Awesome City Guide: Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood

on July 17, 2013

Corktown

Detroit’s Corktown district is the city’s oldest neighborhood, originally settled in the 1850s by Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine. The neighborhood’s name comes from those first settlers; most of the Irish came from County Cork, thus “Corktown.” In previous generations, visitors would descend upon the area for two of its now-defunct icons: Michigan Central Station and Tiger Stadium. Later, there was a time when these landmarks stood as a symbol of the neighborhood—rundown, past its prime, and forgotten. But something happened. Today, the area is garnering a lot of attention as one of Detroit’s hottest neighborhoods. Many of the things putting Detroit on the national cultural map are centered in Corktown, perhaps most famously (1) Slow’s Bar-BQ, which kickstarted the neighborhood’s revitalization. Opened in 2005, Slow’s transformed a strip of derelict storefronts on Michigan Avenue, and its national recognition and popularity has spurred development in the surrounding area. Today, you can see young professionals walking or riding their bikes down Michigan Avenue, and many recently opened local businesses are buzzing with patrons eager to welcome in the neighborhood’s renaissance.

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