Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Zug Island

Zug Island is a private industrial site located on Detroit’s southern border where the River Rouge and Detroit River meet. Zug Island was once recognized as part of the village of Delray, but the annexation of the village by Detroit in 1906 did not include the island. The island was solidified as a part of the city River Rouge when it was incorporated in 1922. Originally part of the mainland, the 334-acre lot was purchased by furniture mogul Samuel Zug in 1859. The swampy land proved unsuitable for a home, and in 1888 Zug allowed the River Rouge Improvement Company to dig a canal through the land, transforming it into an island. Zug sold the island in 1891 to George Brady and Charles Noble, who may have originally intended for the island to be used as an industrial dumping ground.

The need for industrial land grew tremendously during the early twentieth century, and several blast furnaces for steel production were built on the island beginning in 1902. These steel mills have changed hands several times, and were at one time owned by the now defunct National Steel. Now called the Great Lakes Works, the mills are owned by United States Steel. Zug Island is one of only a handful of locations in the United States that produce coke, an ingredient used in the creation of steel.

In recent years, residents of Windsor, Ontario have experienced a mysterious, annoying “hum” or vibration coming from the American side of the river. Various media reports theorize Zug Island to be the source of this phenomenon.



Steel mill on Zug Island, 1977 - 2008.033.907

Zug Island, 1973 - 2013.046.125

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