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Northville, Michigan
City of Northville
East Main Street
East Main Street
Historically Distinctive
Location within Oakland County (top) and Wayne County (bottom)
Location within Oakland County (top) and Wayne County (bottom)
Northville, Michigan is located in Michigan
Northville, Michigan
Northville, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Northville, Michigan is located in the United States
Northville, Michigan
Northville, Michigan
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Michigan
Counties Oakland and Wayne
Settled 1825
Incorporated 1867 (village)
1955 (city)
 • Type Mayor–council
 • City 2.06 sq mi (5.32 km2)
 • Land 2.04 sq mi (5.28 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
830 ft (253 m)
 • City 5,970
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,922.02/sq mi (1,128.13/km2)
 • Metro
4,296,250 (Metro Detroit)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
48167, 48168
Area code(s) 248
FIPS code 26-58980
GNIS feature ID 0633707

Northville is a city in Oakland and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,970 at the 2010 census.

Northville is a suburb of Metro Detroit and is located about 11 miles (17.7 km) west of the city of Detroit and 17 miles (27.4 km) northeast of Ann Arbor. Part of the city is in Oakland County and is surrounded by the city of Novi, while the other part is in Wayne County and is surrounded by Northville Township. Northville is served by Northville Public Schools.



Northville was first settled in 1825, was incorporated as a Village in 1867, and as a City in 1955. It was originally one of two communities within Plymouth Township, until Northville Township split off to form its own township in 1898.

The first land patent in the Northville area was granted to Gideon Benton in 1823 where Cass Benton Park is currently located. The first settlers did not arrive, however, until 1825. Many of these first settlers were originally from New York State, but came from the nearby, already settled Plymouth community to Northville.

Some of the first settlers were Alanson Aldrich followed by Alvale Smith, who sold his property to John Miller. Miller built the first mill in Plymouth Township, which Northville was a part of for over 70 years, sometime between 1825 and 1828 where Mill Race Historical Village is now located. Many employees of the mill then began to build their houses near it. Northville got its name by being north of Plymouth.

In 1827, Northville was home to a post office, Gideon Benton being the postmaster. Also in 1827, a medical practitioner, J.F. Davis, became the first resident doctor in Northville, and a tailor, tavern, shoe shop, and two blacksmiths were set up in town. Many of Northville's first settlers' surnames are used as street names today. These include Rufus Thayer Jr. (Thayer Blvd.), Joseph Yerkes (Yerkes St.), Daniel and Samuel Cady (Cady St.), William Dunlap (Dunlap St.), and many other settlers. The first church was constructed by Methodists in 1836.

Victorian era

Northville continued to grow throughout the Victorian era. This is evident in the architecture around downtown where many homes are in the Queen Anne style. Northville's Victorian heritage is celebrated every September in the Victorian Festival, which was recently rechristened the "Heritage Festival". The first schoolhouse in Northville opened in 1853 and was taught by Jacob Ramsdell. Northville was incorporated as a village in 1867 from a portion of Plymouth Township.

Village era

Henry Ford purchased a factory in Northville and moved machinery from plants in the area to the factory in 1919. Known as the Northville Valve Plant, the plant was rebuilt in 1936, and enlarged in 1956. The plant provided valves for every Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicle, except for the Lincoln Continental, until closing and being sold in 1981. The building now houses offices and a health club. In 1925, the Penninman-Allen Theater opened downtown and remained open through most of the 1950s. The theater eventually closed, but opened again in 1978 as the Marquis Theater and is now home to live children's theater. When Northville was more rural, skiing was popular and tournaments were held often. In 1944, Northville Downs opened as the first nighttime harness racing track in Michigan. The Downs were built on the site of the former Wayne County Fair, where Joe Louis trained in 1939 for his World Championship later that year. Northville Downs has been in continuous operation since 1944, and is located at the corner of Center Street and 7 Mile Road.

City era

The city was incorporated in 1955 along the boundaries of the Village of Northville. The Village of Northville included portions of Novi Township in Oakland County and Northville Township in Wayne County. Over the next several years, the city boundaries expanded through annexation of portions of Novi Township and the Village of Novi both east and west of the city and north of Baseline Road. The city's northern boundary was fixed by the incorporation of the Village of Novi into the City of Novi in 1969. The city has also annexed small portions of Northville Township, the most recent of which was an expansion of the Rural Hill Cemetery. Northville Township's status as a Charter Township generally precludes the City from annexing any significant portion of the Township. The most recent annexation was permitted by the Township in order for the city to expand the city-owned and operated cemetery.


