Ferndale, Michigan

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Ferndale is a city in Oakland County of the U.S. state of Michigan. It forms part of the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 22,105.

Ferndale is primarily residential, with a small industrial sector featured in the southeast part of the city. Ferndale's business district is anchored by the intersection of Woodward Avenue and 9 Mile Road, where privately owned shops, storefronts, dance clubs, bars and numerous restaurants are featured. Ferndale is well-known in the Detroit area for its LGBT population and liberal politics [3], having elected the first openly gay mayor in the state of Michigan in 2007.[4]

Contents

History

Native Americans were the first known inhabitants of the area now known as the City of Ferndale. In the 1800s farmers began cultivating the land. After the invention of the automobile and the development of the automotive assembly line, the population of Ferndale increased rapidly.[5]

Ferndale was incorporated into a village in 1918.[5] It was then incorporated into a city on March 7, 1927 by vote of the citizens of the village.[6] It became a bedroom community for Detroit workers, with most of its growth in housing from 1920-1951. Through the early 1950s there were trolley (interurban railroad) lines in the median strip of Woodward Avenue from downtown Detroit to Pontiac. These helped the northern suburbs of Detroit grow as bedroom communities as people could take the trolley to shop or work in Detroit.

In the 1970s, Ferndale was a typical American suburban community and a place for families to raise children during the "Baby Boom" era, with many elementary schools, a thriving downtown, city parks, active churches and civic groups. Ferndale even had its own community hospital (Ardmore Hospital) on 9 Mile Road at Livernois that closed in the 1970s. St. James Church had their own school for grades 1 through 12. The high school later closed, in late 1960s or early 1970s.

Lincoln Junior High on 9 Mile and Livernois was demolished in 1978, and in its stead is a supermarket named Ferndale Foods.[7] It was formerly Lincoln High, the city high school, until the new and current Ferndale High was completed in 1958. Lincoln Junior High had been built in 1920 and was falling apart by the 1960s. By this time the population of school-aged children also was declining and more and more elementary schools closed or were consolidated. Two of the elementary schools, Paul Best School on the West side of Woodward, and Coolidge on the East side, took over as the city junior high schools after Lincoln was closed. Recently the school district was again made over with impressive results in test scores[citation needed]. The gap between the disadvantaged and privileged children has closed in recent years[citation needed].

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