(Source: flicker kathyspix)

Last night, the fiance and I took my brother and his wife – both who live in Napa – down to the Motor City for a night out on the town.  My sister-in-law had never really been downtown before, so we wanted to show her some of our favorite spots.  We valeted at Greektown and hopped on the People Mover to show them the different districts and to show off Detroit a bit.  We jumped off at the Cadillac Center Station to check out Campus Martius and Compuware HQ and then walked over to Broadway to have a home-brewed beer at the Detroit Brewing Company.  Of course our next stop was Greektown where we had flaming cheese and lamb chops at the Pegasus.  And, that’s where we asked them both to be in our wedding.  They said yes!  Afterwards we headed to the casino for a shot at the slots.  And, it was a profitable experience!

Anyway, I wish I had these nifty little facts that I came across on the during our little tour of the Motor City.  If you’re taking an out-of-town guest on a tour of Motown, these are some fun little facts to share.

10 – Interesting Facts About Detroit

  1. Want to see the chair that President Lincoln was killed in, the plane Admiral Byrd used to fly over the South Pole, or the original Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile? The Henry Ford Museum offers a look at such artifacts as it tells the tale of American ingenuity. The museum also details how Ford built his car company from a tiny Detroit wagon shop, which employed only ten people in 1903.
  2. Want to visit a stop on the Underground Railroad? Detroit was strongly involved in the network that abolitionists used to bring slaves to freedom from the South. Second Baptist Church, the city’s oldest black congregation, served as a station for escaping slaves in the mid 1800s.
  3. Detroit is known as the Motor City for more than just its reputation as the center of the nation’s car industry. The city was first to have a paved road, the first to install traffic lights, and the first with an urban freeway.
  4. The Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular is the oldest and largest ice-carving event in the nation. Each winter, professional and amateur sculptors regularly turn blocks of ice into spectacular works of art.
  5. With more than 11,000 inland lakes and over 36,000 miles of streams, Michigan really is a water lover’s haven. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Detroit or any other part of the state – you’re never more than 6 miles away from water!
  6. Detroit is home to the legendary Motown sound. Berry Gordy, Jr. opened a studio in 1961 that would spawn music greats like The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder. The Motown Historical Museum includes the house where Gordy started Hitsville USA and his original recording studio.
  7. The Detroit Zoo made history by becoming the first of its kind to take animals out of cages and present them in naturalistic habitats. The Belle Isle Zoo featured a 3/4-mile elevated boardwalk that gave visitors great panoramic views of animal exhibits.
  8. Yes, there was a Detroit before the car. British and American soldiers faced off nearby in one of the largest military encounters in the War of 1812. More American casualties occurred during the Battle of the River Raisin than in any other single battle in the war. Americans rallied to the battle cry “Remember the Raisin!”
  9. Thirsty? James Vernor, a Detroit pharmacist, developed the recipe for the nation’s oldest soft drink, Vernor’s ginger ale, here in 1866. Vernor is buried among 52,000 others in the state’s most historic cemetery, Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery.
  10. Detroit began in style – with a Cadillac. In 1701, French trader Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac set up an operations base in the area that would grow to become the future city. Naming the place Ville d’Etroit, Cadillac used it as a base to send furs to Canada.