Our square mile (Southfield – W. Seven Mile – Evergreen – W. Eight Mile) has been home to community organizations for at least 50 years! The O’Hair Park Community Association was created in November 2012. But for years NESCO (North Evergreen – Southfield Community Organization) previously called PMECO )Pitcher – McKinney East Community Organization)–was active in this area. One goal of the O’Hair Park Community Association was to have 8 block clubs functioning in 2013. But we already have 11, newly-formed or re-activated!
In 1947, Joseph and Helen Holtzman donated 78 acres, later named in honor of Mrs. Willis Watts O’Hair, a founder of the Detroit Recreation Commission at the beginning of the 20th century. Pitcher Woods, 20 acres inside the park, was named for Dr. Zina Pitcher, who was mayor of Detroit from 1840-1844. He also influenced the state to pass a law for the first free public school in Detroit and helped create the Medical Department at the University of Michigan.
PITCHER WOODS NATURE STUDY AREA
In the 1940’s builders of the new homes around the park dumped their scrap in Pitcher Woods. Some residents wanted the trees cut down, but the city refused. Today we have a mature forest that freshens our air and is home to birds, animals and wildflowers. By the mid-1990’s NESCO members held annual clean-ups and picnics in O’Hair Park. NESCO cooperated with the Detroit Recreation Department and the 3 schools (Henry Ford High School, Pitcher Elementary, and St. Gerard’s) to win a grant from the State of Michigan to develop the woods for nature study. Everyone participated in a dedication ceremony on Earth Day (also Arbor Day) April 22, 1997.
The O’Hair Park Community Association, Motor City Grounds Crew, PAL Football. interns hired by General Motors Corporation from Henry Ford High School, the Wayne County CLEAN program and the City of Detroit cleaned the park, mowed the grass and painted and installed swings. A back-to-school picnic in September was fun for all ages. Residents took a greater interest in the park. When they observed our volunteers removing the swings last Fall for Winter storage, neighbors called the police to make sure they were legit!