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Independence Township, Michigan facts for kids

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Independence Township, Michigan
Charter township
Charter Township of Independence
Welcome sign to Independence Township
Welcome sign to Independence Township
Location within Oakland County
Location within Oakland County
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Country United States
State Michigan
County Oakland
Established 1834
 • Charter township 36.30 sq mi (94.02 km2)
 • Land 34.99 sq mi (90.62 km2)
 • Water 1.31 sq mi (3.39 km2)
1,112 ft (339 m)
 • Charter township 34,681
 • Density 991.2/sq mi (382.7/km2)
 • Metro
4,296,250 (Metro Detroit)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
48346, 48348 (Clarkston)
Area code(s) 248 and 947
FIPS code 26-40400
GNIS feature ID 1626511

Independence Township is a charter township of Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 34,681 at the 2010 census.

Independence Township was first organized in 1834. The township surrounds the city of Clarkston, but the two are administered autonomously after Clarkston incorporated as a city in 1992. The township is home to the Pine Knob Music Theatre and the Pine Knob Ski Resort.


The first settlers arrived in Independence Township in the mid 1820s and early 1830s, primarily from New Jersey and New York. The first settler to purchase and settle land in the township was John W. Beardslee (b. 1799, d. 1883), from Sussex County, New Jersey.

While initially the township was primarily agricultural, the many lakes in the area were beginning to draw vacationers out of Detroit and other cities. In 1851, the railroad came through Clarkston, which prompted hotels to be built in the township to accommodate the resort vacationers coming to the area.

The invention of the automobile had a tremendous effect on Independence Township. Roads that were once Native American trails were paved and widened for this new mode of transportation. The old Saginaw Trail, now known as Dixie Highway, was paved as early as 1920, and Main Street (M-15) in Clarkston was paved around 1922.

The expanding national highway system brought I-75 through Independence Township 1962, spurring both business and residential development. Many farms gave way to subdivisions and strip malls as Independence Township continued evolving into part of Metropolitan Detroit.


Independence Township is home to several parks.

  • The largest of Independence Township's parks is Independence Oaks, located at 9501 Sashabaw Road in Independence Township. This 1,276-acre park features more than 12 miles of marked nature and ski trails, including the paved River Loop Trail, All-Visitors Trail and Hawk's View Trail, a 2.5-mile paved hike, bike and blade pathways, picnicking, hiking, fishing, swimming, nature study and youth group camping.
  • Clintonwood Park, located at 6000 Clarkston Road in Clarkston, is 120 acres of open space. The park features a fitness trail, basketball courts, tennis courts, playground and spraypark, and baseball/softball fields.
  • Deer Lake Beach is located at 350 White Lake Road in Clarkston. The beach is on the 137-acre Deer Lake and offers two separate swimming areas that are both supervised by lifeguards during hours of operation.
  • Sashabaw Plains Park, located at 5620 Maybee Road in Independence Township, is a 15-acre park featuring a playground, baseball fields, horseshoes, basketball courts, volleyball and picnic areas.
  • Depot Park, located on 375 Depot Road in downtown Clarkston, offers free concerts in the park every Friday. The park also has walking paths along the Clinton River and a play-ground.
  • Bay Court Park, located at 6970 Andersonville Road, has a Playscape and Disc golf and is situated on the banks of the 177-acre Greens Lake in Independence Township.


As of 2016, there were seventy-five real estate subdivisions in Independence Township:

  • Ardmore
  • Bay Shores
  • Blackberry Estates
  • Bridge Valley
  • Brookstone Hills
  • Clarkston Acres
  • Clarkston Bluffs
  • Clarkston Farms
  • Clarkston Park
  • Clarkston Pines
  • Clintonville Pines
  • Coulter Lake Estates
  • Deer Lake Farms
  • Deerwood
  • Dollar Lake
  • Drayton Heights
  • Equestrian Lake Village
  • Estates of Waldon Creek
  • Fairways at Pine Knob
  • Goodrich Farm
  • Heather Lake Meadows
  • Hi-wood Village
  • Hilltop Estates
  • Independence Valley
  • Lake Oakland Woods
  • Lake View Heights
  • Lake Waldon Village
  • Lakeland Vale
  • Links of Independence
  • Moon Valley
  • Oakhurst
  • Oakmont of Clarkston
  • Olde Sturbridge Settlement
  • Park Ridge at Stonewood
  • Parke Lake View
  • Pelton Heights
  • Pine Knob Country Estates
  • Pine Knob Enclaves
  • Pine Knob Manor
  • Richmond Knolls
  • Rolling Hills Estates
  • Round Lake Woods
  • Sashabaw Creek Farms
  • Sashabaw Creek Preserve
  • Sashabaw Heights
  • Sheringham Place
  • Sheringham Woods
  • Spring Lake North
  • Stonewall Farms
  • Stonewood Place
  • Strawberry Hills
  • Sunny Beach
  • Supervisor's Plat No 3
  • Supervisor's Plat No 4
  • Supervisor's Plat No 5
  • Supervisor's Plat No 6
  • Supervisor's Plat No 10
  • The Bluffs of Pine Knob
  • The Hills of Pine Knob
  • The Ridge at Morgan Lake
  • The Towns at Cheshire Park
  • The Villages at Cheshire Park
  • The Water's Edge
  • Thendara Park
  • Townsend
  • Trillium Village of Clarkston
  • Waldon Creek
  • Waldon Pond
  • Waterford Hill Manor
  • Whipple Shores
  • Wildflowers of Clarkston
  • Wilshore
  • Windiate's Waterford
  • Woodhull Lake

Skiing and music

Pine Knob is a ski resort located in Independence Township. It features 17 trails and 12 lifts. It is known for its slope called "The Wall".

