MotorCities National Heritage Area
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Browse destinations, activities or interests to plan your automotive heritage trip! With arts and entertainment, parks, gardens, cemeteries, libraries, archives, museums, historic homes, motor sports and roadside auto culture, there is truly something for everyone. Pick your places, pack up the car, put the pedal to the metal and explore the MotorCities! Explore MotorCities Button


New MotorCities Automotive Themed Tours Now Available!

MotorCities is partnering with seven Detroit-area tour operators to offer public tours related to the automotive or labor heritage of Michigan beginning this summer.  The partnerships are intended to serve as a pilot program that can be expanded in future years both in metro Detroit and in other communities around the 16-county National Heritage Area. 

Tour experiences available vary from riding in a vintage Ford Model A to pedaling a bicycle or even kayaking in the Detroit River – all while visiting key automotive historical sites and learning the story of how the region put the world on wheels.

We are proud to offer the following experiences:

Antique Touring Company
ntique Touring Company - Tinkerers to Titans in the Auto Age Tour
Antique Touring photo RESIZED 450Hop in a Ford Model A and explore the "coming of age" story of the automobile during the first decades of the 20th Century from the vantage point of Detroit’s Woodward Corridor. Tours are offered every day, except Tuesdays, now through October 31. Additional information can be found on their website:

City Tour Detroit
City Tour Detroit - MotorCities Car Culture Tour   
 walking/Detroit People Mover/QLine tour showcases Detroit’s automotive heritage in the Downtown and Midtown areas. The four- hour tour begins in Hart Plaza and will stop by many significant sites in the city. These tours will be offered on a seasonal basis once a week beginning mid-June through September.

Detroit Experience Factory
etroit Experience Factory - MotorCities Auto Heritage New Center Walking Tour 
On this walking tour, guests will experience the past, present and future of the Detroit area, going back in time with a visit into the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant and speak with some of the innovators who now call these neighborhoods home. The tours are offered on June 25, July 30, August 27, and September 24. For more information, please visit

Magical Michigan Tours RESIZED 400
Magical Michigan Tours - Henry Ford: From Farm to Factory Tour 
This bus tour connects visitors to actual historic sites that reveal Henry Ford’s life from his farming roots to becoming an industrial magnate. Guests will visit locations important to his story and gain a personal view of his life and impact on society in the 20th century. The tour is available year-round, twice a month.

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Preservation Detroit - MotorCities Downtown Auto History Tour  
The two-hour walking tour, offered the second Sunday of each month through September, will explore the early automotive history right in downtown Detroit, from the site of Henry Ford’s shed, where he built his famous Quadricycle, to the Dodge Brothers’ Greektown bicycle building roots. The MotorCities Auto History tour is also available as a private tour to groups from five to 50 guests. 

Normally, the tour will be a 2.5 hour walking experience, however it can also be conducted via the People Mover if requested by private groups.

Riverside Kayak Connection No background
Riverside Kayak Connection - MotorCities Detroit Historical Canal Tour  
Riverside Kayak Connection photoExplorers are going to kayak through Detroit’s Eastside. Highlights of this tour include the Fisher Mansion, stories of prohibition and the Purple Gang, the friendly residents of Detroit’s “Little Venice” and a view of the Motor City’s downtown. Tours are two hours long and are available every Saturday and Sunday. Weekday availabilities and more information can be found on their website:

Wheelhouse Detroit

Wheelhouse Detroit - Auto Heritage Bicycle Tour 
Wheelhouse Detroit tour cropped and RESIZED 2O
n this 15-mile tour, guests will discover how Detroit became the center of industry. The tour takes in the Globe Building, Dequindre Cut, Packard Plant, the GM Detroit-Hamtramck (Poletown) Assembly Plant, Milwaukee Junction, New Center (old GM Headquarters and Fisher Building), and TechTown, where we will learn how industry is evolving with advanced technology. Tour dates are: June 15, July 20, August 17, September 21, and October 6. For more information please visit


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About the Guide

The Firms & Sites page chronicles the story of important businesses, sites, and historical moments. Profiles of additional firms will be released as in the months that follow. Treatments for firms listed on the We “Auto” Know More: Other Sites of Interest page will be developed as volunteers and financial support permit.

The posts found on the Community History page explore topics and trends that help put into context the discussions of specific sites.  The We “Auto” Know More page suggests firms, local unions, and events we hope to profile on this web site as it develops. That page underscores that this effort is very much a work in progress. The project’s work team welcomes any photographs or stories you care to share about any of these sites.  Those interested in issues focusing on organized labor can use the Labor Roots tab to easily access material that focuses union history.  [Learn More...]

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Labor Roots

 You Auto Know More

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John Dingell coffin RESIZED

As Michigan and the nation says goodbye to Congressman John Dingell this week, MotorCities also says farewell and thank you to our champion.

In his more than 59 years of service in the U.S. Congress, John Dingell championed influential legislation to support all sectors. He authored and co-sponsored the Automobile National Heritage Act in 1998 to create what is now the MotorCities National Heritage Area.

Dingell retired in 2014, and passed the torch to his wife, Debbie, who now represents his district in Congress. In 2015, he was the inaugural recipient of the MotorCities Milestone Award, recognizing all of his contributions. Since the creation of the heritage area, Dingell was its most vocal advocate imploring the organization to work to tell the story of the region and its people.

Rest in peace, John, and know that you served your state and nation well!

John and Debbie Dingell RESIZEDJohn and Debbie Dingell are pictured this past July at Fair Lane, the Home of Henry and Clara Ford, where they were interviewed for MotorCities 20th Anniversary.