Howell, Michigan

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Howell, Michigan
Downtown Howell, Grand River Ave. facing East.    Livingston County Courthouse   Winner of the 2015 Fantasy of Lights Parade
Downtown Howell, Grand River Ave. facing East.
Livingston County Courthouse
Winner of the 2015 Fantasy of Lights Parade
Location of Howell, Michigan
Location of Howell, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°36′35″N 83°55′58″W / 42.60972°N 83.93278°W / 42.60972; -83.93278
Country United States
State Michigan
County Livingston
 • Total 4.95 sq mi (12.82 km2)
 • Land 4.75 sq mi (12.30 km2)
 • Water 0.20 sq mi (0.52 km2)
Elevation 935 ft (285 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 9,489
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 9,527
 • Density 1,900/sq mi (740/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 48843, 48855
Area code(s) 517
FIPS code 26-39540[4]
GNIS feature ID 0628717[5]

Howell is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 9,489. It is the county seat of Livingston County[6] and is located mostly within Howell Township, but is politically independent from Howell Township. The city is part of the South Lyon-Howell-Brighton Urban Area.

Howell is home to many festivals celebrated through the year. Most notably, the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest[7] occurs every year in late June. Activities normally include balloon launches, fireworks, crafts and a mini carnival. Also notable is the "Legend of Sleepy Howell", a night to celebrate the Halloween spirit usually the weekend before Halloween and "Fantasy of Lights" parade that is in late November. The city is also the site of the Howell Melon Festival, an annual celebration of the Howell melon, a juicy hybrid cantaloupe known to grow only in the surrounding area. The three-day festival, held in mid-August, draws approximately 50,000 visitors each year. A newer tradition, Howell hosts the annual Pink Party,[8] a day to recognize breast cancer survivors and raise money for donations. In 2016, Howell's downtown area was nominated in USA Today's 10 Best contest for "Best Main Street" and placed second.[9]

Howell is also home to the Livingston Arts Council (LAC), founded in 1989, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of quality arts and cultural programs and events such as Halloween parties and Weddings for the enjoyment of the community and is centered at the renovated Howell Opera House. Built in 1881, the renovated first floor is used by the organization and community for a variety of public and private activities. The original theatre resides on the upper floors and has not been touched for 80 years. Today the theatre is available for tours and very limited special events, with the hope of restoration in the future. The Victorian era windows were restored in 2013 with funds made available by a corporate donor.


January 1836 saw the establishment of the first post office. Flavius J. B. Crane was postmaster and the post office was located in the Eagle Tavern. In March of this same year, there was a mail route started between Howell and the village of Kensington, and west to Grand Rapids. The City of Howell is the county seat of Livingston County. On 24 March 1836, the legislature passed an act organizing Livingston County and Howell was slated to become the county seat. This claim was vigorously opposed by a group from Brighton and was wholly relinquished by them until the county buildings were actually erected 12 years later. Howell at once assumed the dignity of the County seat. The town was originally called Livingston Center and incorporated on 14 March 1863.

Howell's population increased dramatically during the 1970s due to white flight from Detroit and Lansing, changing its character from that of a farming community to an exhurb of bigger cities. This period of Howell's history also marked the birth of its well-known reputation of white supremacy, as Robert Miles, leader in the Michigan KKK, resided in nearby Cohoctah Township and hosted Klan events on his property. Although Miles died in 1992, the KKK rallied in downtown Howell in 1995 and the reputation persists in Detroit that Howell is the "KKK capital of Michigan."


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.95 square miles (12.82 km2), of which 4.75 square miles (12.30 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) is water.[1]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 473
1860 754 59.4%
1880 2,071
1890 2,387 15.3%
1900 2,518 5.5%
1910 2,338 −7.1%
1920 2,951 26.2%
1930 3,615 22.5%
1940 3,748 3.7%
1950 4,353 16.1%
1960 4,861 11.7%
1970 5,224 7.5%
1980 6,976 33.5%
1990 8,184 17.3%
2000 9,232 12.8%
2010 9,489 2.8%
Est. 2016 9,527 [3] 0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $43,958, and the median income for a family was $57,149. Males had a median income of $44,980 versus $27,956 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,254. About 4.6% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under the age of 18 and 7.9% of those 65 and older.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 9,489 people, 4,028 households, and 2,237 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,997.7 inhabitants per square mile (771.3/km2). There were 4,551 housing units at an average density of 958.1 per square mile (369.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.8% White, 0.4% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.5% of the population.

There were 4,028 households of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.5% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 35.2 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.8% were from 25 to 44; 23.6% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.[11]

Historic reputation[edit]

For many decades, Howell had the reputation of being associated with the Ku Klux Klan due to White Supremacist leader and Michigan Grand Dragon Robert E. Miles, who held KKK gatherings on his farm, located 12 miles north of the city with a Howell address.[12] Miles died in 1992. However, these gatherings, including the burning of crosses, continued.[13] The reputation has persisted into the 2000s, with events such as a public auction of KKK items scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr's birthday in 2005,[14] the 2010 suspension of a teacher who removed students for wearing a confederate flag and making anti-gay slurs,[15] and students racist tweets toward a racially mixed team in 2014.[16] The Livingston Diversity Council, which was founded in response to a 1988 cross-burning on the lawn of a black family,[17] promotes diversity and inclusion in county.[18] While quite numerous in Metro Detroit, Howell is currently not listed as having an active home to any hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[19]


Carnegie District Library

Elementary Schools

  • Three Fires Elementary School (Timberwolves)
  • Northwest Elementary School (Eagles)
  • Southwest Elementary School (Coyotes)
  • Southeast Elementary School (Super Stars) (closed 2017)
  • Challenger Elementary School (Champions)
  • Voyager Elementary School (Vikings)
  • Hutchings Elementary School (Hurricanes)
  • St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School

Middle Schools

High Schools

  • Howell High School (grades 10-12) (Highlanders)
  • Howell High School Freshman Campus (grade 9) (Highlanders)
  • Kensington Woods High School(Bears)

Higher Education Institutions


  • The Carnegie District Library[20]

Notable people[edit]


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Howell has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[21]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Michigan Challenge". Michigan Challenge. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "the Pink Party". the Pink Party. 
  9. ^ "Best Main Street Winners: 2016 10Best Readers' Choice Travel Awards". 10Best. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Howell (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Archived from the original on 2012-12-04. 
  12. ^ "A tale of two towns: Newest racial incident has Howell facing its past". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  13. ^ Walker, Sam. "Michigan Town Battles Image of Racism". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  14. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (2005-05-23). "Auctioning Memories in a Town Haunted by the Klan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  15. ^ "Michigan teacher suspended over anti-gay punishment -". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  16. ^ "Shocking racist tweets follow high school basketball win by all-white team". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  17. ^ "Livingston Diversity Council". Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  18. ^ "Livingston Diversity Council". Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  19. ^ Brush, Mark. "Report: 35 "Hate Groups" in Michigan". Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "Welcome - Howell Carnegie District Library". Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  21. ^ "Howell, Michigan Kppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°36′26″N 83°55′46″W / 42.60722°N 83.92944°W / 42.60722; -83.92944