- Harper Woods, Michigan
official_name = Harper Woods, Michigan
mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location in Wayne County and the state of
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Wayne
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Kenneth A. Poynter
area_total_km2 = 6.7
area_total_sq_mi = 2.6
area_land_km2 = 6.7
area_land_sq_mi = 2.6
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
elevation_ft = 587
elevation_m = 179
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 14254
population_density_km2 = 2131.7
population_density_sq_mi = 5521.1
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -5
latd = 42 |latm = 26 |lats = 17 |latNS = N
longd = 82 |longm = 55 |longs = 30 |longEW = W
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
postal_code = 48225
area_code = 313
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 26-36700GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0627822GR|3
Harper Woods is a city located on the eastside of suburban Detroit. The city is located in Wayne County in the state of
Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 14,254.
In 2006, the Harper Woods City Council voted down a ballot initiative that would have allowed a name change proposal to go before city voters. The ballot initiative proposed to change the name of the city to "Grosse Pointe Heights."
Harper Woods was incorporated as a city on February 19, 1951 when the residents of Gratiot Township voted to incorporate as the City of Harper Woods. A Charter Commission was elected, a charter prepared and adopted, and a City Council elected. The City of Harper Woods came into existence on October 29, 1951 when the charter took effect and the first City Council was sworn in.
According to the city's website, the City of Harper Woods was so named because it was then a wooded area and because its main thoroughfare was Harper Avenue (named for Walter Harper, founder of the nearby Harper Hospital in Detroit).
The fledgling suburb faced the usual problems confronting new cities: schools, streets, sidewalks, water systems, drains, etc. In 1956, Harper Woods was the subject of a community service study by the Bureau of Government, Institute of Public Administration, at the University of Michigan.
The development of Harper Woods reflected the growth of metropolitan Detroit. In 1955, the I-94 Expressway Route (which bi-sects the eastern part of the suburb) was approved, and construction on the Eastland Shopping Center began soon after. Eastland Center, one of the first outdoor malls in the Midwest, opened in 1957. Harper Woods continued to develop and grow over the decades. In 2001, Harper Woods celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Geography & Demographics
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), all land.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 14,254 people, 6,292 households, and 3,756 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 5,521.1 per square mile (2,133.1/km²). There were 6,514 housing units at an average density of 2,523.1/sq mi (974.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.92% White, 10.24% African American, 0.34% Native American, 1.70% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.57% of the population. 14.4% were of German, 14.0% Italian, 12.5% Polish, 10.4% Irish and 5.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 6,292 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,769, and the median income for a family was $55,065. Males had a median income of $46,747 versus $34,138 for females. The
per capita incomefor the city was $24,900. About 2.9% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
Though a relatively new city, Harper Woods has played a role in the cultural history of Metro Detroit.
For many years, the city was home to the East Side Drive-In (located at 19440 Harper Avenue, near 7 Mile Road), the first drive-in theater in Metro Detroit and one of the very first in the Midwest. The East Side opened May 26, 1938 with "The Big Broadcast of 1938", starring W. C. Fields and Dorothy Lamour. Automobile capacity in later years was listed at 970 vehicles. The East Side closed in 1977 and was demolished a year later. [ [http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com/location.asp?ID=44&type=1 East Side Drive-In Theater - Harper Woods Michigan ] ]
The Hideout (located at 20542 Harper Avenue, at Beaufait Street) was a popular teen dance club in the mid-1960s. [ [http://home.att.net/~s.m.geer/places.htm#Hideout Detroit Area Musical Venues ] ] Many Detroit-area music acts - including some that would go on to national prominence - performed at the club. Among them were
Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, Ted Nugent, Glenn Frey(later of The Eagles), and Suzi Quatro. One performance at the club by the MC5was described by their manager John Sinclair. The Hideout spawned a local record label, Hideout Records. A 2001 compact disc, "Friday at the Hideout: Boss Detroit Garage Bands 1964-1967", documents the scene.
