Clarkston History:  http://www.clarkstonhistory.info/history/chd/index.htm


Linux Jacox from New York built the first house in Clarkston in 1830. He sold his claim to Butler Holcomb in 1831. In 1832, Holcomb built the second house and a sawmill on sections 20 and 21. The town was named for the Clark brothers, from New York. Jeremiah Clark, from Onondaga County, New York, came to Detroit in 1831, and in the autumn of 1832 located on section 7 in Independence Township where he built a log cabin. Among his three children were three boys, Edwin, Milton and Newton. Nelson W. Clark arrived in 1836 and became a prominent citizen in the township. In 1838, Holcomb sold his interests to the Clark brothers, who then built a grist mill. In 1842, the Clark brothers platted a tract of land on section 20 for a village and gave it the name Clarkston. The first church to be erected in Clarkston was the Methodist Church on Buffalo Street, in 1841.

In 1980, Clarkston was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District on the merit of its architectural and historical significance. Clarkston has many important examples of Queen Anne style homes. Residents in 1980 came together and submitted the appropriate paperwork to the National Park Service to list Clarkston as a historic district primarily to prevent Main Street from widening and wiping out character-defining buildings as well as Clarkston's history.


John W. Beardslee, a Sussex County, New Jersey native, was the first person to settle Independence Township in 1826. Subsequently, settlers from New Jersey and New York began to settle the township until by 1834 all sections of land in the southern half of the township was settled. (The northern half was largely unsettled.) The southern half of the township was marked by flat plains that made it suitable for farming, most notably the Sashabaw Plains in the southeast corner of the township. The rest of the township comprised flat plains, rolling hills and lakes, connected by branches of the Clinton River. By 1840 Independence Township's population was 830, but a decade later new construction had boosted the township's population to 1,200. By 1877 Independence Township's swampland was converted to agricultural use. In the late 1800s, E.V. Bailey, a prominent resident, donated to Clarkston a section of land at what is now Whipple Lake Road and Pine Knob Road. Clarkston, which is located in the heart of Independence Township, used the land to erect the area's first schoolhouse.

While the 19th century saw a primarily agricultural economy, the 20th century saw the completion of a railroad depot and the arrival of the automobile, as a number of visitors from Detroit began to visit the township. Independence Township continued to grow at the same time as cottages were built, farms were subdivided and new houses built, all the way up to the 1930s when the Great Depression temporarily ended future land developments. After World War II, the township's population not only rebounded, it has boomed as new shopping centers, new subdivisions, new schools, new churches, several parks and the DTE Energy Music Theatre have been built over the years, helped by access via I-75M-15 and US 24. Independence Township's economy is today service-based.

The DTE Energy Music Theatre shares a complex with Pine Knob Golf and Ski Courses. The township is also home to various parks, the largest of which is Independence Oaks County Park.


Springfield Township was established by the Michigan Legislature on March 2, 1836. Civil government was first organized April 3, 1837. Springfield, one of the very first settlements in the area, began with a hotel along the Detroit and Saginaw Turnpike, now known as Dixie Highway. Andersonville, located at the intersection of Andersonville Road and Big Lake Road, was settled shortly thereafter in 1833, followed three years later by the hamlet of Davisburg.

The Detroit and Milwaukee Railway (now part of the Canadian National Railway) was built in 1856, and two stations were in the township, in Andersonville and Davisburg. The railroad provided a major impetus to growth. Agriculture was the mainstay of the local economy and trains allowed the farmers to ship produce and live stock to market and to receive supplies and equipment. By 1860 Springfield Township's population was 1,425.

In 1924, Dixie Highway was paved from Pontiac to Flint. With the decline of agriculture as a major economic activity in the township, residents began commuting to Pontiac and Flint for employment in the developing automotive factories, marking the beginning of the township's decline. By 1930, Springfield Township's population had fallen to 923. The township's decline would unexpectedly be reversed in the 1960s with the construction of Interstate 75. The accessibility provided by two interchanges accelerated residential growth in the late 1960s and 1970s. Population improved, going from 1,825 in 1950 to 2,664 in 1960, 4,388 in 1970, 6,502 in 1976, and 8,295 in 1980.

Springfield Township has had a long-standing commitment to zoning and planning dating back to the early 1950s. The Township Board adopted an interim zoning ordinance in early 1952, which contained five zoning districts. In 1965 an ordinance which contained 13 different zoning districts was adopted. Planning and zoning functions were coordinated with the adoption of the township's first Master Plan in 1972 and subsequently the adoption of an entirely new zoning ordinance the following year. The 1973 ordinance serves as a basis for the current zoning ordinance.

Out of concern for the residential growth during the 1970s and its effects on the entire township, the Planning Commission embarked on a comprehensive review of the Master Plan and the Zoning Map in the early 1980s. As a result, the revised Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance incorporated natural resource protection information and standards. This slowed the growth of Springfield Township during the decade, growing to 9,927 in 1990. Additional comprehensive reviews and updates were done in the early 1990s and again in 2002. The primary basis for the township’s planning, zoning and land use decisions for at least the last 20 years has been the protection and preservation of their abundant and very special natural resources.

Today, Springfield Township is home to many parks, including Springfield Oaks County Park, site of the annual Oakland County Fair, and Indian Springs Metropark. The township is also home to several churches, a few schools including Springfield Christian Academy (the township's only high school) and a handful of shopping areas. The township's population, which increased by a third in the 1990s, continued to grow through the first decade of the 21st century.

Springfield Township also houses a former Superfund site,