From Paris to Sterling Heights
by Weam Namou
Last Tuesday, I was visited by three people who were so French, they caused my mind to wander to and linger in Paris. This Tuesday, my mind has returned home, so I will write about my hometown of 20 years, Sterling Heights, the fourth largest city in Michigan.
A little over sixty years ago Sterling Heights was a rural Michigan township with a population of 4,000. It was organized in 1835, two years before Michigan became a state, and it was originally called JeffersonTownship. The name was changed to Sterling in 1838. Some say the community was named for Azariah W. Sterling, a settler; others say it was named for Sterling, New York. By the 1880s, the township had become thirty-six square miles of well-developed and prosperous farms, with a mere 1,000 residents. Today the population is nearly 130,000.
Prior to 1784 there is little written history about the area that is now Sterling Heights because the Indian tribes who lived in villages along the ClintonRiver or came through here on hunting expeditions did not keep written records. The first white settlers along the Clinton were captives of the Chippewas who had been freed or escaped after years of wandering with the tribes.
Sterling Heights was ranked the sixth safest city in the U.S. in 2006 and currently boasts more movie screens than any other Michigan City.The August 2006 issue of Money magazine listed Sterling Heights as No. 19 on its list of the 90 “Best Small Cities” to live in.
Another attraction? Eminem lived here briefly between 2000 and 2001. And a phenomenon? After twenty years of living in this city and over ten years of living in nearby neighborhoods, I can still screw up directions to get to certain places.
My husband and lived in what was then Sterling Township when we were first married in 1966. It then changed to Sterling Heights while we still lived there. When we were just dating, and I was on a trip with a friend, I sent Bob a postcard addressed to Sterling, MI. He never got it, because there is another city called Sterling, MI in northern MI. LOL But because of the town “booming” and spreading out, widening Hall Rd, nearly to our back door, along with the fact I wanted my daughters, the oldest who was just about to start Junior High, to go to a better school system, we moved to Clarkston, MI in 1979. But we have some nice memories from our years there. It has changed so much now. I hope you have many more happy years there.