.

There is No Other City Quite like Dearborn, MI

Much of what we should be thankful for that we have in good old Dearborn, Michigan, a city unlike all other cities.

Despite issues Dearborn faces, since Christmas will be here soon; I believe it’s time for us to appreciate all that Dearborn offers us, as there’s no other city quite like Dearborn.

In 24-1/2 square miles, we have 43 parks with amenities that most cities only wish they had.  We still have six of eight outdoor, neighborhood swimming pools open, and so far, Dearborn has more total outdoor pools than any other city in Michigan. This is something to be proud of and it should be something we also preserve for our future by telling our leaders we expect them to “Save Our Pools”.

Dearborn has nine outdoor, natural ice rinks, four outdoor inline hockey rinks, and the Dearborn Ice Skating Center (DISC), which is an award winning skating and hockey facility that offers two NHL size rinks.

Henry Ford’s hometown continues to be the only city in America that also owns its own campground in another community - Camp Dearborn. 

Since it opened, our $45 million Ford Community and Performing Arts Center continues to be the most unique recreational and cultural facility in North America.  A few elections back, Republican Presidential nominees said they had never seen such a have-it-all facility, and stated that sound quality in our larger Studio B was as great as Carnegie Hall.

To top that off, in 2009 our Recreation Department was one of only two Michigan, and one of only 88 in America earning national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreational Agencies (CAPRA).  To meet that standard, it took two years to complete, and involved a team of park and recreational professionals visiting Dearborn and assessing Dearborn Recreation Department's performance. Our Recreation Department fully met 36 fundamental quality standards and at least 102 of the 105 remaining standards.

Our Henry Ford Centennial Library is one of the most outstanding libraries in America, and ranks up there as high as, if not better than many larger cities libraries. We still have two of three of our smaller public libraries open, and let’s hope city leaders wake up soon and realize Snow Library needs to reopen. 

Dearborn still offers more shopping districts than most comparable and many larger communities, including west downtown, east downtown, Fairlane and all that encompasses it, Warren Avenue/Schaefer, southeast Dix/Vernor, Monroe Street and numerous other shopping areas.

The most visited tourist attraction in Michigan and the second most visited Museum in America are in Dearborn – Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, aka The Henry Ford, and other than the Smithsonian, both are loaded with more American history than any other museum and/or outdoor facility, therefore, they draw tourists from all around the world.

Our Dearborn Arab-American Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to Arab-Americans culture and history, and affiliated with The Smithsonian.  This is one incredible museum, and if you have never visited, you have no idea what a beautiful, enlightening experience you’re missing.

Lastly, Dearborn has museums that house the rich, long history of Dearborn – The Dearborn Historical Museum and The McFadden-Ross House, overseen by the Dearborn Historical Commission.  Many years before moving back home to Dearborn; I called the Historical Museum to see if they could locate my high school varsity baseball articles. Within a few days, a woman called and stated that she had found all three years of articles and that she had mailed them to me at my California address. When I told her that I had not paid for them yet, she stated, “Don’t worry about it. Just send us the check when you receive the articles”.  To this day, I am touched by the trust and faith this museum employee exhibited towards me.

However, The Dearborn Historical Museum and McFadden-Ross House are another of our iconic gems in dire need of help.  In June 2012, the city slashed their funding by approximately two-thirds for the current fiscal year, and city leaders have stated that they are cutting off city financial support after June 2013. 

We need to do everything we can to save our wonderful city museums and other than letting our mayor and city council know that this is not something we will stand for, we also have the additional options:

  • Purchase an Annual Member Pass, with investments ranging from $25 per person for Individual Membership, up to $500 for Mayor’s Circle Membership, which includes two adult members in the same household and their children or grandchildren 18 years or younger, plus four guests per visit, and a copy of the book “Henry’s Attic”
  • With the help of hundreds of volunteer local authors, The Dearborn Historical Society has published two books that tell these authors stories about Dearborn.  The books are “Best Dearborn Stories – Voices from Henry Ford’s Hometown – Volume I & Volume II”.  All of the monies collected for these wonderful books is utilized for saving our Dearborn Historical Museum and McFadden Ross House and the investment is only $19.95 each

