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Annexation of Delray

Image by Eleni Zaras

Click here to see all narratives on Delray

Click here to see a timeline of events in Delray

Click here to see resources for further reading on Delray

At the turn of the century, the City of Detroit, and a few Delray citizens, began a push to annex Delray. Delray had been incorporated as a village in 1897, and the expositions had built up a small infrastructure on which several factories and neighborhoods emerged. Into the 1900s Delray was growing rapidly, and residents wanted better police, firemen, and the resources to push for lighting, pavement, and a sewer system. But not all were on board with the idea of annexation. Small industry, as well as some Delray locals, feared they would lose their voice in Delray. As the debate progressed into 1905, large industry refrained from lending Delray its valued opinion.

 In the end the decision to annex Delray was made in Lansing. There was never an election, or public discourse. Likely the City of Detroit decided it wanted the industrial center, and seized the opportunity to extend its grasp. Home to salt mines, steel plants, and various industry, Delray had something to offer Detroit, and the working-class, often unskilled laborers of Delray came with it. The citizens who wanted annexation were happy, and for a time they received the services they argued for. But this same industry would go on to pollute and dominate Delray politics, and the same city they joined had a different view on the neighborhoods it had annexed.

The process of Delray’s annexation by the City of Detroit in 1905 demonstrates the tenuous relationship between the two entities. The City of Detroit did end up annexing Delray, and quieting the voices of opposition that resided there. This semi-hostile takeover is an important consideration in the context of urban metabolism, and the important transition from city to metro. Even today, Delray still internalizes the environmental degradation that provides industrial outputs to Detroit. From the beginning Delray was annexed for industry, the neighborhoods were always on the side. Over the past century this dynamic has unfolded, and the larger perspective of Delray helps to contextualize the pollution and poverty we see there today. The relationship now and the relationship then are not that different, but there has been a hundred years of ‘industrial succession’ at work in Delray, leading to where it is today.

  • “Fear Trouble in Delray: Lighting Commission Hears Litigation May Be Near,” Detroit (MI) Free Press, August 26, 1905, 5.
  •  “Annex Delray: HOUSE PASSED THE MEASURE LAST NIGHT…”Kranich, E. Detroit Free Press (1858-1922) [Detroit, Mich] 09 May 1905: 1.
  • SUBURBAN: ANTI-ANNEXATION FEELING GROWING DELRAY CITIZENS OPPOSED TO COMING INTO DETROIT. Detroit Free Press (1858-1922) [Detroit, Mich] 27 Jan 1905: 12.

Click here to see all narratives on Delray

Click here to see a timeline of events in Delray

Click here to see resources for further reading on Delray

 

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