Whitmore Lake was formed about 13,000 years ago the results of a Wisconsin Glacier.
The lake covers 677 acres, is a mile and a half long by two-thirds of a mile wide.
Whitmore Lake is divided by two counties: 441 acres are in Washtenaw County and 236 acres in Livingston County.
Indians of Northfield
There have been many Indian tribes in the Northfield area of the centuries, but only
The Potawatomi, Ottawa, Chippewa (or Ojibwa), and the Huron tribes were present when the first settlers arrived in the early nineteenth century.
There are at least two Indian burial grounds located in the Northfield Township area.
A home at 9411 Main Street, Whitmore Lake found Indian skulls when a basement was dug.
When US-23 was being built in the late 1950’s a site was discovered in the Nine Mile Road area.
Other burial sites may include Mr. Kenneth Zeeb and Mr. John Kennedy’s farms which are adjacent to the Northfield Estates Mobile Home Park.
Benjamin Sutton was the first person to settle in Northfield Township. Benjamin, his wife and their six children took the covered wagon journey from New Jersey in the spring on 1822 hoping Michigan would bring them a better future.They arrived in Detroit, Michigan in the spring of 1823. They lived there for one year . In the spring of 1824, Benjamin Sutton would purchase land in Northfield oon May 17, 1824. This parcel is located at Sutton Road and Pontiac Trail.
Northfield Township and Whitmore Lake were served by ten country schools.
Eight were in Northfield Township, one in Green Oak, and another in Ann Arbor
Township. In rural areas like Northfield Township children helped with the harvest.
It was not uncommon during this time to suspend school during that time. The schools were consolidated with the Whitmore Lake school system in 1958.
1. Sutton – Joy Road near Pontiac Trail
2. Fohey – (Matthews) – Seven Mile and Spencer Roads
3. Wagner (Murray) – Five Mile and Earhart Roads
4. Flintoft (Shaw) – Territorial and Spencer Roads
5. Welch’s Corners – Territorial west of Whitmore Lake Road
6. Leland – Territorial and Earhart Roads
7. Stone – (Maple Ridge) Six Mile and Earhart Roads
8. Whitmore Lake – Main Street between Whitmore Lake Foods and Curtis Real Estate
9. Green Oak – M-36 near vicinity of the present Barnstormer Restaurant
10. Braun (Moe) – Whitmore Lake and Joy Roads.
Only four schools remain standing at their original locations: Braun, Sutton, Leland and Welch’s Corners.
Once known as School District #11, Northfield Township, and the Whitmore country school officially became the Whitmore Lake Public Schools on September 8, 1954. During the next six years neighboring country schools were also consolidated within it which formed the present boundaries of the district. They are the Flintoft School in 1957, Green Oak in 1958, Welch’s Corner in April of 1959, Leland School in May of 1959, and the Sutton School on September 24, 1960. Most of the teaching staff were former school teachers from the country schools.
The first Superintendent of schools was James P. Spencer, in whose honor Spencer Elementary School was named.
The road bed heading north from Ann Arbor veered northeasterly going through Northfield Township and a small community called Leland it continued on coming into Salem Township crossing Dixboro road south of 5 mile onto the E.S. Worden farm and a station was located there at 5 mile road.
The line continued diagonally through sections 18 and 7 crossing Pontiac trail north of 6 mile road and about a quarter mile east of Pontiac Trail it turned due north and ran straight into South Lyon.
The “Ping Pong” Express was a gasoline powered one-car train that ran between Whitmore Lake and Ann Arbor about six times daily. It would stop at local crossings in Northfield Township to pick up passengers.
Green Oak Township
Northfield Township Historical Society
Washtenaw County MIGenWeb Project
Books about Northfield Township:
NORTHFIELD HARVEST, A PICTORIAL HISTORY, edited by Wystan Stevens. Covers Northfield Township and Whitmore Lake area. Published in 1999. Soft cover, 394 pages.
Looking Back: The History of Northfield Township and the Whitmore Lake Area. Thomas P. Hennings. Northfield Township: Northfield Township Historical Society, 1985.
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