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Centrally located in the Detroit Metro Region, Oak Park, Michigan consists primarily of single-family homes, and nearly all of its residents are within two miles of the city center.

Near the city's center is David H. Shepherd Park, which hosts several major events, including the annual 4th of July festivities, Boo Bash, and Summerfest. The city also maintains nine smaller neighborhood parks.

Situated in southeast Oakland County, Oak Park is adjacent to Royal Oak Township and the cities of Huntington Woods, Berkley, Pleasant Ridge, Ferndale, Southfield, and Detroit, and within twenty miles of Royal Oak, Lathrup Village, Hazel Park, Birmingham, Madison Heights, Clawson, Beverly Hills, Highland Park, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Bloomfield Hills, Farmington, Center Line, Hamtramck, Farmington Hills, Warren, Troy, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Orchard Lake, Fraser, Roseville, Eastpointe, Livonia, St. Clair Shores, Garden City, Sylvan Lake, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights, Pontiac, Keego Harbor, Novi, Inkster, Utica, Rochester, Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Park, Walled Lake, and Northville.

When the area that was to become Oak Park was first surveyed in 1817, it was considered to be uninhabitable due to its muddy, swampy terrain. Nevertheless, people did come, although the area was settled slowly. The first settlers came around 1840, although the area was sparsely populated for several decades.

In 1914, the Majestic Land Company was responsible for a housing development known as the Oak Park subdivision, which was incorporated as a village on May 3, 1927. Although there were moves to dissolve the village government in the early 1930s, they were unsuccessful, and Oak Park was incorporated as a city on October 29, 1945.

Due in part to the GI Bill, which provided funding for World War II veterans to build homes, new highway construction, and planned developments in the late 1950s, Oak Park grew rapidly between 1940 and 1960, when its population rose from 1,169 to 36,632. After that, development slowed, to a peak population of 36,762 in 1970, which was followed by a decline to just under 30,000 today.

A significant portion of new residents from 1950 to 1960 were second- and third-generation children of European immigrants who had settled Detroit in the early 1900s. These included a large Jewish population.

Portions of Royal Oak Township were annexed to the city in 2002 and 2004, leaving the township with a 0.55 square mile total land area, the smallest charter township in the state by area, and the second-smallest township in Michigan.

The majority of K-12 students in Oak Park are served by the Oak Park School District, which operates Einstein Elementary School, Key Elementary School, Pepper Elementary School, Oak Park Preparatory Academy, and Oak Park High School, which also serves parts of Southfield and half of Royal Oak Township. Some Oak Park students attend schools in the Berkley School District or the Ferndale School District.

National attention was placed on Oak Park in the summer of 2001 when the city charged Julie Bass, a local resident, for the crime of growing vegetables in her yard. Largely due to public pressure, city prosecutors dropped charges against Bass. However, the charges were dropped without prejudice, allowing the city to revisit the case at a later date.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the city of Oak Park, Michigan. Appropriate resources for this category include websites representing the municipal government, as well as local schools, churches and other places of worship, organizations, businesses, industries, entertainment venues, sports programs, and recreational opportunities.


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