The history of Royal Oak Township parallels the development of Detroit and Oakland County. As the economy of the area changed from that of agriculture in the 1800s and early 1900s to one dependent on the transportation industry so did the economy of Royal Oak Township.
African American families settled in Detroit before 1796 when the British took ownership of the city and found them in residence. By 1860, the African American population in Detroit had grown to 1403 persons, with a few African American families settling on scattered farm locations throughout the region. These farmland holdings were sold to whites, with the exception of an area spanning eight-mile centred around Wyoming Avenue.
As stated in the Oakland County Book of History, Royal Oak Township started off as a 36-mile section of Oakland County. It was bounded by Eight Mile Road on the south, Farmington Road on the west, Twelve Mile Road on the North, and Woodward on the East. Gradually many of the communities became chartered as independent cities (16).
What remains today of Royal Oak Township is 2.2 square miles composed of non-adjacent portions of land; the eight-mile section and ten-mile section. The former is an area of primarily African American families and the latter is primarily multi-ethnic families.
The eight-mile section of Royal Oak Township is an obvious African American residential community developed at a close, low-density scale. The ten-mile segment is part of a more diluted and higher density area occupied almost completely by elderly and multi-culture groups.
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