Taylor Township was originally named in honor of Zachary Taylor, a national military hero in the 1840s. In 1849, he would be elected the 12th President of the United States.
Taylor Township was organized on March 16, 1847. The area comprised 24 square miles that were originally part of Ecorse Township. The first Township meeting was held April 5, 1847, at the home of Richard Sutliff. There were 44 in attendance at the important gathering, at which time they elected their township officers. It would not be until 1968 that Taylor would become a home rule city.
Zachary Taylor was born in 1784 on a farm in Virginia. His father had been a Revolutionary War officer who fought under George Washington. Young Zachary had always longed to follow his father's footsteps of a military career.
At age 23, he entered the Army as a lieutenant. He distinguished himself as a military genius in the War of 1812, the Sauk Indian Wars in Wisconsin and the Seminole Indian Wars at Lake Okeechobee. Finally, Taylor was placed in command of the Army's department of the Southwest at Fort Smith, Arkansas.
In 1846, the conflicts with Mexico had reached the breaking point and Commander Taylor was sent to the Rio Grande to protect the American citizens and the territories from the marauding Spaniards. General Taylor led his 4,000 American troops against Santa Anna's 25,000 Mexican army fighters. Though vastly outnumbered, "Old Rough and Ready Taylor" soundly defeated the Mexican army. The victory gave the United States much new territory, including Texas, Southwest and West Coast lands that would some day become California, New Mexico and other western states. Zachary Taylor was a national hero and was idolized by the entire country.
Taylor's popularity as a military hero vaulted him into the national spotlight and he was elected President of the United States in 1849. After serving only 16 months in office, he became ill while attending a special ceremony on July 4, 1850. The occasion was the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument. President Taylor died in the White House on July 9, 1850. Millard Fillmore, Vice President, completed Taylor's term of office as the 13th President of the United States.
For more information on Zachary Taylor, visit the White House web site at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/zacharytaylor/
While the City of Taylor turned 40 years old in 2008, the community's a rich heritage dates back to the 1800s. The first registered property owner was Peter Coan, who purchased an 80-acre parcel from the United States government in 1830. The Coan family name continues through Coan Lake, which centers the historical area in Heritage Park.
Originally, Taylor was part of Ecorse Township, but residents found that they lived too far away to participate in the civic affairs and functions of the township. Because of this, the residents petitioned to form a separate community. The petition was granted in 1847 and the new community was named Taylor Township, in honor of General Zachary Taylor, an American hero in the Mexican War who would go on to become President of the United States.
Largely an agricultural community, Taylor Township grew steadily over the years, particularly after the opening of the Ford Rouge Plant in neighboring Dearborn. In May 1968, Taylor Township residents voted to adopt the charter which incorporated the City of Taylor.
Modern Day Taylor
The most recent decades of Taylor's history have been characterized by development and improvement. No longer agricultural, the community boasts comfortable neighborhoods, great schools, a variety of shopping opportunities and several industrial parks. In fact, Taylor experienced a residential and commercial building boom of sorts in the 1980s. Residents could live, work and shop, all within a convenient 24 square miles. Mayor Cameron Priebe is generally credited with the City's modernization and served two terms, spanning 20 years. He first served as mayor from 1981 to 1997 during the city's period of great growth, before returning for another four-year term beginning in 2005.
Cameron G. Priebe Plaza, which is the court yard east of City Hall and directly in front of the Police Station, is named for him.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton visited the City to dedicate the Public Works building and the renovated City Hall -- a historic day for Taylor. In 1998, Andrew Cuomo, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, became the latest dignitary to visit the community. He praised the City's plan to redevelop the Southwest section of the community, calling the Villages of Taylor "a model for the nation."
In 2001, the city welcomed the grand opening of the Taylor Sportsplex, the finest municipal recreation complex in the region, and the beautifully renovated William Ford Senior Activity Center, which serves Taylor’s active senior population.
