Ferndale, Michigan, (population 22,105) is typical of many suburban communities in Michigan and the Midwest. Located in Oakland County and adjacent to the city of Detroit, it was first inhabited by Indians and is situated on the site of a major Indian trail connecting Detroit with Saginaw Bay and the Straits of Mackinac.
Ferndale was settled by homesteading farmers in the 19th century. It grew slowly until the advent of the automobile and the opening of the Ford Motor Company plant in nearby Highland Park. In 1918 it was incorporated as a village and in 1927 as a city. Since that time it has become one of the major suburbs north of Detroit.
During the late 1960s and ‘70s, Ferndale faced a number of challenges, such as an aging population, declining school enrollment, and a deteriorating physical environment. Today, thanks largely to efforts by city administrators and the successful revitalization of its historic downtown, Ferndale has become a popular community for members of metro-Detroit’s “creative class.”
One of Ferndale’s early landmarks was the Crow’s Nest, built in 1920. Located at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Nine Mile Road, the elevated traffic signal held policemen safely above the heavy traffic. In 2006, the city unveiled a re-creation of the structure designed by a local artist.
Ferndale is part of the MotorCities National Heritage Area, which offers year-round attractions and activities including car shows and historic home tours.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2007.