The 313 Turns 313: Happy Birthday, Detroit

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In 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded the beginnings of modern-day Detroit — area code 313. Motor City can't throw a big celebration because of its bankruptcy, but there will be some parties.


And this next story takes us back in time to Detroit 313 years ago. On this day in 1701, a French explorer first disembarked on the banks of the Detroit River. His name was Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac - or Cadillac, like the car.

DAN AUSTIN: Cadillac sets out on a several-month-long expedition before eventually winding up at what became Detroit.


Dan Austin is an assistant editor and resident historian at the Detroit Free Press. He's been writing about the Motor City's 313th birthday.

AUSTIN: We are often known as The 3-1-3.

INSKEEP: Which, of course, is Detroit's area code.

AUSTIN: So it's The 3-1-3 turning 3-1-3.

INSKEEP: He says Detroit needs some love about now.

AUSTIN: It's sometimes a tough love here in Detroit. But anyone who lives here is still here because they love this town.

MONTAGNE: And because the city is officially bankrupt, there won't be a big celebration for it 3-1-3. But there will be a number of unofficial parties.

INSKEEP: I wonder what number of unofficial parties?

MONTAGNE: Let me think.

INSKEEP: Three-hundred-thirteen? Anyway, maybe keeping it low-key is fitting for a city whose motto, in Latin, translates as, we hope for better things. It will rise from the ashes.

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