by Bret Schnitzer
There are two accounts of the city’s name: Southgate is described in local guides as being the “South Gate” or entrance to the Metro Detroit area. “A metropolitan daily picture story” in late 1956 also gave this explanation.
Southgate’s first mayor, Thomas J. Anderson, also stated in 1956 that the name originated from the newly-built Southgate Shopping Center in the middle of the city. “We were trying to get a separate post office for our community, and were advised that it would help our cause if the township board passed a resolution creating an unincorporated village,” Anderson explained. “The name Southgate was chosen because of the shopping center then under consideration, and the board agreed that it was an appropriate name. The resolution was adopted at a regular meeting in the early summer of 1953.”
Thomas Anderson became the city’s first mayor in 1958 after having been Ecorse Township’s supervisor for the previous five years. Anderson also has the high school named after him.
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