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Community

History

Woodward Avenue at the Sears site - 1956Highland Park was still a rural farming community north of Detroit in the early 1900s when Henry Ford chose the community as site for his first great factory. Built east of Woodward Avenue, the Ford plant marked the early emergence of the moving assembly line process for which Ford became famous. It was here in Highland Park, in this "birthplace of mass production," that Ford produced millions of Model T cars. And it was to Highland Park that tens of thousands of immigrants came for an unprecedented $5-a-day wage and a chance to enter the emerging middle class.

The boom that swelled the population of Highland Park also worked wonders on its neighbor to the south, the City of Detroit. Detroit literally grew up and around Highland Park in the 1920's, so that today Highland Park exists entirely within the boundaries of its much larger neighbor.

Highland Park has two National Historic DistrictsThe Ford-inspired boom saw the construction of thousands of new middle-class residences in Highland Park, many of which are now part of two National Historic Districts. City benefactors also built churches, stores and a library as proud signs of prosperity.

In 1942, the city saw the completion of the first modern limited access urban expressway in America - the Davison Freeway. Fifty-five years later, a widened, rebuilt, more accessible Davison Freeway - a $46 million commitment to our future by the Michigan Department of Transportation- carries Highland Park commerce and residents into the 21st Century.

Highland Park led the way with innovative housing and retail development along Woodward Avenue in the early 1990s.