The Hamtramck Name
In its earliest days, the area now known as Hamtramck was settled by the French who came largely from Quebec. In 1798, Wayne County was divided into four townships, Detroit, Mackinaw, Sergeant, and Hamtramck. Hamtramck, was named after a French Revolutionary War hero, Colonel Jean Francois Hamtramck (1756-1803).
Hamtramck’s old world hospitality has its roots in the early 1900’s when it was a peaceful German-American farming community with a population of 500. The establishment of the Dodge Brothers automobile plant in 1914 attracted Polish laborers in large numbers and the village quickly flourished. Between 1910 and 1920 Hamtramck continued to flourish, growing from 3,589 to 46,615: the greatest community growth for that period in the United States. The idea of organizing Hamtramck as a village first arose in 1901. It was finally incorporated as a city in 1922, when it decided to in to protect itself from becoming annexed by Detroit, which completely surrounds Hamtramck. Pharmacist Peter C. Jezewski was elected first mayor in 1922.
Hamtramck has a strong a diverse economy, however, at one time the automotive industry played a critical role in the city. Chrysler introduced the Dodge (1955) model of its car series here in November 1954. On June 10, 1910, John and Horace Dodge broke ground for the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company located on the South End near Joseph Campau and Conant. The first auto was produced in Hamtramck on November 14, 1914. Dodge was subsequently purchased by Chrysler on July 30, 1928. This much heralded event saw the city unofficially named Dodge City for the week and the arrival of Roy Rogers as the guest of honor.