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Detroit 1820

BY EPHRAIM S. WILLIAMS

Turning westward on Woodbridge, we are at once upon the- historic ground where the beginnings of Detroit were made. Somewhere here, upon a site that can not now be precisely identified, was the first Ste. Anne's church, piously commenced only two days after the landing. Nor are the exact limits of Fort Pontchartrain probably now to be defined. Mr. Farmer, in his "History of Detroit, " says that this first of the Detroit military works stood between Jefferson and Woodbridge, on the west half of the block between Griswold and Shelby, probably crossing Shelby and occupying a part of the ground now covered by the Michigan Exchange. In 1760-61 the tract contained within the stockade reached from the present line of Griswold to 50 feet west of Shelby, and from the alley between Larned and Jefferson to Woodbridge. Twenty eight years later, in Revolutionary times, when the citadel was at the corner of Jefferson and Wayne, and just before the Fort Lernoult (afterwards Shelby) was built, all the ground between Griswold and Cass, Larned and the river, was included. The original fort—a rude log affair, but strong enough for its purpose—was about 200 feet square. About 1858 the stumps of some of the cedar pickets enclosing it were found by workmen making excavations in the rear of the Michigan Exchange. The council house stood near the river, between Griswold and Shelby. II. The close of the first article of this series left our pedestrian upon the site of old Fort Pontchartrain and the original French settlement, about the intersection of West Woodbridge and Shelby streets. Near this spot stood the first building occupied (1838) by a public free school in this city.

Detroit Michigan


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