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The City of Sterling Heights, Michigan is the fourth-largest city in the state and the second-largest Detroit Metro suburb.

A second-ring suburb, Sterling Heights is one of the core Detroit suburbs. Its southern border is about six miles from Detroit's northern border. Sterling Heights abuts Utica to the north, Fraser to the east, Warren to the south, and Troy to the west.

Other cities and villages within twenty miles of Sterling Heights include Roseville, Center Line, Mount Clemens, Rochester Hills, Clawson, Madison Heights, Eastpointe, Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Saint Clair Shores, Hazel Park, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley, Royal Oak, Auburn Hills, Ferndale, Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Shores, Pontiac, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Beverly Hills, Lathrup Village, Detroit, Highland Park, Romeo, Southfield, Franklin, Hamtramck, Grosse Pointe, Keego Harbor, and Sylvan Lake.

The chief routes to and from the city include M-53 (Van Dyke Avenue), M-59 (Hall Road), Mound Road, and Metro Parkway.

M-59 forms most of the city's northern border, 14 Mile Road its southern border, Dequindre Road its western border, and Hayes Road its eastern border.

The Clinton River flows through the northeastern part of the city, while the Red Run River flows through the southeastern part of the city, joining the Clinton River just east of the city limits. Other waterways within the city include Big Beaver Creek, Plum Brook, Cranberry Marsh Drain, Gibson Drain, Chrissman Drain, Newth Drain, Dauth Drain, Utica Drain, Rickabus Drain, Spencer Drain, Greens Ditch, and Hawthorne Ditch. The Clinton River was known as the Huron River until 1824, when it was renamed for New York Governor DeWitt Clinton.

The first inhabitants of what is now Sterling Heights lived on the land more than eleven thousand years ago. Artifacts found in the early 1960s reveal that Paleo Indians lived there as early as 9000 BC.

Sterling Heights is one of Michigan's newer cities. First appearing on a census roll in 1940, when it had a population of 3,648, the community grew rapidly to a population of 108,999 in 1980. Since then, its population has increased each census year, although less rapidly, to a population of 134,346 in 2020.

The area that makes up Sterling Heights was surveyed in 1818, and the community was part of the township until it was incorporated as a city in 1968. Originally part of Shelby Township, it was broken off as Jefferson Township in 1835, and renamed Sterling Township in 1838.

The area was largely agricultural until the 1950s, the chief crop being rhubarb, which was sold in Detroit. The population grew rapidly when workers from the Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, LTV Missile Plant, and Briggs Manufacturing began building suburban homes there.

Beginning in 1960, there were movements to incorporate portions of Sterling Township with neighboring cities or townships, and these proposals were opposed by the majority of residents. In 1966, residents of Sterling Township signed petitions to incorporate the township as a city in order to protect against annexations. While the township was named Sterling, when it came to its incorporation, there was already a village in Arenac County named Sterling, so the word "Heights" was added to it, and Sterling Heights became a city on July 1, 1968.

Today, the city is home to several groups of immigrants, particularly of Eastern European origins, including Albanians, Bosnians, Croatians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Poles, Serbians, and Slovenians, along with more recently arrived Iraqis.

The focal point of this portion of our web guide is the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan. Online resources for the municipal government and any other governmental bodies within the city are appropriate for this category, as are those of local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


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