Field on the left

The 5,000-seat Fox Theatre (1928) is America’s largest surviving movie palace from the 1920s. (Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932.)

The Fox in St. Louis is slightly smaller than this.

The cities of Hamtramck (pop. 22,423) and Highland Park (pop. 11,776) are surrounded by the city of Detroit. Their populations in 1930 were 56,268 and 52,959, respectively.

Ford built Model T’s at its Highland Park plant.

Dearborn (pop. 98,153), just west of Detroit, is the home of the Ford River Rouge Complex. When it was completed in 1928, it was the largest integrated factory in the world – about 1.5 miles long by 1 mile wide.

It’s still there, but much smaller.

Also in Dearborn, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the U.S.

John F. Kennedy’s presidential limousine

Arab-Americans make up about 42% of Dearborn’s population; this is the largest percentage of Arab-Americans in any city in the U.S.

The city of Grosse Pointe (pop. 5,421) is east of Detroit; the movie “Grosse Pointe Blank” (1997) was actually filmed in Southern California.

John Cusack

The city of Plymouth (pop. 9,132), in the northwestern corner of Wayne County, was once known as the “BB Gun Capital of the World,” with seven BB gun companies in the area.

Daisy Manufacturing Company made the Red Ryder.

NEXT: WASHTENAW COUNTY

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