8 Mile Road
Old Timers' Club
20402 Santa Barbara      Detroit, MI  48221


In the early 1920s, a district called Shanty Town was created, named after the homes, which were built by the Blacks that moved to this area of Detroit.  It was registered as the Garden Homes District, better known today as 8 Mile Road.
In the 1930s, the residents of 8 Mile Road, which included Royal Oak Township in Oakland County, would hold dances at Birdhurst School to bring the community together for social events.  In the late 1940s and early 50s, with the help of Mrs. Ida Brooks, Mr. Allec Jones, and Mr. Parnell Allen, a hall would be rented to enhance the events and became known as the 8 Mile Road Old Timers’ Ball, which lasted many years.
As time passed, the social events faded along with the ages of the 8 Mile Road Old Timers’ Emile Sanderlin, who decided not to let the social events die.  He turned the Old Timers’ Ball into the Old Timers Picnic, doing much of the work, which his group hosted on Bell Isle for many years.
In the 1990s, Emile Sandelin moved to Florida and gave the social events over to Sam Donahue, who moved the social events back to 8 Mile Road.  This would be the location at Johnson Recreation Center nestled on Joe Louis, (the Brown Bomber), playfield, located at 8640 Chippewa in Detroit Michigan 48221.
With more than twenty years of annual picnics, Mr. Sam Donahue passed the responsibility of continuing the social picnic event to Dwight Smith, and the children of the original 8 Mile Old Timers’ in the year 2013.  We now have a membership of over 570, and we registered the name with the city in 2015, organized programs to revitalize the 8 Mile Road Committee with beautifying social events, and yes, continuing the 8 Mile Road Old Timers’ Picnic, which is to be held this year in July, the 23rd of 2016 as in past times.
As many growing up in the community moved to other states, the rich heritage of home brings former residents back each year to celebrate the love of the community we continue to enjoy again and again.  And, there are some new faces, some returning faces, and some who remained. The time?  Every third Saturday in July for years to come.

Meet the Executive Board

Members of the executive board residents were raised on the nutrients of 8 Mile Road.  With expertise in their professional fields, who absolutely enjoy being an 8 Mile Old Timer, and still work tirelessly with the community, they are President Dwight Smith, Vice President Lynn Townes, Treasurer Rev. Dr. Kenneth Johnson, Corresponding Secretary Linda Williams, Recording Secretary Marlene Martin, Field Coordinator Freddie Martin, and Public Relations Jerry Powell. 

General board meetings are every second Tuesday of each month at 1:30pm.