Four years ago, Marian McClellan was a retired teacher who’d lived for the past quarter century in the small Detroit suburb of Oak Park, just north of the city.
Oak Park’s story was similar to that of many older, so-called inner ring suburbs. It was largely pastures and swamps before World War II. Then, as the freeways came, it exploded. Barely a thousand people lived there in 1945.
Fifteen years later, Oak Park had 36,000. On the walls of its new city hall are large color photos from the early 1950s. Young families moving in; smiling contractors overseeing a forest of homes, some sturdy brick houses; others Levittown style ranches.