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Highland Park, Michigan
City of Highland Park
Medbury's–Grove Lawn Subdivisions Historic District along Puritan Avenue
Location within Wayne County
Location within Wayne County
Highland Park, Michigan is located in Michigan
Highland Park, Michigan
Highland Park, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Highland Park, Michigan is located in the United States
Highland Park, Michigan
Highland Park, Michigan
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Michigan
County Wayne
Incorporated 1890 (village)
1918 (city)
 • Type Mayor–council
 • City 2.97 sq mi (7.69 km2)
 • Land 2.97 sq mi (7.69 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
636 ft (194 m)
 • City 8,977
 • Density 3,022.56/sq mi (1,167.36/km2)
 • Metro
4,285,832 (Metro Detroit)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code(s)
Area code(s) 313
FIPS code 26-38180
GNIS feature ID 0628251

Highland Park is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 8,977 at the 2020 census. Along with its neighbor of Hamtramck, Highland Park is an enclave city surrounded by the city of Detroit.


The area that was to become Highland Park began as a small farming community, on a large ridge located at what is now Woodward Avenue and Highland, six miles (9.7 km) north of Detroit. In 1818, prominent Detroit judge Augustus B. Woodward bought the ridge, and platted the village of Woodwardville in 1825. The development of the village failed. Another Detroit judge, Benjamin F. H. Witherell, son of Michigan Supreme Court justice James Witherell, attempted to found a village platted as Cassandra on this site in 1836, but this plan also failed.

By 1860, the settlement was given a post office under the name of Whitewood. After a succession of closures and reopenings of the rural post office, the settlement was finally incorporated as a village within Greenfield Township and Hamtramck Township under the name of Highland Park in 1889.

In 1907, Henry Ford purchased 160 acres (65 ha) just north of Manchester Street between Woodward Avenue and Oakland Street to build an automobile plant. Construction of the Highland Park Ford Plant was completed in 1909, and the area's population dramatically increased just a few years later in 1913, when Henry Ford opened the first assembly line at the plant. The village of Highland Park was incorporated as a city in 1918 to protect its tax base, including its successful Ford plant, from Detroit's expanding boundaries.

In 1910 Highland Park, then a village, had 4,120 residents. Between 1910 and 1920 during the boom associated with the automobile industry, Highland Park's population grew to about 46,500, an increase of 1,081 percent. The growth of Highland Park and neighboring Hamtramck broke records for increases of population; both municipalities withstood annexation efforts from Detroit. In 1925, Chrysler Corporation was founded in Highland Park. It purchased the Brush-Maxwell plant in the city, which would eventually expand to 150 acres, and serve as the site of the company's headquarters for the next 70 years.

Arthur Lupp of Highland Park founded the Michigan branch of the Black Legion in 1931; it was a secret vigilante group related to the Ku Klux Klan, which had been prominent in Detroit in the 1920s. Investigations revealed the Legion had been involved in numerous murders or conspiracies to murder, for which 38 men were convicted. These convictions ended the reign of the Legion.

In 1944, the Davison Freeway was opened as the country's first modern depressed urban freeway, running through the center of the city. The freeway was completely reconstructed and widened in 1996 and 1997 to improve its safety.

Ford Motor Company wound down operations at its Highland Park plant in the late 1950s. With the loss of industrial jobs, the city suffered many of the same difficulties as Detroit: declines in population and tax base accompanied by an increase in street crime. White flight from the city accelerated after the 1967 Detroit 12th Street Riot. Ford's last operation at the factory, the production of tractors at its Model T plant, was discontinued in 1973, and a year later the entire property was sold to a private developer for general industrial usage. The city population was majority black and impoverished by the 1980s. Chrysler, the last major private sector employer in the city, moved its corporate headquarters from Highland Park to Auburn Hills between 1991 and 1993, paying the city a total of $44 million in compensation. The move dislocated a total of 6,000 jobs over this period.

Known as "The City of Trees," the town was thickly forested until the 1970s. The spread of Dutch elm disease required many old trees to be cut down.

In June 2001, because of the Highland Park's mounting fiscal crisis, an emergency financial manager for the city was appointed under the supervision of the State of Michigan. In April 2009, state officials fired Arthur Blackwell as Highland Park's emergency financial manager for over-payments that Blackwell received; they appointed Robert Mason as the new emergency financial manager.

In August 2011, more than two-thirds of the streetlights in Highland Park were removed by the city, due to an inability to pay a $60,000 per month electric bill. The street lights were not only turned off, but decommissioned, or removed from their posts. The city advised residents to keep porch lights on in order to deter crime.

On November 20, 2013 the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department filed a lawsuit against the City of Highland Park regarding unpaid sewage services and water totaling $17.7 million.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.97 square miles (7.69 km2), all land.

Highland Park is approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) north-northwest from Downtown Detroit. It is bounded by McNichols Road (6 Mile Road) to the north, Grand Trunk Western Railroad Holly Subdivision tracks to the east, the alleys of Tuxedo and Tennyson streets to the south, and the Lodge Freeway and Thompson Street to the west.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 427
1910 4,120 864.9%
1920 46,499 1,028.6%
1930 52,959 13.9%
1940 50,810 −4.1%
1950 46,393 −8.7%
1960 38,063 −18.0%
1970 35,444 −6.9%
1980 27,909 −21.3%
1990 20,121 −27.9%
2000 16,746 −16.8%
2010 11,776 −29.7%
2020 8,977 −23.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, the city had 11,776 people, 4,645 households, and 2,406 families. The population density was 3,965.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,530.9/km2). There were 6,090 housing units at an average density of 2,050.5 per square mile (791.7/km2). The city's racial makeup was 93.5% African American, 3.2% White, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 4,645 households, of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 13.0% were married couples living together, 32.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 48.2% were non-families. 43.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.30.

