Royal Oak, Michigan: Wikis


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City of Royal Oak
—  City  —
Location in the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 42°29′20″N 83°8′34″W / 42.48889°N 83.14278°W / 42.48889; -83.14278
Country United States
State Michigan
County Oakland
Incorporated 1895 (village)
  1921 (city)
 - Type Commission-Manager
 - Mayor Jim Ellison
 - City Manager Tom Hoover
 - City 11.8 sq mi (30.6 km2)
 - Land 11.8 sq mi (30.6 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation [1] 663 ft (202 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 60,062
 - Density 5,083.0/sq mi (1,961.9/km2)
 - Metro 5,456,428
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 48067, 48068, 48073
Area code(s) 248
FIPS code 26-70040[2]
GNIS feature ID 0636352[3]

Royal Oak is a city in Oakland County of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a suburb of Detroit. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 60,062. It should not be confused with Royal Oak Charter Township, a separate community located nearby. It is the 5th largest city in Oakland County and the 18th largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan.

The images pictured at right are (from top, clockwise) downtown Royal Oak looking north towards 11 Mile Road, the National Shrine of the Little Flower church, the Rackham Memorial Fountain at the Detroit Zoo, and the Woodward Dream Cruise.



Royal Oak was incorporated as a village in 1891, and as a city in 1921. The city's name originates in 1819, from one of Territorial Governor Lewis Cass' expeditions surveying land. A tree located near the present day intersection of Crooks, Rochester, and Main reminded Cass of the Royal Oak tree within which King Charles II of England hid to escape the Roundheads following the Battle of Worcester.

In the 1920s, Charles Coughlin became Father of Shrine of the Little Flower, a prominent landmark in the city. In 1926, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on the lawn of the original wooden church, and Coughlin used the incident to launch radio broadcasts on station WJR. Through this publicity he raised enough money to build the current limestone complex and tower from which he aired his radio show thereafter. He built a large following; however, in the late 30s Coughlin's broadcasts became increasingly controversial eventually leading to his removal from the air in 1939.[4]

On November 14, 1991, Thomas McIlvane killed five people, including himself, with a Ruger .22 caliber rifle in Royal Oak's post office, which was one of a string of incidents across the United States in which current or recently fired postal workers attacked and killed co-workers en masse, leading to the phrase "going postal."[5]

Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Royal Oak's downtown grew into an entertainment and nightlife destination. A number of large condominiums and lofts were built throughout the downtown and industrial areas. Though the economy took a downturn in 2006, the area remains an attractive area for young professionals and families.


The past decade has seen much in the way of development as the city's downtown has been transformed into a trendy and urban-chic restaurant, shopping, and entertainment district. Construction is underway on a number of high-rise building developments — mostly condo "lofts" with retail and office space on the lower levels. Points of interest include the Detroit Zoo, the renowned William Beaumont Hospital, the Royal Oak Music Theatre, the Main Art Theatre, the Baldwin Theatre, Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, and the many unique shops, cafes, and restaurants which line the streets of the downtown area. In addition, the offices of Hour Detroit, a Metro Detroit lifestyle magazine, are located in the city. Royal Oak still has some edgier retail establishments, a few chain restaurants, dozens of unique restaurants and many new condominium projects.

The National Arbor Day Foundation has awarded Royal Oak the distinction of "Tree City USA" every year since 1976 due to the city's commitment to tree planting and preservation.[6]

In 1998, the foundation of famous Saturday Night Live comedian and Detroit-area native Gilda Radner created a free cancer support community for people with cancer, their families, and friends. Gilda's Club Metro Detroit operates a three-story non-residential house in Royal Oak and has welcomed more than 3,000 members for social and emotional support and fun activities.

In December 2009 it was announced that the Arts, Beats and Eats festival would be moved from Pontiac, Michigan to Royal Oak.[7]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.8 square miles (30.6 km²), of which, 11.8 square miles (30.6 km²) is land and none of it is covered by water.

Royal Oak once had a river, the Red Run. Around 1967-1968 it was buried in a 6-foot drain pipe.[8]


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 60,062 people, 28,880 households, and 14,440 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,083.0 people per square mile (1,961.9/km²). There were 29,942 housing units at an average density of 2,534.0 per square mile (978.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.80% White, 1.54% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.30% of the population.

There were 28,880 households out of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.0% were non-families. 40.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 38.8% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $52,252, and the median income for a family was $68,109. Males had a median income of $50,562 versus $36,392 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,990. About 2.0% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.


The city is served by Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools. It contains a location of Oakland Community College.There is also a private high school, Shrine Catholic, not operated by the city.

In recent years Royal Oak has begun to consolidate its public schools in response to enrollment levels that are lower than those of the baby boom era. In 2006, the city's two public high schools were combined into a new Royal Oak High School. Beginning in 2007, the city's two middle schools were combined into one school, named Royal Oak Middle School. Finally the total number of elementary schools was reduced to six.[9] Some parents protested the planned closure and demolition of Longfellow and Whittier elementary schools and were seeking to have them considered for historic district recognition by way of signed petition.[10] Despite their efforts, both schools, as well as a number of other former elementary schools, were demolished in the fall of 2007.


