Independence Township, Michigan

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Independence Charter Township is a charter township of Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 32,581 at the 2000 census, making it the fourth largest township in Oakland County by population. Ths township was named by one of its earliest settlers, Joseph Van Sycle, who came to the area in 1834 from Independence, New Jersey.[3]

Contents

History

John W. Beardslee, a Sussex County, New Jersey native, was the first person to settle Independence Township in 1826. Subsequently, settlers from New Jersey and New York began to settle the township until by 1834 all sections of land in the southern half of the township was settled. (The northern half was largely unsettled). The southern half of the township was marked by flat plains that made it suitable for farming, most notably the Sashabaw Plains in the southeast corner of the township. The rest of the township comprised flat plains, rolling hills and lakes, connected by branches of the Clinton River. By 1840 Independence Township's population was 830, but a decade later new construction boosted the township's population to 1,200. By 1877 Independence Township's swampland was converted to agricultural use. In the late 1800s, E.V. Bailey, a prominent resident, donated to Clarkston a section of land at what is now Whipple Lake Road and Pine Knob Road. Clarkston, which is located in the heart of Independence Township, used the land to erect the area's first schoolhouse.

While the 19th century saw a primarily agricultural economy, the 20th century saw the completion of a railroad depot and the arrival of the automobile as a number of visitors from Detroit, Michigan began to visit the township. Independence Township continued to grow at the same time as cottages were built, farms were subdivided and new houses built, all the way up to the 1930s when the Great Depression temporarily ended future land developments. After World War II, the township's population not only rebounded, it has boomed as new shopping centers, new subdivisions, new schools, new churches, several parks and, of course, the DTE Energy Music Theatre have been built over the years, helped by access via I-75, M-15 and US-23. Independence Township's economy is today service-based.

The DTE Energy Music Theatre shares a complex with Pine Knob Golf and Ski Courses. The Township is also home to various parks, the largest of which is Independence Oaks County Park.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 36.3 square miles (94.0 km²), of which, 35.2 square miles (91.2 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it (3.03%) is water.

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