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The City of Walled Lake, Michigan is in the southwest quadrant of Oakland County, where it shared a border with the City of Novi to the south, the Village of Wolverine Lake to the north, and Commerce Township to the east and west.

Walled Lake is a northwest suburb in the Detroit Metro Region. It is about thirty miles northwest of the City of Detroit. The chief routes through the city are West Maple Road, Pontiac Trail, Ladd Road, Lake Drive (East Walled Lake Drive), Decker Road, Commerce Road, Park Drive, and 14 Mile Road.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Walled Lake include Novi, Wolverine Lake, Wixom, Orchard Lake, Northville, Keego Harbor, Farmington Hills, Milford, Franklin, Sylvan Lake, Bingham Farms, Farmington, South Lyon, Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac, Birmingham, Plymouth, Livonia, Clarkston, Brighton, Lake Angelus, Southfield, Troy, Clawson, Westland, Beverly Hills, Lathrup Village, Berkley, and Auburn Hills.

The city is named for the body of water at its southern border, which was itself named for a geological formation rising about six feet above the water's edge that resembled a stone wall. Walled Lake is a 652-acre natural kettle lake that was formed about 12,000 years ago when ice formed a depression in the glacial outwash, which filled with water as it melted. The lake is spring-fed, although several small creeks also contribute to its volume, while an outlet drains into the Middle Branch of the Rouge River. Several smaller bodies of water are in the western portion of the city, north of Walled Lake.

Prior to its settlement by European-Americans, the Pottawatomi inhabited the area and had a village on the western and northwestern shores of the lake.

The village was founded along an old Native American trail that connected Grand Rapids and Detroit. Believed to have been the first European-American settler, Walter B. Hewitt came to the area from New York in 1825, settling on land purchased from the government. He only stayed about a year, however. He was followed by Bela Armstrong in 1826, and Cornelius Austin a few years later.

Early settlers shared the lake area with the Pottawatomi, but were forced to move to Missouri in 1833, in accordance with new treaties. In 1830, Jesse Tuttle came from Pennsylvania, making his home there. The following year, he platted the village site. A post office was established on January 12, 1833, with William Tenney as postmaster.

In a survey conducted by Harvey Park in 1834, a state territorial road was to be developed, largely following the path of the old Indian trail, linking Pontiac and Ann Arbor, and passing through Walled Lake. By 1840, the settlement had a general store, a trading post, an inn, a school, and a church, along with several residences.

Travel to and from Walled Lake was accomplished by stagecoach along a route established in 1851 between Pontiac and Milford. By 1880, the Grand Trunk Western Railway completed its Jackson subdivision, connecting Wixom and Walled Lake to Pontiac Yard which, in turn, connected to the Holly subdivision and the GTWR mainline, providing access to all of the communities along its routes.

Walled Lake played a part in the Underground Railroad, which aided fugitive slaves to find freedom in Canada. The Foster Farmhouse, built in 1833, served as a depot along the Underground Railroad. Originally located along the Pontiac Trail, near 15 Mile Road, the Foster Farmhouse was moved to downtown Walled Lake in 1997.

The Grand Trunk Western Railroad facilitated the growth of industrial operations, as well as providing transportation for residents, tourists, and vacationers. Recreational opportunities offered by Walled Lake and other nearby lakes attracted summer vacationers from Detroit, prompting the building of several summer homes and cottages. Additionally, a jazz hall was constructed along the lake.

By World War I, improved roads between Pontiac and Detroit increased the accessibility of Walled Lake from other large population centers. Walled Lake became known as the Playground of Detroit. The Walled Lake Amusement Park, built in 1929, attracted thousands of visitors every year until it closed in 1969. During this same time period, the Walled Lake Casino offered dancing and music, including some of the most popular musicians from the late-1920s to the mid-1960s.

When the bands stopped playing in the late 1960s, Walled Lake did not decline. A serious problem with pollution of the lake was cleaned up by the 1980s, and other improvements were made.

Walled Lake was incorporated as a village in 1929, and became a city in 1954. First appearing on a census roll in 1960, with a population of 3,550, the city has grown each decade since, reaching a population of 7,250 by 2020.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the City of Walled Lake, including commercial, industrial, or organizational entities within the city.


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