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Given Wayne's location on the famed Rouge River and its proximity to next-door neighbor Detroit, it's no surprise that transportation has been the most important factor in the city's growth since its founding more than 175 years ago. Hundreds of years before, it was a vital Native American trading route, and many artifacts form the Pottawotami Tribe have been discovered along the river. From the stagecoach to the automobile, the history of Wayne has mirrored the history of transportation - which is celebrated each year at the annual Wheelfest and featured on an historic mural on the east wall of the State Wayne Theater.
Ezra Derby first settled the area, which was known as Derby's Corners. In 1836 Rufus Grown and Col. Joshua Howard purchased property along the Chicago Road and soon changed the name of the settlement to Wayne in honor of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Howard was the first commandant at the Federal Arsenal in Dearborn and served under General Wayne. He received the "mad" nickname because troops under his direction were considered ferocious fighters. On April 12, 1869 the village of Wayne was incorporated.
Today, the heart of downtown Wayne can be found along Michigan Avenue with plentiful restaurants, shops and a hometown feel.
While You're in Town:
Wayne Historical Museum - step back in time to an era of horse and buggies and wood-burning stoves. The museum, which maintains more than 100 exhibits, is located in an historic building constructed in 1878.
State-Wayne Theater - this community icon maintains its beautiful, original art deco marquee. The theater was purchased by the city in 1991, completely renovated and made into a multiplex theater. The building also boasts a stage for live community theater.
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