Another major improvement was the reconstruction of Telegraph Road (US-24), which will serve residents and business people well into the 21st Century. The creation of Midtown Taylor was approved by Taylor voters in 2001, creating another residential and shopping district during the years to come. In 2004, the city embarked on further municipal complex expansion, creating a new courthouse and fire station.
In August 2004, the City of Taylor welcomed both candidates for President of the United States: President George W. Bush and U.S. Senator John Kerry. Both appeared in Heritage Park, the city's regional park. In 2006, former President Bill Clinton returned to Taylor, this time to campaign for candidates for office from the Democratic Party. President Barack Obama stopped here during a campaign tour prior to his 2008 election.
The City of Taylor, like many others communities across Michigan and the rest of the country, suffered from the economic problems of the first decade of the new millennium. Business and residential growth declined and with it, the City's tax base. Facilities were closed and City staffing was cut, and the municipality eventually fell under the focus of a state-mandated Deficit Elimination Plan. Beginning in 2013-14, Taylor began to see a slow economic turnaround across the board.
The City government, now led by current Mayor Rick Sollars, led a general fund budget rebound from $5M in the red to $4.2M in the black as staffing and programs were slowing reinstated and facilities like the Northwest Park Outdoor Pool, Recreation Center, Sheridan Center Open Air Pavilion, Lamarand Splash Pad and others witnessed rebirth or creation.
Likewise, business and development began to rekindle. Taylor's Southland Center, one of four famous J.L. Hudson's shopping malls built around Detroit during the 1950s and '60s, thrived in the new economic upturn. Rouse Properties invested over $20M in the 937,000-square-foot mall, attracting new tenants like H&M, Pink, ULTA, Shoe Carnival, Zumiez and others. A ultra-modern Cinemark NextGen Theatre plans to open at the mall in April 2016.
At the same time along Eureka Road, the City's retail corridor, the Gibraltar Trade Center and Ramada Inn were torn down. The trade center will be replaced to a Menards' development that will include 80-plus acres of large. midsize and small retailers. Nearby, old standbys like Famous Dave's BBQ were joined by Panera Bread, PizzaPapalis, Golden Corral and others. As of the spring 2016, new business and development was popping up across the City.
A first? How about Hungry Howie's?
Did you know the first Hungry Howie's pizzeria opened in 1973 on Telegraph Road in Taylor?
The Hungry Howie’s story began in 1973 when James R. Hearn converted a 1,000 square foot hamburger shop in Taylor, Michigan into a successful carry-out and delivery pizzeria. At the time, Steven E. Jackson delivered pizzas for Hearn. Over the years, their partnership would evolve into what Hungry Howie’s is today.
How does a single-store operation become a successful multi-unit competitor in the pizza industry? Steve Jackson says, “It takes a fierce desire to succeed in one of the toughest food segments. Major elements in our strategy include excellent products, superior customer service and the marketing savvy to compete against the national pizza chains.”
In 1982, Jackson and Hearn made a decision to franchise their operation. In January 1983, they awarded their first Hungry Howie’s franchise.
Within the next three years, 65 franchises were opened within the Hungry Howie’s system. The company ended the 1980s with over 160 units. Hungry Howie’s opened its 300th location in 1995, and 400th in 1999. In 2004, Hungry Howie’s was awarded “Chain of the Year” by Pizza Today magazine and opened their 500th location in 2005.
A natural step in the course to success was the establishment of Hungry Howie’s Distributing, Inc. The Michigan commissary was opened in 1986. The Florida commissary was opened in 1987. These moves enabled Hungry Howie’s, Inc. to control product consistency and pricing. Jackson strongly believes that meeting the highest quality standards is vital to the success Hungry Howie’s enjoys today.
Through Jackson and Hearn’s leadership, Hungry Howie’s has emerged as a major competitor in the pizza marketplace and consistently ranks in the top 10 of the nation’s largest pizza franchises. Currently, Hungry Howie’s operates over 525 locations in 18 states.
-- Hungry Howie's web site (http://www.hungryhowies.com/history.htm)