In 1889, the Ladies Library Association was organized by Mary Lapham, and had 1,200 books and 150 members by 1892. The library was located in the former Young Men's Hall until 1964, when it moved to the then-new City Hall temporarily. In 1975, the library moved again temporarily to the Northville Square Mall before moving back to City Hall in 1980. In 1996, the brand new Northville District Library opened.

View of NE side of Main St, frame building built in 1830 by John Miller
Mill Race Historical Village - Wash-Oak School and New School Church
Mill Race Historical Village - Yerkes House
Mill Race Historical Village - Blacksmith shop
Northville downtown
Downtown Northville
Northville summer fri conc
Summer Friday Night Concerts in Town Square
Downtown Northville

Mill Race Village

In 1972, Mill Race Village was opened on the site of John Miller's gristmill because of a donation from Ford Motor Company. Located on Griswold Avenue, it is now home to:

  • The New School Church, formerly the Northville District Library, which is still operating as a church
  • The Wash Oak School, built in 1873 and moved to the village in 1975
  • The Hunter House, a Greek Revival architecture house built in 1849
  • The Yerkes House, a Victorian architecture house built in 1868 for the wealthy William Yerkes
  • A Victorian-style gazebo built in 1979 by Northville High School students
  • The Cottage House, built in 1890s and home to a weaver's guild
  • The Hirsch Blacksmith Shop, a replica built in 1985, and home to the village's store
  • The Cady Inn, moved to the village in 1987, built in 1832, and a stop on the Underground Railroad
  • The Interurban Station, built in 1898 and moved to the village in 1990
  • A replica general store


  • Art in the Sun - June - Art fair in Downtown Northville
  • Farmers Market - May to October - Farmers Market held each Thursday at corner of 7 Mile and Sheldon Roads
  • Northville Grub Crawl - July - Ticketholders are shuttled to various area restaurants for samplings of their offerings
  • Victorian Festival (renamed '"Heritage Festival"' in 2016) - September - Large event with games, magic shows, music, rides, and art in Downtown Northville where booth operators and parade participants wear traditional Victorian outfits to celebrate the city's heritage, since 1989
  • Fire and Ice - January - Chili and Salsa Cookoff as well as Ice Carving in Town Square and the Senior Center
  • Summer Friday Night Concerts - June to August - Concerts on Friday nights in Town Square, since 1986
  • Northville Christmas Parade - Held on a Friday night in November every year


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.07 square miles (5.36 km2), of which 2.05 square miles (5.31 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 620
1870 626 1.0%
1880 934 49.2%
1890 1,573 68.4%
1900 1,755 11.6%
1910 1,665 −5.1%
1920 1,738 4.4%
1930 2,566 47.6%
1940 3,032 18.2%
1950 3,240 6.9%
1960 3,967 22.4%
1970 5,400 36.1%
1980 5,698 5.5%
1990 6,226 9.3%
2000 6,459 3.7%
2010 5,970 −7.6%
2019 (est.) 5,958 −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

In 2007, the median income for a household in the city was $98,054, and the median income for a family was $123,509.). Males had a median income of $75,126 versus $41,343 for females. The per capita income for the city was $43,454. About 1.0% of families and 1.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

Downtown Northville

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,970 people, 2,596 households, and 1,643 families living in the city. The population density was 2,912.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,124.4/km2). There were 2,767 housing units at an average density of 1,349.8 per square mile (521.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.7% White, 1.6% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 2,596 households, of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.7% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 45.3 years. 22% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.1% were from 25 to 44; 34.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,459 people, 2,720 households, and 1,795 families living in the city. The population density was 3,239.1 per square mile (1,253.2/km2). There were 2,801 housing units at an average density of 1,404.7 per square mile (543.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.11% White, 0.39% African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.86% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.64% of the population. In more detail, 18.7% were of German, 14.1% were of Irish, 12.3% were of Polish, 10.1% were of English, and 7.4% were of Italian ancestry.

There were 2,720 households, out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% 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 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.8% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.


Northville Public Schools is the local school district.

Our Lady of Victory School, a Catholic K-8 school, is in Northville. The church established the school in 1950. The first facility, which opened in 1952, had four rooms. An addition with four classrooms and an office was installed for $85,000 in 1961. An additional two classrooms and a connecting structure to the worship facility were added in 1985. The current 19 classroom facility opened in 2006. As of 2020 the school has over 450 students. Catholic schools are under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit.

St. Paul's Lutheran School, a Lutheran K-8 school, is also in Northville. The affiliated church, established in 1896, had established, dis-established, and then, in 1959, re-established the school. Post-1959 it was initially in a building with two rooms. Its current facility has ten rooms.

Notable people

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Women in Medicine:
Mary Eliza Mahoney
Susie King Taylor
Ida Gray
Eliza Ann Grier
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