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The City of Northville, Michigan straddles Oakland and Wayne counties in the Detroit Metro Region, about eleven miles west of Detroit.

The city is bounded by the city of Novi to the north and by Northville Township to the south. Other cities and villages within twenty miles of Northville include Plymouth, Farmington, Livonia, Walled Lake, Wixom, South Lyon, Farmington Hills, Wolverine Lake, Westland, Franklin, Garden City, Milford, Wayne, Bingham Farms, Southfield, Orchard Lake, Beverly Hills, Dearborn Heights, Lathrup Village, Inkster, Keego Harbor, Brighton, Oak Park, and Ann Arbor.

Although no major highways pass through the Northville city limits, both 7 Mile Road and 8 Mile Road are east-west corridors that intersect I-96 and I-275. Other routes include Novi Road, Northville Road, Sheldon Road, and Taft Road.

Lake Success is partly within the eastern boundaries of the city, Mill Race Pond is entirely within the city, and the Rouge River extends from Dearborn, through Northville and Novi, and then breaking into the Upper, Middle, and Lower Rouge Rivers. The Johnson Drain also flows through the southern part of the city.

The first European-American settlers came for the farmland in the early 1800s. The first land acquisition was made by Gideon P. Benton, who claimed 240 acres of land in 1823, although permanent settlers didn't come until 1825, when a small group of settlers came from New York State to establish farms in northern Plymouth Township, which later broke off to become Northville. The first settlers included Alanson Aldrich and Alvale Smith, the latter of whom sold his property to John Miller, who started the first mill in Plymouth Township, while Abraham B. Markham built a grist mill in 1826.

Employees of the mills built homes near their places of work, forming the foundation for the settlement. Early residents included Rufus Thayer Jr., Joseph Yerkes and his son, William Yerkes, Daniel and Samuel Cady, and William Dunlap. In 1927, there were two blacksmith shops, a tailor, a shoe shop, a tavern, and a Presbyterian church, although the Methodists were the first to erect their own building in 1836.

Northville Township was separated from Plymouth Township in 1831, and the village north of it became Northville. A post office was established on October 10, 1831, with Jabish M. Mead as postmaster, as he operated the general store that housed the post office. Soon, David Rowland opened a second general store on the corner of Main and Central Streets.

The village was platted and recorded by William Dunlap and D.L. Cady in 1840. Distinct neighborhoods within the community developed early, such as Waterford, which was also known as Mead's Mill, and Phoenix, both with mills as their base.

In 1867, Northville was incorporated as a village, although the villages of Northville and Plymouth were governed by a single township organization until 1897, when they were detached legally. Northville became a city in December of 1955, and later annexed a portion of Novi, north of 8 Mile Road.

Situated on land donated by the Ford Motor Company, Northville's Mill Race Historical Village was established in 1972, and operated by the Northville Historical Society. The historical village and park includes a park, gardens, museum, and historic village. Once the site of a grist mill, the Village includes a church, school, blacksmith shop, general store, gazebo, and several houses reminiscent of an earlier era, as well as a rustic wooden bridge, and an interurban train station, some of which are original structures moved to the Village location, while others are reconstructions.

Headquartered in the city, Northville Public Schools serves the city, Novi Township, portions of the city of Novi, and parts of Lyon and Salem townships. The district operates six elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school, and two special education campuses. Catholic and Lutheran K-8 schools are also located within the city.

The city operates a full-time police department, as well as a fire department, which provides fire prevention, inspection, and suppression services, and BLS emergency medical services, with a full-time chief and both part-time and paid-on-call firefighters and EMS personnel.

With the exception of 1910 and 2010, Northville has increased each census year since it first appeared on the census rolls in 1860, although it is estimated that its population will decline again slightly when the 2020 census numbers are released. Its peak population was 6,459 in 2000, and its current population is just under 6,000.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the city of Northville, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the municipal government, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities.


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