#MIHistory – Feb. 27: Detroit’s First Auto Show

On this day in 1902, the first Detroit automobile show was held in the Detroit Light Guard Armory. There was probably no way of knowing at the time, but Michigan — and particularly Detroit — would become synonymous with automobile manufacturing.

Even before the automobile was invented, Michigan was a center for horse-drawn carriage production. Michigan was ideally situated for the purpose, with large stands of lumber to the north, and iron from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Michigan also lucked out by having many early automotive innovators, such as Ransom Eli Olds and Henry Ford, among its residents. The growing businesses drew people to the city, including African-American families from the South as part of the Great Migration, and Detroit boomed.

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The first car ever driven in Detroit was built by engineer and inventor Charles B. King, in 1896.

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