West Bloomfield Township is a scenic, rather large medium-sized town in eastern Michigan. Located in Oakland County, the town is approximately 35 minutes northwest of Detroit. There are roughly 65,919 people living in the area spread out across the 27.3 square miles.
The residents of West Bloomfield refer to the area as the “Lake Township of Oakland County.” This is due to the 25 lakes in and around the area. Of the 27.3 square miles that West Bloomfield occupies, 3.9 square miles (about 12.49 percent) is made up of water.
Being surrounded by beautiful lakes, West Bloomfield has a name for itself in the cottage-country world. These picturesque waters are perfect for camping and cottageing, and the shores of Pine Lake, Orchard Lake, and Cass Lake are filled with gorgeous cabins and summer homes.
What Is The History Of West Bloomfield?
The area of West Bloomfield was first surveyed in May of 1817. The federal contracted surveyors that did this job, did it poorly and inaccurately misplaced many lakes and rivers. This was an issue for the early settlers who were trying to buy a piece of land in the area and in 1823, it was requested that West Bloomfield be resurveyed.
John Huff was the original settler of West Bloomfield, travelling from New York in 1821 to build a log cabin along Pine Lake. Huff died shortly after his settlement to the area in 1824 and his land was bought by other settlers who had come to Oakland County.
When the Erie Canal was opened up, many pioneers made the trip over to West Bloomfield. Most of these settlers came from New York State and would soon be followed by settlers from England, Ireland, and Scotland. These settlers were attracted to the area because of its closeness to Detroit and its many lakes and rivers. Almost all who first bought land in West Bloomfield became farmers.
The area continued to grow in population and by April of 1833, West Bloomfield became a Township. The Townships economy was primarily made up of farmers up until the 1850s. Orchard Lake road became a part of the stage coach route that connected Detroit and Pontiac. West Bloomfield took advantage of the growing amount of travellers passing through the town and erected two tavern inns along the route.
The building of these two simple inns along the lakes of West Bloomfield sparked a new industry for the little town. Hotels and cottage resorts became a popular means of income due to the scenic Pine and Orchard Lakes. The first official hotel was opened up in 1871 and was very successful.
By the late 1890s, successful city-folk from Detroit bought up pieces of land around the lakes to build second homes and summer homes. This also spurred an industry for cottage rentals along the many waters of West Bloomfield and the town quickly became the place to be to get away from busy city life.
In the early 1900s, the Detroit United railroad was built and kept to the stage coach route that passed through West Bloomfield when connecting from Detroit to Pontiac. This sustained West Bloomfield’s tourist industry and continued to grow from there.
West Bloomfield would continue to steadily develop as a town and as an escape from the hustle and bustle of Detroit. In the 1950s-1970s, West Bloomfield’s housing development exploded. More and more middle-class families wanted out of the busy cities and into a quieter town. This increase in population encouraged more neighborhoods, strip malls, supermarkets, and restaurants.
The growing population settled down by the end of the 1970s and West Bloomfield held on to their status as a mid-size township with a healthy economy. To this day, West Bloomfield continues to have a decent population and a prosperous tourism industry attracting cottagers and those looking to get away from the hectic life that comes with living in a large city, such as Detroit or Ann Arbor.
What is Real Estate Like in West Bloomfield?
West Bloomfield has a wide variety of housing styles for potential residents to choose from as well as a wide range of real estate costs. From humble cabin-style bungalows consisting of one to two bedrooms to expansive waterfront estates made up of six plus bedrooms and every size of house in between, West Bloomfield has a design to suit all styles of living.
Due to the rich history of the land and the origins of those first settlers, West Bloomfield offers a number of older farmhouses that have been well-maintained over the years, updated and renovated as the house passes from generation to generation. Due to the vast growth of the community, West Bloomfield also offers many newer developments with modern housing styles from free-standing homes to multi-family row houses found in the more urban neighborhoods.
The real estate costs of homes in West Bloomfield range greatly. Houses can start in the low $100,000s and rise as high as $5,000,000 for a beautiful mansion along the shores of one of the many stunning lakes.
The majority of houses in West Bloomfield are two- or three-bedroom single-family homes and the median cost of these properties is $389,000.
West Bloomfield is home to some of the safest neighborhoods in all of the United States. That combined with the reasonably-priced homes and the top-rated school system in the area make West Bloomfield an ideal home for families. A large portion of the population that currently reside there are, in fact, made up of families.
The neighborhoods found in West Bloomfield range from quiet, rural houses set on vast properties near the lake or surrounded by forests to close suburban housing where the friendly community is close-knit and highly involved in the events surrounding the area.
Some of the larger, key communities in West Bloomfield Township include Orchard Lake Village, Keego Harbor, and Sylvan Lake. These together make up what’s called Greater West Bloomfield.
There are also several quieter and smaller communities located in West Bloomfield. These quaint and friendly neighborhoods give off a real sense of community and small-town charm. These areas include Walnut Lake, Birmingham, Stony River, and Franklin Valley.
