Detroit Lakes is a city in the State of Minnesota and the county seat of Becker County. The population was 8,569 at the 2010 census. Its unofficial population during summer months is much higher, estimated by citizens to peak at 13,000 midsummer, due to seasonal residents and tourists.U.S. Highways 10 and 59, and Minnesota State Highway 34 serve as the primary routes through the city. Detroit Lakes is located 45 miles east of the Fargo–Moorhead ND-MN statistical metropolitan area. The nearest major metropolitan area with a population over 300,000 is Minneapolis–Saint Paul, which is approximately 205 miles southeast of Detroit Lakes.Detroit Lakes is a regional summer and winter recreation destination, attracting large amounts of tourists and seasonal residents each year. Its economy is fueled by seasonal population increases, with tourism being the area's chief industry along with agriculture.HistoryThe city of Detroit Lakes was founded by Colonel George Johnston in 1871. The city grew quickly with the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1877, an election finally decided that Detroit Lakes, then known as Detroit, was to become the county seat. Detroit won the election by a ninety percent majority. The nearby cities of Frazee, Lake Park, and Audubon were also in the running for the county seat. By 1884, Detroit Lakes had many businesses, including the Hotel Minnesota, the Lakes Hotel, a bank, a newspaper, and an opera house. The first county courthouse was built in Detroit Lakes that year also.