Local city information for Ferndale, MI
is a city in Oakland County of the U.S. state of Michigan. It forms part of the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 22,105.
Ferndale is primarily residential, with a small industrial sector featured in the southeast quadrant. Ferndale's thriving business district is anchored by the intersection of Woodward Avenue and 9 Mile Road, where privately owned shops, unique storefronts, dance clubs, bars and numerous well-visited restaurants are featured. Downtown sports broad sidewalks, slow traffic, and many trees and benches.
Ferndale began as a bedroom community for Detroit workers about the time of World War I, with most of its growth in housing from 1920-1921. Through the early 1950s there were trolley (interurban railroad) lines that ran in the median strip of Woodward Avenue from downtown Detroit out towards Pontiac. These helped the northern suburbs of Detroit grow as bedroom communities as people could just hop on the trolley to shop or work in Detroit.
Until the 1970s Ferndale was a typical American suburban community, a place for families to raise children during the "Baby Boom" era, with many elementary schools serving a fast growing youth, a thriving downtown, city parks, active churches and civic groups. Ferndale even had its own community hospital (Ardmore Hospital) on 9 Mile Road at Livernois that closed in the 1970s. St. James Church had their own school for grades 1 through 12. The high school later closed, in late 1960s or early 1970s.
Lincoln Junior High on 9 Mile and Livernois was torn down in the 1970s to make room for a supermarket. It was formerly Lincoln High, the city high school, until the new and current Ferndale High was completed in 1958. Lincoln Junior High had been built in 1920 and was falling apart by the 1960s. By this time the population of school-aged children also was declining and more and more elementary schools closed or were consolidated. Two of the elementary schools, Paul Best School on the West side of Woodward, and Coolidge on the East side, took over as the city junior high schools after Lincoln was closed. Recently the school district was again made over with impressive results in test scores. The gap between the disadvantaged and privileged children has closed in recent years.
Ferndale's downtown shopping area, 9 Mile Road, featured many busy, popular stores in the 1940s to 1960s, including: A & P Supermarket, State Supermarket (which later became Food Fair, and eventually Farmer Jack), Federal Department Store, Cunningham's Drugs, Hagelstein's Bakery, F & M Drugs (the first store in the chain), Sanders Bakery, Western Auto, several clothing and shoe stores, Ferndale Lanes (a 20-lane second-story bowling alley over a group of stores on 9 Mile west of Woodward), Kresge's, Woolworth's and Neisner "dime stores." A movie theater, Radio City, was located on Woodward, one block north of 9 Mile. More historical information can be found by visiting the Ferndale Historical Museum located at 1651 Livernois which is located just south of 9 Mile on Livernois next to the Fire Station. Hours are Saturdays 2:00 - 4:00 PM or by appointent by calling (248) 545-7606. You can also visit the Museum's Official website at FerndaleHistoricalSociety.org
The city has recently experienced a dramatic revival of its downtown through the progressive policies implemented during the last ten years. Ferndale's downtown is formed by two major thoroughfares, Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. Several years ago the city made the downtown more pedestrian friendly by narrowing West Nine Mile Road, the heart of the downtown, to one lane in each direction and adding on-street parking. The result has been a return of pedestrian traffic and an influx of new stores and restaurants. The city has continued to make itself more accessible to people by reducing traffic lanes on Hilton Road and Pinecrest Road, two major local north/south streets, and adding bicycle lanes.
A recently updated zoning ordinance has similarly led to some positive development in Ferndale as well as to one of the biggest resident uproars in recent Ferndale history. The multi-year process concluded with a final round of public hearings in which residents' concerns were noted and largely incorporated into the zoning map and ordinance needed . The city now encourages mixed retail and residential land uses along its major corridors. Additionally, the city is currently experiencing an increase in residential construction with more new homes being built than at any time since the 1950s.
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