|Date(s):||1924 to 1925|
|Tag(s):||Environmental History, Conner Creek, Detroit|
|Course:||“Environmental History in Detroit,” University of Michigan|
Two maps, created in 1895 and 1924-25, respectively, offer evidence of the vast changes that occurred in the early 20th century on the Northeast Detroit section of Conner Creek. The original map, from 1895, depicts the course of Conner Creek as it flowed from Warren, MI (part of the northern section of Detroit) through Grosse Pointe and what is now Nortown to the Detroit River just north of Belle Isle. The creek travels through Mt. Olivet Cemetery along French Road and Conner Street, crossing Gratiot Ave. and the site of the Edsel Ford Fwy. The second series of maps, drawn three decades later, shows proposed plans to turn sections of Conner Creek into a storm sewer between 7 Mile Rd. and 6 Mile, under Mt. Olivet Cemetery, causing the river to disappear underground.
In the late 1910s, the Creek had become a dumping ground for area residents. Thanks to the railroads that the area's founder, P.W. Norris, secured for the area, industry was increasing and the river retained little of its former usefulness as a key component of rural mills and irrigation systems. By the mid 1920s, much of the Creek was already diverted underground either to build factories on top of it or to turn into sewers. Today, the only aboveground section is a half-mile stretch before the Creek meets the Detroit River. However, even this section has changed. The course of the river’s mouth was completely altered in the early 2000s when a new water treatment plant was built: the direction of the creek was rotated and it no longer even actually flows into the river. Instead, the Creek ends in little more than a small pond attached to the river; the flow essentially stops once it enters the treatment plant. Both the treatment plant and the sewer are evidence of the many changes that have been instituted in Detroit, which have knowingly (and intentionally) changed the appearance of the area.