MotorCities National Heritage Area logo

MotorCities 20th logoOn November 6, 1998, Congress and the National Park Service recognized the significance of the American automobile and the people and places that shaped its history by creating the MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership. Throughout a region of 10,000 square miles in 16 Michigan counties with a population of more than six million people, we tell the stories of how this area put the world on wheels. These stories are our stories: the stories of a region where people grew up with the automobile; where its heritage lives in our neighborhoods to this day; and where an industry begun by a few hundred changed the world for millions. For a complete history, please click here.



MotorCities 20th Anniversary Button 20 at 20

MotorCities 20th Anniversary Button Events



1996 American automobile industry celebrates its centennial anniversary and a coalition rallies for designation of various automotive heritage landmarks.

1997 Feasibility study conducted by Wayne Counts Parks and Rec for National Park Service Heritage Area consideration.

1998 Signing of Automobile National Heritage Area Act by President Clinton; MotorCities becomes the 28th National Heritage Area in the country

2001 The General Management Plan is submitted to the Secretary of the Interior and the boundaries of the National Heritage Area are drawn.

2002-2018 Implementation of the General Management Plan and its mission ”to preserve, interpret and promote the automotive and labor heritage of Michigan by encouraging revitalization through conservation, increasing auto-related tourism, and developing and deploying educational and informational programs”.
     Sub-grants totaling $1.5 million.
     Number of grants awarded: 295.
     Investments in programs:  $1.1 million.

2013 Evaluation conducted by U of M Dearborn

2014 Inauguration of Michigan Auto Heritage Day & Awards of Excellence

2014 MotorCities National Heritage Area is reauthorized by Congress

2015 Evaluation by Weststat completed and presented to Congress

2016 Economic Impact Report concludes a $410 million impact annually and support of over 4,000 jobs by the MotorCities National Heritage Area

2018 20th Anniversary

2018 Revamped website launched

2019 First of 14 Highway Signs Installed
MCNHA Highway sign 400

2019 Ground broken for Fort Street Bridge Park 

2020 Fort Street Bridge Park opens to the public 

2021 MotorCities launches "Many Voices, One Story" webpage as part of its DEI efforts 

2022 National Heritage Area Act passed by Congress, providing reauthorization for 15 years!

2023 National Heritage Area Act signed by President Biden; MotorCities celebrates 25 years!