The U.S. post office in Royal Oak

Royal Oak utilizes the Council-Manager form of government,[11] and is governed by a city commission consisting of a mayor and six commission members. The city commission appoints a city manager, who manages the day-to-day operations of the city. The current city manager is Donald E. Johnson.

The current mayor of Royal Oak is Jim Ellison. Current city commissioners are Michael Andrzejak, Terry Drinkwine, Carlo P Ginotti, Gary Lelito & Charles Semchena, Jr. Patricia Capello, David Poulton and Jim Rasor were elected on Nov 3, 2009 to replace Ginotti and Lelito who did not run for re-election and to fill a seat that has been vacant for several months. They will be seated on Dec. 7.


Royal Oak train platform

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Royal Oak, operating its Wolverine three times daily in both directions between Pontiac, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois via Detroit.

Commuter rail service was once provided by Grand Trunk Western Railroad (GTW) and later Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority (SEMTA) from Pontiac, Michigan to downtown Detroit with a stop in Royal Oak. This service ended on October 17, 1983 after subsidies were discontinued. Efforts continue to this day to restore such commuter service.

Class one freight rail service is provided by Canadian National Railway (CN).

Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) operates local and regional bus transit.

Highways: There is an interchange connecting interstate highways I-75 and I-696 in the southeast corner of the city. Woodward Avenue (state highway M-1) is about a mile west of the interchange in the southeast corner of the city. Woodward proceeds northwest defining the western border of the city, and intersects with the north-south Coolidge Highway just south of 13 Mile Road. Additionally, the southern terminus of Rochester Road is about 1 mile north of the downtown district, where it angles off from Main street, just south of the location of the "Royal Oak" tree mentioned above, and connects Royal Oak with Rochester, Michigan, although the road itself continues on far beyond the city of Rochester. This road used to also be the route of an early 1900s electric trolley line which connected downtown Royal Oak with downtown Rochester.



In addition to the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, regional newspapers serving all of southeast Michigan, the city is served by the Daily Tribune, the Royal Oak Review, and the Mirror. The popular 1990s sitcom Home Improvement is set in Royal Oak. In one episode, Tim is pulled over on a traffic stop by a police officer wearing a Royal Oak Police Department shoulder patch. In 2008, two movies were filmed in Royal Oak. Scenes from Prayers for Bobby, Youth in Revolt and Gran Torino were filmed in the downtown area. In 2009, the remake of Red Dawn had several scenes filmed in Royal Oak neighborhoods. The independent record label Psychopathic Records is located in Royal Oak.


Looking south to 11 Mile Rd and Main St

Downtown Royal Oak features a wide assortment of nightlife venues, including The Royal Oak Music Theatre and The Landmark Main Art Theatre. Also notable is Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, a club which hosts local and national comedians, and was an early stomping ground of famed performers such as Tim Allen and Dave Coulier. The many restaurants range in fare from take-out sandwiches to high-end establishments specializing in cuisines like Italian, Belgian, Nepali, and others. A variety of pubs are also available and include biker bars, dance clubs, upscale breweries, sports bars, and rooftop bars.

During the summer, downtown Royal Oak becomes host to hordes of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the metro Detroit area. Wednesday nights Main Street is often lined with Harley-Davidsons, whereas Thursday night the streets fill up with sport bikes.

In 1999 Meg White of the White Stripes was a day bartender for two years at the downtown bar Memphis Smoke. Years later, Jack White's ex- girlfriend Renée Zellweger was known to stop in at Memphis Smoke for carry-out. During the 2005 Detroit Lions football season, 2004 Playboy Playmate of the year, Carmella DeCesare lived in a downtown, upscale loft with her boyfriend Jeff Garcia. She was known for calling into local Detroit sports radio stations and complaining about local reporters' treatment of Garcia.


Royal Oak
Crime rates (2003)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 0
Forcible rape: 15.1
Robbery: 70.6
Aggravated assault: 87.4
Violent crime: 173.1
Burglary: 462.0
Larceny-theft: 1,811.0
Motor vehicle theft: 260.4
Arson: 8.4
Property crime: 2,541.8
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: 2003 FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement

Royal Oak boasts a low violent crime rate and a neutral property crime rate. The city's crime rate reflects that of communities in it's outer radius, such as Troy and Sterling Heights. In 2003, the city's crime rate was 43.5% of the national average. Larceny-Theft was the most popular crime, making up 66.7% of all crimes in the city. Two known murders have been committed since 2000, one in 2004 and one in 2005[12].

The Royal Oak Police Department regulates crime in the city. The number of non-auxiliary officers is not counted at the moment, but there are 21 un-sworn officers in the department. The department's policing leans on the community, and community policing is a rising trend in the city. Community policing and neighborhood watch has contributed to removing crime and drug traffic in the city within the past decade.

Notable citizens

See also


External links

Coordinates: 42°29′20″N 83°8′34″W / 42.48889°N 83.14278°W / 42.48889; -83.14278 (Royal Oak, Michigan)

Simple English

Royal Oak is a city in the state of Michigan with a population of 60,062.

It is located in Oakland County and the mayor of Royal Oak is Jim Ellison.

The racial makeup is 94.80% White, 1.54% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races.

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