Dearborn Timeline

  • January 9, 1929 – Voters approve a charter to merge the cities of Fordson and Dearborn. New Mayor Clyde M. Ford is sworn into office as Mayor of consolidated Dearborn on January 15.
  • February 1929 – The Ford Motor Company’s Fordson Plant is renamed the River Rouge Plant. At peak employment in 1929 the factory complex has 103,000 workers.
  • 1929 – Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village opens.
  • October 21, 1929 – The Edison Institute, which today comprises the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, is formally dedicated during the Light’s Golden Jubilee. It is named to honor Ford’s mentor and friend, Thomas A. Edison. President Hoover and other prominent figures attend.
  • July 1, 1931 – Dearborn Inn opens as one of the first airport hotels in world.
  • March 7, 1932 – Unemployed Detroit workers organize the “Ford Hunger March” to protest increased lay-offs and to pass a list of demands to Henry Ford. On the way to the Rouge Plant, they are met by hostile police officers equipped with tear gas, fire hoses, and guns. The marchers retaliate by throwing rocks. Hundreds of shots are fired into the crowd wounding sixty people and killing five.
  • October 23, 1934 – Launching from Ford Airport, high-altitude balloonists Jean and Jeanette Piccard rise eleven miles in their stratosphere balloon and land in Cadiz, Ohio. Jeanette is the first American woman licensed as a balloonist and the first to reach the stratosphere.
  • 1936 – John Carey becomes mayor of Dearborn.
  • May 16, 1936 – The Ford Rotunda opens in Dearborn. Until it burns down in 1962, the massive structure is the largest permanent industrial exhibit building in the country and is the reception area for millions of Rouge Plant tourists..
  • 1937 – Progressive Arabian Hashmie Society opens the first Shi’a mosque in Dearborn inside a former bank building on Dix Avenue. The building later becomes known as Hashmie Hall.
  • May 26, 1937 – Harry Bennett’s Ford “service” men beat United Auto Workers (UAW) official Richard Frankensteen during the Battle of the Overpass.
  • 1938 – Ground is broken on a Sunni mosque at 9945 Ferndale (West Vernor Highway). The mosque is taken over by the American Moslem Society in 1942.
  • September 12, 1938 – Fordson Junior College, originally located in the basement of Fordson High School, opens with an enrollment of one hundred students. It later becomes Dearborn Junior College, and finally Henry Ford Community College in 1952.
  • 1939 – The Historic Springwells Park Neighborhood is established by Edsel B. Ford to provide company executives and auto workers with upscale housing accommodations.
  • April 1, 1941 – A major strike begins spontaneously when Ford Motor Company fires eight union members. After the U.A.W. successfully organizes tens of thousands of participants to shut down much of the Rouge Plant for ten days, Ford Motor decides to compromise. Negotiations conclude on June 21 when the company’s first union contract is signed, a milestone event for organized labor.
  • June 21, 1941 – Ford Motor Company signs its first union contract after long strike at the company.
  • November 4, 1941 – Orville Hubbard defeats Clarence Doyle to become mayor. He goes on to serve fifteen consecutive terms, earning the moniker “Dictator of Dearborn.”
  • January 6, 1942 – Orville L. Hubbard takes office as mayor of Dearborn for first time.
  • February 10, 1942 – Adjusting to wartime production, Ford automobile assembly ceases for three years.
  • April 12, 1942 – Dearborn has its first casualty in WWII: Lieutenant George E. Levagood, for whom Levagood Park is named.
  • May 22, 1944 – Fordson and Dearborn school districts consolidate.
  • April 7, 1947 – Henry Ford dies at age 83.
  • October 20, 1947 – Dearborn City Council approves purchase of land near Milford, Michigan for what would become Camp Dearborn. First section of camp opens following year.
  • October 21, 1947 – Ford Airport officially closes. The site is now used by Ford as the Dearborn Development Center.
  • November 4, 1947 – Marguerite C. Johnson becomes the first woman elected to the Dearborn City Council.
  • May 29-31, 1948 – Camp Dearborn opens for Memorial Day Weekend, hosting 2,500 visitors.
  • 1950 – Dearborn Historical Museum Commandant’s Quarters building opens to the public.
  • September 29, 1950 – Clara Ford dies. Shortly thereafter Ford Motor Company purchases the Fair Lane Estate. A portion of this land is given in 1956 to the University of Michigan to construct its Dearborn campus.
  • October 14, 1950 – During the Cavalcade of Dearborn, The Commandant’s Quarters, formerly a police station, is dedicated as a City museum.
  • February 19, 1951 – Facing allegations that he abused his office by preventing proper auditing, appointing unqualified department heads, and other claims, Mayor Hubbard survives a recall election.
  • December 9, 1952 – Oakwood Hospital is dedicated.
  • January 1953 – Oakwood Hospital formally opened and dedicated.
  • Fall 1955 – Edsel Ford High School opens with 1,111 students. It is named in honor of Henry Ford’s only son, Edsel, who made many contributions to education through the Ford Foundation.
  • September 26, 1956 – The Ford World Headquarters building, also known as the “Glass House,” is dedicated.
