A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 16, 2016
City of Straits (Detroit nickname)

The city of Detroit. Michigan, was named after the Rivière du Détroit, the Detroit River. “Detroit” is French for “strait.”

“Ancient city of the straits” was cited in 1833. “City of the strait” was cited in 1835. “City of the Straits” was cited in 1836 and “city of straits” was cited in 1849. The “City of the Straits” nickname became less popular in the 1900s, when the “Motor City” nickname emerged.


Wikipedia: Detroit
Detroit (/dɨˈtrɔɪt/) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the fourth-largest city in the Midwest and the largest city on the United States–Canada border. It is the seat of Wayne County, the most populous county in the state. Detroit’s metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 5.3 million people, making it the fourteenth-most populous metropolitan area in the United States and the second-largest in the Midwestern United States (behind Chicago). It is a major port on the Detroit River, a strait that connects the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest economic region in the Midwest, behind Chicago, and the thirteenth-largest in the United States.

Wikipedia: Detroit River
The Detroit River flows for 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi) from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie as a strait in the Great Lakes system. The river divides the metropolitan areas of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario an area referred to as Detroit–Windsor. The two are connected by the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel.
(...)
French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac sailed up the Detroit River on July 23, 1701. The next day, he established Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, which became Detroit. The river itself became known as the Rivière du Détroit, in which détroit is French for “strait”. The river was known literally as the “River of the Strait”.

18 January 1834, New-York )NY) American, pg. 2, col. 1:
REVIEW OF THE WEEK.
No. XI.
MONROE, N. Y., Dec. 9, 1833.
The ride from Detroit hither is dull enough at this season of the year.
(...)
... but I am inclined to think the enterprizing inhabitants of this thriving little place (Monroe—ed.) are somewhat too vivacious in their expectations, when they think of not only rivalling, but outstripping, the ancient city of the Straits (Detroit—ed.) on the onward road to prosperity.

9 September 1835, Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), “Out of Fashion, Out of the World,” pg. 3, col. 3:
And even Detroit—yes, this little city of the strait, if we may believe one of her public vehicles of intelligence, the journal, is not without her claims to distinction, as the scene of a very competent and respectable Riot, got up in good style, spiritedly conducted and splendidly closed.

4 May 1836, Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), pg. 1, col. 4:
CITY BATHS.—The question has been repeatedly asked us during our short residence in this beautiful “City of the Straits”—why is not your city furnished with a set of bath houses, so indispensably requisite to the comfort and health of travellers, as well as our citizens?

11 July 1837, Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), “Dialogue,” pg. 2, col. 3:
Enter a citizen. Good morning, Mr. Webster; I feel sensations of the most exquisite pleasure in the opportunity I now have to enjoy, of congratulating you of your peregrination to this beautiful mundane city of the straits.

24 September 1840, The Mercury (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 3:
“The city of the Straits,” as Detroit is sometimes called, has lost all the peculiarities that characterized it before the old French regime was violated.

31 May 1849, Detroit (MI) Free Press, “First trip of the May-Flower,” pg. 2, col. 3:
We left the fair “city of straits” (Detroit—ed.) yesterday morning at about half past 10 o’clock, on the new steamer May-Flower, with a light load of passengers and a few invited guests, on her first trip across the blue waters of Lake Erie.

OCLC WorldCat record
A story of the war entitled Missing after Winchester : a romance of the city of the Straits.
Author: West & Comly (Detroit, Mich.)
Publisher: Jackson [Mich.] : Daily Citizen Steam Print, 1865.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

9 April 1866, Cleveland (OH) Daily Plain Dealer, “Geographical Nicknames,” pg. 2, col. 5:
Nicknames of some cities and towns:
(...)
... Detroit, City of the Straits; ...

Google Books
Dictionary of Americanisms (Fourth Edition)
By John Russell Bartlett
Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company
1877
Pg. 812:
Detroit ... City of the Straits

OCLC WorldCat record
Sketches and reminiscences of the City of the straits and its vicinity
Author: Robert E Roberts
Publisher: Detroit: Free Press Book and job printing House, 1884.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Detroit, the City of the Straits illustrative of its beauty, its architecture, its streets, parks, commerce, manufactures, etc.
Publisher: Chicago, Knight, Leonard, 1891.
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The Queen city of the Straits. Detroit, the beautiful and growing metropolis of Michigan ...
Publisher: Springfield, Mass., 1892.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Detroit, the City of Straits : Headlight, Souvenir edition. Sights and scenes- Chicago to New York.
Publisher: [S.I.] : [publisher not identified], [1900]
Edition/Format: Print book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesCity of Straits, Motor City or Motown (Detroit nicknames) • Saturday, January 16, 2016 • Permalink