Built in Detroit: The 1800’s Boomtown Tour.


Built in Detroit: The 1800’s Boomtown Tour.


A century before the “Big Three” referred to Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, Detroit’s original big three were ships, stoves, and railroad cars, manufactured by the thousands in the pre automotive Motor City. The dawn of the century saw Detroit’s wood plank sidewalks and bricked roads lined with merchants, grocers, and shops catering to the desires of the new barons of Detroit, who were making their millions in logging, mining, and land speculation. Post Civil War industrialism brought the city cigar manufacturing and the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world. Changes happened fast! Before long, Detroit went from a frontier town, to the “Paris of the Midwest.” From every corner of the nation and worldwide ports workers flocked to our shore chasing their fortunes. Join us as we venture back in time to learn the history of the Detroit before the first automobiles hit the roads. Together with your expert guide you’ll learn the story of Michigan’s inclusion as a state, why President Abraham Lincoln said “Thank God for Michigan “ during the Civil War, how Detroit put stoves into the kitchens of the world, and so much more. You’ll peruse the period playgrounds, homes, and factories of the era, sample iconic Detroit tastes, and enjoy a drink in a storied railroad location. We’ll explore our changing city landscape from the 1830’s through the turn of the century, and how its people and manufacturing laid the groundwork for the rapid expansion of the automobile. We hope you’ll join us on Built in Detroit: The 1800’s Boomtown Tour for a look into Detroit before it was the Motor City.

The tour leaves promptly at 6:30 pm from Eastern Market (2934 Russell Street, Detroit MI 48207 ) The bus will meet you near Shed Three. Bus boarding starts at 6:15 pm, consider arriving early or staying after the tour to enjoy the bars and restaurants of the market. 

Although this tour takes place via motor-coach, we will disembark to investigate parts of the city up close. To best enjoy the tour, guests should be capable of :

  • Walking 100 yards at a time

  • Standing for 15 minutes

  • Managing uneven terrain and traversing stairs.

Because drinking and swearing come with the history, evening bus tours are a strict 21 years old and older. (To date the oldest person to come on one of our tours was 97 years of aged awesomeness. We've also hosted a 21st birthday party, and everyone in between!)

If you have a large group consider booking any of our fabulous tours as a private charter. We can arrange to pick your group up from any location, on any day and any time. Check out our Private Tours link for more information.

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