As of 1999 120,000 people in Metro Detroit indicated they are of Greek descent. Stavros K. Frangos, author of Greeks in Michigan, stated “From the 1890s to the present all available sources agree that” about one third of Michigan’s Greek Americans live in Metro Detroit.
At the turn of the 20th Century the first Greek immigrants arrived. The first year of entry was 1886. Theodore Gerasimos was the first documented Greek immigrant. Detroit’s Greeks began working in automobile factories and railroads, and some others became merchants; many merchants lived above or near their stores. Very few Greeks became farmers in the United States, even though many had backgrounds in agriculture. The first Greek settlement in Detroit was between St. Antoine and Beaubien on Monroe Street. The Greeks later moved to Macomb Street. In the beginning of the year 1900 the city’s first Greek coffeeshop opened on 40 Macomb Street.
There were 250 Greeks in Detroit in 1909. In 1912 persecution of Greeks began, prompting immigration from Greece. The period 1911 to 1917 was the peak immigration period from Greece. In 1914 there were up to 8,000 Greeks in the city. In 1914 a wave of immigration from Greece came because Henry Ford offered his $5 per day jobs. The Greek population rose to 10,000 to 15,000 by 1930.
Peloponnesus was the source of most Greek immigration to Detroit. Frangos wrote that “While no other reliable statistics are available, certainly Greeks from the three islands of Chios, Crete, and Cyprus have always made up a sizeable element of the community.” The National Centre of Social Research in Athens, by 1972, estimated that the State of Michigan had ethnic 100,000 Greeks. In 1999 The Detroit News stated that the Greeks were “well-assimilated.” By 2012 Detroit’s Greeks moved to suburban communities. Suburbs with Greek Americans include Lincoln Park and St. Clair Shores.