In 1832, the rapid growth of Detroit necessitated that the United States military relocate the Detroit Arsenal–a complex for storing and repairing weapons and munitions–outside of Detroit. It was at this time that the Commandant’s Quarters was created. When it was moved out of detroit in 1833, they chose a small area, on military reserve land that was near where the old sank trail crossed at the rouge river.The location that was chosen was strategic, allowing for close proximity to Detroit, as well as to military personnel both to the south and west of the arsenal. The area that was chosen to host the Detroit Arsenal came to be known as Dearbornville, a name that was given to the area in honor of a Revolutionary War Hero, General Henry Dearborn. Surrounded by a brick wall and gates, the commandants building was one of eleven other buildings that created a compound of sorts that was known as the arsenal.
The Detroit Arsenal remained in use for approximately 42 years before it was closed in 1875 as a result of the frontier moving farther west. Once the arsenal was no longer needed it was sold off to private citizens. During that time the community has used the commandment building in many ways to serve the community. Some of the uses for the building over the years include being a police station, a library, a school, and civic center. In 1949, the building was purchased by the Dearborn Historical Commision and was opened as the dearborn historical museum in the 1950’s.
There are currently only four of the original buildings in existence, with the Commandant’s Quarters being one of them. The Commandant Quarters is the oldest building in the city of Dearborn to be standing in its original location. Due to this the Commandant’s Quarters has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated as a Michigan Historic site.
Today the Commandant’s Quarters is open to the public Wednesdays through Fridays between the hours of 2pm and 6pm for tours on a limited basis. Come out and see us!
For more information on the Detroit Arsenal in Dearborn, click here.