Detroit is on the Missouri Pacific Railroad and U.S. Highway 82, two miles from the Lamar county line in western Red River County. It developed around the proposed route of the Texas and Pacific Railway in the early 1870s. When the railroad was completed in 1876 the post office at nearby Starkesville was moved to the new town, which was named Bennett. In 1887 J. M. Stephens, the local railway agent, renamed the town Detroit for his former home in Michigan. Because of its location on the railroad the town soon became an important trading center and shipping point for area farmers. By 1884 the population had reached 200, and local institutions included two steam mills, two cotton gins, a church, and a district school. By 1890 the population had reached 750, and the town had a weekly newspaper, the New Era, published by S. B. Norwood. Two years later two hotels and a bank were in operation, and the population of Detroit was estimated at 900. By 1910 it had reached 1,500. During the years following 1910 the population of Detroit declined steadily, reaching a low of 425 by 1960. Then the town began to grow again, with populations of 726 and 805 reported in 1970 and 1980, respectively. In 1990 Detroit had 706 residents. The population was 776 in 2000.