  • October 27, 1956 – The McFadden-Ross House opens as a second museum building under the Dearborn Historical Commission’s care.
  • Fall 1957 – The third and current Dearborn High School building is built. The previous Dearborn High School is renamed Ray H. Adams Junior High.
  • April 22, 1958 – Election held to annex part of South Dearborn Township to Dearborn. Proposal fails.
  • 1959 – University of Michigan (Dearborn Campus) opens.
  • February 26, 1959 – Westborn Shopping Center opens
  • April 6, 1959 – Election held to annex part of North Dearborn Township to Dearborn. Proposal fails.
  • February 26, 1959 – Westborn Shopping Center opens.
  • September 28, 1959 – UM-Dearborn opens as the Dearborn Center of the University of Michigan.
  • April 20, 1961 – Dearborn Police Station (on Michigan Avenue by Greenfield Road) is built.
  • 1962 – St. Joseph’s Retreat is closed. The mental health facility is torn down in 1963.
  • 1962 – New Henry Ford Community College campus dedicated. The school is now known as Henry Ford College.
  • November 9, 1962 – Ford Rotunda burns down
  • April 8, 1963 – Unannexed sections of Dearborn Township incorporated as the city of Dearborn Heights.
  • July 30, 1963 – The centennial of Henry Ford’s birthday is celebrated.
  • August 17, 1963 – Townsend Towers, the City’s first senior citizens home, opens.
  • January 26, 1965 – The Michigan Civil Rights Commission finds Mayor Hubbard guilty of posting racist newspaper and magazine clippings on City Hall bulletin boards. However, he is never taken to court on the issue.
  • 1965 – President Johnson signs the Immigration and Nationality Act, which eliminates national origin, race, and ancestry as factors for immigration.
  • September 5, 1966 – Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers goes on strike for five days. It is the first teachers’ strike in Dearborn.
  • November 1966 – Mayor Hubbard calls a referendum proposing the immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. Despite his vocal opposition to the war, sixty percent of voters write in support of it.
  • 1967 – Many Palestinian refugees start immigrating to Dearborn as a result of the Six-Day War.
  • December 1967 – The City of Dearborn purchases Clearwater Towers in Clearwater, Florida. The million dollar acquisition is renamed “Dearborn Towers” and acts as a retirement community for Dearborn residents until it is sold in 2012.
  • 1969 – Greenfield Village schools are closed. In 1997, Henry Ford Academy charter school is established at Greenfield Village.
  • November 25, 1969 – Henry Ford Centennial Library is dedicated on Michigan Avenue.
  • 1971 – Ford Woods Ice Arena opens. The facility has since been expanded and is now known as the Dearborn Ice Skating Center.
  • 1971 – Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is established by volunteers, who want to assist the integration process for Arab-Americans in Dearborn.
  • 1973 – After several court cases, a Federal injunction and months of protest, expansive attempts at urban renewal by the Hubbard administration in the South end cease.
  • 1975-1990 – The Lebanese Civil War results in an increase of the Lebanese immigration to Dearborn.
  • March 2, 1976 – Fairlane Town Center, Dearborn’s first shopping mall, opens.
  • November 4, 1976 – The Dearborn Press and Dearborn Guide newspapers merge.
  • Late 1970s-1990s – Arab Americans move from Southend of Dearborn to eastern side of the city. The high rate of Non- Arabs moving out of eastern Dearborn allows for Arab-Americans to buy homes and build new ones. By the 1990s “Middle Eastern Market” business districts developed along Warren Avenue and Schaefer Road.
  • January 4, 1976 – Dearborn Hyatt Regency opens as the largest hotel building in Michigan. In 2018, it is known as Edward Hotel & Convention Center.
  • 1978 – John B. O’ Reilly, Sr. becomes mayor of Dearborn
  • August, 1981 – Calvin Theatre is demolished after two fires gut the interior.
  • 1982 – Adams Junior High school closes.
  • 1986 – Michael Guido becomes the mayor of Dearborn.
  • 1989 – Suzanne Sareini becomes first Arab-American elected to Dearborn city council.
  • 2003 – St. Alphonsus High School closes.
  • 2004 – Tours resume at the Ford Rouge plant, after Ford F-150 production begins at the facility. Tours had previously been suspended since 1980.
  • 2005 – The Islamic Center of America opens its current mosque building on Ford Road. The mosque is the largest in North America.
  • 2005 – Arab American National Museum opens.
  • 2006 – Michael Guido dies at the age of 52 during his 6th term. He was the only Dearborn mayor to die in office.
  • 2006 – John B. O’Reilly, Jr. becomes Dearborn mayor.
  • April, 2011 –  Controversial Pastor Terry Jones, after becoming famous for burning Qurans in Florida, makes his first visit to Dearborn. A court decision blocks him from protesting in front of Islamic Center of America. Jones is jailed after he refused to pay a “peace bond.”
  • 2013 – After 20 years, organizers ended the Arab International Festival after visits by controversial Christian groups raised the cost of insurance.
  • 2016 – Ford makes major investment in west downtown Dearborn with the beginning of the Wagner project designed to house an expanded workforce as well as revitalize the downtown area with new shops and greater walkability.