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Dearborn is a city in the State of Michigan. It is located in Wayne County and is part of the Detroit metropolitan area. Dearborn is the eighth largest city in the State of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 98,153 and is home to the largest Muslim population in the United States. First settled in the late 18th century by French farmers in a series of ribbon farms along the Rouge River and the Sauk Trail, the community grew with the establishment of the Detroit Arsenal on the Chicago Road linking Detroit and Chicago. It later grew into a manufacturing hub for the automotive industry.
The city was the home of Henry Ford and is the world headquarters of the Ford Motor Company. It has a campus of the University of Michigan as well as Henry Ford College. Dearborn has The Henry Ford, the United States' largest indoor-outdoor museum complex and Metro Detroit's leading tourist attraction.
Dearborn residents are primarily of European or Middle Eastern heritage, descendants of 19th and 20th-century immigrants. Middle Eastern ancestries make up the largest ethnic grouping with Lebanese, Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian groups present. The primary European ethnicities are German, Polish, Irish and Italian.
The area had been inhabited for thousands of years by varying indigenous peoples. Historical tribes belonged mostly to the Algonquian-language family, although the Huron were Iroquoian speaking. French colonists had a trading post and developed Detroit during the colonial period, trading with numerous regional tribes. This settlement was ceded to Britain in 1763 after its victory in the Seven Years' War.
The Dearborn area was settled permanently by Europeans in 1786, after the American Revolutionary War. Population growth led to the formation of Dearborn Township in 1833 and the village of Dearbornville in 1836, each named after patriot Henry Dearborn, a General in the American Revolution and Secretary of War under President Thomas Jefferson. The town of Dearborn was incorporated in 1893.
In 1927 it was established as a city. Its current borders result from a 1928 consolidation vote that merged Dearborn and neighboring Fordson (previously known as Springwells), which feared being absorbed into Detroit.
The area between the two towns was, and still remains in part, undeveloped. Once farm land, this was bought by Henry Ford for his estate, Fair Lane, and the Ford Motor Company World Headquarters. Later developments in this corridor were the Ford airport (later converted to the Dearborn Proving Grounds), other Ford administrative and development facilities, The Henry Ford (the region's leading tourist attraction containing a reconstructed historic village and museum), the Henry Ford Centennial Library, the super-regional shopping mall Fairlane Town Center, and the Ford Performing Arts Center. The open land is planted with sunflowers and often with Henry Ford's favorite soybeans. The crops are never harvested.
The Arab American National Museum (AANM) opened in Dearborn in 2005, the first museum in the world devoted to Arab-American history and culture. Arab Americans in Dearborn include ethnic Lebanese Christians who immigrated in the early twentieth century to work in the auto industry as well as more recent Arab immigrants from other nations.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.5 square miles (63 km2), of which 24.4 square miles (63 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.37%) is water. The Rouge River runs through the city with an artificial waterfall/low head dam on the Henry Ford estate to power its powerhouse. The Upper, Middle, and Lower Branches of the river come together in Dearborn. The river is widened and channeled near the Rouge Plant to allow lake freighter access.
Fordson Island (42°17′38″N 83°08′52″W) is an 8.4 acre (33,994 m²) island about three miles (5 km) inland from the Detroit River on the River Rouge. Fordson Island is the only major island in a tributary to the Detroit River. The island was created in 1922 when engineers dug a secondary trench to reroute the River Rouge to increase navigability for shipping purposes. The island is privately owned, and public access is prohibited. The island is part of the city of Dearborn, which has no frontage along the Detroit River.
Dearborn is among a small number of municipalities that own property in other cities. It owns the 626-acre (2.53 km2) Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan, which is located 35 miles (56 km) from Dearborn. Dearborn was among an even smaller number that hold property in another state: the city owned the "Dearborn Towers" apartment complex in Clearwater, Florida, but it has been sold. Camp Dearborn is considered part of the city of Dearborn, and revenues generated by camp admissions are used to bolster the city's budget.
As of the 2010 census the population of Dearborn was 98,153. The racial and ethnic composition was 89.1% Whites, 4.0% black or African-American, 0.2% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 4.0% reporting two or more races and 3.4% Hispanic or Latino. 41.7% were of Arab ancestry (categorized as "White" in Census collection data).
Dearborn has a large community of descendants of ethnic European immigrants from the 19th and 20th centuries, whose ancestors generally first settled in Detroit: Irish, German, and Polish. It is a center of Maltese American settlement, from the Mediterranean island of Malta. They were also attracted to jobs in the auto industry and some were among immigrant Maltese who first settled in Corktown.