Highland Park has the highest percent of single people, 87%, of any city in Michigan.

The median age in the city was 40.5 years. 23.7% of the city's population was under age 18; 10% was between age 18 and 24; 21.9% was from age 25 to 44; 30% was from age 45 to 64; and 14.4% was age 65 or older. The populace was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.

Parks and recreation

The Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center serves as a recreation center for the community. The center has a basketball court, exercise equipment, pool tables, table games, and televisions. After a renovation, it re-opened in February 2008. In 1993 Highland Park Community College won the MCCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship against Macomb Community College.

In popular culture

  • 122 Beresford Street in Highland Park served as the filming location for a scene in the 2002 film 8 Mile where several of the movie's characters burn down an abandoned home. While the film company agreed to make a donation to the municipality, there were still protests in Highland Park given the city went through an arson spree that same year.
  • Highland Park is featured in the 2005 film Four Brothers, where it is the site of an armed convenience store robbery.
  • The 2007 documentary The Water Front chronicled the community's struggle against water privatization.
  • The 2008 film Gran Torino, starring and directed by Clint Eastwood, is primarily set in Highland Park.
  • A movie about a fictional lottery winner's attempt to reopen the McGregor Library, entitled Highland Park, starring Danny Glover, was filmed in October 2009 and released on video on demand in 2013.
  • Highland Park Ford Plant was one of the locations for the 2011 film Real Steel.
  • Highland Park was featured in an episode of American Diner Revival where they refurbished Red Hots Coney Island diner.


Chrysler was headquartered in Highland Park. In 1992 the company announced it would move its headquarters to its technology center in Auburn Hills, approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of the original headquarters site. The company planned to accomplish the move by 1995. In 1992 Chrysler had 25% of Highland Park's tax base and contributed 50% of the city's budget. Chrysler had about 5,000 employees in Highland Park when it moved.

In 2009 Magna International announced plans to start an automotive seat production operation in the former Chrysler headquarters. The plant on the site of the former Chrysler headquarters opened in June 2010.

The gear-reduction starter Chrysler used from the early 1960s through the late 1980s garnered the nickname "Highland Park Hummingbird" after Chrysler's hometown and the starter's distinctive cranking sound.

Despite Chrysler's departure, the city remains associated with Chrysler in the minds of auto enthusiasts.


Primary and secondary schools

Highland Park Renaissance Academy
Highland Park Renaissance Academy Barber Campus (K-8)

Highland Park is served by Highland Park Schools, which was reorganized in 2012 as the Highland Park Public School Academy System, a public school academy district. The academy operates one school, Barber Preparatory Academy, a K-8 school. For high school education, students are zoned to Northwestern High School in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Highland Park Community High School of Highland Park Schools closed in 2015.

George Washington Carver Academy is a K-8 charter school that was originally authorized by academy. The school's 2008 mathematics and English standardized test scores for 4th grade students were invalidated after cheating had been discovered. In 2013 the school participated in the "Students for Peace" competition in order to reduce the amount of fighting on campus; in 2012 91% of the students had received suspensions because they participated in fighting. In 2016 it had 560 students, and it is managed by Midwest Management Group. That year it changed its authorizer to Bay Mills Community College out of concern that the Highland Park school district may collapse.

Colleges and universities

Lawrence Technological University was founded in 1932 in Highland Park, MI by the Lawrence brothers as the Lawrence Institute of Technology and adopted its current name in 1989. Lawrence Tech moved to Southfield, Michigan from its site in Highland Park, Michigan in 1955.

Highland Park Community College was in Highland Park before its 1996 closing. It had been known as Highland Park Junior College.

Public library

McGregor Public Library, Highland Park, Mich (NYPL b12647398-74630)f
McGregor Public Library

In 1918 Katherine and Tracy McGregor, wealthy individuals, deeded the property of a facility for "homeless, crippled, and backward children." The McGregor Public Library opened on that site in 1924. The library closed in 2002. Around 2007 the city began efforts to re-open the library. However, little action has taken place to re-open the building.

Notable people

  • Ross Andru, comic book artist
  • Pepper Adams, jazz saxophonist
  • Edwin Baker, football player
  • Ed Budde, football player
  • Rex Cawley, athlete
  • John Conyers, former U.S. Representative
  • Todd Cruz, baseball player
  • Ike Delock, baseball pitcher
  • Terry Duerod, basketball player
  • Bill Haley, rock and roll musician, born in Highland Park
  • Butch Hartman, animator
  • Brad Havens, baseball pitcher
  • Bobby Joe Hill, basketball player
  • Telma Hopkins, actress, singer
  • Dick Lane, baseball player
  • Joan Leslie, actress
  • Adele Mara, actress
  • Keith McKenzie, football player
  • Reggie McKenzie, football player
  • Tim Meadows, actor
  • Elvis Mitchell, film critic and author
  • Moodymann, DJ and music producer
  • Billy Pierce, baseball player
  • Ted Simmons, baseball player
  • Johnny Werhas, baseball player and minister
  • Jackie Wilson, soul singer
  • James C. Turner, filmmaker

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Highland Park (Míchigan) para niños

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