Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Greektown Historic District

Greektown Historic District, which is commonly referred to as “Greektown,” is a historic neighborhood, commercial district, and entertainment district all in one. It is located on Monroe Avenue between Brush Street and St. Antoine Street and is dominated by Greek themed décor and restaurants. Greektown was first settled in the 1830s by German immigrants and at the time, it was primarily a residential neighborhood. In the early 1900s, many of the German residents began to move out of the Greektown neighborhood to get away from downtown. While German residents were moving out, Greek residents were moving in and were establishing businesses in the area. In the 1920s, the Greek residents, like the German residents before them, began to move out of the area, although their businesses, like restaurants and stores, remained. Through the 1950s, a mélange of immigrants moved into the few residences that remained, amidst all of the businesses.

 At the beginning of the 1960s, Greektown was redeveloped to become a more commercialized district with space for both parking and municipal buildings. In order to do so, some of the area’s buildings had to be torn down. During this time, many of Detroit’s Greek leaders realized that if they did not intervene, the cultural integrity of the Greektown District could be lost forever. These leaders were able to improve Greektown by installing street lights and improving the streetscape and building exteriors, along with the help of the Mayor’s Office. In order to attract more visitors to the area, these leaders also decided to establish an annual Greek Festival that would coincide with the Fourth of July holiday. The first Greek Festival took place in 1965 and it continued to be held annually until the turnout outgrew the space. By the time the festival ended, Greektown had already established itself in Detroit as an attractive commercial and entertainment district.

Today Greektown is the location of one of the three casinos in Detroit, Greektown Casino, along with the casino’s hotel. The district is also a popular location for food and entertainment. Many of the well-known restaurants along Monroe Avenue in Greektown include: The Golden Fleece, New Parthenon, Pegasus Taverna, and Pizza Papalis. Greektown also has its own station for the People Mover, located off of the Greektown Casino. The Greektown Historic District also includes: St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, Second Baptist Church, and the Athenium Hotel.



Photo of Monroe Street in Greektown, 1975

Corner of Beaubien and Monroe in Greektown, 1982

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