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Waterford Township is a charter township in the geographic center of Oakland County, Michigan, United States. In 2012, the population of Waterford Tow...

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Waterford Township is a charter township in the geographic center of Oakland County, Michigan, United States.

In 2012, the population of Waterford Township was 72,166.

Lewis Cass, the third governor of Michigan Territory, established the boundaries of Oakland County in 1819.[10][11] Waterford Township was organized in 1834.[12]

In 1818, Oliver Williams selected land in Oakland County[13] which he purchased for two dollars an acre. Archibald Phillips and Alpheus Williams purchased 161.40 acres (653,200 m2) in what later became Waterford Village.

In 1818, Oliver Williams and his family established the first farm settlement in the county on the banks of Silver Lake.

In 1819, Alpheus Williams and Archibald Phillips continued on to where the Clinton River crossed the old Saginaw Trail (now known as Dixie Highway). They settled at the site of the present Waterford Village. Here the first house of Waterford Village was built by Alpheus Williams on the north bank of the river. Archibald Phillips built his home across from the south corner where Andersonville Road meets Dixie Highway.

Williams and Phillips also built the first dam where the Clinton River crossed the Saginaw Trail and erected the first sawmill.[13]

The township was named Waterford because of the vast number of lakes covering the township

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.3 square miles (91 km2), of which 31.3 square miles (81 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2), or 11.22%, is water.

Like the rest of Southeast Michigan, Waterford Township has a continental climate. It has a higher elevation than Detroit (982 feet (299 m) compared to 585 feet (178 m)), and therefore the township is somewhat cooler than Detroit and other nearby cities. It is moderately cold in the winter with varied snowfall throughout. Spring varies from warm by day to cool at night. The township's warmest weather occurs in the summer with temperatures in the eighty to ninety degree range and typically high humidity. Summer is also the wettest season in the area. In recent years, Waterford Township has seen a few 100-plus degree days. Fall starts warm, but November ends with high temperatures barely above freezing.

According to the 2010 Census the racial and ethnic makeup of Waterford's population was 83.7% non-Hispanic white, and 4.8% African-American, 0.4% Native American, 1.9% Asian and 6.6% Hispanic.

In 1851, the Detroit, Grand Haven and Milwaukee Railway came through Waterford Township and three train depots were built in Waterford Township; the Drayton Plains depot (at Hatchery Rd.), the Waterford depot (at Airport Rd.) and the Windiate depot (at Windiate Rd.) . The railroad helped make the many lakes of the Waterford area easily accessible to summer vacationers from the big cities and served to make Waterford Township a summer resort area.[23][24]

In 1882, the Detroit, Grand Haven and Milwaukee Railway was purchased by the Grand Trunk Western Railroad.

As roads were improved, people began driving to their summer resort area and the passenger depots were closed in the late 1950s.

The Windiate Park Hotel was a summer resort for vacationers from Detroit and Lansing. The resort was easily accessed by four trains a day during the summer months from the 1890s to the 1940s and was located on Lotus Lake, near the Windiate depot. The resort featured boating, fishing, sailing, sunbathing, tennis and a dance hall. The resort was owned by J.D. and M.L. Rice.[28][24]

Another popular summer resort was the Waterford Hotel in the village of Waterford. The hotel was sold to William Bradt, who changed its name to Bradt's Exchange. The hotel was also named the Waterford Exchange, and served as a stagecoach stop for over 60 years.

Today, the railroad is owned by Canadian National Railway (CN) and passenger service is no longer offered, giving way to freight only.

There are seven railroad crossings in Waterford Township and one railroad bridge.
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