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Defining Downriver

Downriver is the unofficial name for a collection of 18 suburban cities and townships in Wayne County, Michigan, south of Detroit along the western shore of the Detroit River.

Those communities situated closer to Detroit (Allen Park, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, River Rouge and Wyandotte) were first developed in the 1920s-1940s.  The majority of households in this area can be identified by brick and mortar homes (often bungalows), tree-lined streets and Works Progress Administration-designed municipal buildings.

Communities that developed further south (Riverview, Southgate, Taylor, Trenton) in the 1950s-1970s are more closely identified as tract homes and subdivisions.

Through the 1980s, areas such as Huron Township, Flat Rock, Rockwood, Woodhaven and Romulus were undeveloped, some of which still have operating farms. Socially speaking, the Downriver communities collectively have a distinct cultural identity within suburban Detroit although some individual Downriver communities share many similarities with towns in the western, northern and eastern suburbs of Detroit.

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