People of Italian descent have been present in Detroit since Alfonso Tonti, second-in-command to Antoine Cadillac, participated in the founding of the city in 1701. By the close of the 19th century, the trickle of Italian immigrants had become a torrent, as thousands rushed to the growing industrial center. Settling on the lower east side, the community grew rapidly, especially north and east into Macomb County. Italians in Detroit did not remain in a "little Italy," but mingled with the diverse population of the city. Through a combination of hard work and strong family and community ties, the Italians of Detroit have achieved their dreams of a better life. They have met the challenges of living in a new land while nurturing the culture of the old country. The challenge that remains is to nurture a love of heritage among young Italian Americans as the immigrant generation fades.