An Arab-American Mecca
One very unique feature of Dearborn is its diversity, which has been a great blessing for the city’s culture, but occasionally also a burden due to misunderstanding and intolerance. The population is over 30% Arab-American, including both recent immigrants and families who have been living in the area for generations. Despite the pun, the largest sub-section of the Arab population is actually made up of Lebanese Christians. Since there’s such a large Arabic-speaking community, it’s attracted people from a range of different countries and religions, as well. As a result of this diversification, Dearborn boasts the Arab-American National Museum, the only museum in the world devoted to Arab-American history and culture, as well as the largest mosque in North America, and an annual Arab-American Festival.
While Dearborn doesn’t have its own transit system (why would they? Gotta show off that Ford pride), a handful of bus lines do run through it. The Suburban Mobility Authority for Public Transportation (SMART) operates cross-town buses (to other cities), downtown buses (to Detroit), and commuter buses through popular areas, such as the college campuses, museum/Greenfield Village, and downtown Dearborn.
Unlike some of its neighbors, only about a quarter of the population in Dearborn are renters. This means two important things: a lot of places, and not a lot of competition! Since the city’s population is mostly families, the common rentals are single-family homes. Also, expect to find some town houses/condos, smaller two or three-flat buildings and a few small, low-level complexes, as well as some much larger complexes.
Style and Pricing:
There’s some nice variety in Dearborn pads. If you’re looking for spacious, historic houses, Dearborn’s got plenty of them – unfortunately most of them aren’t for rent. The most common rental houses you’ll find are cozy little brick bungalows and ranches, or new and ritzy cookie-cutter town homes. Very “Metro Detroit”, if you ask us. Apartment-type housing tends to be newer and nicer. No matter what type of housing you choose, you won’t go far over $1000 a month, unless it’s a very nice place or in a very desired area, then expect to pay into the mid 1000s.
Utilities and Fees:
Renting a condo or a nicer apartment is one of the most common ways to get any utilities included in your rent, but with a single-family home, you may be out of luck. However, most appliances (often including washer and dryer), as well as a garage are provided in almost all of these places. Pet fees or restrictions on any type of place are completely normal.
What’s known as Dearborn, today, was actually two cities, once upon a time. The dividing point was the Southfield Freeway. The differences between the two sides still show a little in modern day Dearborn. While the city is mostly the same all over – quiet, safe suburban neighborhoods – some areas are a little nicer than others. There are many subsections and neighborhood associations, maybe too many to list, so we’ll give it to you in two easy acts with a downtown intermission:
On the whole, East Dearborn is considered the not-so-nice side, especially the closer you get to Detroit. The southeast side of Dearborn is very industrial, with lots of Ford buildings and facilities, and backs up to Detroit’s Delray neighborhood, (which means it can be a little sketchy in some places). The rest of the east side, however, is just as nice as any other place in Dearborn. Further north, you’ll find rows and rows of cozy little middle and working-class houses on tree-lined streets.
Michigan Avenue, the main “drag” of the downtown area, with shopping and entertainment, stretches between the East and West sides. Many of the museums and big attractions in the city are located on Michigan Avenue, or very close to it. On the corner of Michigan and Southfield, the Freeway that splits the city, you’ll see Ford’s main headquarters (or as locals call it, the “glass house”).
Considered a little nicer and more desirable, West Dearborn is mostly upper-middle class neighborhoods with spacious, historic houses. Way back when, this is the part of the city that Henry Ford built his estate on (Fair Lane, which is now part of the University of Michigan Dearborn campus), as well as large, beautiful homes for all of his executives. The Henry Ford museum and Greenfield Village are also on the west side.
Playing a very important role in Michigan history (and United States history…and even world history!) is the little town of Dearborn. It’s a popular stop just outside of Detroit with quite the draw for tourist and resident alike. Why not check it out for yourself?
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