A City Rich in History
Clarkston (officially known as The City of the Village of Clarkston) was established in 1832, but organized and named ten years later in 1842. It was named after two settlers, Jeremiah and Nelson Clark, who worked hard to establish village and its government. They built their house there and it still exists today at 71 North Main Street. Henry Ford also made his mark on Clarkston. He built a mill there that he used to power a historic plan and still exists on Mill Pond Rd. and also had his summer home there, which you can still see on Main Street. He was so invested in Village, that he financed the underground pipe system.
Clarkston was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District in 1980 as a result of its architectural and historical importance. The residents submitted the appropriate documentation to have this done predominantly to prevent Main Street from widening and wiping out character-defining buildings along with some of its deep rooted history. The historic homes in the city reflect its heritage, giving the community an air of timeless sophistication.
The Village is home to just over 900 people; it is one-half square mile, and features and abundance of historic charm in the heart of Oakland County. The 36-square-mile area of Independence Township surrounds the picturesque village of Clarkston and offers the essence of country living with the conveniences of a modern city.
Clarkston has year-round activities for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. Deer Lake is one of the many amenities, it reaches a depth of 968 feet in some areas and has a no-wake zone, which is perfect for kayaking, fishing, and a swimming beach with lifeguards. There are also multiple private beaches and ponds. Depot Park hosts free concerts in the park every Friday in the summer along with several parades and art fairs.
DTE Energy Music Theater is a concert venue that is minutes from downtown and is one of the top grossing outdoor amphitheaters in the country. In the fall you can visit some of Clarkston’s festivals, such as, Crafts & Cider Festival and the Taste of Clarkston festival, both offer food and music from local vendors.
Given its proximity to Pine Knob Ski Resort, it is a top pick for those that enjoy winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. Pine Knob features 15 trails and 10 lifts and is known for its slope called “The Wall”.
The Village’s Historic Downtown features a charming main street lined with exclusive independently owned shops, a diverse selection of eateries and restaurants, and a variety businesses.
A Well-Established District
Education has always been a top priority in Clarkston, which is evident by the fact that one of the first schools built still stands today and is now called Independence Township Hall.
Clarkston schools have a remarkable reputation as an exceptional school district as they have two national Blue Ribbon schools and six other schools have received the Michigan Exemplary Blue Ribbon school status.
The district was just named as one of Forbes Magazine’s Top Suburb to Live Well, quoting their graduation rates and class sizes, their MEAP scores, and overall education. They rank among the best in Oakland County, and last year alone, their graduates received over $5 million in scholarships. However, this wasn’t always the case, there was time when statewide school funding was scarce and cuts were being made in many districts just to make ends meet. They found a way to supplement the fund they needed that state was no longer able to provide. This is called the Clarkston Foundation, whose main priority is focused on community fundraising dedicated only to the students in the their district. These funds enabled teachers to continue to provide important educational experiences for their students as well as scholarship money for students to further their education that would otherwise not be available. Since that time, the Foundation has flourished into a dynamic, financially sound organization supported solely by the community. Over the past 30 years, the Foundation has grown and now had an endowment valued at over a half a million dollars which has afforded them to award over $500,000 in classroom grants for their district.
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