Belleville, Michigan

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By Bethany Newton, Staff Writer Discover Downriver

Belleville is a city in the Downriver area southwest of Detroit. It became a village in 1905 after breaking off of Van Buren Township. Belleville officially became a city on May 14, 1946, and started growing as a community thanks to a booming lumber business. The abundance of work at saw mills and the emergence of railroads led to many travelers from out of state and out of the country to migrate to Belleville.

Before becoming a city, Belleville was also the home of the French Landing Dam, built by the Detroit Edison Company in 1926. The dam created the Belleville Lake, which is the largest inland lake in Wayne County. Belleville Lake, or more accurately known as Edison Lake, is over six miles long and covers around 1,200 acres.

Today, the Belleville area is known for many things including the National Strawberry Festival and being the birthplace of techno music. The National Strawberry Festival generates a great deal of media coverage and offers fun for the whole family, and of course amazing strawberry related desserts. Some may dispute it, but Belleville is also called the birthplace of techno music because it was once home to techno artists like Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson, or more commonly known as the Belleville Three.

The traditional downtown area is nestled on the Shore of Belleville Lake and is the perfect destination for anyone who is interested in good food, great stores and a nice stroll down by the water.

Fun Facts:

  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.20 square miles of which 1.14 square miles is land and 0.06 square miles is water.
  • As of the census of 2010, there were 3,991 people, 1,755 households, and 1,005 families residing in the city.
  • Four weekly newspapers, the Belleville-Area Independent, the Belleville Lake Current, the Belleville View, and the Belleville Enterprise serve the Belleville area.
  • Several current players in theNFL attended Belleville High School, including former Michigan Wolverines and current Denver Broncos linebacker Ian Gold, Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, his brother Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, Buffalo Bills linebacker Kevin Harrison, and retired San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker Frank Nunley, and Green Bay Packers running back Rodney Quiney-Karo.
  • Former Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox outfielderBilly Ashley attended Belleville High School.

Information gathered from Buy It In Belleville and the Van Buren Township History.

Written by Bethany Newton, staff writer for Discover Downriver.  See more about Bethany here.