DETROIT — The history of the former municipality of Fairview is written in its streets. Officially founded in 1903, the city sat between Detroit and Grosse Point Park, only to be officially annexed by Detroit in 1907. Today, Fairview is a quiet, residential neighborhood bordering waterfront parks. Lakewood-Riverfront East Park is one of these, poised at the intersection of the Detroit River channel and Lake St. Clair, and is the site of the inaugural T O T E M S Riverfront Art Festival, a five-week series of educational, performance, and installation-based happenings that delve into the mythic and factual associations of a place rich with centuries of Detroit history.
The particulars of this history were laid out by local historian Nick Sinacori in a presentation, “Lost History of the Village of Fairview,” which took place in early September. Sinacori regaled a small crowd of interested residents and history buffs with a call-and-response-like recitation of the origins of almost every street name in the eastside neighborhoods. The hour-long presentation included a nuanced walk through history, starting with the founding of Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit (or Fort Detroit) in 1701 by French officer and explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who imposed himself upon a region in the midst of tribal conflict among Ottawa, Huron, and Miami tribes, eventually culminating in what is known as the Fox Indian Massacre.