Once a forbidding area of swamps and forests, Berkley was uninhabited until the early 19th century. In 1924, the Detroit News disparaged the "frontier community" and wrote that it "resembles a settlement in the oil waste of Wyoming." Still, forward-thinking residents thought Berkley had a bright future. Two factions with competing ideas raced with paperwork to the Oakland County Courthouse in Pontiac; the triumphant group, desiring a small town, camped out overnight to be the first in line. Later incorporated as a city in 1932, Berkley's history includes the invention of the Benjamin Grain Cradle, the Ku Klux Klan parading through its streets, and the devastation of the fledgling community during the Great Depression. Through it all, Berkley continues to thrive and prides itself on being the "City That Cares."
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