Hines Heritage Trail Tour

Hines Park is a linear parkway stretching from Northville to Dearborn along the Rouge River and through the Middle Rouge Parkway, with paved pathways connecting it to the surrounding communities. The Hines Heritage Trail presents the region’s history in 12 stops, from the glaciers that shaped our present-day topography to the diverse people who have made the region their home to industry and recreation along the waterway.

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Natural History

Michigan’s Glacial Moraines (https://project.geo.msu.edu/geogmich)

Bennett Arboretum is filled with natural historic wonders. Before it was populated with trees and other greenery, thousands of years ago, it and all of Michigan were completely covered in snow. The snowfall was so abundant yet unrelenting that older snow under the new snow would freeze and turn into ice. These ice sheets, or glaciers, were up to a mile thick (that’s approximately 5,280 feet of ice!). Wondering why we aren’t skiing over glacial sheets to get to and from work every day? The glaciers melted thousands of years ago! EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Bennett Arboretum

Bennett Arboretum, ca. 1930

Jesse Bennett, the Arboretum’s namesake, created and grew the Arboretum as we see it today. Bennett was the Wayne County Parks and Forestry director during the 1920s and 1930s. Not only was he instrumental in breaking ground on the Arboretum, he was also a leader in southeast Michigan’s roadside development. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Wayne County Road Commission and Parks

A car travels on Hines Drive in 1942

The Wayne County Parks System developed in tandem with the automobile industry during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Locals wanted easy access to nature, an escape from urban life. These requests were the beginnings of a harmonious park system, an area that would both preserve and provide access to the natural as well as embrace a new and personal form of transportation. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Arsenal of Democracy

Map of Ford Village Industries (thehenryford.org)

Americans contributed what they could to wartime production during World War II. But it was Detroit that earned the nickname “arsenal of democracy,” and with good reason. But where did the term come from? EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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The Rouge River

Canoeing on the Rouge River near Newburgh Lake, ca. 1950

Located in southeast Michigan, the Rouge River weaves in and out of Hines Park. The small coastal river flows through Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties. The river runs approximately 125 miles long while the mainstream is about 44 miles in length. It has three tributaries (smaller streams that feed into a larger stream, river, or lake): the Upper, Middle, and Lower branches. There are more than 400 lakes, impoundments, and ponds connected to the Rouge River. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Native American History

Native American settlements in Michigan (Wilbert B. Hinsdale, Archaeological Atlas of Michigan, 1931)

Indigenous to this area, Native Americans have lived in present-day Michigan for thousands of years. Drawn to the Rouge River and the mastodons that lived close by, from about 10,000 BC to 400 AD Native Americans thrived on this land as hunters and gatherers. Being the first to live along this well-known Michigan river, its first names were “mishqua sibe” or “Minosagoink,” both translating to “Singeing Skin River, a place where game was dressed.” EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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The Underground Railroad

Routes through Indiana and Michigan in 1848 as traced by Lewis Falley (From the New York Public Library https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-ff94-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99)

Michigan played a critical role in the Underground Railroad and the abolition of slavery during the 1800s. As part of a political and moral battle, some Michiganders guided the formerly enslaved to freedom in Canada. Despite local lore about Underground Railroad stations in western Wayne County, there are no official records that confirm their existence. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Ghost Towns

Students and teachers in front of the Perrinsville School, 1942 (thehenryford.org)

Much of the area known today as Wayne County underwent numerous transformations throughout history, especially its villages. During the 1800s and 1900s, these villages, or ghost towns, quickly sprung up and contributed greatly to development of the area, but then disappeared almost as quickly as they came. These ghost towns in southeast Michigan include Perrinsville, Wallaceville, Schwartzburg, Warrendale, Newburg, and more. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Arab American History

Groundbreaking ceremony for the second story addition the Dearborn Mosque, 1952 (arabamericanmuseum.com)

Michigan is well known for having one of the largest Arab and Chaldean populations in not only the United States, but around the world (outside of the Middle East, of course)! Dearborn, and the greater Detroit area, has been home for these communities for decades, and for some, over a century. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Henry Ford’s Legacy

Aerial view of the Ford River Rouge plant, ca. 1927 (Library of Congress)

Henry Ford was the driving force of southeast Michigan’s industrialization and historic preservation movement. He was a man with ideas who desired a canvas to share and display them. The Dearborn area was the perfect place to realize Ford’s many innovations, especially since he actively supported and employed local community members. EXPLORE EVEN MORE

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Cycling History

Henry Ford with his bicycle, 1893 (thehenryford.org)

Bicycling is a favorite pastime for many Wayne County residents. The Middle Rouge Parkway is filled with bicycle paths that are open to locals and visitors near and far. Many would be surprised to learn that this pastime was popular in southeast Michigan over one hundred years ago! Before it was the Motor City, Detroit was the country’s bicycling capital. EXPLORE EVEN MORE