Royal Oak History
When the country was being explored for new lands, Michigan was originally deemed swampy and uninhabitable. In 1819, Lewis Cass (Michigan’s Governor) and several of his companions set out to prove the land surveyors wrong. The beginning of their journey proved to be unproductive. They struggled finding land that wasn’t swampy and uninhabitable. They eventually came across some land on higher ground that proved to be desirable. Here, Cass and his men encountered a considerably large oak tree. The trees large trunk and branches reminded Cass of the royal oak tree that King Charles II of England took sanctuary from enemy forces in 1660. Cass named the tree “The Royal Oak” which is where the city’s name comes from. Growth of Royal Oak was slow at first. The early settlers cleared the land to build their homes and plant crops. Agriculture was the primary occupation at the time, so most people were farmers. The population exploded in the early 1900’s largely due to the new jobs created by the booming auto industry.