Monday, November 30, 2015
Troy has grown from a rural community into a dynamic city in 60 years. Neither the landscape nor the population resembles what was commonplace during the pioneer and Township eras. Pioneers immigrated to Troy from the eastern states after 1819. The majority came from the State of New York via the Erie Canal, Great Lakes sailing ships, and then on foot from Detroit. Others walked the entire way. Native American footpaths were generally too rugged for wagons.
The early pioneers were Caucasian, of European descent, and predominantly Protestant. By 1850 there were 1,427 souls living in the 36-square mile township (approximately 40 people per square mile.) That number did not vary significantly until after World War I. Between 1920 and 1940 the population more than doubled. The same growth-rate was seen in the next two decades.
After the City of Troy was established in 1955, the influx of new families and businesses was dramatic. Troy also became ethnically and culturally diverse after the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 was implemented. (See 365 Story June 30.) Today, according to school district records, over 80 different languages are spoken in the homes of Troy students. Additionally, there are 56 houses of worship in Troy representing some 35 different religious denominations.
The City of Troy is now considered an “edge city” rather than a “bedroom community.” More people commute into the City for work than reside in Troy. Although Troy is by all accounts a bustling city with traffic jams during rush hours, it is interesting to note that the City’s original planners anticipated the population would reach 135,000 before 2000. According to SEMCOG data the population was 81,016 in 2010.
Graph: Population growth by decade in Troy Since 1850
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and 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 will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. 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, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at email@example.com.