Water critical as Troy Grew

Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Rural Troy Township began to change as more Detroiters joined the exodus from the city to the suburbs. Oakland County’s population increased by nearly 300,000 people between 1950 and 1959 and Troy’s population more than doubled from 6,248 in 1940 to 13,214 in mid-1955. World War II and Korean War veterans who benefited from the GI Bill and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages had the means to purchase new homes in new communities. The expansion of the automobile industry in southeastern Michigan, racial tensions, limited housing in Detroit, and concerns regarding the quality of urban schools further stimulated suburban migration to communities like Troy and increased the demand for new housing.

The Township Board’s business shifted from rural issues to the discussion of proposed subdivisions of land that had once been actively farmed. Concurrent with these requests were increased complaints, recommendations, and reports regarding the need for adequate supplies of good water for residential and commercial use and for improved sewage disposal and treatment. It was not uncommon to find raw sewage in the ditches alongside township roads. The Township was under increasing pressure to provide clean drinking water and to ensure the safe, sanitary disposal of wastes or risk a public health crisis.  However the Township budget was in 1954 was a meager $68,000. Limited funds hampered the Board’s ability to implement substantive changes.

Troy historically relied on wells for fresh water. Well depths in the Township varied significantly. In many sections, they were shallow and the water contained minerals and salt. During the 1920s, the Buehler family built a 10 foot deep swimming pool and filled it with salt water from the briny springs on their farm. The Saltwater Pool on Rochester Road at Creston near Long Lake Road became a popular regional summer destination and during the 1950s was stop on the Martin bus line from Royal Oak.


Welcome to 365 Stories. On December 12, 1955 Troy Township was incorporated as the City of Troy. A great deal has changed in our local community, the State of Michigan, our country and the world in the last sixty years. Technology, communication, environmental awareness, human rights, medicine, scientific discoveries, global political and economic policies, and even the furnishings and gadgets in our own homes have all changed. Our goal is to publish a different story each day in 2015 that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context.

We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at ed@thvmail.org.  A story should be between 150- 250 words and include at least two references. Attach illustrations as jpegs at 300 dpi. Please respect copyrights when quoting material or attaching images. Also remember that 60 years is a lot of time to cover. We can’t possibly include all noteworthy events. But our collective memory and research will provide a good historic perspective and a wonderful way to actively commemorate this important anniversary year in Troy.

WordPress Image Lightbox