Monday, October 27, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Highland Park Michigan

 The City of Highland Park Michigan is unique in that it is completed surrounded by the City of Detroit. Originally a farming community located six miles north of Detroit, Judge Augustus B. Woodward bought the farming ridge in 1818, and in 1825 and platted a village he called "Woodwardville". That village failed, and in 1836, Detroit Judge Benjamin F.H. Witherell, whose father James Witherell was a Michigan Supreme Court Judge, again tried to start a village; that attempt also failed. Finally, in 1889, a village called Highland Park was incorporated was a population of just over 400 residents.

In 1909, the village of Highland Park was chosen by Henry Ford for his automobile plant that featured the first assembly line in America which was completed in 1913. In 1918, Highland Park was incorporated as a city to protect the boundaries and keep it separate from the City of Detroit. With the Ford Plant, and the famous $5 a day wages being paid, the population of Highland Park exploded to almost 47,000 residents by 1920 and 53,000 people by 1930.  However, since the Great Depression, the population of Highland Park has continuously declined; the 2000 census recorded just under 15,000 residents.

In addition to having the honor of being the "Home of the Model T", Highland Park is also famous for having the world's first modern freeway, the Davison, which runs east-west through the city and was completely reconstructed in 1997. Highland Park was also home to the first headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation

Highland Park was also once known as the "City of Trees" because of the beautiful oak and elm trees which blanketed the area; however, many trees succumbed to "Dutch Elm Disease" in the 1970s. Highland Park is still known for its beautiful homes built in the early 20th century; especially those of the "Arts and Crafts" style. Beginning in the 1990s, Highland Park embarked on a renewal building process, with many new homes and retail shopping areas around Woodward Avenue.

Shameless Plug: please read my husband's blog The "D" Spot...

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