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Detroit History: Meet Antoine Cadillac

Posted on Monday, July 23 2012 in Culture


Antoine Cadillac explored the Great Lakes far and wide, but he’s perhaps most famous for his time in Detroit, a city he founded, arguably. After setting foot on modern day Hart Plaza in 1701, Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain and the parish of Sainte Anne on the straits of Le Détroit.

Cadillac is also said to be responsible for the curse of the Nain Rouge for having struck the mythical red devil with his cane. The devil is rumored to have cursed Cadillac, and continued to haunt and terrorize the city for years. Now we can thank Cadillac for one of Detroit’s most exciting yearly celebrations, the revived Marche du Nain Rouge.

Writing back to his home country of France, Cadillac said of the area, "This country, so temperate, so fertile, and so beautiful that it may justly be called the earthly paradise of North America..." Well stated.

Read more about Antoine Cadillac at the Night Train, "Detroit & New Orleans: Antoine Cadillac" and enjoy Cadillac's own description of Detroit from the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library, 1702 Antoine Laumet De Lemothe Cadillac Description of Detroit.

Have you visited Cadillac’s statue at Hart Plaza, and do you have other favorite historical figures from Detroit?