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The 313 Turns 313: Happy Birthday, Detroit

Jul 24, 2014
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And this next story takes us back in time to Detroit 313 years ago. On this day in 1701, a French explorer first disembarked on the banks of the Detroit River. His name was Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac - or Cadillac, like the car.

DAN AUSTIN: Cadillac sets out on a several-month-long expedition before eventually winding up at what became Detroit.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Dan Austin is an assistant editor and resident historian at the Detroit Free Press. He's been writing about the Motor City's 313th birthday.

AUSTIN: We are often known as The 3-1-3.

INSKEEP: Which, of course, is Detroit's area code.

AUSTIN: So it's The 3-1-3 turning 3-1-3.

INSKEEP: He says Detroit needs some love about now.

AUSTIN: It's sometimes a tough love here in Detroit. But anyone who lives here is still here because they love this town.

MONTAGNE: And because the city is officially bankrupt, there won't be a big celebration for it 3-1-3. But there will be a number of unofficial parties.

INSKEEP: I wonder what number of unofficial parties?

MONTAGNE: Let me think.

INSKEEP: Three-hundred-thirteen? Anyway, maybe keeping it low-key is fitting for a city whose motto, in Latin, translates as, we hope for better things. It will rise from the ashes. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.