Harper Woods is located between the City of Detroit and St. Clair Shores, and between Detroit and the Grosse Pointes. Harper Wood borders Macomb County on the 8 Mile Road side. It is located along I-94. Eastland Shopping Center is the community's shopping center. Harper Woods has no rail access and it has no industries. Though a relatively new city, Harper Woods has played a role in the cultural history of Metro Detroit. For many years, the city was home to the East Side Drive-In, the first drive-in theater in Metro Detroit and one of the very first in the Midwest.
The Hideout was a popular teen dance club in the mid-1960s. Many Detroit-area music acts - including Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, Ted Nugent and Glenn Frey performed at the club. The Hideout spawned a local record label, Hideout Records. Another venue for local bands in the 1960s and 1970s was Notre Dame High School. According to various accounts, "All the Motown artists used to come and lip-sync to their records.
Dominating the cultural and commercial profile of the suburb is Eastland Mall, which sits at the intersection of 8 Mile Road and Beaconsfield Avenue. Eastland Center, as it is now known, houses a celebrated work of public sculpture, "The Lion and Mouse," by Marshall Fredericks.
Harper Woods is served by two public school districts, the Harper Woods School District and the Grosse Pointe School District. The Wayne County Community College University Square campus is located within the boundaries of Harper Woods. Harper Woods Public Library acts as the community's library system.
History & Demographics
Harper Woods was incorporated as a city on February 19, 1951, when the residents of Gratiot Township (est. 1895) voted to incorporate the entire area of the Township of Harper Woods. The City of Harper Woods was "born" on Monday, October 29, 1951.
The first new settler in the part of the Township which is now Harper Woods was Casper Salter, who in 1859 took up a claim on a wagon track then called Pumpkin Hook Road (now Kelly Road) between Woodland and Woodcrest Avenues. Other families followed, and by 1875 there were eleven homes along Pumpkin Hook Road.
The community grew slowly. By the mid-1930's there were still only about fifty homes in Gratiot Township. However, recovery from the Great Depression coincided with a push toward the suburbs, and from 1935 on growth was rapid.
With the 1940's came the great influx of young families building homes. The fledgling City of Harper Woods was renamed from Gratiot Township in 1951.
In 2001, Harper Woods celebrated its 50th anniversary.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,236 people, 5,814 households, and 3,611 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,454.4 inhabitants per square mile. There were 6,504 housing units at an average density of 2,492.0 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 49.6% White, 45.6% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.0% of the population.