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How Trumbull got its name

Trumbell in front of the now demolished Tiger Stadium in 2008
Trumbell in front of the now demolished Tiger Stadium in 2008
Author's Collection

Although Detroit Tiger's baseball hasn't been played at The Corner for over a decade, the intersection of Michigan and Trumbull is most likely one of the most famous locations in the city.  Yet few stop to ponder just who one of the two streets, Trumbull, was to have a street named for him.  The answer, in short, was it was named for an American poet of the Revolutionary War period.

John Trumbull was born in 1750 in Watertown, which was in what was then the British colony of Connecticut.  He was an extremely intelligent individual, entering Yale at the age of thirteen.  Upon his graduation from there four years later he  spent time as a tutor, in order to concentrate on writing.  In 1773 he sat for and passed the bar examination and began to practice law with John Adams in Boston.  With Adams leaving Boston upon the start of the Revolution, Trumbull returned to his native Connecticut to continue his law practice.  He later was elected to that state's legislature and as attorney general.  While doing this he continued to write, publishing poetry throughout this period, his most famous poem being M'Fingal.

This is all good enough reasons to name a street for a man, but why here in Detroit?  The reason is simple.  In 1825, at the age of seventy- five, he moved to Detroit to stay with his daughter.  This daughter happened to marry William Woodbridge, who served as territorial governor of Michigan.  With this highly influential relation, as well as being rather famous in his own right, it is not surprising that one of are streets was named for him.  He lived in the city for the remainder of his days, dying in 1831.  He will remain immortalized forever here, his name being associated with one of the most famous places in the city: The Corner, home of Tigers baseball for most of the 20th century.

Source: Gavrilovich, Peter, and Bill McGraw.  The Detroit Almanac.