The city has a small African American population, many of whose ancestors came to the area from the rural South during the Great Migration of the early twentieth century.
In Census 2000, 61.9% spoke only English, while 29.3% spoke Arabic, 1.9% Spanish, and 1.5% Polish. There were 36,770 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,560, and the median income for a family was $53,060. Males had a median income of $45,114 versus $33,872 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,488. About 12.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 and over.
As of the 2012 estimate, Dearborn's population was thought to have fallen to 96,474, a decrease of 1.7% since 2010. Over the same period, though, SEMCOG, the local statistics agency of Metro Detroit Council of Governments, has estimated the city to have grown to 99,001, or an increase of 1.2% since 2000. SEMCOG's July 2014 estimate listed Dearborn with a population of 102,566.
The city's population includes 40,000 Arab Americans. Arab Americans own many shops and businesses, offering services in both English and Arabic. Per the 2000 census, Arab Americans totaled 29,181 or 29.85% of Dearborn's population; many are from families who have been in the city since the early 20th century. The city has the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the United States. As of 2006 Dearborn has the largest Lebanese American population in the United States.
The first Arab immigrants came in the early-to-mid-20th century to work in the automotive industry and were chiefly Lebanese Christians (Maronites). Other immigrants from the Mideast (Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs) have also immigrated to the area. Since then, Arab immigrants from Yemen, Iraq and Palestine, most of whom are Muslim, have joined them. Lebanese Americans comprise the largest group of ethnic Arabs. The Arab Muslim community has built the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America, and the Dearborn Mosque. More Iraqi refugees have come, fleeing the continued war in their country since 2003.
Warren Avenue has the commercial center of the Arab-American community. The Arab American National Museum is located in Dearborn. The museum was opened in January 2005 to celebrate the Arab American community's history, culture and contributions to the United States.
Ford Motor Company has its world headquarters in Dearborn. In addition its Dearborn campus contains many research, testing, finance and some production facilities. Ford Land controls the numerous properties owned by Ford, including sales and leasing to unrelated businesses, such as the Fairlane Town Center shopping mall. DFCU Financial, the largest credit union in Michigan, was created for Ford and related companies' employees.
One of the largest employers in Dearborn is Oakwood Healthcare System. Other major employers include auto suppliers like Visteon, education facilities such as Henry Ford Community College and museums such as The Henry Ford. Other businesses which are headquartered in Dearborn include Carhartt (clothing), Eppinger (fishing lures), AAA Michigan (insurance), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
According to the City's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employers in the city are:
University of Michigan–Dearborn and Henry Ford College are located in Dearborn on Evergreen Road and are adjacent to each other. Concordia University Dearborn Center, and Central Michigan University both offer classes in Dearborn. Career training schools include Kaplan Career Institute, ITT Tech, and Sanford Brown College.
Dearborn residents, along with a small portion of Dearborn Heights residents attend Dearborn Public Schools, which operates 34 schools including 3 major high schools: Fordson High School, Dearborn High School and Edsel Ford High School. The public schools serve over 18,000 students in the fourth-largest district in the state. Divine Child High School and Elementary School are in Dearborn as well; the high-school is the largest private coed high school in the area. Henry Ford Academy is a charter high school inside Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. Another charter secondary school is Advanced Technology Academy. Dearborn Schools operated the Clara B. Ford High School inside Vista Maria, a non-profit residential treatment agency for girls in Dearborn Heights. Clara B. Ford High School became a charter school in the 2007–08 school year.
A small portion of the city limits is within the Westwood Community School District; the sections of Dearborn within the district are zoned for industrial and commercial uses.
The Islamic Center of America operates the Muslim American Youth Academy (MAYA), an Islamic elementary and middle school.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit operates Sacred Heart Elementary School and previously operated the St. Alphonsus School in Dearborn. In 2003 the archdiocese closed St. Alphonsus High School; the St. Alphonsus elementary closed in 2005.
Global Educational Excellence operates multiple charter schools in Dearborn: Riverside Academy Early Childhood Center, Riverside Academy East Campus (K-5), and Riverside Academy West Campus (6–12).
Dearborn Public Library includes the Henry Ford Centennial Library, the main library, and the Bryant and Esper branches.
The Bryant Branch, which opened in November 1924, was Dearborn's first public library. It served as the main library until the Ford library opened in 1969, and 1970 Bryant (then known as the Mason branch) became a branch library. The library was renamed in 1977 after Katharine Wright Bryant, who developed a plan for the library and campaigned for it.
