The City of Ecorse is one of the oldest municipalities in Wayne County, having first become a Township in 1827. The first name for the community was the Village of Grand Port as established by French residents in 1836. The Village of Ecorse was established in 1902 and was the second largest village in the United States, at that time. Ecorse became a City in 1942.
Because of its ideal location for shipping along the Detroit River, combined with significant investment in rail and road infrastructure, the City of Ecorse urbanized and became a regional industrial center. The first steel plant, Michigan Steel Mill, was built in 1923. Great Lakes Steel Mill followed in 1929. Industrial development and resulting residential and commercial development grew steadily from 1929 and reached a high point during WWII.
Most recently, the City of Ecorse has become a first-ring suburban community closely connected to the City of Detroit and other “Downriver” communities through West Jefferson Avenue.
The development of the Southfield Freeway (M-39) and Outer Drive as major regional connectors to the U.S. Interstate System (I-75 and I-94) has provided commuter connections for residents to other areas in the Southeast Michigan region. The development and growth of these major transportation routes and the continuing suburbanization of the region has had a direct and continuing impact on all land uses in the City.