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Situated in Oakland County, the City of Birmingham, Michigan is roughly halfway between Detroit and Pontiac.

Birmingham is a northern suburb of Detroit, bordered by Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Charter Township, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, Southfield Township, and Troy. Detroit is twenty miles to the south-southeast.

The chief route through the city if M-1, commonly known as Woodward Avenue, which passes through the center of the city. Other routes include Adams Road, Coolidge Highway, Covington Road, Maple Road, Quarton Road, Southfield Road, West Big Beaver Road, and 14-Mile Road, which forms the city's southern border.

With a peak population of 26,170 in 1970, today the city is home to just over 20,000 people. However, situated in a large metropolitan area, among several suburbs, Birmingham serves as a center for business, social, and cultural activities. Its downtown district is made up of about three hundred retailers, and the city includes a healthy array of clothing stores, gift stores, antique shops, restaurants, and art galleries, while the city center includes movie theaters and a large park. In all, the city hosts more than twenty parks offering a variety of recreational opportunities that include golf courses, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, and a wooded trail system.

Like most of the continent, the area that was to become Birmingham was originally inhabited by Native Americans. Although the land was ceded to the United States government through the 1807 Treaty of Detroit, settlement by European-Americans was delayed by the War of 1812, and by the fact that the region was swampy.

John W. Hunter is believed to have been the first permanent settler of the region when he came in 1818 with his father, Elisha, and brother, Daniel. Soon after, John Hamilton and Elijah Willets settled nearby. The settlement was known, by different people, as Hunter's, or Hamilton's, or Willets'. Colonel Benjamin Pierce, the brother of future President Franklin Pierce, acquired land in the area in 1819, visiting his land several times, but never settled there. As several people were coming through the area, and the new settlement hosted a stagecoach stop, Hunter, Hamilton, and Willets all operated hotels and taverns from their homes, which were near one another.

After a traveling Methodist preacher prayed that the land might become "a hill of piety," the settlement was sometimes referred to as Piety Hill.

On March 24, 1821, a post office was established there, and named Bloomfield, for the township, with Sidney Dole as postmaster.

In August of 1836, a townsite was platted and recorded by Rosewell T, Merrill, who had built a foundry and thrashing machine factory. Believing that the town had a promising industrial future, he named it for Birmingham, England, and the post office was renamed Birmingham on April 5, 1838. Willets, Hunter, and Hamilton platted their properties as well, anticipating the extension of the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad to the region.

In 1864, the plats were combined and Birmingham was incorporated as a village, becoming a city in 1933.

Today, the names of the city's founders can be found in street names, civic institutions, schools, and businesses.

The focus of this category is on the City of Birmingham, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the city itself, or any local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events.


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