Dundee is a village in Monroe County, Michigan located on the River Raisin in Dundee Township. The community is located about fourteen miles west-northwest of downtown Monroe and is located about eight miles south of Milan. As a village, the community is not administratively autonomous from the township.
Dundee was officially established in 1855, after having been originally settled by United States citizens in 1824. More recently, the community has seen growth and expansion, taking part in annexing land its parent township. By 2007, its population had climbed to over 4,000 residents. In 2010, it was the site of an EF2 tornado struck the city, causing extensive damage.
The village of Dundee is believed to have been named after Dundee, Scotland. The village contends, however, that it may not have been merely named after the Scottish industrial center. Rather, it is possible for an etymology with more "pizzazz [sic]." The village proposes that the community was named after "Bonnie Dundee," more formally known as John Graham Dundee. Bonnie Dundee was from Claverhouse, exacting as First Viscount Lord Graham of Claverhouse. He was a military man who took on missions throughout northwestern Europe and also fought to defended the country from insurgents. Most notable was the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679. Furthering the legend, it is stated that Dundee took up arms in 1688 when William of Orange invaded Britain. Under his command, the military of the Central Highlands defeated William of Orange at the Pass of Killiecrankie. Dundee was shot and mortally wounded in the battle. The village admits, however, that such a naming etymology is not entirely certain, but probable.
The Old Mill was constructed on the south bank of the River Raisin in 1849. It occupied a location adjacent to a dam that was originally constructed in 1827 and rebuilt in 1846. As a gristmill, wheat, corn, and oats were ground into flour and meal. The three-story frame of the building was of Greek Revival design. The grist mill thrived for many years by attracting farmers and their families to the Dundee area. The mill facilitated growth in the downtown area, just across the river from the mill, as well by providing food from local growers. The mill was restored in 1935 by Henry Ford and converted into a small machine shop. The mill was also expanded at this time to include a limestone annex to facilitate the transition to machine manufacturing.
The first permanent settler to Dundee arrived in 1824 and a post office was established in 1836. The community incorporated as the village of Dundee in 1855. During its establishment, the center of Dundee was shaped as a triangle. The commercial buildings that surround the triangle were constructed in the Italianate style. It is for this triangle that Dundee is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A fire destroyed some of the original buildings in the triangle, but those remaining were constructed between 1866 and 1900.
The village prospered with the onset of railroads in the late nineteenth century. The prosperity allowed the entire Triangle to be constructed with brick, including an Opera House and the three-story Pocklington Hotel. While street-level was traditionally used for retail and other commercial establishments, the upper stories were residential apartments. In some cases, however, the upper stories were small manufacturing facilities. At one point, Dundee had two cigar factories which operated in upper-floor dwellings around the Triangle. The Opera House, itself, was on the upper floor, with the lower level reserved for retail; although, an opera was rarely seen in this facility.
At the heart the Triangle is the Triangle Park. A cannon was placed in the park in 1909. An eight-sided limestone bandstand was also erected in 1913 as a Soldiers Memorial to those from Dundee who served in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Additionally, electricity was brought to Dundee in 1894, and the village reached a population of one thousand people in 1910.
Restoration of Downtown
As of 2008, three establishments are located at street level of the Opera House. These include the Dundee Antique Shop, the Wilson and Meyer Hardware Store, and the restored Village Hall. The section directly above the Village Hall originally held the stage and dressing rooms. This space has been renovated as part of an expansion of the Village offices. The former audience seating area, above the two stores, is used as storage for these businesses. Aside from the restoration of the Village Offices in the Opera House, many other restorations have occurred in the Triangle. The restoration of the Pocklington Hotel is tentatively planned.
The village government, in the 1990s, applied for and received the historic status for the Triangle District and created the River Walk adjacent to the downtown area. Other improvements, logistically and aesthetically, were made to the area. Public parking and appearance projects were undertaken to make accessibility to downtown easy while retaining the village's aura.
Growth in Dundee had previously relied on the railroads and the crossroads of M-50 and U.S. Highway 23, two busy highways, to attract businesses. In recent years, Cabela's opened its third largest store in Dundee on the northwest corner of the M-50 and U.S. 23 interchange. This store prompted other business such as hotels and restaurants to be constructed in Dundee.
On 06 June 2010, severe thunderstorms ripped through southeastern Michigan in the early morning hours. At 2:11am, a tornado touched down near M-50 and Dennison Road and traveled east. It damaged the Splash Universe waterpark and Cabela's store before jumping U.S. 23 and damaging a factory and local car dealership. It then proceeded through neighborhoods, near downtown and diminished on the village's east side.
The National Weather Service Detroit-Pontiac office confirmed the tornado, along with one near Rome Center and one in Estral Beach. The tornado's peak strength was classified as an EF2, with maximum winds of 115 miles per hour. It ultimately lifted at 2:27am near M-50 and Dixon Road, having traveled just shy of fourteen miles. The area east of Dundee only suffered damage corresponding to an EF0 tornado.
The community is served by The Independent, a local weekly newsprint publication. The newspaper covers Dundee, Ida and Petersburg. Within the community, purchase of the Toledo Blade, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press is available. Dundee, along with all of Monroe County, is in the Detroit television market.
Dundee is located along U.S. Highway 23 at the junction of M-50. Dundee can be accessed from the city of Monroe by traveling west along M-50, or Jackson by traveling east on the same highway. Dundee is located about twenty miles north of the U.S. 23 and Interstate 475 interchange in Sylvania, Ohio and eighteen miles south of the interchange with Interstate 94 near Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Once in Dundee, there are numerous restaurants and hotels near the M-50 exit—exit 17—and in the downtown area.
Notes and references
- ↑ General Information - From the village official website.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dundee Government - From the village official website.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dundee Firsts - From the village official website.
- ↑ USGS GNIS: Dundee
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Census map of Monroe County from the United States Census Bureau
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 History of Dundee - From the village website]
- ↑ The Old Mill - From the official village website.
- ↑ "Tornado rips through Dundee" from the Detroit News
- ↑ Map of tornado's path from the Monroe News
- ↑ National Weather Service storm report
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "American FactFinder" from the United States Census Bureau
- ↑ Map of 48131 from the United States Census Bureau
- ↑ City ZIP code look-up
- ↑ The Independent