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Lmichigan

Highland Park: A Stylish Auto Hub

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As, usual, the News has been doing some excellent historic interest stories, this time focusing on the history of, and communities along, historic Woodward Avenue. This one detailing Highland Park's short history is no exception:

A Stylish Auto Hub

In this tiny community straddling Woodward Avenue, the managers and workers of the burgeoning auto industry found an urban oasis -- small neighborhoods of tidy bungalows and tree-shaded lanes. Even the street names -- California, Pasadena, Buena Vista -- seemed to reflect their dreams of upward mobility.

As the automotive hub of the globe in the early 20th century, cranking out millions of Model T's, Highland Park could afford to nurture those dreams.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic...=Metro-Woodward

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To me, this shows how incredibly fickle our society is that they can build and then discard of an entire community, all within less than a century. Technology has sped up how fast we can build and dismantle civilization.

Aerial of Highland Park for perspective:

122211308_22a4059b9d_o.jpg

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An interesting read. It's sad a city of 50,000 is now down to 16,000.

How did Highland Park and Hamtramck survive annexation back in Detroit

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I think it was just because Detroit didn't expect to grow beyond their southern boundaries and when it did, these towns were well established.

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I Hamtramck was incorporated as a village in 1901 out of a small part of the much larger Hamtramck Township. Highland Park was incorporated in 1918 also from a much larger township. Highland Park incorporated at the exact same decade Detroit's population went from something like 450,000 to just under a million by 1920. These two had to rush to incorporate, as Detroit went on annexation spree from this time until the mid 1920's when it was heemed in.

Just to show you how quickly each of them boomed as Detroit grew around them:

Population 1910

Highland Park - 427

Hamtramck - 3,559

Population 1920

Highland Park - 46,499

Hamtramck - 48,615

That's a population increase of 1,028.6% in that decade for HP and 1,266.0% in the same decade for Hamtramck in these small cities (Hamtramck: 2.1 square miles, Highland Park: 2.96 square miles).

In fact, Hamtramck and Highland Park were just about the only villages to have survived Detroit's annexation. Detroit completely ate up a few villages, particularly to the southwest.

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I think, at least in Hamtramck's case, that ethnic cohesiveness also played a big role in them being able to avoid annexation. I'm not sure what Highland Park was like back in the day, but Hamtramck has always been a strong Polish enclave.

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Thanks to everyone who responded. I don't know as much history about the Detroit area as I do about West Michigan. I did know Detroit had annexed other cities or villages in the past, such as Delray, so seeing a map of Detroit with those two cities inside of it always made me wonder how they got to be that way.

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