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Corktown Historic District
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Trumbull Avenue in Corktown
Location: Detroit, Michigan
 United States
Coordinates: 42°19′50″N 83°03′50″W / 42.33056°N 83.06389°W / 42.33056; -83.06389Coordinates: 42°19′50″N 83°03′50″W / 42.33056°N 83.06389°W / 42.33056; -83.06389
Architectural style(s): Colonial Revival, Late Victorian, Federal
Governing body: Local
Added to NRHP: July 31, 1978
NRHP Reference#: 78001517[1]

Corktown is the oldest neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan,[2][3] although the city of Detroit is twice as old. The current boundaries of the current district include Michigan Avenue to the north, the Lodge Freeway to the east, Bagley and Porter streets to the south, and Rosa Parks/12 Street to the west.[1] The buildings of the Corktown Historic District are largely private residences, although some Michigan Avenue commercial buildings are open to the public. The neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[1]



The roots of Corktown lie in the Great Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. The Irish immigrated to the United States in droves, and by the middle of the 19th century, they were the largest ethnic group settling in Detroit.[3] Many of these newcomers settled on the west side of the city; they were primarily from County Cork, and thus the neighborhood came to be known as Corktown. By the early 1850's, half of the population of the 8th Ward (which contained Corktown) were of Irish descent.[3] Historically, the neighborhood was roughly bounded by Third Street to the east, Grand River Avenue to the north, 12th Street to the west, and Jefferson Avenue/Detroit River to the south.[3]

By the Civil War, German immigrants had begun making inroads into the Corktown neighborhood.[4] By the turn of the century, the original Irish population had diffused through the city, and other immigrants, notably Mexican and Maltese, moved in.[4] As the century progressed, African-Americans and southern whites, lured by the jobs in the automobile industry, followed suit.[4]

In the middle of the 20th cenury, the neighborhood became plagued by typical problems of urban blight.[4] The size of Corktown was reduced by urban renewal projects, the building of light industrial facilities, and the creation of the Lodge Freeway.[3]

However, the neighborhood has been able to survive as a cohesive unit. The remaining residential section is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a City of Detroit Historic District. The neighborhood retains some original Irish businesses and still has a strong Irish flavor.[4]


The Corktown Historic District is largely residential, although some commercial properties along Michigan Avenue are included in the district.[5] The original buildings in Corktown are Federal-style detached homes and rowhouses built by Irish settlers. A worker's row house, constructed circa 1840, is located on Sixth Street and is one of the oldest existing structures in the city of Detroit.[3] In further years, modestly sized Victorian townhouses with Italianate, Gothic, and Queen Anne elements were constructed.[5]


Residents are zoned to Detroit Public Schools. Residents are zoned to Owen at Pelham and King High School.[6][7][8]

Notable residents

  • Sheila M. Cockrel (City council member)[9]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ Corktown from ModelD Media, retrieved 8/6/09
  3. ^ a b c d e f History from the Greater Corktown Development Corporation
  4. ^ a b c d e Armando Delicato, Julie Demery, Detroit's Corktown, Arcadia Publishing, 2007, ISBN 0738551554
  5. ^ a b Corktown Historic District from the National Park Service, retrieved 8/6/09
  6. ^ "Interactive Map." Greater Corktown Development Corp Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  7. ^ "Owen MS Attendance Area." Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  8. ^ "M. L. King HS Attendance Area." Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  9. ^ "Detroit City Council Biography." Sheila Cockrel. Retrieved on April 25, 2009.

External links


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