Michigan is in two time zones. Parts of the state are in the Central Time Zone, but the vast majority of the state is in the Eastern Time Zone. So, is Detroit in the Eastern Time Zone or the Central Time Zone?
Detroit is on ET. Interestingly, this was the very first place in Michigan to recognize Eastern Time, with the majority of the state following a few years later. Back in the early 20th Century, Detroit operated on Central Time.
Let’s explain a bit more because the history of Detroit and time is quite fascinating.
How Detroit Came To Be On Eastern Time
Back in the late 19th Century, it was decided that Michigan would be in the Central Time Zone (UTC-6), and, for a good 30 years or so, the whole of the state did run on CT.
The problem was that many major cities in Michigan, including Detroit, felt that the state shouldn’t be on CT. They believed that it was having a huge impact on their business since most of their trade was in states that were in the Eastern Time Zone.
In 1915, Detroit had enough. They wanted to be in the Eastern Time Zone, so their council voted and that was that. For a while, they were the only place in Michigan to be in the Eastern Time Zone. It wouldn’t have been great for the citizens of Michigan, but great for Detroit who wanted that extra hour of sunshine per day, and they wanted to make their business life a bit easier.
This is one of the only times where a section of the country has unilaterally decided which time zone it wants to be in. Normally, it would have been up to Congress (and now the Department of Transportation).
The Rest of the State Follows
Shortly after Detroit entered the Eastern Time Zone, the rest of the state realized that it may be a great idea for them to get in the same time zone too. By 1931, almost every county in the state had managed to switch over to the Eastern Time Zone, and Congress decided that this may be for the best.
There were only four counties that decided not to make the switch. These were the ones at the furthest western point of Michigan, and they were better suited to remaining in the Central Time Zone. So, these four counties are the only places where ET is not recognized:
Does Detroit Recognize DST?
Yes, Detroit, much like the rest of Michigan does recognize DST. Although, there is a bit of history behind that too. When they left the CT time zone, that time zone did not recognize DST at all, although that has now since changed in most of the states.
Detroit is in the Eastern Time Zone, but only because it willingly chose to make that decision over a century ago. If it didn’t choose to make that decision then Detroit, much like the rest of Michigan, would likely still be in Central Time.