Sunday, September 21, 2008
My Town Monday: Detroit's Neighbor to the West-Dearborn
Dearborn's large (almost 25 square miles), populous (close to 100,000 residents), young (median age is 34½) and Arab (almost a third of its residents claim Arab descent). That number's probably too low, as Dearborn is home to the largest population of Middle Eastern residents anywhere outside of the Middle East. It's a city where the Arabic and English alphabets are both displayed. Students exiting the high school I often pass appear to be almost entirely of Arabic descent based on their dress.
Dearborn's past — and hopefully its future —are linked to Henry Ford. He lived here (his house remains), he built the Rouge Plant there, and developed subdivisions for his employees. Most buildings and residential homes have some tie to the man.
My parents live in a 1100 person senior living facility called Henry Ford Village. Many of the streets reference Ford and his accomplishments. The Ford Center for the Performing Arts sits at the major intersection. "The Henry Ford" is a huge complex with historical homes transported there, an historical museum, a car museum, trips to the new Rouge, and many other enjoyable activities, both indoors and out. Many weddings take place here. The parks bear his name. If Michigan has a Pontiac and a Cadillac why not a Ford? Doesn't sound like a city, I guess.
Dearborn has taken a lot of raps over the years for excluding neighboring Detroiters from their parks and recreational activities but now Dearborn has a growing African-American population.
It is an interesting community that is striving to keep its youthful population by providing night life, college life, and a vibrant restaurant scene. Hopefully it will succeed. And likewise the car company that resides there.
Check out more My Town Monday posts at the wonderful Travis Erwin's blog: http://traviserwin.blogspot.com/