Dearborn Timeline

This timeline of major events in Dearborn begins with the consolidation of Fordson and Dearborn in 1929. For history prior to 1929, visit our page on Arsenal History.


  • January 9, 1929 – Voters approve a charter to merge the cities of Fordson and Dearborn. New Mayor Clyde M. Ford is sworn into office as Mayor of consolidated Dearborn on January 15.
  • February 1929 – The Ford Motor Company’s Fordson Plant is renamed the River Rouge Plant. At peak employment in 1929 the factory complex has 103,000 workers.
  • October 21, 1929 – The Edison Institute, which today comprises the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, is formally dedicated during the Golden Jubilee of electric light. It is named to honor Ford’s mentor and friend, Thomas A. Edison. President Hoover and other prominent figures attend.


  • July 1, 1931 – The Dearborn Inn opens as one of the first airport hotels in world.
  • March 7, 1932 – Unemployed Detroit workers organize the “Ford Hunger March” to protest increased lay-offs and to pass a list of demands to Henry Ford. On the way to the Rouge Plant, they are met by hostile police officers equipped with tear gas, fire hoses, and guns. The marchers retaliate by throwing rocks. Hundreds of shots are fired into the crowd wounding sixty people and killing five.
  • October 23, 1934 – Launching from Ford Airport, high-altitude balloonists Jean and Jeanette Piccard rise eleven miles in their stratosphere balloon and land in Cadiz, Ohio. Jeanette is the first American woman licensed as a balloonist and the first to reach the stratosphere.
  • 1936 – John Carey becomes mayor of Dearborn.
  • May 16, 1936 – The Ford Rotunda opens in Dearborn. Until it burns down in 1962, the massive structure is the largest permanent industrial exhibit building in the country and is the reception area for millions of Rouge Plant tourists.
  • 1937 – Progressive Arabian Hashmie Society opens the first Shi’a mosque in Dearborn inside a former bank building on Dix Avenue. The building later becomes known as Hashmie Hall.
  • May 26, 1937 – Harry Bennett’s Ford “service” men beat United Auto Workers (UAW) official Richard Frankensteen during the Battle of the Overpass.
  • 1938 – Ground is broken on a Sunni mosque at 9945 Ferndale (West Vernor Highway), making it the oldest mosque built in Michigan and one of the oldest in the entire United States. The mosque is taken over by the American Moslem Society in 1942.
  • September 14, 1938 – Fordson Junior College, originally located in the basement of Fordson High School, opens with an enrollment of one hundred students. It later becomes Dearborn Junior College, and finally Henry Ford Community College in 1952.


  • April 1, 1941 – A major strike begins spontaneously when Ford Motor Company fires eight union members. After the U.A.W. successfully organizes tens of thousands of participants to shut down much of the Rouge Plant for ten days, Ford Motor decides to compromise. Negotiations conclude on June 21 when the company’s first union contract is signed, a milestone event for organized labor.
  • November 4, 1941 – Orville Hubbard defeats Clarence Doyle to become mayor. He is inaugurated on January 6, 1942 and goes on to serve fifteen consecutive terms, earning the moniker “Dictator of Dearborn.”
  • February 10, 1942 – Adjusting to wartime production, Ford automobile assembly ceases for three years.
  • May 22, 1944 – Fordson and Dearborn school districts consolidate.
  • April 7, 1947 – Henry Ford dies at age 83.
  • October 21, 1947 – Ford Airport officially closes. The site is now used by Ford as the Dearborn Development Center.
  • November 4, 1947 – Marguerite C. Johnson becomes the first woman elected to the Dearborn City Council.
  • May 29-31, 1948 – Camp Dearborn opens for the first time during Memorial Day Weekend, hosting 2,500 visitors.


  • September 29, 1950 – Clara Ford dies. Shortly thereafter Ford Motor Company purchases the Fair Lane Estate.
  • October 14, 1950 – During the Cavalcade of Dearborn, The Commandant’s Quarters, formerly a police station, is dedicated as a City museum.
  • February 19, 1951 – Facing allegations that he abused his office by preventing proper auditing, appointing unqualified department heads, and other claims, Mayor Hubbard survives a recall election.
  • Fall 1955 – Edsel Ford High School opens with 1,111 students. It is named in honor of Henry Ford’s only son, Edsel, who made many contributions to education through the Ford Foundation.
  • September 26, 1956 – The Ford World Headquarters building, also known as the “Glass House,” is dedicated.
  • October 27, 1956 – The McFadden-Ross House opens as a second museum building under the Dearborn Historical Commission’s care.
  • September 28, 1959 – UM-Dearborn opens as the Dearborn Center of the University of Michigan.


  • 1962 – New Henry Ford Community College campus dedicated. The school is now known as Henry Ford College.
  • November 9, 1962 – Ford Rotunda burns down
  • April 8, 1963 – Unannexed sections of Dearborn Township incorporated as the city of Dearborn Heights.
  • January 26, 1965 – The Michigan Civil Rights Commission finds Mayor Hubbard guilty of posting racist newspaper and magazine clippings on City Hall bulletin boards. However, he is never taken to court on the issue.
  • 1967 – Many Palestinian refugees start immigrating to Dearborn as a result of the Six-Day War.
  • December 1967 – The City of Dearborn purchases Clearwater Towers in Clearwater, Florida. The million dollar acquisition is renamed “Dearborn Towers” and acts as a retirement community for Dearborn residents until it is sold in 2012.
  • November 25, 1969 – Henry Ford Centennial Library is dedicated on Michigan Avenue.


  • 1971 – Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is established by volunteers who want to assist the integration process for Arab-Americans in Dearborn.
  • 1975-1990 – The Lebanese Civil War results in an increase of Lebanese immigration to Dearborn.
  • March 2, 1976 – Fairlane Town Center, Dearborn’s first shopping mall, opens.
  • November 4, 1976 – The Dearborn Press and Dearborn Guide newspapers merge.
  • Late 1970s-1990s – Arab Americans move from Southend of Dearborn to eastern side of the city. The high rate of Non-Arabs moving out of eastern Dearborn allows for Arab-Americans to buy homes and build new ones. By the 1990s “Middle Eastern Market” business districts developed along Warren Avenue and Schaefer Road.
  • 1978 – John B. O’ Reilly, Sr. becomes mayor of Dearborn


  • December 16, 1982 – Orville Hubbard dies
  • 1986 – Michael Guido becomes the mayor of Dearborn.
  • 1989 – Suzanne Sareini becomes first Arab-American elected to Dearborn city council.


  • 2004 – Tours resume at the Ford Rouge plant for the first time since 1980, after Ford F-150 production begins at the facility.
  • 2005 – The Islamic Center of America opens its current mosque building on Ford Road. The mosque is the largest in North America.
  • 2005 – ACCESS opens Arab American National Museum opens.
  • 2006 – Michael Guido dies at the age of 52 during his 6th term. He is the only Dearborn mayor to die in office.
  • 2006 – John B. O’Reilly, Jr. becomes Dearborn mayor.


  • 2013 – After 20 years, organizers ended the Arab International Festival after visits by controversial Christian groups raised the cost of insurance.
  • October 10, 2018 – Ford officially opens the renovated Wagner Place development as part of an effort to revitalize the downtown area.