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Wyandotte Freighter -- Marine Historical Society of DetroitDownriver Driving Tour



Tour Overview

Detroiters refer to the suburbs south of the City bordering the Detroit River and leading to the mouth of Lake Erie as "Downriver."  Heading south out of downtown, the smokestacks of River Rouge and Ecorse cast an ominous shadow over the City, and one is reminded of the heavy industrial base here.  However, just beyond the Rouge River Bridge, you will enter the clean and friendly communities of Wyandotte, Trenton, and Grosse Ile, where time seems to ease by at a more relaxed pace.  Wyandotte and Trenton are "all-American" towns with blue-collar roots, while Grosse Ile possesses a modest air of exclusivity.  These cities offer outstanding views of the Detroit River and of well-traveled Great Lakes freighters.  Downriver is worth a visit anytime of year, but it comes alive particularly in the summer months with riverfront street fairs and an influx of pleasure boaters.  Come find out what makes Downriver distinctly different than the other suburban areas and why it is such a well-kept secret, even to many natives of metro Detroit.

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Tour Map

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Resources & Links


The Historic Marx Home Modified - City of Wyandotte website


Wyandotte [A]

Vicinity of Biddle and Elm



Wyandotte was named after the Wyandot Indians who forged trails on their journeys to Detroit that now serve as the main thoroughfares through town.  Throughout the 1800s, the city was an iron-making and shipping powerhouse.  In fact, the first steel plant in the U.S. to use the Bessemer steel manufacturing process was located here.  In addition to numerous factories, industrialists built impressive homes in Victorian, Tudor, and Italianate styles, some of which still exist today (visit the Wyandotte Historical Museum located in the MacNichols Home for more information).  Aside from great history, Wyandotte draws many visitors to its quaint downtown offering a number of unique restaurants, cafes, parks, and a riverfront golf course.  Residents and visitors alike flock to Wyandotte's riverfront for frequent concerts and festivals in addition to great freighter views.




Trenton -- Jennifer Navjac (infomiTrenton [B]

Vicinity of Jefferson Avenue and West Road



Trenton was also a part of the industrial base that helped Downriver prosper.  One of the driving forces of this prosperity was McLouth Steel, occupying a commanding location on the Detroit River and generating a large portion of the steel used in the automotive industry.  Sadly, McLouth closed its doors in 1996.  However, Trenton continues to thrive with other major companies carrying on the manufacturing tradition.  But, as with the other Downriver tour stops, the best part of Trenton is the riverfront.  Trenton's simple but growing downtown draws boaters and visitors alike to enjoy street festivals and views of its Grosse Ile neighbor directly across the water.


Grosse Ile -- ELG Hospitality Incorporated (bedandbreakfast

Grosse Ile [C]

Island in the Detroit River accessed by Grosse Ile Parkway or Bridge Road



Purchased from the Potowatami Indians in 1776, Grosse Ile is the largest island in the Detroit River.  It actually consists of two main islands separated by a canal and several minor outlying islands.  Grosse Ile has a number of beautiful riverfront mansions, including the former home of late automobile sunroof inventor and presidential advisor Heinz Prechter.  Add to this two golf course country clubs and an abundance of pleasure boats and you begin to see what sets Grosse Ile apart from the rest of Downriver.  Take a drive around the perimeter of the island to experience the great views experienced by its residents every day.


Tour Map

Number of Destinations:  3

Overall Tour Time:  1/2 day - 1 full day






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Related Tours

Grosse Pointe & Nautical Mile

Huron River Drive

Lakes Area



Resources & Links

City of Wyandotte

City of Trenton

City of Grosse Ile



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