For being a small city measuring only 3.9 square miles, Ferndale has a lot to offer.
Take a look at its outdoor recreation, for instance; there are a whopping 14 parks within the city limits.
Yet with that many parks around, have you ever wondered what differentiates one from another and how exactly the names of each came about?
Look no further, we’re breaking it down for you:
- – Named after President Warren G. Harding, this park is the second-largest in the city. Harding Park, adjacent to Harding Elementary School near Old 10 Mile Road and Hilton, was formed in the 1940s. One-third of its land was once used as an Army base. It offers an inline skating rink, baseball diamonds and soccer fields.
- – Though it is often referred to as “Mapledale Park” due to its location off the same-named street, Lennon Memorial earned its real name in the 1990s as a remembrance to former Ferndale Mayor Bernie Lennon. Many trees add to the park’s large picnic area.
- – The city’s largest park is located near the Ferndale/Hazel Park border at Martin Road and Orchard Street. Named after a longtime settler in the area, the park boasts more than 30 acres of land along with sporting fields, a skating rink and two playgrounds.
- – This miniature park, just north of Nine Mile Road, received its name due to its location at the intersection of Vester and Farrow streets. The park covers less than an acre but features a play structure and benches.
- – Named for its existence at Saratoga and Farrow streets, this park covers a small strip of land but is big enough to offer a basketball court, picnic tables and a grill.
- – Located just west of Interstate 75, this park sits off its namesake, Wanda Street, and is near Wanda Elementary School in Hazel Park. It offers a youth baseball diamond, basketball court and playground area.
- – Situated along the Grand Trunk Railroad on Fair Street, a walking path runs the length of the park, surrounded by many shady trees. The park’s quiet location is ideal for picnicking.
- – Showing off its civic pride, this major park was named after President Woodrow Wilson in the 1940s. On Hilton, just south of Nine Mile Road, the park is centrally located and is adjacent to University High School. Soccer fields, play equipment and a skating rink contribute to the park’s offerings.
- – Originally known as St. Louis Park, the park is off St. Louis Street between Marshall and Fielding. Running along the east side of the park is the Jewish Machpelah Cemetery, and the park derives its name from Roy Oppenheim, a former trustee of the cemetery. In 1940, the cemetery donated a portion of its land to the city of Ferndale, which was then turned into the Oppenheimer Park. The park boasts much open space and a small playground area.
- – The large park earned its name from former Ferndale Mayor Bruce D. Garbutt. Serving 11 terms (1949-1971), Garbutt was, at one time, the longest-serving mayor in the United States. The area, sometimes known as “Taft Park” due to its location near the Taft Education Center (named after President William Howard Taft) borders Eight Mile Road near Allen Street and features a paved walking path, ballfield and playground.
- – Situated at the end of Marie Street on the city’s southwest side, this small park was formed in the 1980s and offers a “tot lot” and benches.
- – This northwestern neighborhood park, near Pinecrest Street and Earle Boulevard, was created in 1938. Originally named after President Theodore Roosevelt, the park was renamed in honor of former Ferndale Police Chief Donald “Red” Geary in the early 1990s. The park contains a special Heroes Garden dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and to the veterans of America’s wars.
- – Along Oakridge Street, bordering Woodward, this northern park sits on a small patch of grassy land that is often used for picnicking or walking.
- – This tiny park was named in 1982 after former Ferndale Mayor Henry Schiffer. On a former vacant lot near the downtown area, off Planavon Street, the park offers a picnic table, drinking fountain and trees for shade and is often used for “people watching."
Correction: In a previous version of this story, former Ferndale Mayor Henry Schiffer was incorrectly identified. This version of the story has the correction.