So Much To Do
With literally thousands of acres of water in and around the township, residents of West Bloomfield have access to a huge variety of summer activities. This includes boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, waterskiing, and any other water-based activity that you can think of.
West Bloomfield contains six different private and public golf courses and country clubs. This includes (but certainly isn’t limited to!) Orchard Lake Country Club, Bay Pointe Golf Club, Union Lake Golf Course, and Shenandoah Country Club. There are hundreds of acres available for residents of West Bloomfield to brush up on their golf swing. Whether you’re a first-timer or an expert golfer, there is a course with your name on it just waiting to be tried out.
West Bloomfield is also home to several indoor activities and sources of entertainment. The higher-populated areas include movie theaters, arcades, thriving nightclubs and bars, and shopping complexes. If the residents of the township can’t find what they’re looking for in the nearby area, they can venture on down to Detroit, a 35 minute drive southeast, to where an even larger assortment of activity and excursions await.
Explore The Outdoors
While West Bloomfield is known for their abundance of scenic lakes and rivers (of which residents are able to swim in, boat on, fish in, and so much more), the township is also home to acres upon acres of forests and open land. This makes for a geographical hotspot when it comes to planning parks and recreational facilities; something of which West Bloomfield is also flooded with.
The town is home to twelve parks and facilities and manages over 500 acres of beautiful Michigan land. One of the most popular spots for nature enthusiasts is the Nature Room, which is run out of the Recreation Activities Center on Walnut Lake Road. This facility provides a wide variety of nature-themed programs and activities for families with children of all ages. The Nature Room includes summer camps, Mommy & Me hiking groups, coneing, kayaking, and paddle board opportunities, and seasonal activities. On top of that, they host several educational programs that encourage nature-based learning and exploring.
Among the many parks in West Bloomfield are Bloomer Park, Keith Sports Park, and Sylvan Manor Park. All of these, plus all the other parks in the area, include walking paths, beautifully-maintained grounds, picnic shelters, sports fields, and children’s playgrounds. Residents have ample opportunity to get out in the fresh Michigan air and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
The West Bloomfield Trail is a fantastic hiking park that consists of 64 picturesque acres. The 6.8 miles of trail ventures through West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, and Sylvan Lake. There are organized (free) walking programs for locals to partake in that encourages daily exercise, socializing with neighbors, and a general active lifestyle.
A Look At Education
West Bloomfield manages and operates under its own public school system. The West Bloomfield School District provides top-quality education to over 6,500 students at eight different elementary, middle, and high schools.
The elementary schools in WBSD include:
Sheiko Elementary (Formerly Green Elementary)
The middle schools in WBSD include:
Orchard Lake Middle
The high school in WBSD is:
West Bloomfield High
There are also several options for private and religious schools outside of the West Bloomfield School District. These include:
St. William Catholic School
Bloomfield Christian Academy
Bloomfield Maples Montessori School
Frankel Academy - Metro Detroit
Arts And Culture
The Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society is a non-profit organization that strives to provide avid historical enthusiasts with anything related to the West Bloomfield Township’s history and origins. This includes collecting, preserving, researching, and showcasing artifacts, historic photos and documents, and protecting historical landmarks in and around the township.
There are two public libraries located in West Bloomfield Township: The West Bloomfield Township Public Library located on Walnut Lake Road and the Westacres Branch Library located on Commerce Road. These establishments offer a wide assortment of books, dvds, cds, magazines, and newspapers as well as a myriad of programs and classes geared towards children and adults alike.
West Bloomfield is home to several art galleries showcasing plenty of local talent. Park West Gallery has been established as a family-run gallery for over 50 years. That’s It Gallery is relatively new and displays and sells local art and sculptures from creators all over Michigan. Art Leaders Gallery not only showcases unique artwork but also provides custom framing for customers who bring artwork in to them.
Restaurants and Shopping
Orchard Lake Road is a main road that travels north and south right through the very heart of West Bloomfield and onto connecting towns and cities. Dotted along this busy road is a wide array of strip malls and shops. This includes big-brand box stores, shopping malls, and unique high-end boutique shops filled with both designer and custom-made items and clothing. Orchard Lake Road is one of the staple contributors to the economic income and welfare of West Bloomfield Township.
Along with the fantastic shopping scene, West Bloomfield is home to a diverse variety of restaurants and bars. There are over 150 bars throughout the area as well as a whopping 3,656 restaurants to choose from. These establishments vary between all the familiar favorites of America and Michigan-unique, locally owned and operated dining experiences. From franchise-favorites to eclectic craft breweries and eateries, West Bloomfield has a little something for everyone.
Whatever your lifestyle, whatever your interest, West Bloomfield Township can be the home for you. The variety of excursions, the scenic lakes and forestry, the safe and friendly neighborhoods, all of these add up to an idyllic home to persons of any age and demographic. West Bloomfield is a treasure of the state of Michigan and is filled with outstanding properties and homes of all shapes and sizes.