Save Dearborn’s rich cultural history by purchasing an Annual Membership Pass or by ordering one or both “Best Dearborn Stories” books today.  Make all checks payable to the Dearborn Historical Museum, 915 S. Brady Street, Dearborn, MI 48124.  You can also visit the Historical Museum Tuesday through Friday from 9:00am until 4:00pm and pay by cash, check or credit/debit card.  If you have questions, telephone 313-565-3000 or email dhm@ci.dearborn.mi.us.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Venessa Jones December 14, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Nice article, but I'm wondering where you got your facts from. I was surprised to read that The Henry Ford is the 2nd most visited museum in America, and after further research I can't seem to find anything to validate that statistic. Just wondering.
Michael D. Albano December 17, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Venessa, I used information I had found online the past few years. However, like you found out, this year I cannot find that information. Therefore, hopefully by the time you come back to this article, you'll see the correction. Thanks for pointing out my error, as I make great efforts to make sure my articles are accurate.
margaret schous December 19, 2012 at 03:58 AM
So nice to see an article highlighting the treasures of Dearborn. It truly is a great city with so many wondeerful features yu need to live here to know about them. But, I must mention that you did not recoginze the Dearborn Inn, a real treasure! Not many people realize that the Dearborn Inn is more than just a beautiful hotel - it is historic. It is the first airport inn in the world - part of the vision of Henry Ford. We have so much here we often t qke it for granted.
Michael D. Albano December 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Margaret, sorry I failed to mention the Dearborn Inn, which is definitely a treasure. However, there is just so much in Dearborn, that it's not always easy to remember to include everything.
Frances Pillon January 01, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Michael, when I was a young girl growing up in Dearborn, we used to ride our bikes all over the city. And one of the "hidden gems" is the Fairlane Manor. We went there recently and did the paid tour. What a wonderful experience :) I strongly recommend going there. The craftmenship of the home is amazing, the skilled labour cannot be dupilicated today, such a rich history. I understand the Ford family has reclaimed the estate, we are looking forword to the improvements that may be made.. Cheers :D Frances
Linda Scharf Brazier January 17, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Hey Michael ...may I ask you did you grow up in Dearborn ? I have been here in Dearborn 30 yrs and raised 3 boys .Twins that will be 30 this year and now my baby is a senior at Dearborn High and we adopted our Granddaughter at 3 mths old and she is now 6 yrs old and 1st grader...at Haigh . I have now took her out of the Dearborn public school system and started to home school her this week . With what the public schools now allow in them and what they are teaching them is just wrong ...but let me get to why I ask you that question..In the pass 4 yrs Dearborn has went through a huge downgrade and it keeps downgrading .The neighborhoods are no way the same as they once was and they will never be the same again . I just read in an article today and I need to find it so I can share this with you , that Dearborn is # 8 in the state for section 8 housing . Not only is this an issue for our city with houses empty and trash moving in (sorry so harsh ) but the facts are there. But also 78 percent of the kids in Dearborn Public schools are on the free lunch program. When I read that I was shocked , because I know we are not in that 78 % and that my kids and granddaughter and their friends are not we are well off and I thank god for that .
Linda Scharf Brazier January 17, 2013 at 02:16 AM
But to get to my point is that these numbers are high for this city and yet again seems like Dearborn is now opening the doors to an extreme change and they are doing nothing on these issues .what about us Tax payers and the ones who do keep up their homes and neighborhood , is it now our job to take care of the Indigent and un-educated who now move in such a once upscale upper middle class city who takes pride and care in what this city once had and we are now losing to due to the fact we are now considered a low income section 8 free loading city (again sorry so harsh) but the facts in the real world are out there. My girlfriend from Pittsburgh told me just the other day , she would never buy a home in Dearborn with her 3 kids, I asked her why ? She then told me because when she visited here last summer to do Greenfield village . She found out that the Dearborn schools were so poor she didn't want her kids in a poor city and district .Funny thing is she grew up here back in the 70's and she was shocked to see the change here in the neighborhoods as well (like me ).
Linda Scharf Brazier January 17, 2013 at 02:18 AM
But we cannot up root right now would love to get out of this city, a lot of our friends have left before the housing crash due to the changes of this city was going through before the market tanked. What I'm asking is why that so many Liberals seem to think its ok to live like this . Have you drove up and down Michigan ave and telegraph lately ...nasty garbage everywhere it was never like this . Call and complain and nothing is getting done . Enough said....!!! Why is it ok Please bring the city back to great and quality living standards we all once knew and loved ..........its not the same and its a shame . I can share so much more with you on what is really going on . But I will not . Thank you Linda