Another venue for local bands in the 1960s and 1970's was the nearby Notre Dame High School. According to various accounts, [ [http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/76017/77019.html?1153474208 Discuss Detroit: Notre Dame High School Dances in the 60's ] ] "All the
Motownartists used to come and lip-sync to their records. Local neighborhood bands got to play live." Among the local performers of note who played dances and concerts at the school were the Amboy Dukes(featuring Ted Nugent), Bob Seger and the Last Heard, Frijid Pink, The Frost, Salem Witchcraft, Toby Redd, The Almighty Strut, and other acts.
In the early 1970s, U.S. Poet Laurette
Donald Hallwrote a poem which referenced the city, "Poem With One Fact." [ [http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=171759 Poetry Foundation: The online home of the Poetry Foundation ] ] Similarly, in 1986, the critically acclaimed crime fiction writer Loren D. Estlemanunflatteringly portrayed the city in his Amos Walker novel "Every Brilliant Eye". Among other works, the Detroit-area crime fiction writer Elmore Leonardmentions the city in his 2000 novel, "Pagan Babies". Jeffrey Eugenides' bestselling 1993 novel " The Virgin Suicides" as well as his Pulitzer Prizewinning "Middlesex" also reference Harper Woods.
Betty Bahr, an early local television personality ["From Soupy to Nuts! A History of Detroit Television" by Tim Kiska] , and Angela Ruggiero [ [http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=21846 Harper Woods, Michigan MI, city profile (Wayne County) - hotels, festivals, genealogy, newspapers - ePodunk ] ] , 2006 Olympics bronze medal winner (ice hockey), have been among its better known residents.
Dave Coulier, a popular television and voice actor, graduated from Notre Dame High School.
Dominating the cultural and commercial profile of the suburb is Eastland Mall, which sits at the intersection of
8 Mile Roadand Beaconsfield Avenue. Eastland Center, as it is now known, houses a celebrated work of public sculpture, "The Lion and Mouse,"by Marshall Fredericks. [ [http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070706/OPINION03/707060395/1003/METRO Prodigal mouse returns: Pilfered icon back at mall after 50-year trip ] ]
As a largely white community bordering the predominantly black city of Detroit, race relations in Harper Woods have sometimes been tense. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Harper Woods police department was frequently accused of
racial profilingagainst black motorists.
Harper Woods is served by the Harper Woods School District, which manages Beacon Elementary School, Tyrone Middle School, Harper Woods Secondary School, and Harper Woods High, all of which are
public schools. Other public schools located in the city not administered by the Harper Woods School District include Charles A. Poupard Elementary School (opened 1951 - Grosse Pointe School District), and more recently-opened charter schools Chandler Park Academyand Heart Academy School. Sections of the city are part of the Grosse Pointe School District. Parochial schools included St. Peter's Grade School, Our Lady Queen of Peace Elementary School, Lutheran High School East, Trinity Catholic High School (formerly Bishop Gallagher High School), and the all-girls Regina High School. All these schools have since closed. Regina moved to the nearby suburb of Warren in the fall of 2007. Notre Dame High School, an all-boys parochial school, closed after 50 years. It was one of 18 Detroit area Catholic schools closed by the Archdiocese of Detroitin 2005.
Pension Fund Lawsuit
In September 2007, The City of Harper Woods Employees’ Retirement Scheme filed suit against UK-based defense contractor
BAE Systems. [ [http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article2498504.ece BAE Systems Sued over alleged Saudi bribes] ] The suit alleges that BAE Systems executives funneled approximately $2 billion to Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar. [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91332402 'David vs. Goliath': City Takes On BAE Systems] ] The suit, which made news around the world, [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/25/business/bae.php BAE asks U.S. court to end shareholder's suit] ] seeks governance changes to the BAE Systems board, and efforts to redress the losses due to this alleged corruption.
* [http://www.harperwoodscity.org/ Official City website]
* [http://www.hwschools.org/ Harper Woods School District]
* [http://www.libcoop.net/harperwoods/ Harper Woods Public Library]
* [http://www.harperwoodsbaseball.com/ Harper Woods Little League]
* [http://www.citytowninfo.com/places/michigan/harper-woods additional demographic information]
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