Around April 1963 the Ford Motor Company granted the City of Dearborn $3,000,000 to build a library as a memorial to Henry Ford. Ford Motor Company deeded 15.3 acres (6.2 ha) of vacant land for the public library to the city on July 30, 1963, the centennial or 100th anniversary of Henry Ford's birth. The Ford Foundation later granted the library an additional $500,000 for supplies and equipment. On November 25, 1969 the library was dedicated. Library employees occupied the building since its opening; originally only the library had offices in the building. In 1979 the library staff gave up the western side's meeting rooms, and the City of Dearborn Health Department occupied those rooms.
The Esper Branch, the smallest branch, is located in what is known as the Arab residential quarter of the city. The library has about 35,000 books, entertainment and educational videocasettes, music CDs, children's music cassettes, audio books, and magazines. Newspapers are available there. It features many Arabic-language books, newspapers, and videocasettes for its Arabic-speaking residents. It was dedicated on October 12, 1953. Originally named the Warren Branch, the library had replaced the Northeast Branch, which opened in a storefront in 1944. In October 1961 it was named after city councilman Anthony M. Esper.
During the years 1934 to 1943 murals were produced in public buildings in the United States through the Section of Painting and Sculpture, later called the Section of Fine Arts, of the Treasury Department. In 1938 artist Rainey Bennett painted an oil on canvas mural for the post offices in Dearborn titled, Ten Eyck's Tavern on Chicago Road.
Sports facilities include the Dearborn Ice Skating Center.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Dearborn, operating its Wolverine three times daily in each direction between Chicago, Illinois and Pontiac, Michigan via Detroit. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. There are two rail stops in Dearborn: the ordinary Amtrak station and a rarely used station at Greenfield Village. Amtrak operates on Norfolk Southern's (NS) "Michigan Line". This track runs from Dearborn to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Most of the freight traffic on these rails is related to the automotive industry. Norfolk Southern's Dearborn Division offices are also located in Dearborn.
Dearborn is served by buses of both the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) systems.
From 1924 to 1947, Dearborn was the site of Ford Airport, with the world's first concrete runway and the first scheduled U.S. passenger service.
As of 2016, the Mayor of the City of Dearborn is John B. "Jack" O'Reilly, Jr. and the City Council President is Susan Dabaja.
The metropolitan area newspapers are The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. The Dearborn & Dearborn Heights Press and Guide publishes local news for Dearborn and the neighboring Dearborn Heights.The Arab American News is published in Dearborn.
In 2010, Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood, and two other people were arrested at the Dearborn International Arab Festival for handing out Christian literature aimed at Muslim believers, and for yelling conversion messages, although there was no evidence provided of any agitation of the crowd. They were prosecuted for breach of the peace. Police ordered them to stop filming the incident, to provide identification, and to move at least five blocks from the border of the fair. A jury acquitted the defendants. In a separate civil trial, the City of Dearborn was found to have violated the constitutional rights of the defendants, with the city later settling the lawsuit and issuing a formal apology.
A Republican senatorial candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, suggested that Dearborn was contributing to a non-widespread "militant terrorist situation," and said that the city was enforcing Islamic law. Angle was sharply criticized by the Mayor Jack O'Reilly, who called her comments "shameful." He said they were based on distorted Tea Party accounts of the arrest of members of an anti-Islam group at an Arab festival.
Preacher Terry Jones planned a protest in 2011 outside the Islamic Center of America. Local authorities required him either to post a $45,000 "peace bond" to cover Dearborn's cost if Jones incited violence or to go to trial. Jones contested that requirement he and his co-pastor Wayne Sapp refused to post the bond. They were held briefly in jail, while claiming violation of First Amendment rights. That night Jones was released by the court. The ACLU had filed an amicus brief in support of Jones's protest plans. A week later, on April 29, Jones led a rally at the Dearborn City Hall, designated as a free speech zone. Riot police were called out to control counter protesters. Terry Jones led a rally at City Hall and then planned to speak at the annual Festival on June 18, 2011, but on his way there he was blocked by protesters, six of whom were arrested. Police said they did not have enough officers present to maintain safety. Christian missionaries accompanied Jones with their own signs of protest; they were alleged by festivalgoers and protesters to have yelled insults at Arabs, Muslims, Islam, and Catholics. On November 11, 2011, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Ziolkowski vacated the "breach of peace" ruling against Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp on the grounds that they were denied due process. On April 7, 2012 Terry Jones led a protest in front of the Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, speaking about Islam and Free Speech. The mosque was placed on lock down. Thirty police cars were there to block traffic and prevent a counter protest.
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