ORCHARD LAKE VILLAGE IN HISTORY
Orchard Lake Village was incorporated in 1927, but its history is a long and interesting one. Before settlers, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who would hunt and fish along the waters. In 1877, the Michigan Military Academy was opened on the shores of Orchard Lake, and it became known as the “West Point of the West.” In 1879, William Tecumseh Sherman gave his famous “War is Hell” speech before 10,000 people at the site. Over 2,500 students attended the school, and the oldest building dating back to 1858 is still standing. Much of its rich history may be celebrated to this day at the Orchard Lake Museum at the corner of Long Lake and Orchard Lake Roads.
ORCHARD LAKE VILLAGE TODAY
Orchard Lake Village is an exclusive community of approximately 2,215 people who are nestled around sparkling lakes. In fact, 43% of Orchard Lake is made up of water. Among some of the lakes in the Village are Cass Lake (Oakland County’s largest), Upper Straits Lake, and its namesake, Orchard Lake that surrounds ever-popular Apple Island, as well as numerous smaller lakes and ponds. Endless days can be spent swimming, boating, and doing other recreational activities on the water. Apple Island, named after it's abundance of apple trees, attracts visitors from near and far just to take a boat ride and visit or to enjoy annual activities and events. Orchard Lake’s natural beauty is a great source of pride in the community.
Orchard Lake boasts of one of the finest educational areas in all of Michigan, renowned for its private institutions. One example is Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep School, built on the site of the former Michigan Military Academy and incorporating many of the historic buildings. Since 1908, St. Mary’s has provided excellent education with a Catholic background and nearly 100% of the students go onto college. In the past seven years, the school has won 28 State Championships, with nearly 80% of the students participating in athletics. Along with Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, the nearby by SS Cyril and Methodius Seminary has made Pope John Paul II proclaim, “If the Orchard Lake Schools did not exists, it would be necessary to establish." St. Mary's is famous for the Annual St. Mary's Fair - the oldest fair in the US.
Besides its plentiful water activities, Orchard Lake has a number of other excellent entertainment options. The Pine Lake Country Club, established in 1921, and the Orchard Lake Country Club, established in 1926 have given residence a relaxing place to spend time. Both feature first-class, eighteen-hole golf courses along lake frontage, providing scenic views. They also feature multiple tennis courts and top of the line fitness facilities to give members a place to stay active throughout the year. There is also a Nature Sanctuary that is open daily from sunrise to sunset daily. This is another perfect getaway from the grind of daily life and a chance to spend some time in the beautiful outdoors that is so unique to the city.
Orchard Lake's location in Oakland County sets it among the wealthiest in the nation, and provides the opportunity for every kind of experience imaginable. Whether one desires to indulge in fine gourmet food or enjoy upscale shopping at nearby Somerset Mall in Troy or Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, promenade in the vibrant downtowns of Birmingham and Royal Oak, or attend a Pistons basketball game in Auburn Hills, to rock out a concert at DTE Energy Music Theater, Meadowbrook, or Freedom Hill - there will never be a shortage of nearby opportunities to enjoy a variety of activities.
Orchard Lake offers the finest living in a picturesque water filled setting, while still keeping the close knit feel of the community together.