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Drayton Plains is one of five unincorporated communities in Waterford Charter Township, the others being Clintonville (1.4 miles northeast), Waterford Village (2.3 miles south-southwest), Elizabeth Lake (4.1 miles south), and Four Towns (6.2 miles south-southwest).

As an unincorporated community, Drayton Plains lacks specified boundaries and since its post office was closed in 2004, its identity is on the verge of being subsumed by increasing development within the larger township. However, the community is centered on the area on both sides of Dixie Highway, at the west end of Loon Lake.

The chief route through the community is Dixie Highway (US-24). Secondary routes include Hatchery Road and Sashabaw Road. The center of the city of Lake Angelus is 4.8 miles to the east, Pontiac is 5.4 miles southeast, Clarkston is 6.2 miles northwest, Sylvan Lake is 6.8 miles south-southeast, Orchard Lake is 9.2 miles north, and Auburn Hills is 9.3 miles west of Drayton Plains.

The General Land Office began selling land in the area that was to become Drayton Plains in 1818. Among the first to acquire land there, in what was then a wilderness, were Horatio Foster, Jonathan Perry, Austin Durfee, and Harvey Durfee, and Horatio Foster and his wife were the first to settle there in 1822, although they moved northward a few years later. Perry and the Durfees were the first permanent settlers.

The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 made travel easier from the East, resulting in an influx of new settlers in what was then the Michigan Territory. The construction of a road along the Saginaw Trail, beginning in 1829, made it easier for people to travel north of Detroit. That road is now the Dixie Highway.

Daniel Windiate came to the area from England in 1835, built a dam on the Clinton River, and opened a grist mill along with his son-in-law, Thomas Whitfield. He named the mill Drayton, for his hometown in England. Windiate remained in Drayton Plains until his death in 1843, and the community got its name from his mill.

A post office was established in Drayton Plains on February 4, 1835. The post office was later closed, but reopened on August 24, 1858, only to be permanently closed on January 31, 2004, its functions transferred to the Waterford Post Office.

The first person interred in the Drayton Plains Cemetery was in 1838, when the infant son of Daniel and Martha Windiate was buried. Daniel Windiate opened the Drayton Plains Hotel in 1839. The Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railway came through Drayton in 1850, opening a train depot at Mill Street (Hatchery Road) and the Saginaw Trail (Dixie Highway) in 1908. Laid out by Lewis L. Dunlap, Drayton Plains was platted as a village in 1860, but it was never incorporated.

Drayton Plains Station, a fish hatchery, was opened along the Clinton River in 1903. It later became the Drayton Plains Hatchery, and then the Drayton Plains State Fish Hatchery. It closed in 1962, and was listed as a Michigan Historic Site in 1984. Today, the former fish hatchery is home to the Drayton Plains Nature Center.

The focus of this category is on the community known as Drayton Plains. Individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events in Drayton Plains are appropriate resources for this category, although these can be difficult to determine, given that Drayton Plains addresses carry a Waterford postal address.

 

 

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