Some significant events took place Downriver during the 1980s:



  • McLouth Steel reports a $16 million loss, and is forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.



  • July: National Steel in Ecorse announces that they would spend $200 million to construct an electrogalvanizing line (EGL) and a second continuous caster unit. The EGL would make National Steel the first facility in the United States to produce continuous coated, rust-proof steel which would be mostly purchased by auto manufacturers.
  • December 16: Southland Center's theater reopens with the original two screens repurposed into four auditoriums.


  • February: Taylor residents pass a 5.4 mill increase and referendum to rescue the Taylor School District from a major shakeup.
  • April: During a speech at the Presidential Inn in Southgate, Heinz Prechter is officially introduced to the masses on his way to becoming Downriver's greatest ambassador in history.
  • May 21: The Olympic Flame passes through Downriver en route to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. From Monroe, it proceeds north on Telegraph Road to West Road east to Fort Street north to Detroit.
  • December: Mazda announces they would be building a new assembly plant just north of the old Michigan Casting Plant, along Interstate 75 between Vreeland and Gibraltar Roads. The $450 million facility would begin construction in the spring of 1985 and represent the firm's first production facility in the United States. Flat Rock Mayor Ted Anders was enthused at the 3,500 job additions the facility would provide. The city would ultimately give Mazda a 12-year tax abatement to encourage the facility's construction and operation.
  • The vacant Korvette building reopens as the Southgate Antique and Flea Market. It would itself shut down less than two years later.
  • The Michigan Drive-In Theater in Southgate shuts down, becoming the first Downriver casualty of a new trend in a large wave of drive-in theater closures across the continent.





  • January: A Republican gathering at a Wyandotte restaurant is the scene of a shoving match between Marvin Bush (the father of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush) and televangelist Pat Robertson.
  • February 8: Eight short Gibraltar streets are decertified from public usage and become the Lost Streets of Gibraltar.
  • Memorial Day: A large brawl between two rival gangs (who were Detroit Public Schools students) at Bob-Lo Island breaks out, thus beginning the spelling of the end of the island's life as an amusement park.
  • November: Gilead Baptist Church in Taylor files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, resulting in controversy.
  • Michigan Foundation sets up a new method of blasting at the Sibley Quarry which requires 30% less explosives per charge plus more sophisitcated blasting caps following complaints by nearby residents about louder blasts that shook their homes for years.
  • Burlington Square opens in Taylor, with an anchor then as it is now a Burlington Coat Factory, from which the center's name is derived from.