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South Lyon, Michigan
City of South Lyon
Downtown South Lyon along Pontiac Trail
Downtown South Lyon along Pontiac Trail
Location within Oakland County
Location within Oakland County
South Lyon, Michigan is located in Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan
Location in Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan is located in the United States
South Lyon, Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Michigan
County Oakland
Settled 1832
Incorporated 1873 (village)
1930 (city)
 • Type Council–manager
 • City 3.74 sq mi (9.70 km2)
 • Land 3.74 sq mi (9.69 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
928 ft (283 m)
 • City 11,746
 • Density 3,159.85/sq mi (1,219.93/km2)
 • Metro
4,296,250 (Metro Detroit)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 248
FIPS code 26-75100
GNIS feature ID 0638381

South Lyon is a city in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 11,746 at the 2020 census, up from 11,327 at the 2010 census.

As a western suburb of Metro Detroit, South Lyon is about 20 miles (32.2 km) northwest of the city of Detroit and the same distance northeast of the city of Ann Arbor.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.73 square miles (9.66 km2), all land.


South Lyon was founded in 1832 and was called Thompson's Corners. In the same year, the surrounding township was named Lyon for Lucius Lyon, a member of the State Legislature. The village was given a name for its location within the township. South Lyon was incorporated as a village in 1873 and as a city in 1930

Three rail lines once passed through South Lyon. In the summer of 1871, the Detroit, Lansing and Northern was built west from Plymouth on the way to Lansing and Ionia. In 1880, the predessor to the Ann Arbor Railroad built a line into town from Ann Arbor. The goal of this line was to continue on towards Pontiac but that did not occur under the original owners. The line was pulled up around 1890. In 1883 the Grand Trunk built their Jackson Branch from Pontiac to Jackson, which crossed the Pere Marquette at South Lyon. The GTW branch line continued to serve South Lyon until the early 1980s. The branch line is now a paved bicycle trail through town and Reynold Sweet Parkway follows the original route. Today, South Lyon hosts the CSX main line from Detroit to Grand Rapids, and a passing track is located there.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 418
1890 707 69.1%
1900 657 −7.1%
1910 615 −6.4%
1920 615 0.0%
1930 844 37.2%
1940 1,017 20.5%
1950 1,312 29.0%
1960 1,753 33.6%
1970 2,675 52.6%
1980 5,214 94.9%
1990 5,857 12.3%
2000 10,036 71.4%
2010 11,327 12.9%
2020 11,746 3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

As of the census of 2020, there were 11,746 people residing in 4,963 households within the city. There are an average of 2.36 people per household in South Lyon. 88% of South Lyon residents have been living in their house for over a year, excluding those younger than 1 year old. 93.7% of South Lyon households own a computer, and 89% have a broadband Internet subscription.

54.8% of South Lyon residents are female, and 45.2% are male. The racial makeup of the city was 94.4% White, 1.9% Asian, 2.5% multiracial, and .9% Black. 4.1% of residents of any race were Hispanic or Latino. 5.9% of residents are foreign-born and 6.1% of residents older than 5 speak a language other than English at home. 21.9% of South Lyon residents are under 18 years old, and 16.6% are 65 years old and above. 7.2% of South Lyon residents under 65 years old have a disability.

69.4% of South Lyon residents 16 years and older are part of the labor force, and the median commute time for South Lyon workers is 29.9 minutes. The median household income in South Lyon is $73,200 and the median per capita income is $39,016 (in 2019 dollars). 5.6% of South Lyon residents are in poverty. As of 2012, there were 1,106 businesses with over $1,000 of receipts located in South Lyon.

The median value of homes in South Lyon is $192,100 and the median gross rent is $1,042.

McHattie Park & The Witch's Hat Depot Museum and Historic Village

South Lyon's McHattie Park (on the west side of Pontiac Trail between 9 Mile and 10 Mile Roads) is the location of the Witch's Hat Depot Museum and Historic Village. The historic village consists of six buildings: Washburn School (built 1907), Queen Anne Depot (a.k.a. the Witch's Hat built 1909), the Caboose (circa 1926), the Little Village Chapel (built 1930), the Freight House (built 1984), and the Gazebo (1990). With the exceptions of the Freight House and the Gazebo which were constructed on site, the historic buildings were moved to the park from their original sites starting with the Witch's Hat in 1976.

McHattie Park and the Museum and Historic Village host public events including Depot Days in September and free Concerts in the Park in summertime.

McHattie Park is also connected to a portion of the Huron Valley Trail System which converted an old railroad line into a public trail. The trail is managed by the Western Oakland County Trailway Management Council.


Pumpkinfest is the largest annual festival in the South Lyon community, and traditionally takes place during the last weekend of September. Events include the children's outdoor activity venue with several large inflatable rides, games, a 5k run which goes through the town, and carnival food. Also, the Kid's Creation Station w/Monster Mural, a parade through the downtown area, live entertainment, a dog show, The Great Pumpkin & Fun Veggies Contest, arts & crafts show, and the huge home arts contests & exhibits. As of 2010, this festival has been moved to the main street, at the center being a large pyramid of hay bales and pumpkins. Many of the concessions are delicious, for example, the mini doughnuts with different toppings, fresh shish-kabobs, funnel cake, homemade popcorn, etc. Down the streets branching off are a beer tent, many game tents, sponsored by different organizations, and on the last side, bouncy castles and inflatables. Tickets usually only cost one dollar each.


93% of South Lyon residents older than 25 have graduated high school, and 42% have graduated college with a Bachelor's degree or higher.

South Lyon Community Schools

South Lyon is served by South Lyon Community Schools, a public school district that "includes three counties, three townships, and covers 83 square miles." It includes an Early Childhood Center, 8 elementary schools (Bartlett Elementary, Brummer Elementary, Dolsen Elementary, Hardy Elementary, Kent Lake Elementary, Pearson Elementary, Salem Elementary, and Sayre Elementary), 2 middle schools (Millennium Middle School and Centennial Middle School), and 2 high schools (South Lyon High School and South Lyon East High School). Both high schools are members of the Lakes Valley Conference and the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

Notable people

  • Dave Brandon – chairman & CEO of Toys "R" Us, former athletic director at University of Michigan, former CEO of Domino's Pizza and Valassis
  • Anita Cochran – country music singer
  • John Heffron – stand-up comedian
  • Barbara Lewis – singer, "Baby, I'm Yours"
  • Mitch Ryder – musician, The Detroit Wheels
  • Danny Spanos – drummer for 1970s band Redbone, two solo albums in 1980s, hit song "Hot Cherie" reached #29 on Billboard AOR charts
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