Detroit is the hometown of the United States auto industry, the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Motown, Eminem and the White Stripes. It is also a city that made history on Thursday, July 18th, 2013 by becoming the largest municipality in the United States to ever file for bankruptcy.
How did we come to this?
Here’s a look back at the city’s history, starting in the 1950s—the beginning of the decline.
Detroit's population hits 1.85 million, making it America's fourth-largest city, with 296,000 manufacturing jobs.
The 3,500,000-square-foot Packard Motor Car Co. factory in Detroit, opened in 1903, is shuttered. It still stands today, a symbol of Detroit's long, slow decline.
Berry Gordy founds Motown Records. He names the record company's center of operations — a two-story house at 2648 West Grand Boulevard — "Hitsville USA." And he isn't exaggerating. With artists like the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson 5, Motown has 120 singles hit the Top 20 in the 1960s, and changes the direction of popular music.
The Twelfth Street riot, one of the biggest in U.S. history, pits inner-city black residents against police, then National Guard troops sent in by Gov. George Romney and Army soldiers deployed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In five days of rioting, 43 people are killed, 467 injured, and more than 7,200 arrested. Some 2,000 buildings are destroyed.
The gasoline crises help give smaller, more fuel-efficient foreign-made cars a toehold in the U.S., signaling a long period of crisis for Detroit's Big Three automakers.
Detroit elects Coleman Young as its first black mayor. He serves until 1993.
Detroit Tigers win the World Series.
Detroit Pistons win NBA championship.
Moody's cuts Detroit's debt rating to junk status.
Under Mayor Dennis Archer, the city's credit rating rises to a solid investment grade, on the back of a bout of urban renewal.
Stroh's Brewery Company is sold to Pabst and Miller, with its brands either divided between the two breweries or discontinued.
Detroit celebrates its 300th anniversary; DaimlerChrysler announces job cuts.
Jennifer Granholm is elected as Michigan's first female governor; Detroit Red Wings win Stanley Cup.
Under Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the city's credit ratings start to slide back into junk territory.
General Motors announces massive job cuts; civil rights icon, Rosa Parks, dies at age of 92.
Kilpatrick pleads guilty to obstruction of justice charges and leaves office.
President Bush gives a provisional $17.4 billion bailout to GM and Chrysler.
General Motors (GM) announce cut of 21,000 US jobs, phasing out Pontiac brand; Chrysler and GM declare bankruptcy, and the Obama administration provides financing and guides the automakers through expedited bankruptcy proceedings.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Detroit's population has fallen to 713,777, a 25 percent plummet from 2000 and the lowest level in 100 years. Detroit's finances are premised on a minimum tax base of 750,000 people. A new law, Public Act 4, that allows the state to intervene in financially troubled local governments takes effect.
Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon says that the state will conduct a formal review of Detroit's finances.
General Motors reports record profits for 2011.
Voter repeal Public Act 4. The next month, Gov. Rick Snyder signs a replacement bill, Public Act 436, that lets struggling local governments choose between mediation, a deal with the state, a state-appointed emergency financial manager, or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
A state review board appointed by Snyder decides that Detroit is in "operational dysfunction," unable or unwilling to restructure its finances, and needs intervention from the state.
Kevyn Orr, a restructuring specialist appointed by Snyder as Detroit emergency manager, takes office, at an annual salary of $275,000.
Orr, in his first public report on Detroit's finances, calls the city "clearly insolvent."
Orr says Detroit will stop making payments on some of its $18.5 billion in debt, putting it in technical default. Orr also lays out a plan to restructure Detroit's finances to avoid bankruptcy, including cuts to the pensions and health benefits of retired city workers and a steep haircut on municipal bonds.
Orr files a Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition on behalf of Detroit, marking the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in history and sending the Motor City into unknown territory.