Pine Knob is also home to the DTE Energy Music Theatre, an outdoor Amphitheater concert venue that has featured hundreds of celebrities and is always one of the highest grossing outdoor amphitheaters in the United States. It is located in Independence Township minutes away from downtown Clarkston.

The concert venue, which opened in 1972, was originally called Pine Knob Music Theater until DTE Energy purchased its naming rights in 2001.

Hills and lakes

Independence Township is located along the Hillsdale-Lapeer Moraine Range. The highest hill along that range in Independence Township is Pine Knob, at 1,221 feet. It is also the highest point in Southeastern Michigan. Only three miles away is Waterford Hill, the second highest hill in Independence Township with an elevation of 1,150 feet. Atop Waterford Hill is Olympus Circle, the highest elevation of any residential street in Independence Township.

The Clinton River winds its way through Independence Township creating more than thirty named lakes of all sizes along the way.

Lakes in Independence Township
Lake Size in acres Depth in feet
Cranberry Lake 35
Crooked Lake (previously Lower Bushman Lake) 68 65
Dark Lake (adjacent to Deer Lake) 5 10
Dark Lake (adjacent to Whipple Lake) 7 12
Deer Lake 137 63
Dollar Lake 3 15
Flemings Lake 27
Greens Lake 117 55
Gulick Lake 16
Heather Lake (part) 64
Knox Lake 2
Lake Oakland (part) 255 64
Lester Lake (part) 12 25
Little Walters Lake 17
Lotus Lake (part) 179 65
Mead Lake 11
Middle Lake 23 35
Morgan Lake 50
Parke Lake 23 50
Round Lake 37
Sans Souci Lake (part) 7
Spring Lake 12 15
Townsend Lake 26 55
Upper Bushman Lake 30 32
Van Norman Lake (most) 66 90
Walters Lake 77 76
Whipple Lake 75 50
Woodhull Lake (part) 135 56

Road racing

Waterford Hills Road Racing Track is a professional road racing track located at 4770 Waterford Road in Independence Township.

The track is a 1.5 mile road racing track (not an oval) with right and left turns, hills and straight-a-ways. The fastest cars hit over 120mph on the back straight. The track has spectator seating along the track.

Races are run in accordance with the Sports Car Club of America) competition rules.


Clarkston falls in the exact middle of both Detroit and Flint, Michigan

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 36.3 square miles (94 km2), of which 35.2 square miles (91 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), or 3.03%, is water.


The population of Independence Township was 34,681 at the 2010 census.

In Independence Township in 2010, there were:

  • 11,765 households
  • 9,094 families
  • 12,375 housing units
  • 95.84% White
  • 1.22% Asian
  • 0.84% African American
  • 0.24% Native American
  • 2.75 was the average household size
  • 3.14 was the average family size
  • 27.7% under the age of 18
  • 6.9% from 18 to 24
  • 31.7% from 25 to 44
  • 25.7% from 45 to 64
  • 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older
  • $74,992 was the median income


Independence Township is primarily serviced by the Clarkston Community Schools.

In 2016, Clarkston High School had an enrollment of 1,930 students in grade nine through twelve. The school is located at 6093 Flemings Lake Road in Independence Township.

Clarkston High School offers twenty-six varsity sports, and competes in the Oakland Activities Association. It is a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Renaissance High School is located at 6558 Waldon Road in Independence Township. Renaissance High School is for students in grades 9 to 12 who need an alternative to the traditional high school setting in order to be successful. Renaissance students must meet Clarkston High School graduation requirements and receive a Clarkston High School diploma. Renaissance students are encouraged to participate in athletics, clubs and extracurricular activities offered at Clarkston High School. Renaissance students can also take courses at the Oakland Schools Campus, whose Northwest campus is also located in the township at 8211 Big Lake Road.

Clarkston Junior High School is located at 6595 Waldon Road in Clarkston. The school teaches eight and ninth grades.

Sashabaw Middle School is located at 5565 Pine Knob Lane in Independence Township. The school teaches sixth and seventh grades.

There are five public elementary schools in Independence Township:

  • Bailey Lake Elementary School
  • Clarkston Elementary School
  • Independence Elementary School
  • North Sashabaw Elementary School
  • Pine Knob Elementary School

Everest Academy and High School is a private Roman Catholic high school also located in the township at 5935 Clarkston Road in Independence Township. The school competes athletically in the Catholic High School League and is a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Notable people

This list includes people from the area (Clarkston and Independence Township).

  • Valerie Bertinelli, actress
  • Tim Birtsas, former MLB player
  • Dan Dickerson, radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers
  • Dane Fife, former Indiana University basketball player and current assistant coach at Michigan State University
  • Henry Ford, industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company. Maintained a summer home and weekend cottage on Main Street. Ford also owned a mill which operated on the water from what is now called "Mill Pond" in Clarkston. This building still exists in part but has been modernized into a small mall which includes art galleries and office space. He also purchased the old school building on N. Main St. to serve as an apprentice school.
  • John Hardon, Jesuit priest, theologian
  • Steve Howe, former MLB pitcher, 1980 NL Rookie of the Year (LA Dodgers)
  • Geoff Johns, comic book writer
  • Scott Kamieniecki, former MLB player
  • Tim McCormick, former NBA player and current sports broadcaster
  • Bob Miller, former NFL player
  • Marisha Pessl, author
  • Ryan Riess, professional poker player, 2013 World Series of Poker champion
  • Tim Robinson, comedian, former cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live
  • Kid Rock, musician
  • Ron Serafini, former NHL player
  • David Simko, former NASCAR Cup Series driver
  • Samuel William Smith, former member of the United States House of Representatives
  • Daniel Travis, actor
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