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Frances, Henry Ford's estate, Fairlane Manor is a gem. The last I knew the Ford Family took it back from U of M, and it will not be open until some time later this year. I plan on visiting, as it's been quite some time since I've been there. Thanks for the tip.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Linda, my response may take up to 2 comment boxes because the Patch only allows 1500 characters. I grew up in Dearborn and lived here from 1952 until 1983 when I moved to California. I moved back in 2007 to become full-time caretaker for my dad, who had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. He passed on in June 2008, and I still live here. I would like to see that article where you state Dearborn is #8 in the state for Section 8 Housing, so we can discuss it further. I realize we have a high percentage of school children on the free lunch program. The reason is because we have a much larger population of immigrants than most other Michigan cities. Back in my school days of the 1950's-60's Dearborn schools were rated among the top in the nation, as most residents and students forefathers came from English speaking European nations. Dearborn Public Schools started sliding around 1985 and that slide continued until around 2007 or 2008 when DPS Trustees hired Brian Whiston as Superintendent. Since his hiring, most schools have increased MEAP and MME test scores significantly. While I don't have the latest figures in front of me, the last time I checked a year or so ago, DPS MEAP and MME test scores went up significantly. Fordson, which was rated down near the low 25% of Michigan high schools went up into the top 30%. Edsel which was rated in the middle, went up into the top 25%, and Dearborn High which was in the top 30%, went up into the top 20% in the state.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Yet some of the schools that have high immigrant student populations are still struggling in some areas. Another thing DPS and Whiston did was immerse English challenged students into English classes, which is one reason the scores improved. Now the state is making the tests even more difficult, so test scores may suffer for awhile, as they will in most Michigan school districts. However, I believe DPS is on the right track in improving schools. Another issue you need to remember is that DPS is a magnet school district for Special Needs children. Many Wayne County school districts send their Special needs children to DPS because our programs are so good. 20% of our students are Special Needs, and unlike in my day, their test scores are included in DPS MEAP and MME scores, which brings our average test scores down. However, this is a state mandated, and worthwhile program to mainstream handicapped children, instead of keeping them segregated in separate schools as they did back in my day.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:15 PM
While I've noticed some homes in Dearborn not looking up to what I'd like to see, in my numerous drives around the city, I still believe the city residences are pretty well taken care of, taken care of far better than most surrounding cities. Since the city started going after financial institutions that owned foreclosed homes that they were neglecting, many of these homes now have the grass cut, and the exterior fixed up. If the home looks real run down, the city follows-up with an interior inspection to make sure the home is up to code, and that there are no hazards inside. Other than vacant business retail suites, which does not please me, I haven't noticed Michigan Avenue and Telegraph looking run down, and I drive by these areas most days of the week. Therefore, perhaps you could give me some examples.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Either way, if you're upset with anything about our residential neighborhoods call Residential Services Director Nick Siroskey at 313.943.2150. If you're not happy with our business/commercial districts on Michigan Avenue, Telegraph, or in any other business areas, or you witness garbage issues, contact our DPW Director Jim Murray at 313-943.2085. When they hear your complaints, they will look into and address the issues you mention. I realize we have issues in this city that need addressing, as you do. However, I still think it is a great city. If I have failed to address anything you've mentioned, let me know. While I've noticed some homes in Dearborn not looking up to what I'd like to see, in my numerous drives around the city, I still believe the city residences are pretty well taken care of, taken care of far better than most surrounding cities. Since the city started going after financial institutions that owned foreclosed homes that they were neglecting, many of these homes now have the grass cut, and the exterior fixed up. If the home looks real run down, the city follows-up with an interior inspection to make sure the home is up to code, and that there are no hazards inside.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Other than vacant business retail suites, which does not please me, I haven't noticed Michigan Avenue and Telegraph looking run down, and I drive by these areas most days of the week. Therefore, perhaps you could give me some examples. Either way, if you're upset with anything about our residential neighborhoods call Residential Services Director Nick Siroskey at 313.943.2150. If you're not happy with our business/commercial districts on Michigan Avenue, Telegraph, or in any other business areas, or you witness garbage issues, contact our DPW Director Jim Murray at 313-943.2085. When they hear your complaints, they will look into and address the issues you mention. I realize we have issues in this city that need addressing, as you do. However, I still think it is a great city. If I have failed to address anything you've mentioned, let me know.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Sorry Linda, but some of my posts were somewhat redundant, and it's too late to change them now. And I was also wrong, in that it took me far more than 2 comments to address your questions.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something