About MotorCities


What is a National Heritage Area?
A National Heritage Area can be described as an identified place in the United States that best represents a specific theme and story in American history.

How many National Heritage Areas are there?
There are currently 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States...

What is the MotorCities National Heritage Area?
MotorCities National Heritage Area is an affiliate of the National Park Service dedicated to preserving, interpreting and promoting the automotive and labor heritage of the State of Michigan.

When was the MotorCities National Heritage Area founded?
MotorCities National Heritage Area was designated by U.S. Congress in 1998 to preserve the cultural and historic landscape associated with the automobile in southeastern Michigan.

What kind of programs does MotorCities National Heritage Area provide?
The programs and activities of the MotorCities National Heritage Area are designed to increase tourism throughout the State of Michigan; develop and deploy educational and informational programs that tell the story of the automobile industry and the labor movement in our region; and encourage revitalization through conservation.

How large is the MotorCities National Heritage Area?
The regional boundaries cover 10,000 square miles and portions of 16 counties in southeast and central Michigan.

What is in the MotorCities National Heritage Area?

There are hundreds of auto and labor related sites and events in the heritage area. They include museums and historic homes; auto restaurants and shopping; motorsports events; parks, gardens and cemeteries; arts and entertainment venues; libraries and archives; car shows, meets and cruises. It is the largest concentration of auto-related sites in the world.


The History of MotorCities National Heritage Area

  • Designated by U.S. Congress in 1998 to preserve the cultural and historic landscape associated with the automobile in Southeastern and Central Michigan.

  • The 18th of 49 National Heritage Areas, all of which are affiliates of the National Park Service.
  • Mission is focused on raising awareness and understanding about the impact of the automobile on this region with emphasis on increasing tourism, expanding education and encouraging revitalization.

  • Regional boundary covers 10,000 square miles and portions of 16 counties.
  • Over 6 million people live in the heritage region and are governed by over 250 townships and municipalities.
  • The area encompasses 15 watersheds including the rivers of Detroit, Rouge, Clinton, Grand, Flint and Red Cedar.
  • Nearly 1200 auto-related resources have been identified in the heritage region; the largest concentration of auto-related sites, attractions and events in the world.
  • Remembers the auto industry's past while celebrating its future.

What makes our MotorCities story so important?

  • Became the "Silicon Valley" of the early 20th century, marshalling access to natural resources, transportation infrastructure, skilled labor, innovation and ingenuity, and venture capital to become the center of the global automobile industry;
  • Put the world on wheels by perfecting the assembly line, mass production and vertical integration for vehicle manufacturing;

  • Created the "five dollar day", the American middle class, the modern labor movement, and numerous wage and benefit advancements that brought dignity and safety to the workplace, influenced the Civil Rights movements, and continues to define the way we live, work and play.

  • Benefit from the generations of Americans whose relatives moved from the American South, and immigrated from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in pursuit of the American Dream - bringing their rich cultural and social traditions with them;

  • Served as the nation's "Arsenal of Democracy", vital to defending freedom and democracy in two world wars, playing a defining role in American and Allied victories;
  • Generated thousands of design, technological and production innovations that have positively impacted industry and commerce on a global scale;
  • Prompted national environmental and safety regulations and innovations;
  • Defined the standard for Brownfield/industrial reuse and environmentally sustainable manufacturing for the 21st century;

  • Inspire legions of artists, architects, authors and designers in their work.
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MotorCities National Heritage Area
200 Renaissance Center, Suite 3148, Detroit, MI 48243
Phone: 313.259.3425  |  Fax: 313.259.5254